RE/MAX What's Trending in Tampa Area Beaches
Courtesy of Dave Lewis

Decorating your home with chandelier lighting and other accessories

If you are planning on making some decorative changes around the home this year, there are many lighting accessories that you can choose from. From installing elegant and regal chandeliers to simple table lamps and everything in between, finding the right pieces for the best price is easy once you know where to look and what to look for. There are many sites online that offer an amazing array of products that can light up the mood in any home, but not all are created equal.

Before you are ready to shop, consider how you want your home to look once your design ideas have come to life. The last thing you need is to have a chandelier that does not fit well in the space you intended for it to go. Taking measurements, deciding on style, color and effect are all part of the planning process when it comes to finding the right lighting accessories for your home, but it is especially important to do with chandeliers.

Of course, not every lighting remodeling project is limited to chandeliers, but can include a wide range of other options to consider as well. Table lamps, wall lights and standing floor lamps all work to add their own effect in the space they are going to be used. While light is simply light, how it is reflected in the house depends on anything from the color of the lampshade to the tint of chandelier crystals. You can change one crystal to red, and end up having a red lighting effect on the entire room.

This is just one example of things to consider when deciding how to develop a lighting scheme for the home. It is not just brightness, but effect, mood, comfort and feel as well. Lighting accessories can do wonders when it comes to the way in which light beams throughout the home as well as the mood it creates.

With table lamps, the process isn’t as involved and it is pretty easy to decide what will look good and what will not. Taking a picture of some of the table lamps that interest you can help to pick the right one for your particular layout and the effect you want to create. Consider color and shade as well as the impact it has on the lighting of the entire room.

So, from easy to involved, the type of lighting you choose for your home will determine the amount of planning and visualizing that it will require. While the process is not that complicated or time consuming, skipping the preparation and research phase of any remodeling project can lead to unsatisfactory results. Making the effort now will save a lot of trouble down the line as well as ensure that you are happy with the look that you created for your home.

There are many sources online to find the best lighting accessories for your needs as well as for your budget. A good retailer will not only have a wide range of fixtures and other items available for sale, but they should also include a section for tips, suggestions and product information that will help you to make the best decision. They should also have a solid return policy as well as product guarantee in case you are unsatisfied with your purchase.

That being said, there are limitless options available online for anything from chandeliers to table lamps or red chandelier crystals, and it is easier than ever to order and have them delivered to your house. Keep in mind that you will need to wait a little while for the items to be shipped to your home, but that can be a benefit in and of itself because you can do the work necessary to prepare for installation. Whether you are ordering lighting accessories for the first time, or are a seasoned decorator, you will be amazed at the quality, selection and prices of a wide range of products found at an online chandelier store today.

by: Kathryn Dawson 
http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_6896.shtml 

Protect large investments with small home fixes

Today’s consumers are under mounting financial pressure at every turn, and are forced to be much smarter in buying decisions, especially for major investments. One big investment every consumer needs protected is their house and property. This is especially true as warmer weather arrives. From simple preparations like servicing your heating and cooling system units (HVAC), to protecting yourself against unexpected home emergency repairs, many homeowners often overlook simple measures that can end up having costly consequences.
 
"One challenge of home ownership is that the potential for expensive repairs is always out there," says Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA, a provider of emergency repair service plans. "While unexpected problems can never be completely avoided, there are measures homeowners can take to protect their home now, and avoid costly repairs later."
 
Here are five tips:
 
Service your air conditioner: 
 
Spring is the perfect time to get your air conditioner into shape before the hot summer months. To ensure your system runs as efficiently as possible, replace your air filters at the beginning of the season, and ideally every 90 days. This will keep your air cleaner, reduce energy consumption and extend the overall life of your HVAC system. Another simple step is to clear away any debris from your outdoor AC unit, which will improve airflow around the unit. Also, make sure your vents are open and not blocked by furniture or any other items.
 
