6 Handy Hints For Building Pergolas

Before you can get to work on your new building project there are some finer points to be taken into consideration. Some of your initial decisions might be whether you take on the building yourself or need to contract someone else and if it’s feasible to attach the pergola to your veranda or make it freestanding.

1. Self build or contract?

The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. Think about your level of expertise, whether a contractor is affordable and if you have the tools required to get the job done if you can hire them readily, especially if most of the work is being done on the weekend.

2. How much can you afford to spend?

As with any renovation project it makes sense to prepare a budget. Pergolas can range in price so it is important to know what ready cash you have on hand before you begin. You may need to tweak the budget along the way but if you have allowed for those incidentals there won’t be any nasty surprises before the project is finished.

Make a list of the materials you’ll need and price them. Get quotes from builders or other workers you may have to bring in for work you can’t do yourself.

3. Create the design

One of the most important decisions will be if this is going to be an extension of an existing veranda or freestanding. Keep in mind if it is attached to the main roof there may be structural issues and extra building approvals required.

The best way to create a design is with some graph paper, a felt pen and ruler. Measure out the area and use a scaled version on your plan. Get ideas from other outdoor areas, magazines and trade displays.

4. Permissions and approvals

There’s no point spending time or money if the council has reasons not to let you build. There are regulations for attaching anything to an existing structure and distances from the post to boundary fences. Find out what planning permissions and building approvals are required before you start.

5. Styles and colours

Flat roof, dome shape, pavilion style, with so many choices of styles and colours available it may be difficult to make up your mind. Get inspiration from other people. Look at where the pergola sits in relation to their verandas. Many suppliers of pergolas have structures pre-built and on display.

Colours may be determined by your existing surroundings or maybe you want to brighten up your drab veranda by adding some bright colours or create a Mediterranean feel.

6. Choosing the right materials for your project

As difficult as choosing the right colour may seem, getting the materials right is worth careful consideration. While pergolas have been predominantly made out of timber, there are many other materials more durable and better suited to Australia’s harsh climate such as metal, fibreglass and plastic.

As much as you may want to rush down to the hardware store this weekend and get your pergola on the way there are any number of other considerations to keep in mind before building your pergola. Will it be roofed? What about the flooring, paved or grass? Remember whatever you decide a little time spent before spending money could mean the difference between a disaster and a stylish addition to your home.

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5 Tips to Ensure Efficient Home Removals

The process of moving can be a time consuming task that many people find quite stressful. You can make your move smooth by planning well in advance. Do not wait until the last moment to contact the movers or to start packing.

When you start preparing early, the process can be stress free and you do not risk forgetting some items. The following tips will help you to prepare for the move.

Create lists and label the boxes

To help you when packing, you need to make a list of all your belongings to help you keep track of what each box contains. Label the boxes to make sure that you can identify where each box goes and which boxes need extra care.

By creating a simple system, you can know exactly what you are carrying with you and you can make sure that all the items go to the right room when you get to your destination.

Color coding system

Another way to enhance efficiency is using a color coding system. You can have different color labels for each room allowing the movers to place the boxes in the right room. You can use color-coding to organize your family, where each member can have a different color to identify their belongings.

Avoid over or under filling

You need to ensure that you pack the right amount of stuff in each box. When you overfill the boxes, they will be too heavy, which is not a good thing when they have to be lifted.

When you overfill the boxes, they can break due to the strain. Under filling is also a bad idea especially when the items inside can break when they move about. Make sure that you distribute your items evenly for best results.

Sufficient packing materials

Make sure that you have sufficient packing materials to hold all your items. Purchase the materials well in advance so that you can start packing early enough. Some of the materials you need include boxes, markers, adhesive tape, bubble wrap, string and any other items you might need. It is not a good idea to use newspaper to wrap valuable items, as the print tends to rub off.

Packing fragile items

Make sure that you pack fragile items separately and mark the boxes clearly to avoid damage. If you have valuable items that are very delicate, it is a good idea to get professional packing and removals. Professionals have materials that will protect your valuables and they have the expertise to make sure that your items arrive safely at the destination.

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7 Reasons to Build Things Yourself

Do you have a lot of free time? I’m sure you don’t. I barely find spare minutes to do the things I love, to do my work and to have some sleep at the end of the day. Most probably you are in a similar position – today everyone is so busy. Yet I am offering you to spend some of your precious time in building things yourself. Instead of buying all your indoor or outdoor furniture, all the toys for the kids and and all the stuff you use every day, I am suggesting you to build some of these things yourself.

