Preventive Measures to Do This Fall to Keep Your Fireplace Safe for Winter Use

Fireplace Ensure the safe use of your wood-burning fireplace this winter by doing these preventive measures before the end of fall.

With leaves turning orange and starting to fall, winter is definitely getting closer. And with temperatures dipping, you sure want to seek comfort inside your home. However, with the prices of natural gas and propane rising, you are most likely considering using your old fireplace to keep your home cosy for winter and to whittle your energy costs.

Before you spark up the first logs, though, know that fireplaces and chimneys are among the top culprits of house fires every year. So to help ensure your home fires would burn safely this winter, here are some important safety measures you should attend to.

Give the fireplace and chimney a good sweep

One of the leading causes of fireplace and chimney fires is the build-up of creosote, a flammable residue from burnt wood that condenses and accumulates inside the chimney flue as well as fireplace walls. As a rule of thumb, you need to have your fireplace and chimney swept at least once a year at the start of winter to remove creosote.

When sweeping your fireplace and chimney or have a professional do it, do not forget to inspect them to see if there are cracks, loose masonry or missing mortar that must be repaired or replaced. You or the chimney sweep should also inspect the flue liners for cracks or other signs of deterioration.

Clean the areas surrounding the chimney, too

As you or the professional do the sweeping, do not forget to look after the areas surrounding the chimney as well. Branches that grow too close to the chimney should be cut back and needles and leaves within the perimeter should also be removed as they are at risk of catching fire should a spark escapes from the chimney.

Nests in and out of the chimney should be removed, too. Critters like squirrels, birds and raccoons are notorious for accessing residential roofs and building their nests or staying inside chimneys during summer, thereby creating a fire hazard come winter time. To prevent unwanted critters from nesting inside the chimney, it is a good idea to install a chimney cap or replace one that is missing. Apart from blocking animals, this addition will prevent debris from getting lodged inside the chimney that could cause carbon monoxide to flow inside the house and will likewise protect its interiors against water damage.

Arrest the spark

A mesh screen or spark arrester is another helpful accessory that will make your fireplace safe to use. Apart from preventing embers and sparks from escaping the fireplace, such a cover also helps contain wood inside the safety of the firebox so it does not tumble into nearby rugs, tiles and flooring. For a safer option that does not heat up, you may opt for a glass fireplace door, which can also help improve the energy efficiency of your fireplace by keeping warm air inside.

Mind the damper

A damper is a small, movable steel or cast-iron door tucked inside the throat of the firebox. It allows you to close the chimney from the fireplace and its primary role is to prevent cold air from getting inside the house when the fireplace is not in use. When the damper is loose, cold air could seep through, requiring you to crank up the heater or thermostat to keep the room warm, which in turn could increase your energy bills. When the fire is burning, a loose damper may even cause smoke to spread inside. To avoid that from happening, clean it out along with the firebox and open it up to allow airborne ash to go up the chimney. That way, the damper’s flap will not get stuck and rust out.

Burn the right wood and do not overload

It is recommended that you use dense woods, such as oak and hickory, in your fireplace. These woods when split and dried for at least six months are proven to burn better and last longer than softwoods. They also do not produce too much flammable creosote that can build up in the fireplace walls and chimney and cause fire.

When using wood, avoid overstuffing the firebox and place the logs at the back of the fireplace on a metal grate. You should also use kindling when starting a fire instead of flammable liquids to keep the fire small. A fire that is too large or too hot can result to creosote build-up and may also cause the chimney to develop cracks that may lead to its early deterioration.

Mollie Fitzgerald is a writer with a strong interest in home improvement. Her passion for the said subject allows her to contribute content for Home Coatings. Visit to know more about the company.

October and Early November To-Do List to Ready Your Home for Winter

Storm Window Installation for October and Early November To-Do List to Ready Your Home for Winter ArticleBefore October ends and before winter sets into full swing, be sure to prep up your house by including these home improvement tasks in your to-do list.

