7 Benefits Of Installing Retractable Awnings For Your Home

Guest Post by Darmo

Awnings are a great way to provide shade for your home during the hot summer months.

They can also help with insulation, protect UV rays, and reduce energy bills by up to 50%.

Hence, installing retractable awnings is an investment that will last you many years.

Some people might not know about all of the benefits they’ve got to offer, so keep reading to learn about the seven benefits you’ll get from having retractable awnings installed in your abode.

Retractable Awnings Protect Your Home From The Sun

When the sun is beating down on your windows and walls, it can heat up your home.

This increases energy bills and causes you to have a harder time staying cool during summer months.

Moreover, if an area of your roof faces direct sunlight throughout the day, installing retractable awnings, such as Helioscreen retractable awnings, will help protect the roof while still allowing natural light to stream into your haven throughout the day.

Retractable Awnings Protect Furniture And Floors From Sun Damage

The heat from the sun can also cause damage to your furniture, hardwood floors, and carpets.

It can make the colours of your furniture fade and burn wood floors.

Retractable awnings help prevent these issues from happening by blocking the sun’s rays before they reach surfaces in your home.

Retractable Awnings Create A Sense Of Privacy And Security For Your Family

If you have an abode with more than one floor, it is sometimes hard to find places for your children and pets to play that are out of sight from anyone on the street.

This can be especially true if there are houses close by or in front of yours. Installing an extendable awning between two floors will help provide some privacy while still inviting natural light into the house since they increase the height when they’re moved.

This sense of security can even come in handy for any renovations done in outdoor areas, such as patios, decks, and balconies.

While your home undergoes some upgrades, your neighbours or people who pass by won’ be able to see the changes being done. 

Another benefit to the added level of privacy and security that retractable awnings bring is that you don’t have to worry about someone seeing you in your home when the shades are open.

Retractable Awnings Reduce Glare On Windows

It can be hard to see out at times if you have a window that gets direct sunlight for most of the day. Installing retractable awnings on these windows will help reduce glare and create some privacy since they are opaque screens covering your home from view when pulled back.

This is especially helpful if there are other dwellings close by or across the street where people might be able to take a peek into your place whenever the shades or curtains in those rooms are drawn back.

With this added benefit comes an additional level of insulation during colder months that helps keep heat inside and outdoor noise levels down while still attracting natural light.

Retractable Awnings Keep Out Rain, Snow, And Strong Winds

One of the main benefits of retractable awnings is that they can protect against harsh weather.

When it starts to rain, snow, or blow strongly outside and you don’t want to go out, having a retractable awning installed will keep your home from getting wet and still keep it well lighted.

Suppose strong winds occur outdoors under stormy conditions and send leaves, debris, dust particles into the air and onto your property, causing damage, such as broken windows.

Installing retractable awnings will help prevent this kind of problem since their screens are made with high-quality materials for wind resistance up to 120 mph.

Retractable Awnings Reduce Cooling Bills 

As mentioned earlier, retractable awnings create an added layer of insulation for your home during cold months.

They help prevent heat from escaping indoors and block cold air from getting in.

Since your residence is able to stay warm, you won’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on cooling bills each month.

Retractable Awnings Help Maintain Your Home’s Value

When you sell your home, the proper installation of retractable awnings will add more value to it.

Most buyers want a place to relax on their porch or patio during warm months, so using an awning will be an excellent way to make your property more appealing.

Conclusion

The benefits of retractable awnings for your home are many.

Not only can retractable awnings provide shade and protection from weather elements, but they also add to the curb appeal of your property.

Electrical Planning – General


Do some of your power sockets look like this photo?

Next time you visit a show house have a look at the power point provision……… You would think most builders are still living in the 1950’s.

Typically you get a couple of double sockets in each room. . . . Sometimes you even see single sockets.

Thats because hardly any of the display home fittings need to work!

They do spend a bit more time on the light fittings, typically with down-light’s everywhere. (Not my favorite form of lighting. I’ve had them once and I won’t be having them again.)

However the down-lights are unlikely to be in the builders standard provision so if you do want them they will add significantly to the base cost.