And I have good reasons for this – well, at least 7:

1. Save money. While this is pretty obvious reason, it shouldn’t be your main action trigger. Usually you do save cash when building things yourself, but that’s only before you calculate your hourly rate and the time spent for the task. Sometimes when you add your time as expense you will end up “paying” more than you would pay for the item if you purchase it built.

Still, if you don’t have paid engagements for that time or just aren’t willing to spend it doing your regular work, you can consider your time free and the money saved. Especially if you add the next benefits of building things yourself.

2. Learn new things. While working on a do-it-yourself project you are going to learn new things and master new skills. Often you’ll be doing to do some woodworking, cutting, painting, calculating and planning. You’ll learn things that probably your regular job isn’t going to teach you. Maybe the new skills and knowledge aren’t going to generate income but they can be useful in many indirect ways in your work and life.

3. Have exactly the item you want. Sometimes the only way to have an item with the design and functionality you want is to build it yourself. For example you may have an idea for a great bench that fits your patio design and space but none of the benches offered in the stores is close enough to it. Then you either need to build it yourself or hire a craftsman to do it for you. The first is cheaper and most often more fun!

4. Break the routine. Just a century ago people worked with their hands all the time. Today we mostly use our hands to type on the keyboard and move the mouse (or scratch on the iPad). Going in the garage and working with your hands crafting things can be a great way to break the everyday routine and relax actively. It can be totally engaging in a great way.

5. Meet new friends. With the forums, Facebook groups and local communities you can easily get help about the stuff you are trying to do. And asking for help is a great way to make new friends – that’s especially true in hobbyists communities. Building things yourself can help you meet interesting people and some of them often become your friends for life.

6. Know what’s inside. Usually when buying toys for your kids you can’t be sure what’s inside. The label may be saying that there is no toxic stuff and no child labor is used but you can never know that for sure. When building things yourself you know exactly what materials and stuff you are putting inside. And this is valid not only for toys – think about your clothes, carpets and so on.

7. Be active. Building things is a physical activity and most of us live so sedentary life today. Most of the do-it-yourself project don’t involve such intensive activity as most sports so they are appropriate for people of almost every age. It’s a nice way to exercise your muscles without the overloading that often happens in the gym.

Next time when you have few spare hours, don’t spend it watching TV. Go outside and build something. Maybe it’s not going to be perfect, but it will be your own achievement and pride.

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1 Thing You Should Have For Home DIY

Getting a laser measuring device proved to be one of the best things I have ever purchased for home repairs and improvement. I cannot deny that this tiny inexpensive device has cut down my home repair and improvement time by a lot, I have saved so much time to concentrate on other projects. If you have any experience making home repairs, then you should know exactly what I am talking about, measurements can be really time consuming and sometimes very annoying. For me it was a day trying to measure a hard to reach part of the floor behind my kitchen cupboard that really pushed me to finally buy a laser measuring tool.

Buying a laser tool is something which you definitely won’t regret, not in a million years. For everything you can do with it, as well as the price you save, it is definitely worth every single penny, in other words, the price is right. It doesn’t matter what you want to do around the house it will come in handy, Whether you want to measure and re-fit some tiles; Whether you want to move your bed or sofa; Whether you are laying a new carpet. It all becomes much easier when you can just stand there and point your laser and in a split second you have an extremely accurate measurement for none of the hassle.

Think of just how easy everything suddenly becomes, measuring just becomes so simple and painless (I really hated those annoying measurements which I used to have to make; now everything is brilliant!). One thing that gets me every time about this tool is the fact that the measurements which it makes are dead accurate. I recently measured the distance from my front door to the main road and it only took me 2 seconds and the road is 500 meters away. That was incredible! When I used a measuring tape to do the same thing it took me over 10 minutes and it was not as accurate.

When most people thing of home repairs, they think of purchasing hammers, saws and automatic drills etc. but many people overlook how handy it can be to have something which measures fast and accurately. I honestly believe that if you do a lot of work at home DIY, then you cannot escape getting a laser measuring device; they really will save you time and lots of headaches.