Check out your heating system:
 
Spring is the perfect time to make sure your furnace is in full working order before a winter emergency occurs. Consider heating system coverage for emergency repairs not generally covered by home insurance.
Protect%20large%20investments%20with%20small%20home%20fixesCurb unanticipated financial responsibilities with extra protection:
Homeowners insure their homes to protect it from unanticipated home emergencies - such as broken water service lines - as well as for peace of mind. However, homeowners often don’t know where their utility company’s responsibility ends and theirs begins. Many are surprised to find out they are typically responsible for repairs to the pipes and wires in and around their home (as the local utility is usually not responsible for these emergency repairs).
 
Look closely at your home insurance policy and check if your utility offers an emergency service contract. If not, consider signing up for an emergency repair service plan that covers gaps in your home insurance policy, which can range from exterior water and gas lines to plumbing and drainage systems to complete electrical and heating/cooling configurations. HomeServe USA offers affordable emergency repair service plans, starting around $5 a month, to cover plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance, and will dispatch a local, licensed and insured contractor to make the necessary repairs.
 
Ensure your home is properly ventilated:
 
Excess moisture in homes can tarnish expensive fixtures, cause paint to peel and accumulate in wall cavities which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. To avoid moisture build-up, make sure basements and crawl spaces are free of water infiltration. Check that dehumidifiers or kitchen and bath ventilation fans are working properly to remove excess moisture. If not, a small investment today could not only save you money in the long run, but also provide cleaner indoor living environment for you and your family.
 
Prevent excessive energy bills:
 
Random air infiltration through gaps and cracks is a leading cause of energy loss in homes, accounting for 25 to 40 percent of energy loss in most residential structures, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Air sealing and insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to get the highest return on investment for the home, since the monthly amount saved on heating and cooling bills often exceeds the cost for these improvements. Home improvement retailers offer a variety of inexpensive (less than $15) insulating foam sealants that homeowners can apply to gaps and cracks around the home to literally “seal” against unwanted airflow to reduce energy bills.
 
As you start slathering on sunscreen this season, think about not only protecting your skin, but protecting your home with simple fixes that can keep it as healthy as can be.

The design element that can add drama and save cash

add%20drama%20and%20save%20cashWhile drama may be unattractive in other aspects of your life, a dash of it can be just what your home’s decor needs to spice things up. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between drama and cents. At least one popular design element can deliver positive impact on your decor and your wallet: skylights.
 
Interior designers, architects, decorators and homeowners have been relying on skylights to add beauty, warmth, natural light and passive ventilation to interior designs for decades. Fortunately, advances in skylight design make them a cost-effective, green design element as well.
 
"Skylights … enliven a house dramatically while cutting down the need for artificial light," notes the website ConsumerEnergyCenter.org. "They brighten up dark corners and let in lots of warmth. They can also provide much-needed ventilation."
Less dependence on artificial light sources or powered ventilation can mean lower electric bills in summer. Plus, warm sun entering the home through a skylight in winter can reduce your heating bills, as well. In fact, EnergyStar.gov says that installing Energy Star-qualified skylights, windows and doors can shrink your home’s energy bill - and carbon footprint - by 7 to 15 percent over non-qualified products.
 
"Skylights convey drama, yet they’re a surprisingly cost-effective home improvement," says Ross Vandermark, national product manager of Velux, manufacturers of the "No-Leak Skylight." "Installing skylights can be less costly than buying new designer furniture or putting in new carpet. Plus, if your interior design cries out for natural light, it’s more practical and cost-effective to place skylights overhead than to add windows to a wall."
 
