last week

Using DIY Concrete Repair Kits

In finding solutions to cracks in poured basement walls, retaining walls and gaps between walls and ceilings and around pipe penetrations, homeowners can now access easy to follow do it yourself crack injection kits, which are at par with those of professional service groups, but reasonably priced.

Benefits of using do it yourself concrete repair kits

Using do it yourself concrete repair kits is not complicated. They have flexible polyurethane foam that penetrates even a 24-inch thick wall. They can hold together narrow or wide cracks, whether they are wet or dry, and no boring is done since the injection ports are glued.

Dual cartridges and a mixing nozzle are included in the do it yourself concrete repair kit for proper mixing of the polyurethane polymers and the permanent seal. There is also the easy-to-use surface sealer and adhesive that when peeled off with the injection ports, gives a clean concrete surface because there is no need to do scraping or edging work. There is also no need to mix with the hand and therefore, no mess.

Repairing concrete cracks

Before starting a do it yourself concrete repair project, you must first be equipped with nit rile gloves, safety glasses, a drop sheet and a caulking gun. Also make sure that the surrounding area of the crack is clean and dry before the injection ports are glued, and the crack covered with epoxy paste. This curing procedure lasts about four to five hours. Only then can you begin to inject the polyurethane resin into the bottom injection port. The polymer will soon come out of each port, and before you proceed to the next one, the existing port must first be capped. This is repeatedly done until the whole crack has been sealed. This procedure takes about three hours before the injection ports can be removed.

a couple of weeks ago

First Alert 2096DF Fireproof Safe

It’s very important for the person to be able to store their things safely. Unfortunately, this isn’t the easiest thing in the world for a person to do. It’s for this reason that people invest in safes, and for a while now, small home safes have really been the way to go. First Alert is a company that really makes something memorable, with a lot of people speaking highly of some of their products. A good example of this is the First Alert 2096DF Fireproof Safe is assuredly one to consider, as it works very well and have some pretty nice features that come along with it, and it actually doesn’t cost a lot of money for people who want their items secured.

There are quite a few things that make this one stand out from the pack. Firstly, this is a water and fireproof safe. This isn’t something that comes along too often, as you generally get one or the other. In addition to the protection here, a person comes with a digital keypad that’s backlit. As you’d expect, this is a keypad that has an emergency override mode, allowing for the person to access their items in a hurry – if needed. The theft deterrent systems are also pretty fantastic, including pry-resistant hinges, digital lock and 6 door locking bolts. The lock is opened by a pass-code that accepts 3 to 8 digits, allowing for the owner to use any code that they’d like..

 Fireproof Safe Features and Specifications

  • 2 adjustable or removable shelves
  • 4 live and 2 dead bolt doors
  • 2.1 cubic foot capacity with durable construction

The Reviews

Easily, what happens to be the most impressive thing here is what people have said about it. That’s probably the most important thing about a safe, as you’ll want to know that it can successfully protect some of your most treasured items. One person said, “I really like my safe, and I couldn’t imagine buying another. Of course, this wasn’t the cheapest safe out there, but I wanted to make sure that I was getting something impressive. This is probably the sturdiest safe that I’ve seen, and that’s what it’s all about. If you’re looking for a safe with durable construction, I can honestly say that this is something that you’d want to think about. I bought it and I’m very happy with my purchase.”

While that was a pretty good review, there certainly were other people who spoke highly of it. But, another person talked about how much they liked the company, as customer service is a big thing. They said, “I have always liked Honeywell, and First Alert acquiring them wasn’t a bad thing, as you can’t really imagine for it to tank that much. So, if you ever lose your key or something else happens with your safe, it’s not too much of a problem getting it remedied. The safe in and of itself is actually pretty good, but knowing that you have a good company backing it is even more important to me.”


a couple of months ago

Contractor Service

When you started your contracting company you most likely had no plan for contractor service. Service is one of the most important factors for a contractor.

Service is the backbone of your business if you plan to succeed and grow to any size. As you start your contractor marketing and begin to tell your clients about your products and services, one of the main highlights should be your service department. Your clients need to hear how you will offer support and service after the sale. This is also how you will gain more referrals in which will help grow your contracting business.