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10 Surefire Ways to Avoid Common DIY Home Improvement Mistakes

Ask people who have completed do-it-yourself projects and they’ll tell you that the projects took at least twice and much time and three times the money they thought they would. The basic reason is that DIYers usually make a lot of mistakes that end up making home improvement projects more expensive and time-consuming.

Here are 10 surefire ways to avoid the top DIY home improvement mistakes in the future and ensure success.

1. Take out the required permits — it’s amazing how many DIYers skip this step. Sure, it takes time, and it means you have to deal with the government, but it’s actually in your best interest to make sure get the required home improvement permits. The folks in the permitting office will make sure the project is done correctly and that you stay safe in the process. Also, for some projects, you’ll need proof that you have a permit or your insurance company won’t cover the improvement. You’ll probably need a permit for any project larger than wallpapering and painting. If you’re unsure, call your local building department and ask.

2. Have all the tools and materials you need available before you start your project — starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies will slow down the job and delay your progress. And make sure you buy quality tools. They’re a wise investment.

3. Prepare the job site for material deliveries — when your suppliers deliver materials, you’ll want to make sure the job site is ready to accept them. You don’t want your materials exposed to the weather while you are working and you want to have a storage area to prevent theft.

4. Don’t skimp on materials — for example, don’t use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls. Use at at least 5/8-inch; and 3/4-inch works well for a good sound barrier. Use 3/4-inch plywood for sub-floors. It creates a much stronger floor.

5. Prepare the walls for painting — clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. Use a coat of primer or stain blocker if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.

6. Use the correct paint — use flat paint ceilings. Interior paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub it. For outdoor decks, use a linseed-oil-based stain to drive the pigment into the wood and preserve it.

7. Keep safe while working — you don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood. Wear a hard hat when you’re working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls. Don’t wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors, feet, and pets.

8. Measure twice and cut once — probably the most important rule of any project. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it too long. You can always make something shorter. You can’t make it longer.

9. Know the limits of your abilities — you’re not going to be good at everything. If you don’t have a lot of experience at plumbing or electrical work, for instance, don’t attempt those projects.

10. Don’t start to learn how to do a project on your own house — If you want to learn how to do a project, offer your assistance to a friend who is an experienced DIYer or a contractor. And if you have any question about what you’re doing, make sure you stop and ask.

You probably won’t eliminate all of your DIY home improvement mistakes, but you can surely reduce them with these 10 tips.

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3 New Glass Tile Trends For Your Home

Nothing completely transforms the look and feel of a room like tile. And now three new tile trends can quickly and easily give your home a beautiful modern look. Read on to learn about the three newest tile trends.

Glass Tile

While certainly not a new innovation, glass tile has gotten a facelift in the past few years, with many new designs, sizes and styles now available. Glass tile is great for any home with kids because it’s very durable. Additionally, glass tile doesn’t absorb moisture and will not become stained. Glass tile is easy to clean and simple to install – perfect for anyone looking to DIY their new flooring.

Some of the many new styles of glass tile now on the market include jelly bean glass – a fun and friendly addition to any room that looks just like it’s name – jelly beans!; sphere shaped glass tiles;.5 inch wide matchstick tile designs; and curved glass options.

Subway Tile

Although a fashionable choice since the 1930s, subway tile is anything but old-fashioned. Called that because it was originally used in the subway tunnels of New York, this versatile flooring is extremely easy to install and can really change up the look of any room. Some of the most popular uses of subway tile include in bathrooms, showers, fireplaces, for kitchen backsplashes (it’s incredibly easy to clean!), walls, and other areas where a clean and elegant look is desired. Subway tile can be combined with other types of glass or mosaic tiles to create a one-of-a-kind look, or it can be used on its own for a more classic feel.

Glass and Stone Tile

Last but not least, glass and stone tile mosaics are an extremely trendy way of combining the modern look of glass with the elegant style and coloring of stone. You can find many different blends of the two, in gorgeous designs that are guaranteed to make over any room. Best of all, glass and stone tile designs give you the expensive look of marble or granite flooring – without the cost. Moreover, you can mix and match glass and stone blends to complement nearly any room or color scheme.

Don’t settle for carpet or spend all your money on stone or ceramic that stains – get one of these three trends for your home today! With most tile designs provided on easy-to-install sheets, you can have a completely new look in your home in no time at all!

