Keeping Up With the Jones Family

Wood Finishes | 3 Considerations For Choosing Between Oiling And Staining Your Timber Deck

Posted by on 7:05 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Wood Finishes | 3 Considerations For Choosing Between Oiling And Staining Your Timber Deck

Once you finish constructing your timber decking surface, the only thing you need to do is to finish it with oil or stain. If you leave it untreated, you should know that the surface could be prone to fading, cracking and weathering over time. Stains and oils have their own benefits, so follow these considerations when it comes to choosing between them for your timber decking. Establishing Your Desired Colour Tone Some homeowners like the idea of lighter colour tones, while others prefer darker ones. Tinted finishes are available for a darker and richer wood finish, while untinted stains are ideal when homeowners want to retain the original wood colour of their timber decking surfaces. Both stains and oils offer you dark and light choices when it comes to colour tones, but you have a greater variety of shades when you choose stain finishes. This makes it easier for you to choose a shade that perfectly resonates with the colour scheme of your outdoor space. Of course, if you had an oil finish in the past and you like the colour tone, then this is an excellent choice for you. Determining Ease Of Application Traditionally, oil finishes are thicker than stain finishes, so novice homeowners that undertake this application task for the first time may find oil tougher to manage. Applying thick oil coats can attract dirt, dust and other pollutants, which will make your timber deck look unsightly. Oil finishes typically also take longer because you need the first coat to soak into the wood completely before the application of any additional coats. This entire application process may take you a few days to complete. In comparison, timber stains are relatively easier to apply and offer quick drying finishes, so you can finish your timber decking coating within a day.   Consider Frequency Of Maintenance   Some homeowners don’t mind added chores, while others are looking for minimal maintenance solutions. If you fall into the latter category, then you’ll obviously want something with as little maintenance as possible. Stain finishes are your best option because they don’t require re-coats very often. If you fall into the former category, you can choose between oil and stain finishes. Oil typically requires more frequent re-coats than stain finishes, but they are well suited to homeowners who can handle the additional workload. If you’re looking to choose between oil and stain finishes for your timber decking, consider these factors to make an informed decision for your...

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When “Early to Bed and Early to Rise” Becomes a Problem

Posted by on 10:30 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When “Early to Bed and Early to Rise” Becomes a Problem

Do you wake up very early in the morning, long before your alarm sounds? Do you struggle to stay awake in the evening? If you’re stuck on an excessively early sleep pattern and you can’t seem to fix it, you could have Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD). What is Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder? ASPD is a condition that makes you wake up excessively early in the morning and fall asleep long before your desired bedtime. Although less well-known than the opposite condition, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, ASPD can have a devastating impact on sufferers’ social and family lives. Some people with this disorder wake up as early as 3am, even if they went to bed late the night before and intended to sleep in. As a result of their excessively early waking times, people with APSD often fall asleep in the early evening, which can mean missing out on social events or family time. How to Cope With ASPD If you’re struggling to break free from an excessively early sleep schedule, try these tips to reset your body clock. Keep your bedroom dark in the mornings. Prevent the first rays of dawn from waking you by blacking out your windows. Some people tape blankets, cardboard or aluminium foil over their windows to block out the light, but ready made curtains made from light-blocking materials are a more elegant long-term solution.  Expose yourself to bright lights in the evening. Ordinary household lighting may not be enough to make you feel awake and alert. Try using a light box to increase your wakefulness in the early evening when you would usually begin to feel sleepy. If you go outside in the early morning, wear sunglasses to reduce your light exposure. Make gradual changes. Forcing yourself to stay up much later than usual is likely to result in exhaustion if you wake up at your usual early time, which could mean falling asleep even earlier the next day. Gradually shift your bedtime a little later each day. Some people with ASPD use slow-release melatonin to help them sleep through the night. Melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Pills that gradually release melatonin into your body during the night can help you stay asleep until the time you want to wake up. Consult your doctor. Your doctor can give you advice about safely using melatonin, lifestyle changes or light therapy to shift your sleep...