In our first house, 30 years ago, when we renovated we had at least six double sockets in each of the lounge, main bedroom and kitchen. It seemed a lot when we put them in but most of them were used.

For the last two houses we have practically doubled the power point provision to make it easier to find a vacant power socket when you need it. . . . and avoid having extension cords around the house.

You will find a number of posts on Electrical Planning which provide some thoughts for planning each of the main rooms in the house.

These will help you think about what electrical work you will require when building a new house, and help you prepare for the Selection Meeting.

Although you will have gathered I am keen on upgrading the electrical provision its worth remembering each additional double socket will cost around $75. We had an extra 22 at our last house so make sure you don’t bust your budget!

More Electrical Planning including 24 pages of Check Lists in the

‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

6 Types of Rugs and Which Is Right for Your Home

Guest Post by John Guevara

If you’re looking for a rug to spruce up your home, there are many options available.

You can find rugs of all shapes and sizes on the market today.

There are many options, and it can be challenging to choose which one will work the best.

This blog post will help you decide by laying out all of your options and providing some helpful tips on picking the perfect rug.

Runner Rugs

A runner rug is a long strip of fabric that can be placed in almost any room.

These are great for hallways, where you want people to have the ability to wipe their feet clean before walking across your carpet.

They are available in various widths, which you will need to consider when purchasing.

A runner rug also makes a nice piece to place in front of your bathroom door, especially if you want something that helps people wipe their feet clean before entering the room.

Shaggy Rugs

Shaggy rugs can be both fun and stylish.

They may not work well for every room, but they certainly have their place within the home.

If you want a unique and different rug from what most people put on their floors, you should consider purchasing a shaggy one of your own from Rug Empire.

These don’t work well for high-traffic areas, as it is challenging to keep them clean. If you have a room in the home where little foot traffic occurs, a shaggy rug can make a great addition.

Wool Rugs

Wool rugs are durable and tend to last a long time.

They can be found in all styles and designs.

Wool is easy to clean, and it makes these pieces of art both functional and beautiful details to have in your home.

Be sure you keep them well maintained, as wool rugs attract dirt, pet hair, and dust quite easily. If you have pets, consider purchasing a wool rug to go in front of your pet’s food dish.

Lambskin Rugs

A lambskin rug is unique because it can be used in many different areas of the home.

The fur makes it well suited for your living room or den, but the size and shape make it suitable for the bedroom as well.

You don’t need to worry about spills or dust with these rugs, as they are very easy to clean and maintain.

They work great in various spaces, but you may want to avoid them if you have a pet that sheds frequently.

Cotton Rugs

A cotton rug is an excellent choice for anybody who wants to add a touch of style and class to any room in their home.

Cotton rugs tend to be thin, making them easy to place on any surface or floor within your home.

As long as you take care of them properly, they should last for many years without wearing them down.

Keep in mind these rugs can be damaged pretty quickly, especially if you have pets.

If you want the perfect rug to place under your pet’s food dish, a cotton one will not do.

It would be best if you had something more durable and resistant to spills and stains.

Polyester Rugs

Polyester is an affordable and durable solution for your rug needs.

They tend to last a long time and stay in place on most surfaces, making them a great addition to many homes worldwide.

A polyester rug can be found in almost any color or design you want, but it won’t work well with high-traffic areas of your home.

If you’re going to place it in front of your sink, be prepared for easy stains and spills that are challenging to clean.

 

If you’re in the market for a new rug, we hope this post has helped you determine which type of rug is best suited to your needs.

Wood For Heating – Why A Wood Heater Is Better Than An Open Fire

Although wood heating is banned in many urban areas they are still allowed in most country properties

A lot of people think that an open fire gives a better ambiance than a wood heater . . . but I much prefer a woodheater

Here’s why:

  • A wood heater is much more efficient which means you will burn much less wood. As well as greenhouse gas savings that means less cost, or less effort gathering wood.
  • One of the problems of any heater that warms the room by burning is that it needs a source of fresh air to achieve combustion……..this means drafts. The efficiency of the wood heater means that less air is required, so less drafts. Remember the fresh air is cold air sucked into the house by the burning.
  • Control of a wood heater is very effective so you can quickly turn it up or down. This means in winter we usually kept the heater alight from June to the end of August which saves a lot of fire lighting.
  • A fully loaded wood stove if turned down can burn for over 8 hours, unlike an open fire which will need more fuel every couple of hours . Great if you are going to be out all day and want a warm home to come home to.
  • The efficiency and effectiveness of the combustion in a room heater means that removal of ash is much less frequent, typically every couple of weeks.
  • No smoke around the house……especially when trying to light the fire.
  • Much less ash dust floating around the house.