Aesthetic benefits
 
By opening a room to the sky, skylights add a touch of drama to the interior design. They’re also an appealing solution for rooms where a traditional window might be problematic. 
For example, in a bath, a venting skylight makes it possible to enjoy natural light and fresh air without sacrificing privacy or living with frosted glass. Venting models are also popular in kitchens and laundry rooms to remove cooking odors and excess heat while brightening much-used work spaces. 
add%20drama%20and%20save%20cashIn other areas of the home,  affordable tubular skylights like Velux’s Sun Tunnel products make it possible to introduce natural light to hallways, closets, and other smaller or confined spaces. With the addition of a light kit, 24-hour illumination is available.
Overall, skylights are less limiting to a room’s design than a traditional window - all while admitting much more natural light. Many people completely overlook or under utilize the design potential of a ceiling. Skylights can turn that blank slate into a design statement that is both functional and beautiful. 
 
Practical value
 
Venting skylights can also offer a low-cost way to address indoor air quality by removing humidity, fumes and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from your home through their natural chimney effect. In addition to helping improve indoor air quality, skylights allow you to turn off electric lights and save money on power bills.
Accessorizing with manual or solar-powered, remote-operated blinds that qualify for tax breaks, allows you to further incorporate skylights into a design theme. Plus, the blinds - which are available in a range of colors and patterns - enhance the efficiency of skylights by allowing you to control the amount of light or heat that enters or leaves a room.
 
"Few home improvements marry the dramatic design impact and energy saving boost that you get from adding skylights," says Vandermark. "When it comes to redesigning a room, they’re truly the touch that elevates the look and feel of your decor."
You can learn more about window and skylight energy efficiency at www.energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit www.nfrc.org or www.efficientwindows.org.
IMAGE CAPTIONS:
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Caption 1: Energy Star-qualified venting skylights, with decor-enhancing blinds, are cost-effective and attractive home upgrades that provide healthful natural light and passive ventilation.
Caption 2: Tubular Sun Tunnel skylights bring natural light to baths and other rooms as well as to smaller, hard-to-access-from-above areas like hallways and closets.


Courtesy of BPT

Simple designer tricks for creating a stunning master bedroom


“When designing a space in your home, it’s always a good idea to go through the process in a methodical way to achieve the results you want,” says Jill Winninger, Allied ASID, CID, and senior interior designer with Seaside Home in La Jolla, Calif. “Foundation, function and finishing details make the process fun and effective.”

Here is Winninger’s three-step process for creating a grand master retreat:

Step 1: Foundation

Start by choosing the flooring that matches your personal style and the functionality of the space. Nothing beats the comfort of carpet in a master bedroom. Carpet and a high quality pad keep floors warmer and enhance privacy by absorbing noises. Today’s top trend in carpet is super soft and silky fibers that feel luxurious when you step, lie or lounge on them.

Think carpet is out because you have allergies? It’s time to think again, Numerous medical and other studies show that people who suffer from allergies and even asthma do not have to live without the comfort and softness of carpet. That’s because the dust that falls to a carpeted floor has a much stronger tendency to stay on the carpet until it is vacuumed away. Dust on hard floors, however, is stirred with every passing movement or footstep right back up into a room’s breathing space.

Of course, regular maintenance is important. Frequent vacuuming with a high efficiency vacuum like the ones on the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval vacuum list, as well as periodic deep-cleanings are musts. -And, no matter what kind of floor you have, high-traffic areas should be vacuumed daily, with less frequently-used areas vacuumed once or twice a week.

Another important foundation element is the walls. When selecting colors, select hues that work with the rest of your home’s decor so the spaces flow smoothly. You can’t go wrong with basic neutrals. Foundation details like crown molding, wainscoting or wallpaper can add a splash of personality.

When deciding on foundation elements, keep in mind the focal points of the room. Is there a fireplace? A gorgeous wall of windows highlighting an exquisite view? Do you have a bed with a statement headboard that will be prominent? Highlight these focal points within your design decisions.

Step 2: Function

Beauty is just one part of the equation when designing a grand master bedroom. The space needs to function and suit your lifestyle.

Function is particularly important when selecting furniture. Do you need storage for clothes and accessories? Do you want to hide electronics? Do you have a specific bed size? After considering your options, choose wisely and allow enough room between furniture pieces so that you can move freely.

