Springtime and Clean Windows

Have you ever wondered how those professional window washers move so fast with the squeegee, and the windows turn out perfect? Well, there really are some tricks to it that are simple to learn, and once you do, dare I say it, you may even enjoy washing windows? It is possible!

So, read on for our Washing Windows Tricks:

The first trick is to invest in a good squeegee. They aren’t expensive and they are worth every cent! Those $1.99 ones just will not do. A professional squeegee has a very soft, rubber blade with no imperfections in it.  You can also get extra rubber blades and simply replace that when it wears out. There are many sources to get one, and a professional squeegee usually runs around $10 and up.

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Secondly, do your windows on a cool, or cloudy day.  If you HAVE to do it in the sun, do it in the morning. What you want to avoid here is heat. Heat works against you.

Now to get cleaning. Get a bucket of lukewarm water (not hot), and add 2-3 tablespoons of plain ammonia. Use a sponge that has a white scrubber on the other side (don’t use the green ones, they are too course). Wet your window with the sponge side, then flip to the white scrub pad side, and scrub the window. You’ll be able to “feel” when it’s clean. You’ll feel rough patches, etc when it’s still not clean. This is a step most people fail at, if the window simply isn’t clean, it’s going to look cloudy when done. Scrub well.

You’ll also need lots of clean, white cotton rags or lint free towels/cleaning cloths. Diapers work great here. Dry by hand a 1 inch strip at the top of the window. The trick for no streaks with the squeegee, is placing the dry rubber blade on a dry window. Take the squeegee now and place it at the top of the window in that 1 inch dry strip. Pull down smoothly. Dry your squeegee blade with between each sweep.

To finish the window, if need be, do one last sweep left to right at the bottom of the window.

Finally, take a dry, clean cloth and run with your finger down each window side and across the bottom to clean and dry the edges. They should look perfect! And you’ll feel great having clean windows.

Think you need to replace those windows? Well give Adams Design Construction a call at 608-241-9009, we’re here to help!

 

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Move-It-On-Up, The Laundry Room

I remember as a child going to visit my Aunt.  She had an old wringer-washer in the basement and every Thursday was laundry day.

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From: GoldOldDays/Pinterest

I helped, and was fascinated, by the old washer. And then came the time to hang everything outside on a clothes line to dry, which had to be propped up with a long pole.  The possibility of the washing machine overflowing happened a lot, which is probably why the laundry was originally located in the basement by a main floor drain.

Nowdays, the need for laundry to be near the main floor drain is almost non-existent with the state-of-the-art washing machines and dryers we now have. Over the years, laundry rooms have gone through several transitions. First, they moved out of the basement and onto the main floor. Still, they were often neglected and placed in the mud room or garage. More recently, they have been making a move to the second floor, or close to the bedrooms. Oftentimes, laundry rooms will be located nearest the master bedroom, or even part of the master closet. The biggest advantage in having the laundry room near the bedrooms, or as part of the closet, is because it is near where most of the dirty clothes, sheets, blankets, and other items are generated.

Upstairs laundry room

Photo from Connie Fitzgerald, RE/Max Closers, Pinterest

So, why then, do we still have our bedrooms on the second floor of our homes along with our clothes closets and laundry still being done in the basement?  Why not Move-It-On-Up near to where your clothes are stored?  Makes sense to me, especially as I get older and stairs can sometimes be a challenge.

While kitchens and bathrooms are still the most popular home renovation projects, the laundry room is beginning to become a sought after renovation area. We have been moving laundry rooms UP more and more.  Good bye to the days of having the laundry room hidden from the rest of the home! We can help you integrate a new laundry room into your home design, instead of being thrown into the floor plan as an afterthought.  Dreaming of that new laundry space, then give Adams Design Construction, Ltd a call 608-241-9009, we’d love to help your dreams come true!

Repeat…Should you Shovel your Deck?

I’ve been asked several times about shoveling decks this year..so I thought we would revisit this article from last December…

Should you shovel your deck?

Snow is back and it’s turned cold here this December in Wisconsin.  You’ve kept your driveway and sidewalks clear of the snow, but do you need to shovel the snow off your deck?  Actually, the answer is simple:  NO.

If you are worried about your deck collapsing from the weight of snow, don’t.  Building codes require that decks support more weight than your roof.   Basic rule of thumb: Don’t worry until the snow is above your rails.  Most deck rails are 36″ high and weight of snow should not cause a problem unless it is over three feet deep.  The best thing you can do with your deck is just leave it alone while the snow sits there, slowly melting and clearing itself.  The deck will still be there come April, no need to mess with it in the mean time.

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An exception to not shoveling would be if your deck is the second-emergency entrance into your home, or an entrance you use regularly.  Then you may choose to shovel it, but be careful.  Here are some basic rules to follow:

  • Before snow falls, make certain no nails are sticking out of the deck boards .
  • Try using a broom or leaf blower first. If too much snow, then get out the shovel.
  • Use a plastic shovel, not a metal one – so not to scratch the decking material.
  • Shovel in the direction/parallel to the boards, not across the boards.
  • Never chop ice off your deck, it’s too easy to damage deck boards. If you must get rid of ice, then use environmentally safe chemicals.