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5 Sanding Tips and Tricks

Sanding a piece of wood can be a daunting task. Whether you’re using a sander or sanding by hand, each has its flaws. Here are some sanding tips to consider:

1.    If you’re having a hard time sanding small pieces, try placing a rough piece of sand paper grit side up on a table. Next, place your wood piece on top of the sandpaper and continue sanding. The sandpaper on the table will grip the wood so you can sand with a finer grade.

2.    When sanding irregular surfaced wood pieces with a palm sander, you can place a piece of sponge or weather stripping between the sanding sheet and the palm sander. This will allow the sand paper to flex more and get in to those tight spaces.

3.    When sanding in tight and narrow spaces, try using a scrapper with a piece folded around the end of it. This will allow you to get in to those spaces with ease.

4.    Save your small pieces of sand paper that look good but are just too small to use on their own. You can then glue them to a scrap piece of wood. This is a small trick but can save a lot of money on sand paper.

5.    Regular sanding sheets burns away extremely fast when used with palm sanders. Instead, try using a sanding belt. You will need to cut it in to proper size pieces but they will last a lot longer than regular sanding sheets.

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6 Safety Tips While Working On A Ladder

There are endless situations when you may need to use a ladder. Whether you need to change a light bulb, or you are painting your house, there will always be times when you need to reach higher levels for you project. Being that you will not be able to always have someone around when you are using a ladder, you want to make sure that you keep in mind some safety tips while you are working.

1. You need to first have a quality ladder that has sound construction and durability. When you are working on your project you want to feel safe and secure and by having a ladder that has that feel will help you focus in the project at hand.

2. When you are setting up your ladder, make sure all the joints are locked into place. Depending on the style, this might be in multiple locations, so make sure you check each area thoroughly. Make sure the ladder is even and that the feet of the ladder are flat on the surface. Some models feature an extension foot so you can even out a particular side if the area that you are working on is uneven.

3. Climbing the ladder needs to always be at a slow safe pace. There is no need to rush to get to the top, just take your time and use each rung of the ladder and do not try to skip steps. This is one of the most commonly done things and can create an accident if you miss a step when you are in a hurry.

4. While working, you should try at all times to keep at least one hand on the ladder to keep you balanced and secured. Keeping in direct contact with the ladder while working allows to keep your body in a safe position.

5. Staying in the center is the best practice to follow as well. This keeps your weight centered between the supports of the ladder. Leaning to far to the right or left is not recommended because the ladder could slide with you creating an unsafe and unsecure foundation.

6. When you are finished with you project, make sure that you take your time on the climb down just as you did when you were headed up the ladder. If you are in a hurry, there is a higher possibility that you will miss a rung and possibly cause an accident. Just take your time on the way down and keep yourself safe.

A few other suggestions would be to make sure you are using the right ladder for the right project and when you are carrying the ladder, try to collapse the ladder to its smallest size for the safest maneuverability.

These are just same basic tips that you can have while you are working on your next project that involves a ladder. As with anything else, it is always best to follow the practices that are going to keep you safe and lessen the chance of you having a accident.

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12 Clever Ways to Re-Purpose Your Furniture

They say ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and that’s true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your own junk and make it a treasure once again. By reusing your old furniture, you can add some great charm to your home decor. Not only that but being able to re-purpose furniture is actually a lot of fun. From cabinets to dressers to old doors to countertops, anything can be repurposed. All it takes is just a little creativity. So, the next time you’re ready to throw away that old side table that you’ve been holding on to for years, look at these 12 clever ways to repurpose your furniture before you do. You might get a little inspiration.

1. Use an old door as a headboard

If you have an old wooden door just lying around why not try repurposing it as a headboard to your bed. By sanding down any rough edges, your bed will have an added rustic flair. Plus, it’s really easy to do. All you need is a sander (or just sandpaper) and a bit of putty.

2. A bookcase can become a bar

No idea what to do with that old antique bookshelf? The answer is simple: make a bar! By using the shelves to store glasses, liquor, martini shakers, and maybe a couple of books, you’ll have a high-class bar right in your den, basement or living room. Complete the look by adding wine holders and wine glass holders.

3. Turn a window into a cabinet door

If you have a window that’s intact with a lot of character but too old to actually use, then try making a cabinet door out of it. You can either make a cabinet or find one without a door. Either way, attach a handle and hinges to the window, attach it to the cabinet, and you’re done. Simple and easy.