Privacy is also an important consideration. Like carpet, window treatments also help to control noise, plus they offer the added benefit of masking -windows in the evenings and when high levels of privacy are needed. From a decorative perspective, window treatments add softness and style, critical to designing a stunning room.-

Step 3: Finish

Some of the most important elements of master bedroom design are the details. This is where you can add a few personal touches to the space to create a truly individualized sanctuary.

Start by choosing comfortable, inviting bedding, pillows and throws. Create clustered vignettes of photos or personal collections to give the space your unique stamp. Appropriately scaled art and accessories add visual interest.

Remember, accessories are a good way to add splashes of color to your master bedroom. If you like a particular tone - like rich teals, ruby reds or baby blue - select a few accessories that feature that hue and strategically place them throughout the room. Accessories that feature different textures add interest and character as well.

“From carpet and furniture to photos and duvet covers, creating a master retreat you’ll love is simpler than you think,” says Winninger. “Just focus on the foundation, function and finishing touches, and the result is sure to be gorgeous.”

Boomers: Living comfortably at home in style

 

As the years pass, Americans in the baby boomer generation are changing the definition of how they want to live comfortably during their later years.

Boomers are opting to continue living where they’re already secure and happy - right at home. Sometimes with age comes a need for additional safety features in the home - but this generation doesn’t want to sacrifice ambiance or style while incorporating these devices. With small upgrades and remodels, it’s easy to weave safety products into the design of a room - without making it look institutional.

Safety is a top concern in the bathroom. There are many ways to make a master bath or guest bathroom socially sustainable for many enjoyable years. Here are some tips:

* Helpful handles - Grab bars near the toilet and in the bathing area can make older people feel more stable and secure in the bathroom. But too many grab bar styles look like they belong in a hospital - not a private home. TOTO Transitional Collection Series A grab bars in chrome, brushed nickel and polished nickel finishes with concealed hardware are designed to fit in with the beautiful aesthetics of a bathroom, adding safety without detracting from the look. Visit TOTOUSA.com to learn more.

* Slippery surfaces - Falling is a great concern for older individuals, so it’s a good idea to eliminate any tripping hazards or slippery surfaces where possible. For example, remove rugs that could shift and buckle, and install rubber grip flooring inside the shower or bath for better traction.

* An extra bit of height - Taller toilets are easier for baby boomers to use because the height helps with balance. A toilet upgrade incorporating low water usage, easy-to-clean finishes and a soft-close seat will help keep a bathroom in style. The TOTO Legato One-Piece High Efficiency Toilet is universal height and comes with a SanaGloss nano-scale ceramic glaze, which prevents matter and bacteria from sticking to the surfaces, resulting in less needed cleaning.

* Accessible storage - Bending over to dig for a beauty product stored way under the sink can be tricky at any age. Consider installing pull-out drawers in lavatory cabinets, or putting storage items in wall cabinets at a higher level to reduce the need to bend for trapped products.

* Spa-like shower - The shower is a place to relax, and baby boomers are more than ready to enjoy small luxuries such as a spa-like shower during the retirement years. One way to spruce up the shower is with the TOTO Transitional Series A Multi-Spray Showerhead, which rotates sprays between massage, mist, spray/massage and pause combos. Not only does this showerhead provide a wonderful shower experience, it also has a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute - helping to save on water usage and money.

Many baby boomers have plenty of good years left living comfortably in their own homes. With small upgrades using stylish and socially sustainable products, it’s possible to stay independent while sharing your home with individuals of all ages.

Creating a bathroom that maximizes safety without sacrificing style

Creating%20a%20bathroom For today’s generation of aging adults, individuality and independence are values they’ve lived out for decades. As the years go by, lifestyle changes become a necessity, due to limited mobility and health concerns, but it doesn’t necessarily mean giving up personality. 
 