So, if you need to (or desire to) get that snow off your deck, just be careful not to scratch or damage the deck boards.  And be careful walking on your deck afterwards, ice has a way of creeping back for revenge.

What, you don’t have a deck? Are you considering having one built down the road? Well, give us a call for a free consultation…608-241-9009.  We’ll be happy to take a look — once all this snow melts that is …  Happy Winter!

Remodel the Basement for a Home Workout Room

The importance of fitness is more than ever! But most people end up skipping the gym or their morning run. The biggest challenge of maintaining an active lifestyle is to be consistent with your exercise. But, what if the gym came to your home? If you have idle place in the basement of your home, why not use it to meet your fitness goals?

There is a difference between having a couple of weight stacked in the closet and having a fully-functional home gym in the basement. It is not necessary to buy fancy gym equipment to create a workout space in the basement. You just have to work with a couple of elements that will enable you to exercise regularly.

Toss the Gym Membership: Make the Basement your Gym

Why spend money on gym memberships when your home can be your personal workout center? Learn how to design a gym that matches well with your fitness goals and allows you to be consistent.

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Work-out room added to remodeled basement by Adams Design Construction, Ltd.

• The Matters of Space

What is your workout style? Do you go for the treadmill? Or are you a fan of spinning? If your interest lies in weight-lifting along with a couple of Crossfit moves, you will require a large space in the basement. Remember that you can design the home gym according to your workout schedule. So, consider the different types of exercises that you do as well as the different kinds of machines that you will require. It will determine the basic layout of the gym.

• Injury-proof Flooring

The usual concrete floor cannot be used for exercising. It is because you may drop heavy weight on the floor and it will cause damage to it. Also, jumping on a hard floor means it will not absorb the shock and give you knee pain in the near future. It is essential that you consider your exercises and install flooring that absorbs shock and doesn’t let the heavy dumbbells damage the foundation of your home. When it comes to flooring for your home gym, you will find a plenty of options such as rubber flooring, carpet tiles, foam-based flooring and vinyl tiles.

• The Solution to Sweat

Workouts are supposed to make you sweaty. And, the basement is going to smell sweaty and musty because of the home gym. So, you have to take care of the air circulation. Keep the basement well-ventilated to avoid nasty odor. There are several ways to ensure proper ventilation. If there are multiple windows, it will ensure that the basement is airy. If not, consider box fans, floor fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers to keep the home gym ventilated. You can even install exhaust fans and humidity sensors to avoid growth of mold and mildew.

• More Tips to build a Motivated Workout Area

For building a motivated powerhouse, focus on the following things:

1. The Mirror – Install mirrors to ensure correct posture while exercising.

2. Lighting – Proper lighting fixtures create an energetic atmosphere in the basement.

3. Paint Colors – Choose bright bold colors to boost your energy level.

4. Posters – You can hang motivational posters and slogans to keep you motivated throughout your workout.

5. Music – Good music is essential for a home gym. Buy a good music system and consider installing soundproofing drywall.

“It is too far”, “it will be crowded” or “I will be stuck in traffic” – With a gym-work out room in the basement, you will be able avoid all the excuses and focus on achieving your fitness goals. So, if you are thinking of giving a new look to the basement, give Adams Design Construction a call – 608-241-9009, and take a step towards building good health.

Prevent Water Heater Repairs

There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering – usually in the midst of showering – that the water heater is no longer working. Sometimes it is discovered when you turn on the faucet and only get cold water and other times it can be discovered because of an unpleasant smell. Either way, dealing with a lack of hot water is not much fun!

But even more discouraging than the lack of hot water, is knowing that replacing the water heater is likely to be costly – whether it is the entire tank, or just having repair work done. Consequently, it is important to know some basic steps to take to keep water hear repairs at a minimum.

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Traditional Hot Water Tank

Tips for Preventing Water Heater Repairs:

  1. Be sure that your water heater’s temperature is not set any higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only will having it higher mean that your utility bill will be more expensive, but making it worker harder means that there is more wear and tear on the various parts.
  1. At least twice a year, check the pressure relief valve to make sure it is not corroded. Catching leaks or corrosion early means less chance of future problems.
  1. Schedule a maintenance visit with a plumber at least once a year to make sure all the parts and pieces are working properly.
  1. Check to see that there is plenty of ventilation – especially if you have a gas heater! If the vents are not properly working your home can be invaded by toxic fumes.
  1. Twice a year, take time to drain the water heater to remove any sediment. If sediment is allowed to build up it can result in an assortment of problems. You can drain the tank by first placing a 5-gallon bucket below the drain valve, then turning the valve counter-clockwise to release a few gallons of water into the bucket. Then close the valve and proceed as usual.
  1. Test the temperature and pressure valve by lifting up the lever part way and then letting it snap back into place. You should hear a gurgling sound that indicates that there was some water released into the drain pan. If you don’t hear anything, then it is time to replace the valve.
  1. If you have a gas water heater, make time at least once a quarter to ensure the pilot light is lit, and to remove any soot build up.

