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Check out 4 Winter Maintenance Tips For Your Home!

With the cool breezes flowing, it is time to once again look for your home maintenance part. Certainly, something should be left for the professional. However, there is a long list of things you can start yourself and save your money. Read on to know more.

Winters are special in many ways. As soon as the winds start getting colder, you start making special arrangements. Ranging from the addition of winter coats, boots, etc. to your wardrobe to the significant changes in your skin care regiment, you make several editions for winters. What about your home? Have you made any special preparations? Just like your body and skin, your home also needs special attention in winters. Check out below, what all you can do these winters:

Start with your roof
Roof MaintenanceIt is the first interface for those chilly breezes. Hence, you must look for their maintenancefirst. Your roof starts wearing down over a time and here arises the need to check your roof for the signs of damage. Are there any shingles or some tiles to break? Are there any exposed areas in the underlayment? If act as yes, these can leaks and holes for the water and wind to seep through your attic. If things seem to be getting worse, consulting a roofing professional is the right solution.

Clear the walkways

You love snowfall, that’s good. But snow andice build-up in driveways can be seriously dangerous. Thus, for your safety and even your neighbors, it is a must to plow or shovel the snow which covers the traffic areas. While it protects you from several minor and major accidents, on other hand it help keep your home warmer.

Plan for windows
Plan for windowsThe maximum amount of wind enters your house through the windows. In order to overcome this problem, consider hanging extra curtains and blinds. You can do this in both, i.e. your living room and bedroom. It will not only act as a barrier but also help to insulate and keep the heat in. When it is sunny outside, you can easily open them and let the warm waves make your residence cozier. Thermal curtains are a great addition these days, which also offer increased insulation.

Clear the fireplace:
Clear the fireplace

In the winter nights, it is the fireplace which makes your enjoy hot coffee sitting beside it. It keeps your space warm and cozy all through winters. And what more important is that it is easy and inexpensive to maintain. The key to success is that you need to keep your fireplace cleaned. You can start annually, preferably before you start using it in the fall. and winter. Actually, after some time creosote, extremely flammable oil starts building on the interior of the chimney, which if not removed, can catch fire easily. Hence, from safety perspective also you need to make your fireplace fire-ready.

So, if you haven’t put any great efforts yet, it is right time to take out few minutes to walk around your home and visually inspect what all needs maintenance. It is important from both perspectives, i.e. safety and home maintenance. Get started today!


How to install laminate floorings at home?

Laminated flooring is becoming a popular option these days. It provides your home with stunning looks. And the best thing about this flooring style is that it is very affordable. So, now you can have the quality, style and durability altogether and that too at prices that will not break the bank.

Laminated flooring

Planning to have laminate floors at home? Well, it is a great idea. But if you are trying hands on the laminate flooring installation for first time, it can be a daunting task for you. However, if you spend little time in understanding the process for how to install laminate flooring, you will end up with beautiful floors. You will need some tool kit at your dispense and proper instructions to give it a final touch.

So, just before you start ensure the following with yourself:

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Pull bar
  • Foam underlayment
  • Tapping block
  • Laminate flooring
  • Spacers
  • Hand saw/coping saw
  • Hammer
  1. Planning: Firstly, make sure to plan your installation properly. For example, measure the laying area carefully and according buy the right number of laminate square. A little time you spend in planning and preparing can save you from those installation hassles easily. Once you are done with planning, start with tearing out the old flooring.Laminated flooring
  2. Work with the new flooring: Remember, the floors have tendency to shrink and expand with temperature and humidity changes. For this, prepare them for the conditions of your space once week prior to installation. Remove the plastic packaging and keep it in an open surface. On the other hand, you can start removing the base moldings and lifting up the old flooring. Keep in mind that you clean the debris and then inspect the surface for repair.
  3. Underlayment is needed: While some laminate flooring comes with foam underlayment, you can also buy them later. For those who purchase it separately can install one strip at a time and once you are done with it, you need to trim the door jambs. Use a hand saw to do this. It offers your floor a clean and professional look.
  4.  Installation: Begifoam underlaymentn the process with the longest one. Do it carefully, as the first plank is the most important one and forms the base for further installation. Remember, you need to keep place for natural expansion and contraction. So, place half-inch gap and gently tap for a snug fit. For a long lasting and perfect installation, make sure to stagger the end joints of the adjacent boards.
  5. Wind up carefully: Just like your first plank, the last one needs equal, in fact greater attention. In case it is necessary to trim the board, ensure that it’s flush.