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How To Make Gorgeous Glow In The Dark Planters To Light-Up Your Deck After Dark

Posted by on 8:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Make Gorgeous Glow In The Dark Planters To Light-Up Your Deck After Dark

Decking can make a great extension to your living space for socialising and dining.  You can add atmosphere and ambiance to your deck in the evenings by adding interesting lighting features.  A really effective and simple project that you can do yourself is making ‘glow in the dark’ planters.  By day the planters can provide a beautiful display of colourful plants, and by night they give your decking a soft, luminous light.  Because no expensive batteries or awkward trailing wires are needed, the planters provide a cheap and fully portable lighting source.  Read on for instructions on how to make your own glow in the dark planters. What you’ll need glow in the dark spray paint (available from good DIY centres) plain, unpainted terracotta planters or pots washing-up liquid warm water scrubbing brush old newspaper or a drop cloth disposable face mask To make this project even cheaper, you could use old pots that you already have.  Plain terracotta pots are perfect as the spray paint won’t adhere as easily to painted or varnished surfaces.  The glow in the dark paint works by soaking up the sun’s rays during the day, and then glowing brightly at night, just like solar lighting. How to do it Begin by washing the pots to get rid of any clinging soil and dust so that the surface is clean and free from debris that would prevent the paint from adhering.  To do this, make up a mild solution of washing-up liquid and warm water in a bucket, dip the pots into the solution, and give them a good scrub.  Rinse the pots thoroughly in clean water and allow them to air-dry.   When the pots are completely dry, place them upside down on sheets of old newspaper or a drop sheet to protect the ground beneath from stray splats of paint.   Put on your face mask so that you don’t inadvertently inhale any paint particles, and make sure that the area you’re working in is well-ventilated.   Give the spray can a vigorous shake to ensure that the paint inside is well-mixed, remove the cap, and then spray the outside of the pots.  Begin at the top and work your way down to avoid any drips.  Allow the paint to dry completely.   When the paint is dry, apply a second coat and allow it to dry.   Plant up the pots as desired, and then place them in bright, direct sunlight for the day.  When the sun goes down, place the pots around your decking and enjoy the ethereal glow they produce.   Although the paint is waterproof, you might need to reapply the treatment every season to maintain the glow in the dark effect. For more ideas to build and improve your deck, visit websites...

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Features to Discuss With Your New Home Builder

Posted by on 6:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Features to Discuss With Your New Home Builder

When having a new home built, you want to take the time to discuss with your home builder all the features that will be included, from those that will make you more secure to those that will make your life easier and more enjoyable overall. Unless your builder only offers some cookie-cutter designs, consider asking him or her to include all of these features in your plans. 1. Hidden storage If a home’s cabinets and cupboards just don’t provide enough storage for your family, you don’t need to keep everything out in the open. Hidden storage can mean spaces under the floorboards, under an exposed staircase, or even behind bookcases. Work these into your design plans so you can find creative ways of storing that are also private and secure. 2. Automation There is virtually nothing in a home that cannot be powered and automated and even controlled from a remote keypad or your smartphone. Choose the automation that works for you rather than overspending on features that are “cool” but pointless for your needs. For example, you might not have a problem with remembering to turn off the water faucet, so you don’t need automation for your home’s plumbing, but if the home will be in a very sunny area, you might want automatic blinds that you can raise and lower with a remote control rather than constantly getting up.  3. Photovoltaic products Photovoltaic products are those that convert solar power to electricity. Solar panels are the most obvious products, but you can have photovoltaic power in windows, roof tiles, and other such materials. This makes maximum use of solar power. Ask your builder about these products and if they can be used in your home’s construction. 4. Recycled water Another way to “go green” with your new home is to use recycled water. When you run water down the kitchen or bathroom sink, this can be redirected to the toilet tanks in the home. This water is then used for flushing the toilet. You can then use less fresh water for toilets and waste less of this resource and also reduce your water bill. 5. Scaling down appliances Many homeowners want a large kitchen with oversized appliances. However, if it’s just you or you and your spouse and you don’t need larger appliances or a big kitchen, discuss have apartment-sized appliances instead. This can mean a three-burner stovetop rather than four, or a shorter and smaller refrigerator. Remember that your home works for you and your needs, so you might scale back the kitchen appliances and space in the kitchen in exchange for more living space elsewhere. For more information about having a home built, contact a company like Seapointe...

