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Home Improve E-zine, Issue #004 -- Monthly Newsletter - plan your 2005 home improvement remodeling
June 15, 2005
Home Improve E-zine

Home Improvement Quandary?   lets nail down the Options

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IN THIS MONTHS ISSUE: June 2005

Welcome to our June issue of Home Improve E-Zine, throughout the year we delve into the preparation of big and small home improvement projects.

Summer Solstice is this weekend on the 21st June when the sun is the furthest north from the equator. It's when Summertime 2005 home improvement projects start to become a reality.

Don't miss the home improvement show lists for July to make sure you get to attend any event near you.

Enjoy your home improvements and as always, it's safety first with all the planning and time you need to work well.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
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  • Our Tip Top Tip...
  • Your Home Improvement Calender - June 2005
  • Building a Deck Design Part 2...
  • The Quickest Bathroom Makeover
  • Review of the Month - Bathroom Wall Cabinet Review
  • Home Improvement Show Calender for July 2005...
  • In Next Months Issue...
  • Welcome New Subscribers
  • Copyright, Subscription info

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Our Tip Top Tip

At the start of the home improvement season it's good for moral to have at least one small project under your belt to help give you extra confidence for your big summer project.

One of the easiest rooms to change is the bathroom - as long as the essentials are in place! it can be transformed in next to no time simply by whitening the grouting between your bathroom tiles...

And there is a product available which you apply straight on and see immediate lasting results. Grout Whitener comes in an easy to apply tube. It will just take you a few minutes.

To make it as easy as possible for your here is a quick link to a great Grout Whitenerwhich will help you lighten and brighten your bathroom.

You can get our tips and updates throughout the week by visiting our BLOG, link into our RSS feed and be informed of new articles at our Web site here at Home Improve Blog

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Your Home Improvement Calender
(For clarity we are working on June = Summer and December = winter )

June - July 2005

By this time of year, you may well have all your plans and permits in and are finalizing plans with your contractor to help fulfill your home improvement project dreams.

This is the time to make sure that you are going to get the best materials possible for your project and for your budget.

If you are doing a bathroom makeover you may be ordering tiles from Italy... You may be ordering a bespoke kitchen or conservatory to fully take advantage of awkward spaces, you may be waiting for favourite fixture and fittings to come back into stock.

It's an exciting time pulling all the different threads of a home improvement project together to make sure that you are ready to - as they say in the industry - "break ground" in other words get started. Its also a time to be patient, don't worry the sawdust will be flying soon enough...

Lets check our June list for progress

Plans - I always like to keep a copy handy even if I am not managing the build, I think that's it's important to help you plan for and adapt to any changes throughout the build.

Home Improvement Financing Tips:

I have just spent the last week or so knocked out with a heavy summer cold, thank goodness it's overwith and even though I wasn't in the middle of my own big summer project - it reminded me of the last time when I wasn't quite so lucky and I can tell you that...

  • it felt a relief to have a "Home Equity Line of Credit" as my home improvement financing. There was very little fluctuation on the rates side of things and while I was ill I wasn't paying for funds that I had organised but not yet used.

  • and the other important thing was of course having insurance cover, cover for me, for my project and cover for the loan I had to cover my home improvement plan.

  • what it meant was that I could relax and enjoy my cold until it's painful end without undue anxiety or worry. I have written an article for you called The Advantages of a Home Equity Line of Credit

Contractors

Possibly not everyone working at your home will have the right color of hard hat on as they work around your home - I suppose it's more important that everyone actually wears one.

Anyway I have written a new article you might find useful on the "Residential Building Contractor" with all the hard hat colors and basic uses listed as per international code to help give you a better idea of what everyone is doing. Its available for you here at Residential Building Contractor

Share Your Home Improvement Experiences here:
E-zine Contribution

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Building a Deck Design Part 2

(If you missed part 1 you can catch up with our links to "past issues" at the end of this newsletter)

Part Two
Footing and Post Holes

Now, one thing that I forgot to mention last month was the options of where you could build your ground level deck. You don't have to build against your home - you could build a free standing ground level deck anywhere in your garden - permits permiting.

