Outdoor Living Ideas – Planning Your Outdoor Living Space in 3 Steps

Outdoor living spaces are a great way to add value to your home and create an inviting space for family and friends to come together. By creating an outdoor living space, many homeowners are able to create a space that would otherwise get used infrequently, or not at all. Some of our outdoor living ideas include:

Outdoor Living Ideas – #1 – Define Separate Outdoor Living Areas

One of the best ways to create an outdoor living space is to define it through a structural element. This can include anything from a pergola, trellis, or fence. By including a structural element, it will inform guests that they are entering a new space that is separate from the rest of the home. While you want your outdoor space to be separated from the rest of your home, you do want your outdoor space to flow from the rest of your house. The best way to create a harmonious flow from the indoor and outdoor living spaces is to continue the same style of your indoor decor with the outdoor spaces.

Outdoor Living Ideas – #2 Create an Easy Entry Point to the Outdoor Living Space

A great way to mingle the indoor with the outdoor space is by including a way to easily access the two spaces. A simple doorway may do the trick; however, we believe that the larger the entryway, the better. The easier it is to access the two two spaces, the more seamless the transition. We recommend installing large French doors or ultra-wide sliding doors. If this is not feasible, it might be a good idea to include a couple of windows around the doorway to let in extra light and a clearer view to the outdoor living space. As a bonus of having a clearer view to the outside, you’ll want to spend more time in your outdoor space.

Outdoor Living Ideas – #3 Define the Purpose of Each Area in the Outdoor Living Space

Once your outdoor living space is clear and defined, it is time to decide what areas will serve what purpose. Some of the most popular outdoor living ideas include outdoor kitchens, dining rooms, and living areas. You may choose to include all of these options, or any combination of the three (depending on the size of your outdoor living space and your personal preferences). Some other ideas include zen gardens, basketball courts, and bocce ball. The possibilities are endless!

Outdoor living spaces can be the perfect entertainment area for family and friends; however, planning an outdoor living space can be overwhelming. We hope that these outdoor living ideas will help you plan your home’s outdoor space. Of course, after your outdoor living space has been planned out, it is time to choose the finishing touches of the space. This includes items such as lighting, seating, appliances, and materials. If you have any further questions regarding outdoor living spaces, don’t hesitate to contact Balducci Exteriors.

Great Guide When It Comes To Home Improvement

When you want to personalize your home, do it yourself home improvement can become very important to you. Money can be lost in home improvement, so plan and do your research! The following advice will help you get started.

If you have high electric bills each month, consider installing solar panels on your roof. While they may be expensive and labor intensive in the short run, in the long term you’ll cut down on your electric bill and contribute to helping the Earth through utilizing greener energy sources. There are also tax credits for those who install solar panels.

Think about your surroundings and perform improvements that are sensible. Improvements that don’t make sense include anything that isn’t conducive to the climate in which you live. Do what is desired, but don’t go beyond your immediate climate needs.

When improving your house, there are some projects that you can do yourself and others that you cannot. If you feel like you can complete a simple task like repainting the kitchen, then by all means do it, in order to save yourself some extra money. Just be sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into before you start a project. You don’t want to try and remodel your bathroom and find out half way through that you’re not sure if you can complete the task without hitting a pipeline.

Before starting any project, you must have a good idea of the changes you will be making. A plan is essential for a successful project. Changing your plans or adding tasks in the middle of a project can easily increase your costs and time to completion. You will also find much happier contractors if you already know exactly what you want prior to construction starting.

If you have a cabinet door that just won’t stay closed, try replacing the cabinet lock. You might want to try using a magnetic cabinet lock, as they generally last longer than wheel based cabinet lock systems. Simply remove the old lock and attach the new lock in the same location. Use wood screws if needed to create new holes.

Clean up the outside of your home. Sometimes all it takes to make your home look and feel better is a little TLC on the outside. Trim the shrubs and pull the weeds out of the flower bed. Add some decorative landscape lighting and make sure that all of the outside light fixtures are in proper working order.