4. A dresser into a bench

Do you have an old dresser that you can’t find any use for? Just turn it into a bench. A bit of cutting, sawing, and screwing and you’ll have a nice seat for one or two. If you seal and paint it with exterior products you can even place it outside.

5. A buffet cabinet turns into a coffee station

Turning a buffet cabinet into a coffee station is the easiest thing to do. All you have to do is remove the top of the cabinet and replace it with a kitchen countertop. This will look great in the kitchen as a coffee station. Put your mugs, coffee maker, and cream and sugar here for a high-class look.

6. Turn a chair into a nightstand

Do you have a chair you love but it doesn’t match your other chairs? Turn it into a nightstand or (if it’s big enough) a table. All you have to do is take off the back and just use the seat.

7. Turn old side tables into stools

A nightstand or side table can be easily converted into a stool by simply adding a cushion to the top. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of side tables for some reason.

8. An easel becomes a TV stand

A large and heavy-duty artist’s easel can easily become a TV stand if it’s strong enough. Plus, it adds an interesting dimension to your living room and is a great conversation piece. Just place the TV on the bottom shelf and bring the top one down as if you were propping up a canvas.

9. Turn a secretary desk into a linen cabinet

Secretary desks, especially the ones with a tall hutch, can be repainted and placed in the bathroom or hallway as a linen cabinet. Best of all, there’s barely any fussing required.

10. A chest becomes a coffee table

If you have a heavy duty wooden chest or trunk that’s the right height, then you can easily turn it into a coffee table. Just use a sealer on the top or place a pane of glass. If you’re really handy with tools you can make the top open up like a garage door.

11. Turn a sideboard into a bathroom vanity

If you have a sideboard that you want to get rid of, don’t. A sideboard can make an excellent bathroom vanity. All you need to do is carve a hole in the top for the sink and make sure there’s enough room for the plumbing. Add a mirror to the wall above it and you’re all set.

12. Turn a headboard into a rack

Don’t have a place to hang your coat? Have an old headboard that you don’t use anymore? Then make that headboard into a coat rack by screwing on hooks to the face and hanging the whole thing on your wall. Instant success.

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10 X 12 Shed Plans – 3 Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Design

10 X 12 shed plans are a very common & popular design for the do it yourself crowd. If this is the size shed you are going to build, here are some important things to consider when choosing your 10 X 12 shed plans.

The first point to consider is whether to go with free plans or to purchase plans. The temptation will be to save money by going with free plans. Resist that temptation at all costs. My experience has been that free plans are worth exactly what you pay for them, nothing. Many of these free plans have unclear or missing instructions & may lack critical measurements or give incorrect measurements. As we will soon see, purchasing good 10 X 12 shed plans will be very inexpensive compared to loss of time if you have to recut your lumber because it was too long, or worst yet, lost materials if your free ones tell you to cut them too short.

Another thing to consider when choosing your 10 X 12 shed plans is what type of foundation you will build on. Regardless of the type you choose, you will want to make sure the ground you are building on is graded properly & well drained. A dirt floor is acceptable for pole barn type construction, but if your shed’s walls are framed it will need to sit on a more solid foundation. If your area is well drained 6 inches of crushed gravel may be sufficient. Raising the shed off the ground with concrete blocks & placing the floor supports on the blocks will keep the shed solid & keep drainage from being a problem. A concrete slab would be the best option, but may be out of the scope of possibility for most do it yourself shed builders. A properly built, level foundation will prevent problems such as doors & windows that don’t open or sagging walls caused by the foundation settling. A good set of plans will help you with your foundation.

A final consideration when choosing your 10 X 12 shed plans is what type of roof you will place on your shed. This is of special importance if you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall. If this is the case a saltbox or gabled roof with a steep pitch will allow the snow to slide off. Snow accumulation can put your shed under thousands of extra pounds of stress. Designing your roof accordingly can help you avoid disaster later. Other popular roof types include the classic Gambrel design, (think of the old barns with the Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco ads painted on them), or the hipped design that recesses the ends of a gable roof to form somewhat of a pyramid shape.

Individual shed plans can be purchased for as little as $9.99 to $29.99 a piece. One disadvantage of individual plans is that one plan may not have all the features you may require. A popular & recent development is digitally delivered plans that offer hundreds or thousands of designs for one low price. The advantage here is that you have more than one plan to consider for only a little more money than an individual plan. These packages often contain plans for many other projects as well, making them even more valuable if you like to take on projects.

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