Fall is already in full swing, and that means the temperatures are dropping. While you may have probably prepped yourself up for winter, can you say the same thing for your home? Do not forget that with October about to end, winterization for your house should be near its completion. So before the last leaf drops and the daylight is still clear, it is good idea to check these chores off your to-do list.

Beef up the windows

No matter how strong your window seems, they can be damaged by the wind, snow and water that winter brings. As such, give them a light scrubbing and wash them with clean water to eliminate dirt, bird droppings and other build up that could be covering damages. After this, caulk gaps and cracks on frames and apply weatherstripping. Adding storm windows is also recommended to protect your windows from winter damage. If you have single-pane windows, however, install a heat-shrink plastic to both their inner and outer frames for added insulation that will help you save on heating cost.

Repair the siding

The last thing you want to deal with during winter is unwanted critters getting inside your house. So your best defence is to do an inspection on your home’s siding to see if there are warped or split wood, cracks or holes and missing or loose panels where pests could enter. If you find any problem, remedy them immediately. Patch up the holes, repair damaged paint and apply a coating or sealant to keep it safe against water.

Fix the roof

Know that your roof is your first line of protection against wind, water and snow. So you want to make sure that it is in good condition for it to properly do its job come winter time. When checking your roof, do it during a warm day so you can easily notice issues that need to be addressed. If there are loose, curled, torn or cracked shingles, reattach them with roofing cement and roofing nails.

Do not forget to attend to your roof’s drainage system. Clean gutters and downspouts and be sure that they are not obstructed by debris so they can properly direct water away from your home’s roof, exterior walls and foundation. It is also necessary to ensure that the gutters and downspouts are secure in place so they won’t give in to the weight of water and snow.

Cut those greens

Before you store your gardening tools for the cold season, walk around your house with a pair of pruners and start cutting brush, weeds and branches that are in contact with your house. You should also remove piles of logs or wood away from your home. These simple chores will ensure that there will be no access points for pests to get inside your home and the plantings won’t scrape your siding during windstorms.

Winterize your outdoor plumbing system

If you do not want to end up dealing with frozen and busted pipes, floods and costly plumbing bills, the most important job you can do before winter sets in is to winterize your outdoor plumbing system. Drain all your underground sprinkler systems, garden hoses as well as outdoor pipes. If it is not possible to drain your outdoor water pipes, cover them with heat tape or foam insulation so they are protected from the cold. Exposed spigots should also be protected with foam covers or layers of newspaper capped with a plastic bag and sealed with duct tape.

Attend to the maintenance of your fireplace and chimney or your heating system

If you will be using the fireplace to warm your home this winter, be sure that its damper is working properly. Equally important is to have both your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned, especially if you burn soft woods that produce more creosote, to prevent chimney fire.

If you use a heating system, however, give it a tune-up before winter begins. Keep its furnace clean, properly adjusted and lubricated to ensure its efficiency and help you save up to 5% on your heating cost.

Mind your safety indoors

In addition to the fixes mentioned above, you should also pay attention to your safety indoors once winter arrives. To prepare for that, install a carbon-monoxide detector, especially if you keep a gas heater, as well as a smoke detector and ensure both devices have working batteries. Also, make sure you have medical kits available and a good working, fully pressurized household fire extinguisher in place.

Jessie Moore is fulltime writer who enjoys writing tips on home improvement. She also contributes for McIntyre Masonry. Visit for more info about the company.

How to self-manage your house extension

architect teamIf you’re considering building an extension onto your house – congratulations, you’ll soon have a great new space to enjoy, whatever you decide to use it for!  For many people, sticking to a tight budget is key for their house extension project, and to this end you may decide to self-manage your project.  Managing your house extension project by yourself can save you a lot of money, and help to keep costs down, but there are a few things you need to bear in mind before taking on this task!