My father always had a saying, if you always service and take care of your customer you will always have a successful business. He was in business over 30 years by taking care of his customers. Contractor service is not what it used to be because your clients expect more and more today. They have higher expectations and want you to have higher standards. I believe you not only kill them with kindness but you must over deliver in everything you do. Take the high road always no matter what it cost. It will deliver returns ten-fold to your contracting business.

Remember as the owner you set the tone for your service department and your message should always be the client comes first. Yes, there are times when you have a client from hell. But it’s how you deal with this client that will set you apart from a competitor.If you handle it right and do the right thing you can make your client happy and get referrals. It’s too easy to throw your hands up and give up on an unruly client but if you step in and take control of the situation, you can almost always satisfy your client. As you grow and years pass your contractor service department will provide you with additional income. There is always someone that needs service.

I hope I have shed some light and the importance of contractor service for you.

a couple of months ago

Bring your garden indoors for winter!


Beautiful isn’t it? And you’re probably also wondering what it is right?

Well, this is an example of one of the many kinds of hydroponic planters available if you are thinking of doing your gardening indoors. Hydroponics is a latin word meaning “working water” simply because of the fact that plants can be grown easily, effortlessly and most importantly, without the use of soil (no mess, perfect!). Not only are we fast approaching the coldest time of the year and I can’t really see myself knees to ground gardening in minus degree, British weather, but furthermore my flat is quite small and sadly I don’t have a garden. So what are the options for people in my situation then? I began to search for ways I could grow my own plants and one day (even more abitiously) grow my own vegetables. After all, everyone knows that plants and flowers can brighten up any living space instantly, with lovely fresh smells and vibrant colors.

Before I moved into my own flat, I wasn’t aware of hydroponics plant growing techniques until a friend mentioned it, it was all quite new to me.

I set about finding out as much information about hydroponics as possible (i feel I could probably lecture on the topic now!). Using google to search for the word ‘hydroponics’ brought up a lot of retailer websites as well as informational websites like Wikipedia. Initially, I was told it was quite an easy thing to do but I didn’t want to take the risk of it all going wrong so I decided on purchasing a starter kit which will include all the essentials to help me grow my own plants in as little as 8 weeks so this was great news. I just couldn’t wait to have my own plants and to see my friends and families faces when I informed them that I grew them myself, without the predictable mess of soil (i later found out they had to see it to believe it!).

Some starter kits might not include a seed kit.

Fret not, however, you can actually purchase some on various websites like eBay or homebase and even in everyday supermarkets. However, I personally found that the hydroponics websites give you a lot more information and also ideas about nutrients which help to make the already fast growing process, even faster! As I mentioned before, the average time it takes to grow plants using this system is about 8 weeks (which is 3 times faster than conventional growing techniques) and before you know it, you’ll have to start thinking about where to put your new plants. Furthermore, as hydroponics only requires water, some people actually make use of their old fish tanks to store their plants, and if arranged well it can look rather beautiful. I personally have made use of my ever growing collection of beautiful vases.

a couple of months ago

Kitchen Greens

green kitchen

Seriously? You’re putting your organic, locally-grown produce in that old, energy hog of a refrigerator? Your fair trade coffee and free range chicken deserve better accommodations.

It’s time to bring your kitchen in line with your eco-conscious self.

In the long run, this is going to help you save money and the planet at the same time! As an interior designer who specializes in helping clients make eco-friendly choices, I am often asked about what makes a kitchen green. Here are some of the tips I’ve collected so far:


Your refrigerator, dishwasher and stove/range are the biggest culprits of energy consumption. On average, new refrigerators use 42 percent less electricity than a 30-year-old counterpart. Energy Star-qualified refrigerators can use less energy than a 75-watt light bulb. Remember, refrigerator units with top or bottom loading freezers are more energy efficient than side-by-side models. Dishwashers use energy to heat water. Buying one with a heat booster option allows you to turn your hot water heater down. Air-dry options help to conserve, too. Don’t think that hand washing is better. A study done at the University of Bonn, Germany proved the dishwasher uses only half the energy, 1/6 the water and less detergent than washing an identical set of dirty dishes by hand.

The hottest thing in efficient kitchen accessories is just breaking here in the U.S., but it has been around in Europe for several years:

Induction cooktops

Induction cooktops work by using electromagnetic fields to make pots and pans the heating elements. The cooktop stays cool to the touch and only the cookware gets hot. Induction cooktops heat cookware 25% faster than gas cooktops and 60% faster than electric cooktops. The most important factor to note is that pots and pans used on an induction cooktop must be comprised of “ferrous” metal (such as iron, which will readily sustain a magnetic field).