Before you begin your next home improvement project, think about how long you would like to stay in your home. If you are planning to move this year, you may have a different budget for improvements than if you were staying for awhile. You would also want to focus on areas in the home, like the kitchen and bathrooms, that buyers think are most important.

Home improvement is very rewarding, but also requires quite a bit of work. Either way, knowing what you need to accomplish and how to accomplish it safely will help you create your dream home. Take full advantage and apply the tips above whenever you require basement waterproofing.

Best Tips to Make Your Flooring Installation Smooth and Swift

When you are thinking about installing a new type of flooring in your house, it takes a lot of efforts, careful thinking, intelligent decision and of course a great plan. Otherwise, a lot of things might take a wrong turn. Things become particularly problematic if the area is a bit small and does not have much space to experiment and so on. In the case of a smaller place, like Newcastle, flooring is always an important concern. There are many materials, many tricks, and strategies available regarding this. There are online websites and tutorials available to help you, and so are the offline ones. People are bound to get confused this way. This is why, while considering the installation process, one should always seek help from the experts to avoid problems. Here are some basic tips on how one can install flooring smoothly in place, like Newcastle.

• Plan Well

If you think of Flooring Newcastle, proper planning can help you in many ways, especially if you do not have much place to experiment with. Think carefully whether you want to redo the old style or want a complete makeover or will it be a combination of some kind. What kind of effects are you considering for the flooring? Try to keep the choices to a minimum level. Otherwise, it might look like a weird combination. The layout of the flooring can also make a huge difference, especially in the case of small houses. A former plan will anyway shorten the time to spend and prevent your energy and money from getting waste.

• Things to do beforehand

Before you start installing flooring, you need to take care of a couple of other things, beforehand. Most of the times, people do not tend to take into consideration these important things and end up getting into unavoidable troubles. Following are some of the basic things –

• Before any construction job begins, you need to move as much furniture as you can. If you move the furniture along with the decorative objects beforehand, the contractors will not have to waste their time on that process, and the job can get started right away. In case you are not sure of something, just ask the expert.

• Once all the furniture have been moved to someplace else, be sure to carefully clean the entire area, where the construction job will take place. Most of the times, people think that the place is bound to get dirty anyway during the process. Thinking that they don’t clean the place. That creates enormous problems for the workers as there is the possibility of dust falling from the dirty place. This is why one should clean up the job.

• If you want to remodel some part of the household area, it has to be performed before the new flooring installation takes place. Most of the time, the remodeling project such as, a painting or knocking out one part of the wall, leave a huge mess and damages behind. Particularly, this is why you should do the remodeling part beforehand.

• Many people have pets and of course children. It is necessary to move them to a safe place or confine them before the construction job takes place. The noise, clattered positions of sharp objects, heavy machinery, might cause severe harm to your children or pets and hence the concern for safety.

• Selecting the design

To make a small place look neat and clean, hardwood flooring can be an excellent choice. Wood flooring is a significantly low maintenance thing as it’s very easy to clean. If you choose wider planks for some places, you might create some charming illusions. In places like Newcastle, hardwood flooring also will be able to help in maintaining the warmth of the house, during the cold wintry days. You can seek help from websites or design guides.

• Thinking about the layout

Using the hardwood or laminated boards can make the place aesthetically appealing instead of using tiles and so on. It also can create many kinds of visual illusions.

Best Solutions for Bump-Out Additions

Bump-out additions can provide your home with a little extra living space, without the hefty investment of a full addition. As opposed to full additions, bump-out additions can only extend up to 3 feet away from the home and add 10 to 12 feet in width. While these types of additions cannot add an entire extra room to your home, they may be the perfect solution to provide a little extra living space to a cramped room.

Extend the master suite

Your master suite should serve as your tranquil getaway in your home. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a first floor master, a bump-out addition could be the perfect solution in creating your dream master suite. One of the best ways to do this is to create your dream master bathroom. Adding a few feet onto the master bath can provide room to add in a separate soaking tub and shower, add in a walk-in shower, or even allow room for more storage or counter space. Either way, these projects are a sure way to create more efficient living space.