You need to be good at multi-tasking if you’re planning to self-manage your house extension project; there’s no two ways about it.  Not only will you have to juggle your budget and conflicting time schedules, you’ll need to manage contractors, organise paperwork and order materials.  Sometimes, you’ll need to do all of these things practically simultaneously!  It’s essential that you’re capable of working in an organised, methodical manner to have the best possible chances of your project running smoothly.  To assist you with the smooth running of your project, you’ll find that project management tools and cost estimator software can help you budget and stay on track – although these are often fairly expensive.

Organisation is key

Without organisation, your home extension project is doomed to fail.  You need to ensure that cash is available and materials are delivered on time; otherwise your builders could be left with nothing to do.  This means wasting time and money, and your project is sure to run over budget, despite you saving money by taking on the role of project manager yourself!  Take some time out at the end or start of the week to update your notes of software, and make sure that everything is running according to plan.

Cost savvy

Keeping costs down is key to the success of any project, but it’s even more important when it’s your own money that you are spending.  You should always spend time getting three quotes for all your materials – successful project management starts with getting the lowest possible price from a reliable supplier.  If you’re managing a project for the first time, try using just one supplier for all your materials, as this makes it easier to keep track of what you’re spending.

Break it down

By breaking your build down into manageable stages and creating checkpoints and ‘to-do’ lists for each stage, you can tick things off as you go, ensuring that the project stays on time and within budget.  This is a great way to keep your project moving and can help contractors to be aware of specific goals and time frames for the project.

Get it in writing

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of managing your own house extension is to get everything in writing.  Quotes from suppliers, prices and specifications for building materials, delivery dates and contractor agreements – you should ensure you have them all in writing so there is no quibble!

Lastly, you should be sensitive if problems occur – be respectful of your tradesmen and suppliers and form good working relationships to ensure that your project doesn’t hit any hurdles. By bearing the above tips in mind, self-managing your house extension project is sure to be a breeze!

The Benefits of Having a Steel Garage

steel garage doorHome improvement means you have to consider several techniques to make your house as attractive as possible. This is particularly important if you are trying to add value to your property. Getting a steel garage is one of the ways you can spruce up your home. Here, you will learn about the benefits of having a steel garage.


In the past, these strong structures were popular but because of high steel prices, many architects turned to wood. Nonetheless, many homeowners realized that steel garages helped protect their vehicles from harsh conditions. In the end, homeowners are able to save money because the garages are more durable than wooden ones. Wooden garages could be appealing, but maintaining them can be costly. If you live in an area that experiences heavy rains or strong winds, building a steel garage is highly recommended. Cars are valuable investments and hence, they should be well protected. That way, you can cut the costs of maintenance. Even leaving them under the strong rays of the sun can damage the paintwork. You saved your hard-earned money to buy that vehicle and you need to make sure it is well protected from the sun, rain and wind when you are not driving it. Due to the rising cases of car thefts, many homeowners have turned to these safe storage structures for their cars. If you are searching for a secure structure for your vehicles then you should choose steel garages. Other common materials might not offer the same level of security.

Offers extra space

If you are planning to build a home office, you can consider locating it in your garage. A big garage will effectively enhance the value of your home and can offer some extra space to keep your valuable tools and equipment in. The space can also serve as a gym or party room. In addition, you can consider fitting mezzanine floors to help improve the look of your home office.

Low maintenance costs

When it gets extremely hot, you can find it hard to focus on your work. Insulating your garage can be a valuable investment and it can cost you less than you might think. You can decorate it to match the theme of your home. Because it can be hard to do it yourself, it is always best to consult an expert. You may also want to get a topcoat to help shield it from harsh conditions like rust. As you will agree, you can easily make your garage strong and attractive. You should use metallic materials to build your garage. The best thing is that many of them come with an extended warranty. In order to save money, make sure that you are buying steel garage equipment. Wooden garages will need constant repainting. In addition, you will need to make sure your garage is protected against termites. Wooden materials will also deteriorate fast because if it is subjected to wet conditions, they can rot. Of course, this will require a lot of effort in comparison to obtaining a durable steel garage from Cyclone Steel Buildings.