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What’s Your Noisy Old Air Conditioning System Saying To You?

Posted by on 10:54 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s Your Noisy Old Air Conditioning System Saying To You?

If you have an old air conditioning unit, it probably makes a comforting, familiar noise during operation that you’ve become accustomed to hearing over the years.  However, if your aging unit changes its tune, you may have cause for concern.  Read on to find out what those odd noises could mean and what you should do if you hear them. A high-pitched squealing sound The usual cause of a high-pitched squealing sound is a problem with the air conditioning unit’s fan belt.  The ear-splitting squealing is caused by the fan belt slipping as the unit operates.  Fortunately, this is generally an easy, inexpensive fix that can be quickly sorted out by an experienced appliance repair technician. A gentle hissing noise If you hear a low hissing sound emanating from your air conditioning unit’s vents, it could be caused by an air leak.  Leaky ducts can be repaired but shouldn’t be neglected, as they can cause the unit to work harder and consequently use more power, which could lead to higher energy bills. However, if the sound is coming from elsewhere in the air conditioning unit, a refrigerant leak could be to blame.  This is potentially a serious fault as it could interfere with, and impact on, the compressor or other important components inside the unit.   Repairs could be very expensive, and you might be best advised to replace the unit with a more modern one A clattering or rattling noise Clattering or rattling sounds are usually caused by loose connectivity inside the air conditioning unit’s ducts.  However, the blower’s motor or fan could also be responsible.  Loose connections are fixable, but a duff blower component could require replacement. Loud banging sounds If your air conditioning unit begins making loud banging noises, you could be in for trouble.  Although such sounds could be made by a minor fault such as a bent fan blade, the most likely cause is an issue with the compressor, which could mean replacing the whole air conditioning system. Constant buzzing noises If your air conditioning unit starts buzzing constantly, the most likely culprit would be an electrical fault.  A simple replacement of a minor component may solve the problem, but buzzing sounds can also be indicative of more serious issues with the unit’s motor. In conclusion If you live in an area of Australia with a very hot summer climate, such as Perth, it’s vital for your comfort that your air condition system is reliable, and a change of soundtrack could mean that it’s time to say goodbye to your old unit.  Have a chat with a reliable local supplier to see what alternatives are...

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Two Major Features You Should Look For When Buying Roller Blind Materials

Posted by on 4:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two Major Features You Should Look For When Buying Roller Blind Materials

If roller blinds are your choice of covering for your windows, you need to decide on what fabric to choose depending on what your exact needs are for the coverings. This is because blinds have various functions, and so knowing your needs can help you pick the most suitable curtains and blinds. Therefore, to help you find out the best performance requirements you want for your roller blind material or fabric, here are useful considerations you may want to look at. Solar Protection Ability If you are concerned about the effects of direct sunlight through your window, you should keep that in mind when shopping for roller blinds. Is the sunlight causing your room to heat up faster, causing your A/C to work harder and thereby increasing your energy bills in summer? Perhaps you want to protect your flooring, carpet, or furniture from the effects of direct sunlight. For this reason, consider blackout roller blinds. While all roller blinds reflect some amount of solar radiation, blackout roller blinds will give you the maximum solar protection. Most of the blackout roller blinds will be marked or marketed as ‘solar reflective’ or ‘solar protective’. They absorb or reflect a higher percentage of the radiation than other blind fabrics, which reduces the amount of thermal radiation and visible light entering your room. However, keep in mind that the colour of the blind will also affect the amount of radiation reflected or absorbed. Lighter colours will reflect more radiation while darker ones will absorb more of it. Therefore, for effective results, which is to minimise the amount of radiation absorbed and maximise the amount reflected, choose blackout roller blinds that are laminated with light coloured backing or silver foil. Privacy and Light Control For privacy and light control, consider light filtering and dim out or antiglare fabrics. All roller blinds or any type of fabric will restrict penetration of visible solar light to some extent. However, there are those that won’t allow light penetration completely. These are those with dim out or antiglare fabrics. These fabrics will let in light into your room, but the visibility of the room from outside will be different. For some of the antiglare fabrics, the view of your room from outside through the roller blind can be slightly transparent. However, for others, such as sunscreens, one might see silhouettes and barely shadowy images from outside. These are ideal if you are concerned about...