A less costly alternative would be to create your very own walk-in closet or dressing room. If your family is one of many to have cramped and overflowing closets, this might be a good solution for your bump-out addition.

Open up the kitchen

While it may be a bit pricier, re-configuring the kitchen layout could add more efficiency to your workspace. This is especially true if the working triangle is achieved. Not sure what the working triangle is? We touched on it in a previous post available here: Why You Need a Kitchen Island. A bump-out addition is a good way to ensure that your kitchen is efficient and add a little more room to cook.

Another option for a bump-out addition is to add a dining space or eating nook. While this is a cheaper option, that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily not as good as a full kitchen remodel. Adding on a dining area or breakfast nook in a bump-out addition will not only provide more square footage to your kitchen, but it will also provide another space for your family to get together and enjoy your home.

Waterproofing Membrane – A Concrete Waterproofing Solution

Waterproofing is essential to many concrete structures to prevent water penetration which not only causes problem of mold and damage inside the structure but may degrade the integrity of the structure. In other cases many structures such as pits and tanks may be designed to hold water and over time cracks and erosion may reduce the water holding integrity of the structure.

Naturally concrete is a porous material and may require special admixtures such as Xypex added to the wet cement mixture. Xypex forms a crystaline structure deep in the pores of concrete preventing water ingress into the concrete, this is a highly effective waterproofing solution.

For repair and remedial waterproofing of existing concrete structures or where a waterproofing additive has not been specified in the concrete formulation typically a waterproofing membrane is the most used waterproofing solution. A waterproofing membrane is a thin layer of material which forms a continuous layer over a structure and does not allow water to pass through. A typical example is a waterproofing membrane that laid above a structural slab and below the finish tiles in wet areas of a house.

A waterproofing membrane needs to be strong, flexible, tear-resistant and elastic enough it will stretch to cover cracks and the contours of the building. In case the membrane will be subjected to the sun, it needs to be UV stable. The membrane should be flexible enough to take any shape it’s laid over, and be capable of turning up and around other construction features and walls.

There are two types of membranes, sheet and liquid applied.

Sheet membranes are generally sold in large rolls and composed of plastic, polymer, rubber or bituminous synthetic backed material. In the case of PVC and rubber backed sheeting they are simply laid across the area to be waterproofed. PVC sheeting has the advantage that the seams can be welded to form a seal. Rubber-sheeting is used in higher traffic areas or areas subject to inundation.

Torch on membranes are often used in construction situations which involves melting and then fusing a rubber, bitumen, or elastomer layer onto the surface to be waterproofed. It is imperative that there is not large temperature fluctuations during the curing process as this may affect the seal with the surface. This type of waterproofing is permanent, durable and if laid correctly a very effective waterproofing solution for large areas.

Liquid or spray applied membranes are the other main type of waterproofing used. Liquid membranes such as polyurethane elastomers, bitumen and other epoxy-modified sprays are most common. They are popular for horizontal waterproofing application such as floors as they can be applied to large areas rapidly. Polyurea coatings are another type of waterproofing applied to floors and is more durable and flexible than epoxy. These types of coatings are often used as a protective surface coating and need to be reapplied periodically.

Another type of liquid applied membrane are cement-based waterproofing renders. These are a mixture of Portland cement and polymers which stops water penetrating the concrete. Typically used in remedial waterproofing applications and concrete patching. They provide an impermeable top coat and have the added advantage of filling cracks and resurfacing the concrete.

Some of the most common concrete waterproofing membranes are:

– Emer-clad a flexible UV stabilised acrylic membrane suitable for external applications such as facades and balconies.

– Hydron Elastoseal a synthetic rubber sheeting suitable for high traffic structural applications.

– Xypex waterproofing additives and chemical treatments which impart a crystaline structure to the concrete preventing water ingress.