How are induction cooktops energy efficient? Aside from not heating up your entire kitchen when in use, you can think of it somewhat similarly to why a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb is more efficient. The induction cooktop and the CFL both convert more of the electricity used to power them into useful energy. In case you thought gas was more efficient, the U.S. Department of Energy has established that the typical efficiency of induction cooktops is 84%, while that of gas cooktops is 40%. Check out Siemans avant-Garde® cooktops. They feature mess-free touchslide® controls.

Induction Cooktop Efficiency
Gas Cooktop Efficiency


Remember the frog you dissected in sophomore year biology class? Formaldehyde was the chemical used to make that little, postmortem amphibian stay so “fresh” and research-ready. It’s a preservative and classified as a human carcinogen by the EPA. It’s also a major ingredient in particleboard; the base material in most manufactured kitchen cabinets. If you are looking for new cabinets the best option would be solid wood cabinets from sustainably-harvested forests. The next option is a non-formaldehyde emitting particleboard such as Primeboard or Purebond. Also, make sure to use zero to low VOC stains and glues. Formaldehyde is banned from use in furniture products made in Europe, so check out imported kitchen cabinetry options. NYLoft features Maistri Cucine from Italy and IKEA has some very economical choices.


Clients often ask why granite countertops are not considered green. As soon as I show them a picture of a granite quarry they understand. Granite and stone of any kind are natural and beautiful but they are not considered sustainable since they are not being reproduced any time soon. Eco-friendly alternatives to granite include IceStone, a gorgeous countertop of 100% recycled glass; PaperStone, a stone-looking countertop made from recycled paper and resin; and concrete, which gets more eco-friendly when you use fly ash (a byproduct of coal burning) instead of Portland cement. We’ve covered some main tips for greening your kitchen. There are many more, but as always, common sense goes a long way too! At least now you know how to help your locally-grown, organic bok choy feel more appreciated.

3 weeks ago

Growing the Best Vegetable Garden Ideas

So, you’ve decided to lay sod down in your new yard instead of planting grass seed or having the area hydroseeded.

After contacting a company that sells sod, you and the grass expert decided on a grass type – maybe Celebration Bermuda or something similar – for your new lawn and you got some instructions on how to prepare the soil, which was your next step.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • The top six to eight inches of soil needs to be loosened up so the roots will have an easier time getting established. Typically, a rototiller is used to loosen up the soil and can be rented for as long as you need it.
  • Depending on the type of soil you have, you may have to run the rototiller over it a few times to get deep enough and to break up the larger clumps of dirt. It is recommended that you apply a couple of inches of compost to the top of the soil.
  • If your soil has an abundance of clay in it, you will need to add two to three inches of sand to the soil for drainage purposes. Once these additions have been spread over the soil, you will need to till all of it again to get everything mixed well. You can have the soil tested to determine if you need to add any fertilizer or lime.

Leveling Your Soil

If you don’t level the surface of the area you plan to lay the sod after you have prepared it, you will end up with high spots and low spots which are very unsightly you may also need string grass trimmers to trim the grass quicker. It won’t look good, and worse, you will have a problem with water running off the high spots and saturating the low spots, which has a negative effect on the ability of the grass to thrive and to grow into a beautiful lawn.

A rake is a good tool to use to start with to pull the high spots into the low spots and level things up to begin with. Watering the soil will also help the newly tilled soil to settle so you can see the unevenness better.

A lawn roller is another tool you can use to level the soil with. It basically is a barrel with some water in it and handles to push it with. The barrel is usually filled about a third with water to create the required weight to compress the newly tilled soil. This amount of water can be adjusted according to what type of weight you need for your soil. Ask your grass expert, who is providing the sod. A Great Result

All the effort will be worth it when the sod is delivered. Because you followed the advice of the expert you talked to and you were careful about how much of everything you mixed into and put on the soil, your new lawn will need less maintenance and won’t need as much water, pesticides, and fertilizer.

You should be able to enjoy your healthy, beautiful lawn for years and years. Once the sod is cut, delivered, and laid, it will take a couple of weeks for it to get rooted and recover from being cut, so be patient, and you will have the beautiful lawn you have always wanted in no time.