A free standing deck in the bottom corner of your garden might be the perfect position to enjoy the late afternoon summer sun.

Decking Timber Options

Fortunately for me, I live in a climate with very little rain, using pine is an economical and plausible option for me for most constructions.

However if I lived anywhere else in the world with wetter conditions I would definitely - without a doubt use Redwood for my deck design, pergola or even for my gazebo constructions.

If I lived in an area with more extreme weather conditions with hot summers and cold frosty winters with lots of snow - the natural qualities of cedar would be a better option.

If in doubt - to make a quality deck design that will enhance and add value to your home - you can't really go wrong with a good redwood. Now there are over 30 different grades of redwood timber which qualify for different uses by their appearance and tone and of course durability.

Since we are building our ground level deck actually slightly raised a little above the ground the wood will not be sitting on soil or grass but resting on concrete footings so there should be less problems with damp, insects and decay - but it's up to you really which grade of redwood you choose.

Redwood Grades

  • Heartwood

    Heartwood is the darker wood from the center of the redwood tree which comes with great strength, insect repellent and decay resistant qualities.

    Heartwood's are just great and build a quality deck of value - but not all grades are the same.

    Heart B is a high quality redwood with excellent strength and is nicely insect repellant, this grade will provide you with really quality decking.

    Deck Heart or Construction Heart has more knots than the more expensive Heart B, it is graded depending on durability, an advantage is that this rougher stronger grade doesn't have such a problems being near to soil and can provide a smooth attractive deck.

  • Sapwood

    This is the outer lighter colored wood of the tree and while still good, doesn't have the same resistant qualities as the heartwood, however, for building a ground level deck OFF the ground the Clear Sapwood, B Grade and the Deck Common will work very well.

Cedar

Cedar has unique qualities that make it resistant to decay and insects and also has great natural water repellent qualities. There is very little movement of the actual wood as the seasons change so this wood can cope better with extreme conditions with minimal deforming when compared to other woods.

A final point is that you can use different grades of wood for the posts and frame which should be the strong resistant type, you can get away with a different quality for the deck boards if pre-treated and continually treated.

Post Hole Preparation

If you are building your deck against your home the height of the back door or patio doors and distance above the outside ground level will give you the possible height of your deck.

Check building code regulations for your area to get the required drop from the door level to the suraface of the decking boards - usually about 1" to stop rain water seeping into your home off your deck - then you can install the all important ledger.

All your other measurements will be taken from the height of the ledger so it's important to get this right.

Cut out and apply a strip of flashing to the top of the ledger (slide it under any siding) this is important to help keep the wall damp free.

I like to use off cuts of wood or stakes to help me find the placement and height of post holes, by measuring the distance out from the ledger and using masonry string and a small line level, or even a long pole and a spirit level to attain a level height with the ledger.

The size of your deck will determine how many post holes you will need to prepare to support the load your deck will carry - and the actual spacing between posts. Now I know you have all this worked out over the last month for your own specific deck so lets dig some holes.

Also I'm sure you have decided if you want your deck boards to overhang, this, depending on the depth your deck will have, will determine if you move the pacement of your footings in a little or not.

Digging the Holes

Tools:

A Power Auger or a Clamshell Digger
8" Concrete Tube
Gravel
J-Bolts
Spirit level

Now there are a couple of gadgets that can help you dig homes for post footings, the quickest and meanest is the "Power Auger" which is like a big elecrical cork screw, you may be able to hire one locally for the day. You can get the same thing without the power - again like a cork screw with a T-bar at the end that you turn to screw it down into the ground.

If you can't get you hands on either of these you might have to use a clamshell digger, these actually are great for removing soil from one area while leaving the surrounding ground firm.

A tip is that if the ground is really hard - use a metal pole knocked into the ground and then do small circular movements to loosen up the soil, remove it and then start with your clamshall digger.

