Time to Raise The Roof

4 Tips for Beginner Welders

Welding is one of those skills that when learned and developed well, it could really open up a lot of new doors to you as a craftsman. Whether you are looking to learn to weld just for your own general knowledge or you plan to take the skill into the workforce, your first few attempts can sometimes be rocky. Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks of the trade that can help you along the way. As you begin learning how to weld, no matter whether you are using a mig or tig welder, there are a few basic tips every beginner must keep in mind. 

1. Keep your materials clean.

You may be welding in the middle of your cluttered garage or even outdoors, but no matter what, you have to keep your welding equipment and supplies clean. Even if the debris that lands on these pieces is minuscule, it can have an effect on how your weld turn out in the end. 

2. Start with easy tasks and work your way up.

The worst thing you can do when starting out is to just grab something metal and try to weld it. Welding various metal materials all come with different complexity levels. Start at the bottom and work your way up so you don’t feel overwhelmed right off the bat. For example, thin sheet metal can be a little harder to weld for beginners because it easy to burn a hole right through it. Stick with angle iron projects and others that utilize thicker materials to start out, as these can be much easier to handle. 

3. Never underestimate the importance of safety gear.

When you first get a welder and start researching all you need to get started, you may be tempted to skimp where safety equipment is concerned, but this is a huge mistake. Welding gloves, safety goggles, and a good welders helmet are all out necessities to keep you protected—even when you are an experienced welder. 

4. Learn what a good-operating welder sounds like.

This one may sound strange, but the best welders know their machine so well, they can actually just listen to it perform and know it is working properly. For example, a mig welder often sounds like sizzling bacon during use; not too much popping and crackling, just a smooth sizzle. Knowing what your welder should sound like will help you better be able to diagnose when something is off. 

For more ideas, contact companies like Northland Fastening Systems.

Learn More

Tips For Removing Mildew Odors From Carpet

A musty odor emanating from your carpet is usually the result of mildew. The cause could be high humidity or moisture in the air, or the residue from a leak or water spill that wasn’t cleaned up properly. Battling the musty odor so that your carpet both smells and looks good can be made easier with the following tips.

Tip #1: Control the cause

No odor eliminating method will work unless you handle the cause. If humidity in the air is leading to a musty carpet, then a dehumidifier in the home may be the best solution. You can use a portable room unit or have a whole house dehumidifier installed. In some cases humidity is seasonal, and simply running your AC or furnace will solve the problem. As for spills or leaks, take steps to make sure they don’t happen again.

Tip #2: Seal your baseboards

It’s not uncommon to remove the smell from the carpet but still be left with a musty odor in the room. The cause is often the wooden baseboards, which rest against the carpet and absorb some of the moisture. Wipe these down with a dilute bleach solution to remove any mildew spores, and then repaint or seal them so that they won’t absorb further moisture and any remaining odors can’t escape.

Tip #3: Deep clean the carpet

Mildew spores and the resulting odor can be deep within the carpet, which means regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning won’t get the musty smell out. Instead, opt for professional carpet cleaning. They will use an industrial strength unit that will force water and cleaning solutions through the carpet and into the pad. Even more important, this is followed by an extracting process that pulls out almost all of the moisture so that mildew won’t be able to grow again.

Contact a company like Conscientious Carpet Care to learn more about your carpet cleaning options.

Tip #4: Use a deodorizer

Remaining odors can be controlled with a deodorizing procedure. Professional services will typically use a deodorizing shampoo that is formulated to get rid of mildew smells. This may be combined with an enzyme cleaner, which will break down other odors, such as from pets. You can maintain the fresh smell of your carpet between cleanings by sprinkling the carpet with baking soda before you vacuum each week. Leave the soda in place for a few hours to overnight to absorb the odor, then vacuum it up.

Learn More

Five Ideas To Include In Your Custom Built Home

Buying a new home is even more exciting if you are having it custom built by home builders. It will match your needs and dreams. While you have likely given much thought to the number of rooms, kitchen layout, and other obvious design features, there are some key things that may be passing underneath your radar. The following are five things you should include in your new home.

#1: Upgrade the outlets

Outlets are the one thing that many homeowners wish they had more of, so plan ahead. Instead of the standard two-plug outlets, consider installing the newer hub-style outlets. These have both regular outlets as well as a couple of USB ports for electronics. While you are at it, install recessed outlets as well, so that the plugs don’t protrude from the wall and make it difficult to put furniture flush.

#2: Give every room natural light

It’s not uncommon for a bathroom or long hallway to end up in the center of the home with no outside walls. This can make the space seem dingy and stuffy, often resulting in it being the least favorite area of your home. Whenever possible, open up these window-less spaces by adding a sky light.