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How to Choose the Right Mower for Your Small Yard

Posted by on 3:52 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Choose the Right Mower for Your Small Yard

Even if you have a “postage stamp” size yard, this doesn’t mean you necessarily want an old-fashioned mower that you need to manually push to get the blades to spin. A power mower can be lightweight and easy to maneuver around your landscaping and outbuildings, and a smaller model can mean not overspending on a mower that is much more powerful than you need for your small space. When you’re ready to choose a good power mower for your small yard, note a few features to consider so you know you aren’t getting anything too lightweight or too big and cumbersome for what you need. 1. Electric versus gas powered A gas powered mower will be stronger and more durable than one that runs on a battery or power cord. However, even for a smaller lawn, this doesn’t mean that a gas powered engine is going to be beyond what you need. Rather than considering the size of your lawn, consider what you’re cutting. If it’s standard, soft grass, then a lightweight electrical mower will be good. If your lawn tends to grow thick weeds and brush along with the grass, you may need to upgrade to a gas powered mower no matter the size of your lawn. This will ensure it offers the power needed to cut through thick brush and heavy weeds. If you do choose an electric mower, you can opt for one with a cord or a battery. Note the battery life if you prefer to work without cords; for a very lightweight model, the battery may run out even before you finish your small lawn. It can be bothersome to need to plug it in and wait for it to recharge, so either opt for a larger battery or ensure you get a backup battery you can use when the first runs out. 2. Wheels and propulsion Consider how the wheels turn when getting a lawnmower, as this can help or hinder you when cutting your grass. Wheels that rotate on ball bearings will be easier to push around curved landscaping features and the corners of a garage and your house versus wheels that don’t pivot. Even for a small yard, having to push and force a lawnmower around corners and curves can make the job much harder. Self-propelled lawnmowers are also easier to use even on small lawns versus push mowers you need to propel yourself, but note that this extra power will drain a battery quicker, should you choose a battery-powered model. For more information about your options, you can contact a local supplier of Australian...

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Never Lose Your Car Keys Again With These Three Tips

Posted by on 10:13 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Never Lose Your Car Keys Again With These Three Tips

Losing the keys to your car can be expensive, frustrating and annoying. Luckily, there are strategies that can help you avoid losing your keys, and they take a range of forms from mental exercises to tracking tools to extra keys. Here are the three most important things you can do if you never want to lose your keys again. 1. Practise mindfulness Mindfulness is the art of noticing what’s happening around you. If you lose your car keys, you can use mindfulness to find them. To do that, you simply sit down and imagine yourself when the loss was likely to have occurred. You think about the physical sensations of those moments as well as the smells and the sounds you heard. As you recreate the memory, you “see” with your mind’s eyes where your keys are. However, mindfulness doesn’t need to be a response to lost keys. It can also be a tool to help you avoid lost keys. As you practise mindfulness, you start to become more aware of daily tasks. Instead of walking in your home, dropping your bag and keys anywhere, you develop a routine, and you innately pay attention to where you place every item including your car keys. 2. Invest in a tracking tool. Even with practise, it’s hard to be perfect at mindfulness because there will be times when you are distracted. As a result, you should back up your efforts with technology. There are now a range of products on the market that can help you avoid losing your keys. These products are typically little stickers or tags with bluetooth technology embedded into them. If you lose your keys, you activate an app on your smartphone or computer, and the app guides you to your keys. 3. Always have a spare. For those painful moments when both your mind and technology fail you, you need to have a backup plan. Contact a locksmith and have them make an extra set of keys for your car. Ideally, you should reserve this set for emergencies, and you should only use it if you have completely lost your regular set of keys. Once you use the spare set, contact a locksmith and have them make you another spare set. That way, you always have an extra set of keys in the wings waiting for you. Keep in mind if you don’t have a spare set, it can cost you more to replace your keys in the long run. In the absence of a spare set, a locksmith will have to rekey your vehicle to make a new set of keys. For more tips on never losing your keys again, contact an auto...

