Protecting Your Log Homes from Insects

Protecting Your Log Homes from InsectsOne of the first questions people ask about log homes is how much termite damage do they get? Well, rest assured: log homes are no more susceptible to termites than a traditional framed house. In some ways, it would be easier to spot possible infestation in a stick-framed house, you could have a problem for years without even knowing it.

The termites would be hidden behind your sheetrock, happily gnawing away at structural members, and would attack your walls from the inside-out. With a log, they would most likely start on the outside and work their way in, leaving an obvious trail of sawdust or mud foraging tubes.

Termites thrive in a damp environment; they dehydrate when exposed to the air for too long. If your logs are kept dry, they won’t be a tempting target for wood-boring insects. On the other hand, if you have a spot where a gutter is leaking onto the logs, or your door frame leaks, watch out! That damp spot is the point of entry for insects and wood rot. Also, keep your air conditioner from dripping near the foundation; this is another potential trouble source.

In new construction, there are some measures you can take to reduce the risk of termite damage. First of all, make sure your contractor does not bury any wooden construction debris under the topsoil. This is very common on job sites, and the decomposing wood creates a great environment for new termite colonies.

Secondly, make sure they install a termite shield below the sill plate; this is a bent piece of metal that creates a barrier between the foundation and the wooden sill. Many townships require this by code.

Before you apply the stain, it would be wise to spray the logs with a borate treatment; when added to water, this powdered insecticide is designed to soak into the logs and protect them against insects and wood rot. After the borate treatment has dried (and before the rain washes it off), apply your stain which is toxic and will also protect your logs from insects. To be extra sure, there are additives you can add to the stain that contain insecticides.

Carpenter bees do not like to chew through treated, painted, or stained wood and will probably find more tasty surfaces to attack. Keep an eye on your porches and fascia boards; after a few years, when the stain no longer looks fresh, the bees may revisit your house and start making those perfectly round 1/2″ holes. Luckily, they are easy to treat and once you spray and plug those holes, that particular bee should be taken care of.

Caulking between the log courses is another good way to seal out the insects. I’ve actually watched a fly drag a tiny leaf into a small split in our log ends. You just don’t know what critter wants to live in your logs. Also, do not stack firewood against your house. Chances are very good the cured wood already has insects in it, and you don’t want to transfer them to your pristine logs.

The most important thing to do is make an occasional investigation of your corners, eaves, window frames, foundation. Many infestations are easily dealt with if caught early enough. Don’t assume your house will take care of itself; you, the owner, will be the first line of defense.

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Planning For Your Home Renovation

Planning For Your Home RenovationRenovating should be a fun and exciting process. The key is to plan the project out in advance, hire the right people, allot the appropriate amount of time, and make provisions for delays. Try not to make the completion date coincide with your birthday or anniversary. Begin long before that date, if you’re planning a special party, and even then, have an alternate location in mind.

Don’t impose a time frame on yourself or your contractor that will create stress. At the same time, get a clear understanding of how long the project will probably take, and when it will begin. If it’s a three month job and the work won’t begin until November, your house will not be ready for a New Year’s Party.

This is a surprisingly common problem – how much time the home owner thinks a project will take and that actual work time required. Have your Contractor include a probable time frame with the quote.

Have a clear idea of what you want before your contractor comes over. You don’t have to sketch out the changes, but you should be able to tell them what changes you would like to see. Many good contractors will have done so many renovations that they will immediately know what needs to be done, the approximate cost and time-frame.

When a contractor tells you that ‘the little bathroom’ will cost about $3,000.00, don’t think that your job will secretly only cost about $20.00, maybe a little less…then be shocked and dismayed when your bill comes in at…$3,000.00. You’d be surprised how many people have notions like that. Try not to fall into this trap, or to think that any changes you make once the job has started won’t affect the price or the amount of time of a project. Always get written quotes for any work you are having done, that way you’ll both be clear about the expectations for the job.

If you’re really stuck trying to figure out how to improve an area in your home, consider hiring a Designer. Keep in mind that they can work within your budget, but if your budget is really tight, it’s probably better to spend the consultation fee on new drapes or a toilet.

If decision making is a problem area for you, and you’re able to relinquish control, then a designer might be the clear solution. Shop around the same way you would for a contractor until you find someone you’re really comfortable with, someone who will listen to what you want.

Remember, it’s your house, so do what’s right for you. If you say, “Absolutely no red” and the designer says you need all red if you’re going to be ‘cutting edge’, then choose another designer – one who is more interested in catering to your needs.