What should you look for in your next bed?

Your next bedGenerally one third of our day is spent sleeping, and if you are going to spend this much of your life performing one activity then it’s absolutely essential that you do it well, or at least to the best of your ability. Choosing the right bed can be a long, time consuming process, but in most situations it has a positive outcome and taking the extra time to pick one that suits you can really reap rewards for you further down the line.

So if you are looking to purchase a new bed the first question that you will probably have asked is “Well what do I really need in a bed?” – and the answer isn’t always so simple. At the end of the day there are a number of elements that come together to give you a high quality bed, and one that you can truly depend on, so before you spend your hard-earned cash take the time to look around and find a bed that’s really right for you.

Three key elements of a great bed

  • Size
    The size of your bed is incredibly important and if you want to get a great night’s sleep without falling out of bed, or into someone who’s sleeping next to you, then choosing a bed that’s of the right size is just what you need.

    When choosing the right size of bed you also need to take into account your room – you don’t want a bed which completely dwarfs your room, yet at the same time if you do have a decent size bedroom there’s no need to skimp on the size of it.

  • Comfort
    Comfort is key to a good night’s sleep and to ensuring that you are well-rested for the next day, as a result it’s really important that you opt for a bed which keeps you comfortable and secure throughout the night.

    A good quality mattress will often help out in this situation and that’s why it’s really worth taking your time to research what goes into making the right type of mattress, and ensuring that it ideally suits your body type.

  • Support
    Good support is essential to ensuring that you don’t end up with a bad back and although most mattresses are built with this in mind, it’s still something to think about when you choose your bed frame as a whole.

    A supportive bed will not only ensure that you get a great night’s sleep, it will also ensure that you feel comfortable and that your body is getting the support it needs to get a restful night. As a result, you will wake up feeling fresh and ready to tackle whatever the day throws your way.

Benefits of Waterproofing with French Drains

Drain SystemA home is built for your comfort—to stay dry when it is rainy outside and cool when it is hot outside. But how can you do that if water has finally found its way into your home, say in the basement? And so, you have to keep this from continuously happening not just because you are no longer comfortable in it but also because neglect on this post more severe problems in the future. Among these problems you will eventually be dealing with is the growth of health endangering organisms and damage on your home foundations. Besides, solutions for this problem are available like installing French drains among many others. You will find a lot of benefits of waterproofing with French drains, but first you just need to know what this method is all about to better understand why it is a better choice of solution.

A French drain is a system of piping network that runs along the perimeter of your basement with a sump and pump that intend to pull away water content from beneath it and especially the foundation. Installation of this systematic drain requires cutting and removing a width of at least a foot from the basement floor and excavating about another foot deep. The drain will go into that trench but it has to be surrounded by gravel and then concrete for reinforcement. Also, the finishing will also be in concrete to bring back the original appearance of your basement floor. The only difference now is that there is already a French drain installed beneath its perimeter.

Now that you already know why the French drain is the best solution to basement degradation, you should know the benefits of waterproofing with French drains. Here are some:

  1. It is the most permanent solution ever. As you have already learned, the French drain is the most scientific solution to basement water intrusion compared to other types of waterproofing methods. This will physically change the structure beneath your basement, which is where the problem is actually originating. And with the sump and pump doing their functions very well, you can rest assured that everything will be taken well care of permanently.
  2. It can be done in no time. The French drain can be done by your handyman in no time, especially if the necessary tools and equipment for the task are available. In fact, you can do the chore on your own although you need to have a little knowledge with piping systems and sumps and pumps to do this correctly. But if you are really up for the challenge of doing this task, you can simply ask for a sound advice from your trusted home builder or provider. You might even get a detailed manual for the installation if you choose the right brand that offers them.
  3. It costs less. Compared to other short term remedies and the frequency you need to redo the same short-term solutions, the French drain is definitely low-cost.  Don’t go bankrupt fixing temporary solutions or replacing a damaged finished basement.