A well designed wood heater with a large window will also give you a good view of those flames anyway.

The following link is to a page on the efficiency of various wood heaters that are available in Australia: Home Heat 

More Heating thoughts and 24 pages of Check Lists in the

‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

 

Seven Things to Know Before Buying a Plantation Shutters

Guest Post by Asad Shoaib

Plantation shutters can be a great addition to your home as they help enhance the look and quality of your property.

However, there is a huge number of plantation shutters available in the market, so you should know where to start before making a final buying decision.

It is better to follow a guide step by step through the process of buying plantation shutters in Melbourne.

It will help you get started with your physical inspection of plantation shutters and be ready to make a final buying decision.

Here are seven things mentioned that you should know before buying plantation shutters.

Types

The first thing you need to know is that there are two main types of shutters: plantation and PVC.

Today, most professionals think that both types of shutters have their pros and cons.

To ensure your satisfaction, you can hire a professional installer who can guide you through this important decision-making process. He will explain in detail the type of shutter you should go with, the benefits of each option, and if there is an alternative available for your specific needs.

Moreover, there is a third type of plantation shutter that is nowadays available in the market which is further divided into various types.

The first type is an ordinary blind made from wood or steel, which has a classic look that is easy to find in Melbourne’s style and architecture.

The second type of plantation shutter is a Venetian window with a brown wood finish and lattice design, which adds more beauty to the interior design.

The third type of plantation shutter is made of bamboo or rattan material.

They are relatively expensive, but they are premium products, which make them worthy enough for you to consider them for your home renovation projects.

Budget Plan 

The second point to keep in mind is that plantation shutters are very much affordable today, so you should consider how much you are willing to spend on them.

You can save up to 50% by deciding beforehand how much the project will cost.

Another important thing your budget will influence is the quality of materials used for your plantation shutters, so be sure to choose an option that best fits both your budget and requirements.

Price 

Plantation shutters are available in different price ranges.

The more expensive option will offer you better materials and therefore higher results.

There are a few options for plantation shutters in Melbourne designed to be extra heavy duty or with security lock mechanisms for the safety of your home.

Since these options cost several times more than other options on the market today, it is best to pay attention when looking for a new shutter solution.

Professional Installer 

We highly recommend you ask for a professional installer’s advice that has expertise in Plantation shutters Melbourne, especially if you are going to install plantation shutters for the first time.

There are many things you should consider – the size of your windows and doors, how big your budget is and what material you would like to choose.

There are many factors that a professional expert will know about to make your purchase worthwhile.

Material

The wood and steel plantation shutters are made from various materials.

Along with the regular plantation shutters, you will find plantation shutters made of aluminum, which can be durable and elegant looking.

The metal plantation shutters provide a more rustic look and complement modern Australian-style interior design.

Although they do not match most people’s taste, they do come in handy for weathered wooden buildings, especially when one wants to use them to cover up openings of doors and windows.

Style

There are many styles available for you to choose from that suit your style and preference.

These styles include minimalist, contemporary, modern, traditional and rustic.

Many plantation shutter companies in Melbourne offer customized styles to suit your style.

However, if you are purchasing a very expensive set of plantation shutters from a reputable company, the chances are that the plantation shutters have been designed by professionals and offer a beautiful blend of colors and textures to enhance any space in which they are used.

Service 

In terms of cost savings, you should buy from reputable companies that sell luxury products at reasonable prices, with many years of experience in this industry.

In terms of the number of options available, you should look for a reputable company that offers a lot of color and texture choices as well as custom design services to fit your needs.