– Parchem Vandex waterproofing render a cement-based barrier applied coating

– Torch On Membranes such as Fidia and Testudo synthetic polyester-based membranes

The Beauty of Concrete Stain

Concrete is a common building material for paths, retaining walls, floor slabs and precast concrete walls and beams used in commercial construction. One disadvantage of concrete is that it is highly porous this means it will discolour easily and will show water, dirt and other damage. A solution to enhance the appearance of both new and existing concrete is the application of a concrete stain.

Concrete stain is not a paint it is a chemical reaction with the cement materials penetrating the concrete and thus provides a long-lasting colouring solution that resists fading or scratching and won’t peel. Traditional concrete stains are created by acid etching of concrete. This involves a water-based solution of hydrochloric acid and inorganic salts which reacts with minerals and lime in the concrete aggregate, and as a result colouring occurs. The colour profile appears like marbling with brown and green tones with a natural variation caused by the combination reaction with the concrete.

It is quite difficult to achieve a professional result without the help of an experienced contractor but acid etching is long-lasting and can be applied to new or old concrete. Typically acid staining is used on concrete floors and then a sealer is applied to further protect the concrete.

Modern concrete colour staining offers a lot more versatility but effective applies a similar chemical reaction to allow the stain to penetrate unsealed concrete and react with the surface to form a deep and permanent colouring. The real beauty of modern stain is the vast array of colours and effects that can be achieved providing an almost unlimited colour palette plus precisely controlled colour variation to achieve a natural effect.

Newlook concrete Stain offers stains that can be combined with a two-part coating such as epoxy, polyurethanes or acrylic sealers or a solid colour stain that requires no sealer. The solid colour stain can be used on concrete slabs, vertical surfaces, concrete blocks, pavers, imprinted concrete, exposed aggregate, and most cementitious surfaces. It can be used with stencils or sand-blasted to achieve patterned effects on both interior and exterior concrete. A further translucent enhancer can be applied to achieve a natural tint or aged effect.

Nawkaw stain penetrates concrete, cladding and masonry walling surfaces to provide a long-lasting weather and UV resistant colouring solution. Nawkaw can be used to restore discoloured or faded concrete and masonry and can be colour matched to existing colour schemes. It penetrates the substrate bonding with the structure and thus will never crack or peel like paint.

Concrete stain is a superior colouring method for concrete and masonry resulting in a durable, weather resistant and attractive concrete finish. Unlike paint it will not crack or peel and provides a smooth, breathable permanent colour to both interior and exterior concrete or masonry walls, floors and precast structures.

Get More Bang for Your Buck with Clean Solar Energy Today

America today has strived to find innovative ways to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and seek out clean, go-green, alternative energy sources for a better tomorrow. One energy-saving method that has become a popular choice for residents and business owners is the use of solar panels. Solar panels are used to collect energy from the sun that eventually is used for electrical needs. This energy source isn’t only popular for its go-green mantra but is ideal for home and business owners looking to save money.

Tax Credit Incentives for Taxpayers

One of the great savings, business, and homeowners can look forward to during tax season is applying for the federal solar tax credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This credit makes “going solar” more affordable because it grants a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction equal to 30% of the total cost of a solar energy system. That means that 30% of the cost it took for an installation to take place will be reduced the overall federal tax burden. It is important for home and business owners to understand that they are only eligible for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) if he or she OWNS the solar system, rather than lease it. If a contract is signed, the third-party owner will receive the tax credit associated with the solar system.

Can solar panels save me or my business money?

This question is asked more often than not. Many individuals believe that the cost of installation and overall care will far outweigh the savings that may come from using solar power energy. But it has been found that going solar can eliminate an electric bill entirely or reduce it dramatically. Of course, these savings with solar depend on a few different factors, like how much energy the system produces and how much the home or business consumes, but the biggest factor is the rates that would otherwise be paid to public utility.

The savings for going solar are also not instant; they will slowly take time to see the results from the investment made. In Utah, the total savings in electricity was nearly $21,000 after 20 years. Going solar will affect finances but in a good way. A helpful consideration is to look at how much it can save a home or business owner and how soon he or she can start saving. Get started today and find out what it means to “Go Green.”