Choose Instagram canvas Prints for your Home decor

Instagram picsInstagram canvas printings are available online and it has become the important thing in the present market that helps to target many dreams of the people who are looking forward to have new patterns of photos in the canvas. There are many people around who are looking for the home decoration items and canvas prints or wall art has become the most popular item in the present market. They are available at a reasonable price which gives the scope to choose the decorative piece without any hassle.

Instagram photos on canvas enhance the beauty

There is the opportunity to directly upload the photo from your instagram account that can be a nice option which can collect your print within 48 hours. Instagram canvas prints have become the most exclusive option of the homeowners where they can choose in order to decorate their home. You can look for the wall where you can hang the print in order to enhance the beauty of the home. The convincing design for the canvas prints are actually made with the help of the professional artists that follows new concept.

Enjoy the beautiful photos of instagram

There are different services that you can opt for the print and it gives you the facility to print the instagram photo on canvas and it has become the effective method through which you can design your home by using some simple tips. You might take a long time in order to find the best site for the canvas printing but you have the possibility to carry out the original prints for the unlimited fun at home. There are plenty of options available which can be shared by the people online. You can pick the best print which is quite necessary for you in order to spend the money wisely it is important to make the proper selection of photos.

Canvas photo prints for home decoration

Instagram canvas photo prints will be the perfect choice for the people who come up with different kinds of design for the complete new look of the house. The prints are the best thing that you can look for in order to have a complete makeover of the house and there are different advantages that you can enjoy when you hang the canvas prints on the wall. It is the loveliest options through which you can enjoy the beauty of the home. The instagram has the opportunity to offer common people the aptitude to take the images of the proficient photographer.

Printing onto canvas offers a new pattern option

While looking for the instagram canvas prints it is important to choose the patterns in order to have the best wall hanging in the home. You need to look for something that is quite interesting and so you need to look for the best design of instagram art prints and there are features that can be enjoyed through new patterns and it is important to decide on the patterns which should also be a good way to hang on the wall. The home improvement gives you the option of choosing the photographer that can offer you the best print.

Elena is a talented writer and she takes the pleasure of writing on the importance of the canvas prints on your home. The instagram canvas prints of photos have become the famous concept in the present market for home décor.

Interior Painting – What do I need to know?

interior paintingHome improvements can make your house feel more welcoming and comfortable. When you have decided it is time to make some home improvements, one that might be on your list is interior painting. Interior painting provides you the chance to give a room a whole different look and feel to it. So what do you need to know about interior painting?

You need to choose the correct paint before you can even begin to paint. Not only is the color that you want important, but the finish is important as well as they can give you a different look to the entire room. There are different types such as high-gloss, flat, and eggshell. High-gloss paint is very easy to clean and is durable, but if you have any imperfections in the wall it is going to make them stick out substantially. Flat paint will hide imperfections a lot better, but it is harder to clean and easier to damage. Eggshell is right in between the two, and tends to be the most popular choice.

As far as color goes, pick one that you desire and then try out small samples. By trying out the color on the wall before spending money on gallons of paint you are not going to be surprised when that teal looks like a midnight blue. It’s hard to tell what a color is going to look like on your wall, and if you change your mind you are able to go back and try a different color.

Know the square footage of the room you are painting so that you know how much paint you will need. Consider the surface and how many coats you plan on painting so that you can determine the amount of paint you will have to purchase.

Spend time preparing your walls before you paint. Paint does not hide everything, so you will want to make your walls as flat as possible, cleaning them before hand to make sure you get any dust or debris off your walls that would cause the paint to show all of the flaws in the wall.

These are all important steps you need to take before you start painting the interior of your home. By following these guidelines, you will have the perfect type of paint, color, amount and you will have flawless walls to paint on.

Painting Franchise, Merit Professional Coatings is pleased to bring you this article on what you need to know when painting your interior. Merit Professional is a commercial painting franchise, with years of knowledge in the painting industry. If you are interested in learning more, check out their website today.