Aging in place, in the comfort of your home, is a priority for countless people. That often means making adjustments to your home, but some alterations can contribute to making your space feel more institutional and less “you.” A balance between style and safety is the key - and finding it is easier than you might think.
 
One of the most hazardous rooms in the home is the bathroom. Its slippery surfaces and tendency to be crowded with products and objects makes it a hazard for slipping, tripping and other mishaps. As you consider making alterations to your home that enhance security and safety, it’s the logical place to start.
 
* Clear away clutter. Bottles and jars and grooming tools frequently crowd counters, closets and the corners of tubs and showers. Make use of hangers, shelves and wall-mounted baskets to keep things neatly tucked away, providing a cleaner environment that’s also better looking and less likely to cause trips or spills.
 
* Bathe in safety. With limited mobility, moving in and out of the tub can be difficult, if not downright dangerous. One renovation solution to that problem is installing a walk-in tub. Premier Care in Bathing, the leader in walk-in bathtubs, offers a variety of tubs that homeowners can simply walk into, close the water-tight door, and fill for a comfortable, relaxing bathing experience. The company’s Walk-in baths and EasyAccess showers configure to your existing space and allow you to maintain the look of your bathroom while enjoying greater ease. 
 
* Choose rugs carefully. Bath mats and rugs are both functional and decorative. They can add a splash of color while also effectively collecting water that might otherwise pool on the floor and lead to slipping. However, rugs that don’t stay in place can present a problem of their own and lead you to trip. Opt for mats and rugs that have non-skid backing, but which still look harmonious with the rest of your bathroom decor. 
 
* Bring things up to the right height. Your bathroom routine can be an active one, which can present problems if your health limits your ability to move or bend easily. Having a commode and a sink at a higher level that prevents you from overexertion during your daily routine will add to the comfort and safety of your bathroom. And with options like Premier Care in Bathing’s easy-access sink, you can integrate these new fixtures into your room while maintaining your existing decorative theme.
 
One of the most important parts of maintaining independence throughout aging is being able to uphold your sense of self. Taking a holistic approach to creating a home environment that meets your needs but still expresses who you are enables you to live life as you choose for a long time to come. For a free brochure including more information about Walk-in bathtubs and other solutions for making living at home more convenient, visit premiercarebathing.com/saferbathing or call  888-378-7953.


Courtesy of BPT

Five renovations to make an even bigger splash with your backyard pool

Five%20renovations%20to%20make%20an%20even%20bigger%20splash%20with%20your%20backyard%20poolIf you added a pool to your home in the past few years, or moved into a house with an existing pool, you may wonder what more you can do to enhance the value and enjoyment your pool brings to your home and family. You may even think there’s not much you can do beyond keeping it clean and well maintained.

“Pools are a great investment, and the vast majority of owners say their pool is a great place to entertain,” says Bill Weber, president and CEO of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP). “Fortunately, some simple upgrades and renovations can help pool owners enjoy their investment even more.”

APSP points to five renovations that can offer homeowners the most satisfaction and value for their investment. The Association suggests homeowners consult with and hire an APSP-certified professional for the best possible results from any of these renovations:

1. Resurfacing - If your in-ground pool is made from concrete, time and use can cause the surface to deteriorate and become rough or even cracked. Resurfacing can restore the beauty and comfort of the pool and extend its functional life. Choose options that provide durability, and consider multiple manufacturers’ products to ensure the best selection. For pools with a vinyl interior, a host of new patterns, available for replacement liners, can transform the appearance of the pool overnight. Fiberglass pool owners also have several resurfacing options. Consult with an APSP-certified professional to determine the best product to make your fiberglass pool look like new.

2. New tile - Just as a kitchen backsplash can transform the overall look of the room, tile can set the tone for how your pool looks. Pool tile options are vast, and changing the tile is one of the most dramatic improvements you can make; it will give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of appearance.

3. Change the look of the pool deck - The current design trend is to extend the look of interior flooring out into the pool area to create the effect of an outdoor family room. Deck choices range from man-made and natural materials to staining existing concrete. Know that old concrete does not necessarily need to be removed. Often you can fix unsightly cracks and dated concrete decks with a thick overlay and new finish.