You will already have the depth requirements for your area, (i.e. below frost level) so keep on going until you get there with all the holes - measure to make sure.

We are now going place some gravel in the bottom of the holes for drainage. Using cement tubes is so that your footing can extend up from the tube out of the ground by 2" - 3" nice and neat and so that your posts will be dry and off the ground (you can cut away the excess tube when the cement is dry).

You can use quick drying cement if you want to but since we won't finish the rest until next month - why not mix your own, it's cheaper - fill up the tubes to the top and level off the cement.

Before the cements sets - insert your J-bolt carefully into the very center of the concrete LEAVING a good 1" of the bolt thread exposed - please use your spirit level to make sure that all the bolts are pointing straight up and true.

If you are making your deck with me the slow and easy way - then put old upturned buckets over these concrete footings with a bolt sticking out - so not one gets hurt till we get on with the next step.

P.S. If you are building a free standing deck away from the home - the ground may not be level, don't worry this isn't going to be a problem as long as you have your spirit level with you. All measurements will be taken from the highest point in the ground, measure up from there and level every other post to it.

Next week in Part 3 it's all about metal post anchors posts, beams and hanging joists.

Related Information
Deck Design Idea
Deck Design Software

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Our Small Project for June

It's an easy one this month as the weather is heating up, we are preparing the quickest and easiest bathroom makeover possible, you can do any one or all of the following steps.

Step 1.

Read our tip top tip for this month and if your bathroom needs it - use a grout whitener to refreshen your bathroom tiles to give your walls sparkle.

Step 2.

Buy a bacteria resistant shower curtain, even if you just use it as an inner curtain. These Bathroom Shower Curtains are permanently treated with an antimicrobial agent to resist mildew, mold and germs, once installed they will keep you safe and save you on cleaning time.

Step 3.

Need towel storage and warmth, how about installing a sleek wall mounted chrome heated multi towel rack.

Step 4.

Store all your things away to leave your bathroom less cluttered, a trendy - back in mode - "Medicine Cabinet" is great for smaller and personal items, while a bathroom vanity will give you a cupboard, drawer and a useful surface to meet all your bathroom needs.

Check out our reviews in the next section to help you decide what would best suit your bathroom makeover...

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Bathroom Vanity and Cabinet Reviews

Your Bathroom Wall Cabinet is the piece of bathroom furniture where you will see yourself for the first time every day and last thing at night, let us show you some good looking pieces at Bathroom Wall Cabinet Review

The style of your Bathroom Vanity will help dictate the style of the room, there are lots of choices with different sizes, materials and colors to choose from, there's lots of information at Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

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Home Improvement Events Calender for June - JULY 2005

If you are looking for 1,000's of the best and latest home improvement products AND Home Remodeling Experts all under the same roof, then will enjoy July's listings.

p.s. it's interesting to note that many shows now do online ticket purchases costing considerably less than the "at the door" prices...

***Please always use the contact internet links or the telephone numbers where available to confirm date and venue before attending any home improvement show.***

Still time to check up on events during the second half of June 2005
Home Shows in JUNE

Here is the list for July 2005
Home Shows in JULY

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  • In Next Months Issue 005

    Throughout the year we are going to put different projects under the microscope.

    If you are ready to get down to the nitty gritty and begin exploring the potential TOP and BOTTOM of your home - then look out for the June Issue 005 of Home Improve E-zine

    - with Deck Design Part 3 -

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    Welcome New Subscribers

    We would like to extend a very warm welcome to you as a new subscriber to our internet magazine: "Home Improve E-zine".

    I hope you will continue to enjoy our ideas, tips and articles throughout the year. If you have any home improvement news, tips or ideas you would like to pass on to our readers we would love to hear from you...

    Please pass the information about our e-zine onto any of your family or friends who are especially interested in home improvement to improve the quality of their home life and/or to improve the value of their home.

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    Copyright and Subscription and Back Issue information

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