A reputable company will also offer professional service to its customers through installation, maintenance, and repairs.

You must hire reliable professionals for installation because improper installation can lead to damages or even accidents if performed by inexperienced people.

Therefore, it is essential to know who you are hiring before entrusting your home with their care.

It is recommended to use a construction company, which has a license and has its workshop and employees who are capable of performing different tasks, such as: installing and repairing shutters, painting shutters, and installing windows.

Electrical Planning – Living Rooms / Rumpus Room

Living Room, Family Room, Rumpus Room………….some houses have one room for all functions.

Bigger houses can have three separate rooms, perhaps even a Parents Retreat!.

As far as electrical planning is concerned the issues are really the same.

Entertainment

Some of the things to allow power for are;

  • TV,
  • Sound system,
  • Foxtel (if you are connected),
  • PC (for streaming)
  • Gaming Console.
  • NBN Box
  • Wireless Modem

To minimise the cable tangle I prefer to use a power board to the shelves or cabinet rather than plug each device separately into the wall.

With some surround system sub-woofers and rear speakers get a wireless signal or transmit through the mains rather than running speaker cables. . . If that’s the case you will need extra power sockets at the back of the room.

Wall Hung TV

If you want a wall mounted TV it is going to be much neater if you have a power socket on the wall behind the TV.

Its most likely that things like your DVD player, Foxtel, Surround Sound, etc will be in a cabinet or shelves on the floor.

You should definitely think about either getting cables pre-installed behind the plaster or at least some conduits for future installation of the cables………..The best outlet height is going to be about 1200mm above the floor as the most comfortable viewing position is straight ahead when you are sitting down.

Other

In addition to the entertainment options you should allow for some spare power outlets for things like:

  • Table or floor lamps
  • Power to gas heater or a fan heater for days when you don’t want to run the full heating system
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Laptop charger(s)
  • Doing the ironing while watching TV
  • Point for the Vacuum Cleaner

I would never put less than four double power sockets in a living room with five or six being preferred.

 

For similar posts see Electrical

More Electrical Planning including 24 pages of Check Lists in the

‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

5 Tips When Installing A Home Automation System

Guest Post by Aldrin Daniels

The advent and continuous innovation of technology have definitely made our lives easier and more convenient.

The practical automation of tasks within the home has been a primary goal pursued from multiple angles for several years now.

Today, we’re seeing more and more smart homes that can automate anything from electrical systems, appliances, and even electronic systems.

Transforming your home into a full-scale smart home with all the associated conveniences and comforts is easier today than ever before.

Here are essential tips if you’re thinking to automate your home.

Decide What You Want

The first thing you need is to outline what you want and your goals.

You have a variety of options for smart home devices, and it can get really expensive if you don’t know which devices to prioritize.

So, before you start shopping, do a complete review of your home and note which automation technology is essential and should be utilized.

Break it down into categories such as air control, lighting, entertainment, and home security. then, start prioritizing.

Automating your home is an investment, and fortunately, it is something that you can build over time.

Hire The Experts

Once you have an idea of how you want to automate your home, you need to start looking for an expert that can help you.

Consulting someone who has experience and knowledge about home automation systems can help make the process easier and less daunting.

Also, the installation of home automation technology systems can be complex.

For instance, the wiring and electrical installation alone can be confusing, especially for those without prior electrician knowledge.

So, consider consulting and hiring a master electrician in Brisbane with experience in home automation systems if you’re living in the area.

By hiring the experts, you can gain expert advice and ensure an effective and proper installation of automation systems.

Invest In Good Internet Connection

How well your smart home will perform will depend fully on the strength of your internet connection.

At the end of the day, most issues with home automation are mostly caused by a bad internet connection.

Thus, before investing in the installation of your home automation systems, you need to subscribe to reliable internet service and invest in a good Wi-Fi router.

Also, you need to know more about the most-used frequencies— 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz.

Most smart home devices operate on 2.4 GHz. However, 5 GHz is becoming more popular today, thanks to its longer range and faster speeds.

Meanwhile, there’s also an emerging Wi-Fi protocol called Wi-Fi 6E, supporting 6 GHz.

It can handle more devices, is more secure, and uses less power.