#3: Upgrade practical features in the kitchen first

It’s easy to blow the budget on fancy countertops or expensive flooring in the kitchen, but opt for the initial expenditure to be on practical features. You can always upgrade the aesthetic features later as the budget allows. This means recessing outlets under cabinets so you can have the backsplash uninterrupted, opting for deeper sinks and instant hot water, or installing magnetic lighting that turns on each time you open a cabinet or pantry door.

#4: Plan for efficiency

It’s easier and less expensive to build an energy efficient home than to attempt to modify it later. This means placing plenty of windows for solar gain on the south side of the home. Also, opt for thicker walls and good insulation from the get-go. Place windows for cross-ventilation as well, and consider installing an attic fan to move heat out of the house.

#5: Don’t overlook the exterior

While it is common to build the house then worry about landscaping later, there are a few things you should do during the home building phase. First and foremost, plan to have an electrical outlet on every side of the house and a water spigot on at least two sides. This will save you the cost and effort of having them installed later. You may also want to install an electrical and possibly even a gas line out to your patio area, as this will allow you to add a built-in grill later.

For more ideas, contact a home builder in your area.

Learn More

Are You Poisoning Your Children? Everything You Need To Know About Lead In Your Drinking Water

Lead poisoning has been thrust into the public spotlight once again after evidence emerged that an entire city was drinking water contaminated with toxic levels of lead. While lead contamination rarely happens on this large of a scale, it is not uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of children are being exposed to lead in their own homes. Following is everything you need to know about lead and your child. 

How Do Children Get Lead Poisoning?

Lead, a metal, is a natural element found in the earth. In the past, lead was used in many household products, including paint, plaster, glass, pewter, and pottery. Since it is found in the ground, lead can also contaminate ground water sources. If you have a well, you should be extra concerned about lead. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of children with lead poisoning got it from drinking contaminated water. 

What Are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?

Lead accumulates in the body over time and can lead to some very serious conditions in children, including behavior problems, speech and hearing issues, and brain damage. Neurological deficits are common. In cases of severe toxicity, children may experience organ failure. They can even die. Children who are exposed to lead also often exhibit slower growth and development than other children. Once exposed, children may store lead in their body for decades. What’s more, there is no way to reverse many of the effects of lead poisoning. 

How Can you Test Water for Lead?

If you have a well, you have to test it regularly for contaminants. Since lead can also be found in indoor plumbing, it’s vital that you test your well water as well as the water coming out of your tap. Many health departments will test your water for you. You can also purchase a test kit at most home improvement stores. 

How Do You Remove Lead from Water?

If you know that your water has lead in it, you can take steps to remove it. The first thing you must do is figure out where the lead is coming from. If it is getting picked up by the water as it passes through a pump or your pipes, you can replace these components to get rid of the led. There are also water treatments, such as reverse osmosis and distillation that remove lead. Additionally, you should always allow water to run for a couple of minutes before using it. It’s also a good idea to use cold water for food preparation as it contains less lead than warm water. 

Lead contamination is a serious issue when it comes to underground water sources. Be sure to have your water tested regularly to ensure that your children aren’t poisoned by your water source.

For more information in lead poisoning prevention, contact businesses such as Golden Gate Well Drilling & Water Conditioning.

Learn More

3 Home Remodeling Ideas To Consider When Your Family Begins To Grow

If your family is growing and you realize that you no longer fit into your home as well as you used to, then you may want to consider remodeling. This is a great alternative to having to sell your home and try to find a new one. Remodeling is also likely going to be less expensive than purchasing a new larger home, and it won’t require you to have to relocate from an area where you are happy and comfortable. This article will discuss 3 home remodeling ideas to consider when your family begins to grow. 

Turn Your Garage Into A Living Space 

One great way that you can add some extra living space to your home is to convert your garage. By adding insulation to your garage, as well as heating and cooling, you can make this space livable year round. You are also going to want to take the time to either replace the garage door with a wall or seal off your garage door so that it no longer can be opened and is insulated like the rest of the garage. Once this space has been converted, it can then be used as a bedroom, a game room, a family room, or a variety of other things. Then, if you still need to have a garage, you can either build another one onto the side of the house or your can build a detached garage. 

Finish Your Attic 

If you are in need of more bedrooms for your older kids, then you could consider converting your attic into one or more bedrooms for them. Once the attic is finished, it can actually be a great space for a bedroom. The sloped walls can add a lot of character to the room, and they will likely enjoy the privacy. You will just want to make sure the the attic is fully insulated, the floors are structurally secure and finished, and windows are added or the current windows are made up-to-code. 