Most%20renovations%20are%20quite%20affordable4. Add a water feature - Installing a waterfall or fountain is a great way to bring the sound and beauty of moving water to your outdoor environment. Water features also create a strong focal point for the pool. A dramatic spillover or sheer water feature can be dynamic additions to an ordinary pool.

5. Lighting - While safety is a primary function of lights, today’s pool lighting also adds touches of beauty and pizzazz. Standard incandescent and halogen pool lights are functional staples, and fiber optic lighting can add striking color to a nighttime poolscape. Fiber optics are especially great around pools and landscaping because there’s no electrical current to worry about. Long-lasting LED replacement lights can typically be installed with little or no modification to the existing pool. The colored LED lights can create an entirely new mood around your pool while providing energy savings at the same time.

“Of course, there are many more renovations and improvements to consider,” Weber says. “Digital controls make operating pool equipment easier than ever, allowing you to control lighting, heating and cleaning with the touch of the button. And upgrades like adding a salt chlorinator system, solar cover and heater can improve the functionality and efficiency of a pool.”

Keep in mind, you don’t have to do everything at once. Pool renovations can be done over several seasons, allowing you to make the improvements and fund your investment at a pace that works for you. Of course, to ensure you get the most for your money, you’ll want to hire an experienced pool contractor. You can find an APSP certified building or service professional through the organization’s website, www.apsp.org. APSP-certified professionals are required to demonstrate proven knowledge of design, construction and service, follow a strict code of ethics, and must engage in continuing education to maintain their certification.

“Most renovations are quite affordable, and can dramatically change the look of your backyard,” Weber says. “It’s important to ensure your project is performed by a certified professional who can help you turn your vision into reality safely, efficiently and cost-effectively.”

Courtesy of BPT

Innovative solutions for your home

Technologies that improve and protect your home become more advanced each year. If you have some problem areas that could benefit from the latest unique home solutions, here are some tips:

Deck kits enhance outdoor spaces
With the emergence of new deck materials such as solid PVC, homeowners no longer have to waste excessive time or money on deck maintenance. The vast array of rich colors and surface textures, along with stain and scratch resistant materials have made these items a smart choice over wood. Now, there are kits that accessorize these deck options.

If you’ve ever made a mad dash to retrieve cushions or other items when it rains, then in-deck storage may be in order, according to Mike Gori, deck expert for AZEK Building Products, maker of AZEK Deck. This clever idea provides 17.5 cubic feet of safe, dry storage space that uses the area below the deck. “You don’t have to sacrifice living space or ruin your view with unsightly plastic tubs,” says Gori. The storage unit’s lid sits flush with the deck surface and holds up to 500 pounds. “There are also kits for building benches with planter boxes and custom gates,” he says. “It’s never been easier to accessorize a new or existing deck.”

The caulk cure for energy costs
One of your home’s biggest money drains can be energy waste - whether it’s warm or cool air leaking out or outside temperatures sneaking in. That is where a bead of quality caulk can be the best bang for your buck. One caulk problem happens when homeowners paint caulk too early, which can cause cracks to form, letting in air and moisture.

"What we came up with is an advanced sealant called ColorCure that actually tells you when the caulk can be painted - it turns from pink to white," says Jason Ringling, director of marketing at Red Devil, Inc. "If you test caulk by touching the wet bead, the finish is ruined." Another good practice is to use new caulk and sealant products that are better for the environment as well as high performance. "It’s not only environmentally friendly, but solvent-free and low VOC - and with no plasticizers it won’t leach or pick up dirt which is perfect for painted finishes," Ringling says.

Have a great room outdoors
Shade pergolas can provide the convenience of a great room in the great outdoors for entertaining al fresco. With dignified beauty, pergolas have many style options that create a picture-perfect gathering spot near the garden or pool.

