Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fireplace Maintenance Tip - Cleaning

A fireplace has two uses, to provide heat to keep a space warm and comfy and can also be a gleaming focal point to a room or patio setup. But just like any other valuable things, they need some maintenance care to look and work well.

It is possible to have a fireplace in any home these days because there are compliant electric fireplaces and propane fireplaces and heaters available. It is a beneficial innovation for modern living and the designs become more and more attractive also. So now every household may have a traditional wood burning fireplace or the electric and gas fireplace alternatives.

However, each type of fireplace requires different maintenance procedure. A few handy tips would be helpful.

The best way to maintain the looks and even the functionality of a fireplace is to keep it clean. For the traditional fireplace, removing the ashes is a must but do not forget to wipe out visible soot from time to time because it may become harder to remove them once they thickened. Let your chimney inspected and cleaned for at least once a year.

Electric fireplaces and patio heaters will require cleaning of its interior parts. This is because most of them are fan forced which means they take air in and out. Dust may accumulate inside so they need to opened and cleaned. If you are not sure how to do it properly then a professional can handle it. You may observe how it is done so that you can do it yourself next time.

Propane patio heaters and fireplaces are easier to clean. You just need to wipe out all the dirt from its surface and fire screen.

Careful and frequent cleaning might also help maintain the mint condition for at least a few months and even a year.

For safety, before doing anything, turn off the unit or fire, unplug, and wait until it cools down completely.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Patio Design Styles and Tips

A patio design style is usually to be determined first before the construction actually begins. It all depends on what theme or look is desired or on how the outdoor space is to be used. Each homeowner has specific needs or wants for a patio and it becomes the basis of determining a patio design style.

Garden Patio
A garden patio is simply a patio with the addition of plants and other garden features. Keep in mind that a garden patio should stay a patio and not even a combination of a garden. There are just plants and other garden features added to it and are strategically arranged to keep the patio look with a garden feel.

Bistro in the Patio
Designing a patio with bistro is really easy. It can simply be done by adding a bistro table with chairs and a little decor fixes. An outdoor umbrella or a shade sail can be used if you need a sun cover. These are not just for sun shade but also for additional style of the little patio table setup.

A setup like this is great for break time, reading a book or magazine, and a little chit chat.

Tropical Paradise
Want to have a great time relaxing in a lounge chair with the warmth of the sun while sipping a cool drink without traveling? Well, a tropical paradise patio setup is right for you. It would be really amazing if you have a pool and just setup your patio nearby.

All you need for this kind of design is a lounge chair or other relaxing seating set, some sun shade, and some tropical plants. You may use a patio umbrella, a real beach umbrella if you like, or even a tiki thatch umbrella for a more traditional look. Then add palm plant species for a fresh tropical look and feel.

Outdoor Living Room
Outdoor living room design is not typically a closed room. It can be a patio that is an extension to a house with permanent roof. This outdoor patio room is designed similar to an indoor living room but the furnishings must be suitable for outdoors.

For the design, combine patio furniture items such as a wicker set, a center table, a rug, and a warm lighting. Add a fireplace to extend your outdoor room enjoyment during cold seasons and on cold nights. An electric fireplace is the best alternative for us living in an area where traditional wood burning is not possible or prohibited.

There are other styles you can find around the internet. You can try visualizing your desired style and make some experiments, maybe combining some of these styles with others.

Also, an existing patio can be redesigned to get the desired style. It would be a great update for a patio if you want some changes around your residence.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tips for Backyard or Patio Transformation

An old backyard or patio needs transformation to look fresh and feel new. Such goals can be achieved without a need to renovate the whole structure but with only few updates and addition. These are not labor intensive tasks, but need some effort however. So let us get started!

Spruce Up Your Space
Basically, to spruce up means to make your outdoor space neat and well arranged. So the first thing we just need for initial backyard transformation is clean the area and arrange the outdoor items. Take away unnecessary items that just fill the area. Save some space and add decorations that are just right for the season and occasion that you are preparing for.

New Design
A new backyard and patio design is a sure shortcut way of transformation. However, a new layout may require more effort and expenses. Well, there is a little technique that is worth a little labor and cost.

An existing setup design can be altered by introducing a new feature to it. A patio design would surely look different by adding a new centerpiece or a focal point for every season and occasion.
  • A fire pit or a fire bowl in the middle
  • A little artificial water fall to add freshness
  • A water fountain for spring or summer
  • A snowman for winter
  • An outdoor kitchen for those who likes cooking.

New and Renew Patio Furniture
Patio furniture set takes a bigger part and what completes a patio setup. If it looks old, a place would look outdated. Buying a new set is a quick solution, but refinishing old but still usable patio furniture items save you a lot of money.

Wooden patio furniture items can be repaired and refinished at home with simple steps. Clean, sand, and repaint.

Renewing metal furniture items can be done at home too but need a little technical know-how.

New and Renew Shades
Quality awnings and patio umbrellas such as made by Sunbrella last longer and maintain colors for years. What cause them to look old and faded are the dirt, bird poop, and stains. It only takes a wash to make then look new again. But if your outdoor shade is already faded and has wear-and-tear, replacing the fabric is your only best option.

For the patio design, adding a new shaded area makes a change. Even a small outdoor umbrella, paired with a table and a couple of chairs, is tempting for a quick break or relaxation. A shade sail is also a great option for backyard picnic on weekends.

Update Outdoor Lighting
After the transformation is done, think about when the sun sets. The new look will not be appreciated at night without proper lighting. So these too, deserve an update.

Lights have a life span, as they get old, the performance or brightness will never be the same as new. Lights will get weaker after long use. So it would be helpful to check and do some maintenance task such as cleaning or replacing old light bulbs.

Tips for Solar Lights
Outdoor solar lights will get weaker but it could be due to some reasons that do not need replacement. Check if the solar collector is not covered with dirt and cobwebs. Rechargeable Batteries can get weaker after months or years of use depending on the quality. No need change the whole item, just check if a new battery solves.