However, since it is relatively new, most gadgets and routers are yet to support it.

Choose An Ecosystem

There are three main smart home ecosystems to choose from:

Amazon Alexa

Perhaps the most common choice in the smart home industry, Amazon’s Alexa offers the widest range of compatible devices and products.

You can ask it just about anything, however, it’s not as accurate as Google’s. but it does support a wide variety of devices and apps developed by third parties and even offers the most affordable smart displays and speakers.

Google Nest

For those who use Android devices, Google Nest is a good option.

Google Assistant is the main strength of this ecosystem.

This voice assistant swiftly responds to voice commands and is smart enough for conversational speaking.

It also understands complicated commands and even follow-up requests that will put Siri and Alexa to shame.

Apple HomeKit

If your home is filled with Macs, iPads, and iPhones, then it only makes sense to go with Apple HomeKit.

It’s the most restrictive though, having tighter control over third-party certification, but this ensures smooth operation for the supported devices and is by far the most secure option.

Think Compatibility

Compatibility should be a priority if you want to create a successful smart home technology.

There are numerous companies in the smart technology game and your options are endless, which is not always a good thing.

If your home appliance or lightning system is not compatible with your smart home ecosystem, then it will have troubles working smoothly or it may not even work at all.

However, it doesn’t mean that you should purchase every gadget and device from a single provider.

As mentioned before, some ecosystems can work with products outside their own line.

Just make sure that the ones you choose are compatible with your smart home system before purchasing.

Conclusion

Building a smart home can make your life easier, anticipating your needs and empowering you in fine-tuning your environment and home processes.

With that said, you need to consider the above tips in order to ensure a proper installation of your automation system and add real convenience to your life.

 

Aldrin Daniels: Aldrin Daniels is a master electrician. He shares his knowledge through blogging during his free time. He loves woodworking and painting too. Aldrin also enjoys mountain biking and camping.

Plumbing – Bathrooms and Toilets

Everyone has an opinion about Toilets and Bathrooms even if they aren’t too bothered about other rooms. (I used to be involved in Airport Design. At project meetings million dollar concrete decisions used to take less than 5 minutes but when it came to a few thousand dollars for the toilets it was at least 30 minutes per meeting as everyone wanted their say)

Having said that here’s my opinions:………

Overall

After the kitchens the bathrooms are usually the next most expensive rooms.

Its worth thinking carefully about the cost of fittings as you may find very similar fitting to those you ‘Love’ at half the price.

White fittings don’t date, and are easier to match if you want to choose units from different ranges.

A floor drain is a definite for me, convenient if you have young children who like to splash in the bath and a good safeguard if you get a leak.

Ensuite

Shower – I think the days of shower trays are long gone. Having a walk in shower means you can have a larger shower, much better than the minimum size.

Wash basins I have previously posted about One Basin or Two so the only other comment is “Think carefully about what basins and mixers you need, it can add a thousand dollars or more to the cost.”

Toilets Lot of choice but look at the prices before you pick. I have seen similar looking toilets with a $500 price difference

Bidet? Well I have never had one but if you like the idea why not. A possible cheaper alternative may be one of those Japanese devices that fit on the toilet.

Bathroom

The differences between this and the En-suite are:

Bath We have always had a bath as I occasionally enjoy having a soak, and they are good for bathing children. If you are planning on getting a spa bath you are probably going to need a larger hot water service!

Shower I’m not a big fan of over the bath showers, getting in and out can be difficult, particularly for elderly visitors, so I would always go for the separate shower.

Toilet I don’t mind having the toilet in the bathroom but you may have different ideas.Do you need a separate toilet?

Washbasin – To my mind there is not much point in having a separate toilet unless it has a washbasin. If you don’t you still need to use the bathroom to wash your hands. I have known large families particularly with lots of girls to have a full vanity unit in the separate toilet, or even in an alcove near the bathroom.

 

More plumbing information and 24 pages of Check Lists in the

‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

5 Tips For Setting Up A Workshop In Your Garage

Guest post by Ricky Miles

Setting up a small workshop at home can be exciting, but it’s also challenging when your garage is small and cramped.