"These versatile, stylish outdoor rooms provide semi-privacy and are ideal for entertaining or relaxing with your family," says Sue Donahue, marketing manager for Walpole Woodworkers a leader in premium outdoor structures.

Another advantage to today’s pergola designs is the addition of protective fabric canopies that let the party go on, rain or shine. “Canopies, either operated manually or by remote control, keep furniture and outdoor decor protected at the first sign of inclement weather,” she says.

Pergola styles include arched or classic straight tops, and columns are typically square, tapered, or round. A lattice screen can add more privacy and bring color to the area, with climbing plant and vines. Donahue says to look for pergolas in wood or the new wood-alternative solid PVC materials that are low maintenance and long-lasting.

Prepare for wet weather extremes
Extreme weather events can happen in a flash. Even if you’re not in an official flood zone, inches of rainfall in a matter of minutes, hurricanes and other freakish weather events can cause flooding. The experts at WAYNE Water Systems advise consumers to look for durable, reliable, worry-free water handling pumps.

"It only takes one water event to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, so prevention is the key, starting with a quality sump pump," says vice president of sales Charles Murphy. "Additional layers of protection include battery back-up pumps in case of power outages and water-sensing alarms for early notification.

As homeowner Bill Bellaver of Troy, Mich. reports, his sump pump protected his home for 33 years before taking its last gasp. His friends and neighbors were not so lucky. “Our WAYNE pump has worked well without any issues, while friends with lower quality or no pumps have suffered damage or loss of valuables,” he says.

Homeowners can make smarter choices with today’s new home solutions. It’s a way to reduce hassles, save money and add convenience to their current lifestyle.

Upgraded decking materials offer enduring quality and beauty

Upgraded%20decking%20materials%20offer%20enduring%20quality%20and%20beautyTackling your home improvement list this summer likely includes doing some work on your outdoor spaces.  If replacing or updating a deck is your focus, it’s wise to look into new products that help ensure your efforts will be enjoyed for many seasons to come.

Eighty-three percent of people say low-maintenance qualities are important when considering outdoor home improvement projects, according to a Trex Company survey. Durable, hassle-free composite decks are more popular than ever among time-challenged homeowners because of their low-maintenance qualities. You might not know, however, that composite materials have evolved significantly since their introduction almost two decades ago.

“The newest generation of composite decking offers a superior combination of beauty and performance due to significant advances made in fade and stain resistance,” says Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex, the inventor and leading brand of the composite decking category. “Today’s composites look ‘like new’ for much longer - making them the perfect upgrade for both wood deck owners and homeowners who love their existing composite decks.”

Following are four key attributes to look for when purchasing composite decking:

* Superior durability - Spilled food, dropped grill tools and wet planter pots are no match for newer composites like the high-performance Trex Transcend collection.  Transcend offers an unprecedented combination of fade, stain and mold resistance thanks to its exclusive protective shell and high-traffic formulation.  Regardless of harsh weather conditions or daily wear and tear, Transcend also will not rot, warp or scratch.  

* Realistic colors and textures - With high-definition wood grain patterns and rich, saturated colors inspired by the outdoors, today’s composites look more natural than ever before and boast a vibrancy that remains unchanged for years.  Color options range from deep earth tones to warm umbers, spicy reds and pristine greys - while some boards offer the distinct streaked look of tropical hardwoods and others provide an appearance with less color variation.  When combined with a modular composite railing system that provides similar high performance and long-lasting beauty, composite decking offers endless mix-and-match options for incredible design flexibility to suit the style of any home.

* Ultra-low maintenance - The newest composites retain their beauty for decades with minimal upkeep, meaning you’ll spend more time enjoying - rather than maintaining - your deck this summer and for years to come.  In fact, you never need to worry about sanding, staining or painting - just do a simple soap and water cleaning twice a year.  Since spills, splashes and other mishaps are inevitable, it’s extremely important to select a composite that guarantees no-fade color - so that your decking remains looking the same for decades as it did on the day it was installed.