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Create Your Dream Bathroom With These Tips

Posted by on 2:04 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Create Your Dream Bathroom With These Tips

If you are upgrading your home, you might want to start by giving yourself a dream bathroom. This involves more than just changing a single plumbing fixture or painting the cabinets. Here are some tips for your dream bathroom renovation. Start With a Layout of Your Bathroom For a dream bathroom, you are likely starting with the bathroom you currently have, instead of starting from scratch. Even if you plan to tear down walls and make the bathroom bigger, you should start by creating a layout of your current bathroom. Make sure you get accurate measurements of the bathroom so you can figure out what fits now, or what needs to be remodeled. If you find that your current bathroom doesn’t offer the space needed for your dream bathroom, consider tearing down walls in your bedroom to make the bedroom smaller and the bathroom bigger. You can also work with your contractor in the beginning stages to let them know what you want, so they can figure out your best option. Choose Your Bathtub and Shower Dream bathrooms often begin with choosing the bathtub and shower arrangement. Many people want a spa-like bathtub, but there are many sizes and styles to choose from. If you have an open layout for your bathroom, you might have room for a freestanding bathtub, while other bathrooms call for having a deep soaking tub against a far wall of the bathroom. Others might be better off with a large, corner bathtub with plenty of space for jets. Some bathtubs have a thin rim, while others have extra space around them for sitting on the edge and placing your bath items. Also choose the type and size of shower you want. You might go with a walk-in shower or choose one surrounded by glass shower doors. Upgrade Your Vanity and Sink Another great way to get the bathroom you always dreamed of is to get a brand-new sink and vanity. You might have a standard vanity that looks nice but doesn’t really impress you. If you have the budget for it, consider a sleek marble or granite vanity with a porcelain sink. You can even give the bathroom a fresh look by choosing a more high-end faucet. While you are improving the appearance of your vanity and sink, this also gives you the opportunity to choose one that is larger and offers you more storage on top of the counter and with more drawer...

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Break The Mould: Tackling Mould Growth On Synthetic Grass

Posted by on 3:42 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Break The Mould: Tackling Mould Growth On Synthetic Grass

Many people choose synthetic grass for their grounds because it requires so much less effort to maintain than natural grass, but while modern synthetic grass is immensely durable and resistant to just about everything nature can throw at it, it still requires a small amount of care and attention. This is particularly true when it comes to mould — while the artificial grass itself is immune to mould and mildew, fungal pathogens can still feed and grow on organic material that collects on the surface of the grass. These mould deposits can, in turn, cause discolouration and structural weakening of your artificial grass with the corrosive by-products they create. Fortunately, removing these unsightly mould deposits need not be a difficult endeavour, and there are a number of easy and effective ways you can keep your grass mould-free for years to come. Location is everything Modern artificial grass lawns are carefully designed to provide maximum water drainage after rains and floods, and mould and mildew caused by standing water should not be a problem for an artificial lawn in decent condition. However, if you have chosen artificial grass to cover solid concrete, water drainage is much slower, and pools of standing water may collect between the underlay and the concrete, promoting water-borne mould. If you intend to lay artificial grass on concrete, installing small gutters and drains before laying the grass can help to speed water drainage. If this is not possible, make sure to inspect the infill (the sand or other fine particulate matter that keeps the grass erect) frequently, as mould will be visible here before it starts to affect visible portions of the grass. Killing and cleaning up mould deposits If you find mould in your artificial grass, destroying it sooner rather than later will minimise long-term damage and discolouration. Various specialised cleaning solutions are available from artificial grass suppliers, and choosing a cleaning fluid from the same manufacturer that made your grass is always a great way to ensure effectiveness. Always make sure to use these formulations as directed. However, if you want a cheaper and easier option, an effective mould cleaning solution can be mixed at home with nothing more exotic than ordinary household bleach and water. A 1 in 20 solution of bleach and water will effectively destroy mould deposits and kill spores, without damaging the grass itself. Make sure to remove surface dirt and detritus from the grass before cleaning using a brush or leaf blower, and apply the cleaning solution evenly, rinsing it away with plain water after letting the bleach work for a few minutes. If mould deposits have caused visible stains that remain even after cleaning, pouring pure white vinegar on the stain and rinsing it off after several minutes can help to minimise...

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