Laminate floorings are being loved by the homeowners who want a look of wood for their floors without investing much. And, now there is one more reason- it’s easy to install. So, if you’re moderately handy and have those basic tools, you can get the job done on a weekend!

customize your deck to fit the space and lifestyle

Looking for unique ideas to work your deck??? Here are a few amazing ways of adding a beautiful deck to your space.

For some, it serves as a relaxing area while for others it is an entertainment area for parties and get-together. Besides these, a beautiful deck can bridge the gap between the ins-and-out of the home or office space turning it into a comfy and appealing space.

A functional and efficient deck design can offer myriads of features to fulfill specific purposes as per the needs of the people.

Apart from that outdated rudimentary rectangular wooden design, you can customize your deck to fit your space and lifestyle.

Check out here for a few amazing deck designs to add value and aesthetics to your home.

Leveled deck Leveled deck – Tying the deck in different levels can serve various purposes. It can break the monotonous look of your large flat backyard or the terrain slopes. In such a case, while you can use the top level of you deck for entertainment that opens from the kitchen, the lower level can serve for lounging. Moreover, you can also highlight any view by designing multiple decks as advantageous points. Devote these layers for both public and private outdoor spaces and make fun!

Party deck – If outdoor parties are not enticing you anymore, you’re your deck a new party place for you! Think about ideas by which you can work your party features into your deck plan. You can incorporate a room for hammock, an outdoor pantry, a fire pit, and plenty of built-in seating. Just bring in your buddies and party hard!!!

Tree-hugging deck-If sitting under the tree makes you free pleasant, then customizing a deck around a tree is a wonderful idea! Just fit in the deck and integrate it farther into the yard. A ‘tree surgeon’ or an arborist can assist you better in deciding the space according to the tree’s mature size.

Railing–deck combo – If railing and deck both are your favorite and sacrificing any of these isn’t convincing you, GO AHEAD! You need not to sacrifice any of these. There are many contemporary railings available with see-through spline or glass. Just think about the style and quality. But, be sensible and wise about the cost, maintenance and congruity when selecting the deck railing.

Customize Your Deck

Wraparound Decks – If you are fond of panoramic views, you deserve a panoramic deck. However, there are a few important considerations when it comes to wraparound decks. Framing to determine the decking pattern with the most unifying patterns and those that goes well with the existing lines of your house.

Corner deck – Fill in the exterior space with a corner deck to overcome the “missing” corner from your house layout. It will complement the architecture. Adding sliding glass doors onto the deck can serve as the ‘cherry on the cake.’





Tips to enhance your home’s look with Wood Beams

If you want to make stunning addition to your home, Wood beams are great way! In addition to enhancing your home’s beauty, they also give a character wherever they are used. Even, you need not to worry about the cost as there are several variants of wood beams. For instance, structural beams can be modified in decorative wood that will give an impression of solid wood. You can also go for faux wood beams that are made of composite plastics if budget is your concern.

Take a look at these tips that probably might help you in achieving what is best for you.

The Real AllureWood beams
The rustic look of wood beams sets your home apart from all other decoration styles. If budget is a problem for you, even using timber framing and beam construction can help you the beauty of solid wood. For the rest of others, buying beams of solid wood has no match.

You can get them in hemlock, oak, chestnut, and even maple, pine and birch. These can be sanded, polished, stained, or roughhewn according to your requirement. But as said, ‘beauty comes with a vanity’, so as the solid wood. These are more expensive, both in term of material and installation, but it’s worth this expense!

Faux Wood

Faux wood beam creators have risen up to offer more affordable ways across the country for those looking for that typical timber beam look. Made up of polyurethane plastics, these composite beams are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. One cannot judge the difference! In addition to their cost-effectiveness, these composite beams are much easier to install; their lightweight being the reason.