Painting your Pool – What is the Process?

painting a poolOwning a pool is a luxury, it gives you hours of entertainment for you and your guests, spending time in the clean water and relaxing. When it’s time to paint your pool, there are many challenges that can come up. Mother Nature and time can cause your pool to become unsightly, filled with cracks and faded paint. What is the process of painting your pool?

Depending on the type of paint you choose, there are a variety of ways to paint your pool. The three types of pool paint are epoxy, chlorinated rubber base, and acrylic pool paint. All three have their benefits, but epoxy paint is known to last the longest and is also very durable. This type of paint will last up to 10 years and can withstand UV rays, automatic pool cleaners and chemical treatments better than any other paint type.

Once you have determined the type of pool paint you are going to use, drain any water from the pool and remove any debris and plugs. Scrape off all the old, loose paint, if you do not get it all the new paint is going to look deformed and will not hold properly. Patch any large chips, caulk any cracks, and get rid of any loose cement so that the pool can have a nice, clean surface.

Scrub the walls and floor and use an acid wash with the proper equipment and procedure to get the pool walls and floor as clean and ready for paint as possible. Then rinse completely to get rid of the acid solution. The pool should be completely dry for three to five days so that the new paint will stay properly.

Before painting, scrape any last minute spots that you see, sweep the pool and get rid of any dirt. Starting in the deep end of the pool, start painting and work your way to the shallow end. Mid-morning is the best time to pain, and keep in mind that paint will not hold if the temperature is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If applying a second coat, wait two to four hours before adding it.

Before filling the swimming pool with water, wait five days to make sure the paint can dry completely. Once the pool is completely full you will have a newly-painted pool to enjoy! The process may seem long, especially if the weather does not cooperate, but it is rewarding and necessary in order to keep your pool up to standards.


Glacier Industrial, is pleased to bring you this article on the process of painting your pool. Glacier Industrial does a lot epoxy painting in Colorado and epoxy flooring in Colorado. If you are interested in any of their services, be sure to check out their website today.

Architectural Metal Roofing – A More Modern Look

metal-roofMetal roofing is growing in popularity with the many benefits that it can provide a home with. As a product that provides a home with a more modern look than other materials, you should know all of the benefits of having architectural metal roofing on your home.

One of the benefits of a metal roof is that it will make your home more energy efficient. Metal roofing allows the sun to bounce off of the roof, keeping the home cooler during those hot summer months. Metal roofing causes you to use less energy in your home, helping you lower any cooling costs and becoming more energy efficient.

Another benefit is that you are adding a beautiful design aesthetic to your home. Since the design of a metal roof is very versatile, it is capable of complementing many different architectural styles. Whether you have a contemporary home or a ranch, you will find the perfect roof style for the home.

Having a metal roof over your head is going to make your home safer during any harsh weather. If you live in an area where natural disasters are more common, a metal roof is going to help keep you and your home safe. Metal roofs are fire resistant and wind resistant. They can also withstand hail and harsh snow.

Maintenance will be minimal with a metal roof. Since metal roofs are able to withstand a lot of what mother natural brings us, you hardly have to take care of the metal roof. Maintenance that is required is yearly inspections to ensure the roof is still in good condition, especially if it has endured harsh weather.

Once you have a metal roof, it is likely going to last the rest of the house’s lifetime. It is a very durable material, and although it can be more expensive than others up front, in the long run it is going to pay off substantially. The length of time that you can enjoy the metal roof is going to make the price you pay worth it.

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to having a metal roof on your home. Not only is it energy efficient, safer, low maintenance, and resistant but it is also aesthetically pleasing and can work with any style of home. It is a modern day aspect of many homes.


Architectural Metal Company, West Coast Metal Systems is pleased to bring you this article on metal roofing. West Coast Metal deals with a lot of architectural metal panels, and architectural metal fabrication. If interested, check out their website today.