* Strong warranties - Lengthy warranties on next generation composites guarantee enduring good looks and offer additional peace-of-mind. In fact, Trex Transcend decking is backed by a 25-year Limited Fade and Stain Warranty, which is unprecedented in the industry and adds another layer of protection to Transcend’s standard 25-year warranty - resulting in the ultimate assurance of lasting beauty.   

“Today’s composite decking is proof that sometimes the best can get even better,” says Zambanini. “It combines unprecedented performance and aesthetics - taking the outdoor living experience to a whole new level for homeowners.”

For more information about the latest innovations in outdoor living products - and for other ideas on how to spruce up your outdoor space with deck lighting, furniture, pergolas and more - visit trex.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Bathroom remodeling ideas that add style and space

Remodeling%20ideas%20that%20add%20style%20and%20space%20to%20any%20bathroomNow, more than ever, homeowners are adding to the value and comfort of their homes by renovating bathrooms into private retreats with luxurious touches that rival those of an upscale spa or resort.

Ron and Susan Bishop of Adams Township, Pa., recently completed an extensive remodel of the master bathroom in their 20-year-old home. The remake covered nearly every square inch of the space, including the installation of new cabinets, tile, floor coverings and lighting. The couple says one of the biggest highlights is the custom shower enclosure, made from Clarvista glass by PPG, which uses a fused-on coating to keep its showroom appearance over time.

"Few things detract from the appearance of a luxurious bathroom more than a shower door covered with water deposits and soap scum," Ron Bishop says. "Susan and I made it a point to find a product that would keep its good looks and be easy to maintain. We completed the renovation on our master bath more than a year ago, and the glass on our shower enclosure still looks brand new."

When considering an update for your bathroom, whether you choose to do an extensive remodel or a smaller project, most kitchen and bath designers agree on these tips:

* Consider the size of the bathroom. If you have a small room, look for ways to make it feel more expansive. A sleek, stylish glass shower enclosure helps your bathroom appear more spacious, and in most instances, a frameless shower enclosure will provide the cleanest, most open look. If you decide to go with a framed shower enclosure, you’ll have two choices: frameless sliding doors or framed doors. For framed doors, be sure the finish of the metal framing and handles matches your bathroom fixtures.

* Think outside the box. Taking a creative approach to bathroom necessities can help you make the most of your space. For instance, the majority of shower enclosures are square or rectangular, but today’s designers encourage you to think about other shapes. Don’t be afraid to consider a circular or oval-shaped enclosure, a triangle or even a standard shape with an artfully bowed glass door, which can redefine the space and make your bathroom more versatile.

* Don’t skimp on the glass. All glass used for shower enclosures is safety glass, which means it is tempered to make it stronger and more shatterproof. That doesn’t mean all shower glass is alike, though. Most shower doors and enclosures are fabricated from conventional clear glass - which typically has a light, almost imperceptible green cast - or some variation of frosted glass. If you want a look that’s chic and ultra-clear, ask your bath designer or showroom retailer about Clarvista on Starphire glass.

* Brighten things up. Repainting your bathroom with light colors can make it feel more spacious. If your bathroom has windows or skylights, use window treatments and accents that maximize the amount of light that comes through to give the room a more airy feel.

* Find the best use for your space. Move bathroom cleaning items to a hall closet if you are stretched for storage space in your bathroom, especially if you have freestanding storage units that are taking up valuable floor space. If you need more storage space, consider adding built-in compartments if possible between your wall studs to maximize usable space.

It’s been shown time and time again that remodeling a bathroom can add to a home’s value. Whether you want to sell or just enjoy your home more, it’s one of the most practical and dramatic ways to make your home more appealing. To discover more great ideas and inspiration for bathroom remodeling, visit www.ppgclarvista.com.

Courtesy of BPT


Dave Lewis Dave Lewis
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Madeira Beach, FL 33708

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