Kitchen Remodel Tips to Help You Achieve Your Dream Kitchen

When assessing their home for upgrades, many homeowners hope to remodel their kitchen to create an open and inviting space. As you may have noticed, kitchens are not only used for cooking; kitchens have evolved to be part of the main entertaining space in the home. When planning a kitchen remodel, it is always helpful to look at ideas to help you get an idea of what you want. Here are some kitchen remodel tips:

Planning the Kitchen Layout

Typically, one of the first steps when planning a kitchen remodel is deciding on the kitchen layout. It is important to create enough space between walkways and high-traffic areas. In cooking zones, there should be 42 inches of space for a one-cook configuration and 48 inches for a two-cook configuration. Another important tip when choosing your kitchen layout is to be mindful of the location of your cabinetry, appliances, and how the two interact. You don’t want to open a cabinet door to find out that it bangs into an appliance, or another cabinet, and ending up with damaged materials.

Choosing the Appliances

When planning the location of your appliances, try to avoid installing the cooktop in the island. It can be a hazard, especially for homeowners with kids. Additionally, it may be a good idea to have the refrigerator installed near the edge of the main cooking area (such as on the end of a row of cabinets). That way, the cook can easily access ingredients in the refrigerator, while a passer-by can also access the refrigerator for snacks or drinks without disrupting the cook.

Planning for Ample Countertop Space

Account for lots of countertop space. Countertop space is essential for prepping food, storing small appliances, and setting down miscellaneous items. One area of the kitchen that should have countertop space on either side is the cooktop. The landing space around this area is priceless while cooking. Another area that would benefit by having extra countertop space would be the microwave.

Deciding on Cabinetry

In a kitchen, there are many items that need to be stored away, which is why organization is a must-have. We recommend including some cabinet organization. Some good ideas for in-cabinet organization would be a knife drawer, a recycling bin, and racks for pots and pans.

In addition, avoid weighing down the room with an overabundance of cabinetry by mixing up cabinet details. For example, you can replace a regular wall cabinet with a couple of open shelves to show off your prettiest glassware. However, if you still need as much cabinet space as possible, try including some glass panels in your cabinets to make the room appear lighter.

Choosing the Finishing Touches

On a budget? Before you get too discouraged about not being able to include your dream materials or finishes, know that it is possible to include some high-end pieces while staying on a budget. We recommend choosing one or two high-end items, such as tiles for your backsplash or a range-hood that you love. Then, you can use these items as your focal points. Stick to the budget by saving money on your countertops, cabinetry, and other materials.

Kitchens are often considered the heart of the home, and the center for entertaining with family and friends. Before you invest in a complete kitchen remodel, it is important to research what you want beforehand. You don’t want to go through an entire remodel to find out that you do not absolutely love your new space. Some important elements to consider when compiling kitchen remodel tips include: layout, cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and finishing touches.

We hope that these kitchen remodel tips helped you in planning your dream kitchen. Feel free to contact Balducci Additions and Remodeling to schedule an appointment.

Pros and Cons of Replacing a Bathtub with a Shower

The idea of a calming bubble bath at the end of a stressful day might be appealing; however, how often are we able to indulge and take the time to enjoy our own spa-like bath? For most people, it happens very rarely or not often at all. Some homeowners may consider baths to be a waste since they are not used. Before converting your tub to a shower, consider the pros and cons of this option.

Pros:

Easier to access. In addition to extra elbow room, larger showers may be handicap accessible; which means that your home may be a place for you to age in place. A large shower, especially those without showers doors, are much easier to access than climbing over the tub.

Turning your bath into a shower can conserve water (depending on the amount of time) and save you money. According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency, “a full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.”

Can add extra square footage to your bathroom. Some showers take up less space than baths, which will free up some of the unused space from a tub.

Cons:

Converting from a tub to a shower can hinder your resale value. This is especially true if you are converting the only tub in your home. It is a major drawback to families with small children.