Design Ideas
In addition to the material of the wood beam, it is also important for the homeowners to wood beam consider the right design pattern. Other than installing a single beam running across the ceiling, you can also your space to get various design possibilities of decorating with wood timbers. Whether it’s a high ceiling, cathedral or small room, they just look as great as decorative strings. You can also install them across lower ceilings in regular patterns. It’ll give you a feel of medieval cottage whenever you enter in the room.

Experts Consultation
The weight and size of the wood beams can lead to improper installation, resulting in the damaging your home. For this reason, it’s best to consult an experienced professional to ensure that the look will be alluring and safe to you forever.

There can be myriads of options to choose from when it comes to designing or decorating your home. Out of the many, wooden beams can be one of the best accents. With a little design and finishing work, wood beams can bring huge variations in the dynamics of your living space.

On the Path to Preservation with Matthew Wolf

8.4FrerkPic (2)Matthew Wolf is a fifth generation successor to his family’s building materials business, Henry Frerk Sons. “Every generation has run the company since it began – my mother is a Frerk,” provides Wolf. “My Great Great Grandfather started the business as a general store in the early 1870’s.”

Great Great Grandpa Henry expanded to the company’s current location on Belmont, he began the transition to building materials. His sons amassed great wealth (and then lost almost everything during the Great Depression) with coal. Matt’s grandfather brought in the first concrete trucks, and his dad developed special concrete – the type that “general cement contractors can’t provide on their trucks.”

Wolf says it looks like “his thing” is going to be restoration. “Every generation put their own mark on the company. It’s very important to me to do the same. This is also such a good point about business – you can’t stay stagnant!”

Material Evolution

Matt first went to school for architecture and graduated with a business management degree. He became passionate about preservation during this time, learning about wood restoration, how to assess old buildings, testing masonry, painting, wall paper, etc. (He also says the Art Institute has some of the best classes available for people interested in learning more about preservation.) Since then Wolf has become an expert on restorative materials leading the company into a new era of education on the subject for their customers. One of his most passionate topics is the importance of lime mortar applications for restoration projects.

“Lime mortar has been used in America since the settlers. Portland cement (what we use today) was first developed in England in the 1870’s, but wasn’t widely used in the U.S. until the 1930’s, because it was very expensive to produce and there were few manufacturers around making it.”

Referring to actual documents at his office, Matt further illustrated his point. “For example, a rail car filled with lime, about 150 barrels worth, cost $52.50 in 1908. That same amount of cement cost $214.50 at the time – just about four times as much! Lime mortar was cheap, and you could get it anywhere. Contractors were hesitant to use cement in the beginning because it was so expensive, but when the price came down enough for contractors to use it laying brick, cement took the market over by the 1940’s.”

Cement v. Mortar

One of the biggest differences between cement and lime mortar is that cement gets very hard very fast, and lime mortar takes a very long time to set.

There are 7 different types of mortar differentiated by their hydraulic properties – the degree to which lime works with water to grow crystals and get hard. The more hydraulic mortar is, the harder and faster it gets hard.

Lime putty has zero hydraulic properties, “…it’s like sour cream”. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Portland cement; it’s made from the same rocks, but with different additives. In between the two are:

NHL – Natural Hydraulic Lime 2.0, 3.5 and 5.0 rated from weakest to strongest

Pozzolain Lime – Developed by the Romans

Natural Cement – Developed in New York and used to build the Erie Canal, lighthouses, and other structures.

Wolf says the Romans were really the first to develop lime. It was tried and true for centuries, “…but Portland cement did such a great job of advertising we forgot about lime mortar. Portland is for resurfacing and isn’t necessarily the way to go with restoration.”

Historic Commitments

Matt is committed to the belief if a building was built with lime mortar, it should be rebuilt with lime mortar. “With restoration, lime mortar breathes better – but you don’t want it to go through the brick. If you have an 1840’s lime joint and you repoint with cement mortar, it could be harder than the original mortar and brick. When mortar joints are stronger, age and the elements could damage the brick. This is because moisture gets trapped and breaks down if you use cement mortar.

Pre-1930 commercial buildings usually have this problem. You can test for the original mortar, but it’s very expensive; for residential structures, you can usually tell by looking at it. You can use lime mortar to repair later built houses too.”