Square footage can be limited, especially nowadays that it’s at a premium.

If you have the space to expand your garage to accommodate your workshop, then it’s to your advantage.

If you don’t, you have to be more strategic about your approach.

Whether your workshop is for the purpose of working with metal or wood is immaterial.

The important thing is setting it up the right way, so you can have an effective and functional workshop, even in your garage.

Here are some tips on setting up:

  1. Plan Power Sources For Tools

The corner or area where you’ll position your workshop should have enough provision for power sources for your tools.

It’s a safety hazard to have a spaghetti of long extension cords and wires because the power source is on the opposite end of your garage.

Planning enough power sources for your tools is important so it doesn’t overload or tip your circuit breaker.

It’s also a plus to have to simply turn a switch on, plug your tools right beside you, and you’re good to go.

Because this is a major technical work requiring the expertise of tradesmen, call an electrician Sydney and others to do the job for you.

  1. Create Ample Space For Tool Storage

A garage workshop is never going to be complete without ample space for tool storage.

For beginners, you may not have a lot of tools just yet. but once you get the hang out of woodworking, you’re going to acquire many more tools.

This is when you’ll start to feel the need for more space.

Early on in the renovation or construction process, make sure to have enough provision for tool storage, even when you think you don’t need it yet.

Apart from keeping your garage workshop organized, it’s also a matter of safety.

You shouldn’t have sharp and dangerous tools placed all over your garage, which can become a safety hazard.

  1. Clean And Prepare Your Garage

If your garage is overflowing with tools and other equipment, you may want to start by giving it a good clean.

Declutter your garage so you can free up more space and make room for your workshop.

By cleaning and preparing your garage, you have to do a major purge.

For instance, you may have accumulated a lot of old items you’re still keeping like books, toys, bicycles, old furniture, and other equipment you may not be using anymore.

The more items you can let go, the more space you’ll have for your workshop and a proper storage system.

 

  1. Paint Your Space

Your garage doesn’t have to feel gloomy.

Especially now that you intend to have a workshop in your garage, you may want to consider repainting it to a brighter colour.

Remember that your workshop is your personal space where you’re supposed to feel happy working long hours for your hobby or doing something you love.

If your workshop is less than inspirational because it’s dingy and dark, you won’t even enjoy staying in it at all.

When you give your garage a fresh coat of paint, you’ll realize it’s one of the best changes you can do for a pleasant-looking space.

  1. Install The Needed Insulation

While a garage is now one of the staple parts of a home, it’s also the case that many garages today aren’t equipped with the needed insulation.

This means during the summer, your garage is too hot and during the winter, your garage is too cold.

Unfortunately, the unpleasant temperature can become a deterrent that’ll inhibit you from enjoying your workshop.

In fact, you may not like working inside at all because the weather makes it unbearable.

If you’re up for a major re-do of your garage, installing insulation is a good idea to have a comfortable workshop.

Conclusion

The garage is a common feature in many homes today, and its function has also gone beyond simply a home for your car.

If you enjoy working with wood and metal, it’s a plus to have your workshop at home.

In fact, a garage workshop is often the starting place a new wood and metalworker can practice their hobby and skills.

If you’ve long wanted to set up your workshop in your garage, the tips above can help you get started with that pursuit.

You don’t have to do all of these at once; take it one step at a time and make a decision based on what tips apply to you.

Ricky Miles

Ricky Miles is an expert electrician, who enjoys both electrical work and blogging. His focus, however, is in helping budding workshop owners in setting up their own at home – just as he has done one, too. When he’s no working with electrical-related matters, he enjoys blogging to share his thoughts and ideas about his trade.

Balcony Drainage


If you are going to have a balcony don’t forget to consider  the drainage.

You need to make sure that you have a large enough drain, for example this.

And the whole balcony slopes down to the drain.

If the drainage isn’t done properly you are going to have staining on the front of your house.

Here are a couple of photos of balconys with drainage problems.

This is a really bad example of staining where it looks like there was no drain, and the water drains off the edge.

 

Although this isn’t as bad you can see that some water has been staining the building as water runs out of the grout between the tiles.