Showers have the potential to use more water than a bath depending on the amount of time you spend in the shower. Generally, if your shower lasts longer than 10 minutes it uses more water than a tub. Good news is that the average American takes about an 8 minute shower.

Improve the Look of your Kitchen by Using Splashbacks

If you are looking for some improvements in your kitchen or want your kitchen to look beautiful then you should think about splashbacks. Splashbacks are one of the several ways to improve the look and feel of your kitchen. It helps you in keeping your kitchen clean and organised. Splashbacks not only makes a kitchen look expensive but are also safe and hygienic. Depending on your choice and budget, Splashbacks can improve your kitchen’s overall design and make your kitchen look expensive. If you have good tradie skills you can also install splashbacks on your own. There is a variety of options available in the market where you can DIY the installation of splashbacks. DIY installation of splashbacks reduces cost but is advisable only if you are confident and have good amount of spare time.
If you are thinking of renovating your kitchen then think about the splashbacks. Splashbacks may change the looks of your kitchen completely without altering most of the things in the kitchen. Depending on your likes and budget, you can choose the type of Splashback to be installed. There are mainly 7 types of Splashbacks depending on the product used. They are:

Tiles

There was a time when Tiles were the most common product being used in Splashbacks but due to low options in color and material, they disappeared from the market. But thanks to range of colors, pattern and materials, Tiles are now seeing a big comeback. Another reason for their comeback may be their cost, as they are low priced and easy to install.

Toughened Glass

Toughened glass splashbacks are the most popular splashbacks at the moment. They are easy to clean and have unlimited color options. The glass used is toughened so the glass can withstand any shock and heat from the cooktops. Another reason to use toughened glass is safety; as if it gets broken it crumbles into small granular pieces instead of sharp objects. There are unlimited colors to choose from. You can choose coloured glass splashbacks depending on the color of wall and your likes. For kitchen glass splashbacks is the most popular type. Instead of glass you can also have your digitally printed image at the back of the glass.

Mirrored Glass

Mirror splashbacks are reflective glass splashback suitable for using in wet areas like kitchens and bathroom. They are gradually becoming very popular choice. A mirror splashback is a reflective glass splashback that is suitable for using in kitchens and other wet areas. They are made from toughened glass and are corrosion free. They are water and steam resistant and are available in different colours including silver, smoke, bronze and graphite.

Acrylic

Acrylic splashbacks are one of the most cost effective splashbacks which gives the illusion of glass and with installation you could go for a DIY option. One of the major problems with Acrylic splashbacks is they cannot be installed directly behind cooktops. You can use toughened glass or stainless steel plates as additional protection. Acrylic splashbacks are easy to install and no specialised tools are required.

Stone

Stone can also be used as splashback material. It’s uncommon in Australia but very popular in Europe and Asia. The stone comes in wide variety of colors and texture. Stone is shock and heat proof and gives elegant look in the kitchen. Stone cutting may need special tools so it’s advisable to seek professional’s help while installations.

Pressed metal

You will find many people who love pressed metal splashbacks. Pressed metal comes with many different patterns and can be installed in almost any kitchen. Pressed metal splashbacks are usually made up of Aluminium alloy which won’t rust. They are easy to install and the installation can be done on DIY basis. The pressed metal sheets can be painted in any color to match your kitchen.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel splashbacks are most common in commercial kitchens. It gives a contemporary industrial feel to a kitchen. It’s hygienic and highly durable which makes it best option for commercial kitchens. You can install stainless steel splashbacks by yourself. You can buy stainless steel sheets from the store and cut it to the size with no specialised tools. Stainless steel splashbacks are also used in combination of acrylic or tiles splashbacks.

Splashbacks are essentials in kitchens and wet areas and improve the look and feel of the surroundings. They are now being used in other parts of home like bathrooms, bedrooms and lounges. You can inset lights to improve the looks of splashbacks. Splashbacks are widely used in kitchens because they are safe and hygienic. They are designed to be oil, water and stain resistant. They are also easy to clean and cleaning can be done using a damp cloth.