So, don ‘t wait until your water heater needs to be repaired– start taking care of it today to get the longest lifespan possible from your home water heater. Still have questions, give Adams Design Construction a call – 608-241-9009 – we’re here to help!

Composite Decking, the new Green

Do you have a wood deck or thinking of adding a deck to your home?  Keep in mind that maintaining a wood deck is a job in it of itself. Wood decking requires annual scrubbing, bleaching, and staining-not to mention having to replace the occasional board that has become rotted, warped, or splintered. Composite decking has become a popular alternative due to its minimal maintenance requirements.

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Composite decking entry way

Considering a composite deck for your home? This is what you need to know:
When it first became available in the 1990’s, composite decking came with a higher price tag and an extremely limited color range (which was comprised primarily of grays). As technologies advanced, manufacturers were able to create a durable product that closely resembled the look of real wood. They were able to replicate the look of cherry, walnut, and beyond.

Most composite decks are made from sawdust, plastic bags, and used plastic milk jugs. They are an excellent use of recycled material. Not only is this good for the environment, it also allows the decking to last longer in the elements than wood decks. Wood decks commonly rot, mold, and splinter. Luckily, composite decks aren’t prone to these issues. A composite deck may experience the occasional surface mold or discoloration, this can be easily taken care of with a household cleaner and brush.

One of the main reasons why many homeowners end up choosing composite for their decking material of choice is due to its minimal upkeep. Not only do wood decks have a tendency to splinter or rot, they also require the addition of pesticides and metals during the pressure treating process. While this aids in pest prevention, it is harmful for the environment and can be dangerous to children and animals as it deteriorates over time. Composite doesn’t require these harmful additives since it is naturally resistant to insects, mold, and decay.

So, if  you are tired of the constant upkeep of your current wood deck then consider composite decking, it is worth the investment!  Give Adams Design Construction a call, (608-241-9009) we’d love to help you with your new composite decking!  Your home will love you for it.

Layered Lighting Inside Your Home

Illuminating a home is more than buying light fixtures. You have to consider several layers of lighting to create a beautiful living space. Know about layered lighting and get ready to brighten up your home.

We always think of choosing the perfect colors for our home. We spend time in finding the right furniture style. But, one often forgets about lighting. Lighting is one of the most neglected aspects of a home. The right kind of lighting can make any living space beautiful and comfortable. It has the power to add sophistication, warmth and style to your home. But, lighting a room is not just buying pretty light fixtures. Just as you make a room beautiful with different layers of colors and textures; you have to create a beautiful combination of different layers of lighting. Layered lighting not only illuminates your home but also provides practical lighting solution for your accessories.

There are three basics when it comes to Layers of Lighting. You have to combine ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting to create a beautiful amalgamation of lighting to accentuates your home.

  1. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the first lighting layer. Every room must have at least one source of ambient lighting. You cannot avoid it because it keeps you from getting your toe stubbed against a piece of furniture. By having adequate lighting, you ensure that you do not trip and fall. An electrician can create ambient lighting with the help of recessed lights, flush-mount fixtures, panels, large chandeliers, fans with lights, etc.

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Ambient Lighting

  1. Task Lighting

The purpose of ambient lighting is general illumination. But, it is insufficient as a light source for purposes that require more light. For example, activities such as reading, sewing, cooking, applying make-up, etc. require additional lighting. Usually, fixtures used for track lighting are visible. So, it is essential that you choose fixtures that match the theme of the room. You can ensure adequate light source with the help of pendant lighting, low-hanging track lighting, under cabinet lighting, bed-side lamps, bathroom vanity lights and so on.

  1. Accent Lighting

To add drama to a living space, you require accent lighting. You can use it to draw attention towards houseplants, paintings, or any other unique accessory in the room. If you have a beautiful sculpture, accent lighting can help you to highlight it. According to a general rule, accent lighting should be three times brighter than the general light source to create a focal point. An electrician can install a variety of wall scones, track lights, pendant lights, LED tape lights, etc. to emphasize a specific area in the room.

When you are thinking of layered lighting for a room, make a planned decision. First begin with the purpose of the room. Also, finalize furniture. Once you are done with it, think of the focal point the room. After you are sure of the layout, consider ambient lighting, and then focus on task lighting and accent lighting. Remember that there is no need to buy separate fixture for all the different types of lighting. For example, you can use a large chandelier for ambient lighting as well as accent lighting. Make sure that the electrician makes adequate use of dimmer switch to provide you with versatile lighting. Remember proper planning and apt combination of lighting can illuminate your home beautifully. And, as always, give Adams Design Construction a call 608-241-9009, we’re here to help.