Wolf is glad to see lime mortar is being widely recognized in preservations now and offers that, contractors, in general, are reluctant to use it because “they grew up with cement.” He appreciates that Fortune Restoration has been working closely with his company to learn the art of lime mortar. “I’m excited about working with them because their technical skills are so great. They are covering the walls with burlap, hand chiseling and performing other like tasks to mhttps://www.facebook.com/FortuneRestoration/videos/vb.585307058171610/845862335449413/?type=2&theateraintain ‘proper historic masonry renovation’.”

Wrap Up

In an effort to defray the expense of maintaining historic building applications with integrity, Frerk is the first building supplier to make a “bulk silo” for lime mortar to help bring down the cost. “We often see more damage with bad re-pointing because the wrong stuff was used. It really should be a do-it-right-or-don’t-do-it-at-all undertaking.”

The company’s general philosophy for historic buildings is to find out what the problem is first and then determine the right way to fix it. “We go to the jobsites, work with the contractors and consult to find best answers. We also realized we needed to be better educated about lime mortar and bring it to the masons. I want to network with preservationists and do more things like that.”

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Excellent restoration jobs by Fortune Restoration in the Chicago area

Masonry contractors are mushrooming in the area around Chicago, and, indeed the demand is also high in one of the most relevant commercial hubs of United States. However, not all of them are good enough to claim excellence in masonry work. One of the simplest ways to judge the contractor and cross check his claims is to go through their previous, completed projects in the area.

The Fortune Restoration is one of the oldest names when it comes to successful completion of various kinds of restoration, painting, tuckpointing, brick repair etc. The contractor is active since 1979, and presently, enjoys popularity among its kind.

There is no area around Chicago where Fortune Restoration hasn’t taken up restoration work. The residential apartments from Hyde Park to Lincoln Park to Oak Park and River Forest, and the entire North Shore and Western Suburbs, almost every corner features one or more jobs well completed by the Fortune. Let’s take a look at some of its most applauded projects.

Oldest Home in Chicago – Fortune Restorations have played a major part in the restoration of The Nobel Seymour Crippen House (designated a City of Chicago Historical Landmark). The place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. It’ll give you an idea of skillful job done by the contractor.

National and Local Historic Landmarks – To review the works of tuckpointing contractors Evanston, do visit the Grosse Point Light Station in Evanston. It’s a nicely executed restoration job. Other landmarks include McCormic Mansion, Lois Sullivan Building in Chicago, The Nobel-Symour-Crippen House, which was restored after the Norwood Park Historical Society had launched a whole house restoration and landscaping improvement plant in cooperation with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Painted Lady Houses – The Fortune Restoration has worked on restoring many Victorian Painted Ladies homes and many of these houses dates’ backs to late-1800. If you need to review brick repair in Oak Park, then award-winning Painted Lady in Oak Park will be a viable option. Other names in the list include many Painted Lady houses in Chicago and Evanston as well.

Churches –Restoring churches is considered one of the most tedious tasks that ask for great care and detailed work dealing with extremely high ceilings to the handling of detailed architectural ornaments. The Fortune Restoration many names in its list that stand as evidences of skillful and quality of job delivered by the contractor. These names include St. Philip Neri Church, Our Lady of Victory Church, and Our Lady of Tepeyac Church in Chicago. The 1st Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest is also restored by the Fortune Restorations.

Frank Lloyd Wright Restoration – Let it be painting contractors in Hinsdale or masonry contractors in Lincoln Park, the fortune restoration has weighed heavy on many of its rivals. Fran Lloyd Wright was restored meticulously by Fortune painting carpenters, who repaired the damaged areas of stucco along with restoring the condition of woodwork and columns. Therefore, it’s a quire relevant project to review.

Oldest Italian Restaurant in Chicago –The Italian Village Restaurant in Chicago is known for its collection of awards for its cuisine since 1927. The interior design of the structure is marvelous and it was given a refreshing treatment by the Fortune Restoration. It can be counted as an example of the highest level of craftsmanship by the contractor, and you’ll need no better proof of Fortune’s worth after you visit this restaurant.

Let alone hiring tuckpointing contractors Chicago or masonry contractors Oak Park, most important of all is that you talk to the owners or caretakers of the aforementioned buildings to get a clear idea about the standards of the Fortune Restoration jobs and then compare them to others in the market.