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Asbestos Material That Could Be Present In Your Home

If you are concerned about asbestos exposure you are not alone. Many individuals wonder if they have been exposed, and if so, what they can do to help protect their health and improve the safety of your house. If you think that you have been exposed to asbestos or are looking for ways to prevent an exposure, look no further. We will go over some of the health problems that arise from asbestos exposure, and what can be done to prevent them.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used for a variety of different applications. Many homes may have this material in their insulation, as it is a fire retardant. Once exposed, individuals can inhale the microscopic asbestos particles and take them into their lungs. Once there, the fibers can cause lung cancer. If prolonged exposure occurs, an individual can also develop cancer in the chest cavity and abdomen.

It is important to note that many individuals have experienced brief exposure and been just fine. The fine asbestos particles are difficult to see and get rid of, so it is common for them to remain in their air for long periods of time thus increasing the risk of cancer. Smokers are at an increased risk for side effects due to exposure.

If you think that your home may have asbestos there are several places that you want to look. It is important to remember that products today do not contain the fiber, only things built in the 1970’s or earlier.

Steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts could be insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. If the fibers become damaged or are repaired improperly, they could lead to exposure.

Resilient floor tiles- the backing on many vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives could contain asbestos. Sanding the tiles or scraping them could release the fibers.

Cement, millboard, and paper that were used as insulation around furnaces and wood burning stoves. Repairing or removing these appliances could stir up the fibers.

Door gaskets- in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves.

Sound proofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Sanding, drilling or scraping the material could be harmful.

Cement roofing, shingles, and siding. This usually only cause a problem when sawed, drilled, or cut.

If you think that you have asbestos in your home, don’t panic. If the material is good condition, you can leave it alone. It is only when these materials are disturbed that there is a problem. If you find a damaged area- discard it using asbestos gloves and a facial mask. Your local health or environmental officials will be able to walk you through the proper disposal procedure. Always check with them when beginning any remodeling job.

Remember, the only way to find out if something contains asbestos is to look at it under a microscope. Enlist the help of a professional, and let them handle the details. They are trained in such removal procedures and can help ensure the safety of your family and loved ones.

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Wall Oven, Best Appliances for the Disabled

Wall Oven, Best Appliances for the DisabledWall ovens, available in electric and gas forms, are best ovens for the people with disabilities. The ovens can be placed considering the required height of the user, and the controls can also be placed within the reach of the standing or sitting user. The wall ovens usually have three types of doors: side-hinged, drop-front and swinging doors.

Features of wall ovens

Following are some of the features of wall oven that make it a convenient one for disable people:

Knee space: knee space is very important for wheelchair users to access ovens in their own way. For side hinged and swinging doors, knee space should be available under the oven or side closest to the door handle. For a drop hunt door, the knee space must be on either side of the oven.

Height: the height should be appropriate for the user. The lowered wall ovens are usually installed 30″ to 40″ above the ground.

Installation methods of wall ovens

Electric wall ovens are often safe and more widely used because there are no combustion products like carbon monoxide used. Moreover, people with the disability in smell, will not be able to detect a gas leak. However people without these disabilities can easily install the gas wall ovens also.

Following are the ways Electric wall oven and gas wall ovens are installed:

Electric wall ovens installations -

Tools needed: Flathead Screwdriver, Straight Edge, Ruler or tape measurer, Drill, Saw and Straight edge.

Electrical Requirements: 3 wire single phase- A.C. 208Y/120 Volt or 120/240 Volt, 60 Hz electrical system is needed. It should be connected to a properly grounded branch circuit, protected by a fuse.

Other requirements: the wall ovens should be securely fastened to a cabinet which in turn should be fastened to the house structure. The flexible medium must be attached to the junction box and to the connector.

Gas oven installations -

Tools needed- Flathead screw driver, Straight Edge, Ruler or tape measurer, pipe wrench and open end or adjustable wrench.

Gas requirements- normally installed to local gas codes. In the absence of local gas codes, the installation must conform to Natural Fuel Gas Code.

The wall ovens can be double or single types, with or without convection and self-cleaning or manual types. You can easily install them at a height of the eye level or waist level. The width available is usually 24, 27 or 30 inches.

Since these ovens have maximum flexibility of space, you can place them in your kitchen or other places where the installation requirements are met. You should clean it regularly. There is an added advantage of a light burning to indicate the heat generated, which saves children and old people from burning themselves.

There is nothing more rewarding then improving the look and value of your own home.

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