Knock Down Walls In Between Your Kitchen And Living Room

If you are looking for more space in the main areas of your home, you can knock out the walls between your kitchen and living room to not only create more space, but to create a more modern and open floor plan. This floor plan is going to be perfect for allowing more sitting and walking room for everyone in the home, and it will also help you to better interact as a family when some of you are in the kitchen and others are in the living room. 

Learn More

What You Need To Know About DIY Fireplace Painting

People make a decision to paint their fireplaces for various reasons. Sometimes it is a project that is started to change the appearance of a room. Other times painting bricks is desired to cover mismatched portions of fireplaces or to hide signs of aging. The following points will be valuable to you if you are considering painting your fireplace.

Determine the desired outcome of the project beforehand.

Some people decide to paint their fireplaces in an effort to make them the focal points of the rooms they are located in. Others prefer to paint theirs to make them blend in with the walls for a more uniform and conservative appearance. If your effort is to make your fireplace a focal point that stands out, you should aim to paint it a color that contrasts with your wall. For example, if your walls are light, painting the fireplace a dark color will create a contrasting effect and dark walls will be contrasted by a light-colored fireplace. If the goal is to make the color complement or blend, you would simply paint the fireplace the same color as the walls or a few shades lighter. 

Inspect the fireplace for signs of damage.

Chances are that there are minor damages to your fireplace. You may want to repair these prior to starting your paint project. For example, you may want to get broken bricks extracted and replaced. You should also look for signs of minor damage such as cracks. Some of these may not require you to remove bricks, but additional mortar may need to be applied to these areas to seal the cracks . 

Clean the bricks, and allow them to dry.

Bricks and mortar are porous. This means that you will need to allow them to dry between cleaning attempts. You should not attempt to paint over bricks that have signs of debris or dirt. This is because the residue will be more apparent when the paint is applied. After cleaning brick and mortar areas, they will need to dry to ensure that the paint process goes smoothly. 

Prime, paint, and protect. 

Primer is needed on bricks for the same reason that it is needed on walls before they are painted. You should not apply the primer until you are sure that the cleaned bricks are dry. Prematurely painting the bricks will negatively impact the outcome of your project. You also need to ensure that you protect your floors and edges of walls that meet with the fireplace by using painter’s tape and draping materials prior to painting your fireplace. 

A painting contractor is a good resource to use for more guidance on painting your fireplace and other brick portions of your home. If you find that the steps needed to prepare your fireplace for painting are too much, they are the ideal choice to ensure the best finish. 

Learn More

4 Tips for Landscaping Your Front Yard Beautifully

You’ve heard about curb appeal and how it adds value to your house. A large part of your home’s curb appeal comes from the front-yard landscaping. Your front yard is the gateway from the street to your front door. Create a beautiful landscape that fosters the ambiance you want to promote in your front yard.

Lead Visitors to the Front Door

Your front walkway not only allows visitors to walk right up to the front door, it draws the eye to your house. Create the ambiance you want with this pathway. If you want a grand entrance to an historical home, install a wide, straight walkway made out of a traditional material such as brick. Alternatively, use spaced pavers to create a curved pathway for a casual approach. Whatever the style, your front walkway should include borders, be it with hardscaping or landscaping.

Plant Gardens

In that vein, don’t neglect to actually plant your front yard with more than grass. Frame a lawn with pretty flower beds, or plant a foundation garden near the base of your house. Such gardening is like grooming for your home—not essential, but improving. If you don’t want a lot of maintenance, use native plants or succulents. For year-round beauty, consider layers of evergreens. For example, plant an evergreen tree and one or two different evergreen shrubs. The latter can even serve as the border of your walkway.

Include the Right Tree

Going along with that, the right tree can really add curb appeal to your house without much maintenance on your part. You don’t want a tree to take over your whole front yard, but you do want one that looks attractive year round. Home and Garden TV suggests some larger varieties, such as Minnesota redbud, red buckeye, and autumn-brilliance serviceberry. For smaller trees, the site recommends hinoki false cypress, “little volunteer” tulip tree, and crape myrtle. Plant the tree well enough away from the house that it won’t cause problems but will offer shade.

Add Sensory Details

With your front-yard landscaping, plan to include senses other than sight. Start with scent-bearing plants. Flowers are the obvious choice, with roses, honeysuckle, and lavender being classic options. However, fragrant herbs such as rosemary and thyme can be good sensory additions. Likewise, consider adding a water fountain to your hardscaping. The water music will create delight in your visitors and can mask street noise when you’re enjoying your front yard.

Let your home make the first impression you desire by attending to your front-yard landscaping. Call a company such as The Hilltop Landscape Architects & Contractors for help.

Learn More