5 Things You Need To Know When Installing Your Brick Backsplash

Brick backsplashes are currently becoming a popular feature in many of the modern kitchen designs. Installing one of them, however, is not a walk in the park, and thus some accurate preparation must be done to allow the owner to use these walls for a long time. They are meant to deal with the everyday splatter and spills that the kitchen sinks and ovens are exposed to, so you need to have them done the right way.

The right installation procedures will eventually save the owner a good amount of money and maintenance effort once the backsplash is up – if installation is done correctly. Here are some of the things you will need to know prior to the installation:

Check your options for the budget at hand

Two options exist when it comes to backsplashes in the market; solid and brick veneer types. Nothing will beat the solid brick types when it comes to durability and strength. However, for you to install such bricks, you will have to be set back up to $20 per square foot for purchase and installation. Solid bricks are also installed by laying single bricks over a pre-existing masonry foundation. Its insulation power is also not very high.

The other not-so-expensive and easy-to-install option involves the use of brick veneer; brick panels that are thin and interlock to provide the same feel as the solid brick type. Their advantage, apart from cost and ease of installation is their ability to adapt to a foundation of stone, metal or wood.

The toolset needs an update

Whether you will be the one installing or you will be using the help of a professional who specializes in interlock installation in Richmond Hill, the bricks need to be worked by using the required tools, especially when fitting the bricks over an edge. They need to be cut prior to the installation. This requires the use of an angle grinder, fitted with a diamond-cutting toothless blade. The bricks are marked using a pencil after the required measurements are made after which the angle grinder works on the marked area. A mason’s hammer is then used to tap the excesses to snap the remains away.

Be smart while using the sealant

It is highly recommended that the installed backsplash be coated with a clear sealing agent. A satin or a matte finish will do quite well and will keep both air moisture and stains from different products used in the kitchen out. You will also keep stains from food oils and fumes from dirtying the wall. Choose clear silane or a siloxane-based type for the sealant. Do not go for silicate-based sealants. These tend to discolor the veneer.

Be cautious while cleaning the backsplash

You must be aware that cleaning the brick surface should not be down with excessive force. Doing so tends to erode the brick or discolor the surface. Though the bricks tend to leave a deep recess between individual interlocks (which allows for a grimy-buildup of dirt), you should not use a heavy hand over the dirt.

Instead, spray away the dust off the surface and use plain water on a spray bottle to clean out the loose dirt. For the persistent stains, prepare a paste using dish soap and salt and spread it across the dirty area. Brush off the area gently using a bristle brush. Never use a wire brush for cleaning the surface.

You may encounter efflorescence

Even with well-maintained backsplashes, once in a while, you may encounter some white material forming up right at the surface of the brick. This chalk powder-like substance appears as a result of a reaction between the mineral substances inside the brick and water or moisture.

To reduce its presence, you need to ensure that before installation, bricks do not get into contact with water. In addition, you must ensure the sealant used is adequately applied. When cracks or gaps appear on the brick surface, be sure to seal with enough silicone caulking. A mix of muriatic acid and a gallon of water is also used to make the white patches disappear.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Laying Flagstone Patios

Flagstone patios are a common addition in many homes, mostly owing to the fact that not only are they long lasting, but also easy to clean and incredibly durable among other benefits. However, the only way to benefit from them is to make sure that they are installed in the correct manner. It’s very easy to install flagstone patios with mistakes, and this needs to be avoided to reduce the risk of wasting time and money whether it’s done as a DIY or when you use a contractor. Fortunately, there are many known issues which could reduce the lifespan of patios, and simply avoiding them during construction can help you

Choosing the patio size

One of the commonest mistakes that people make when using flagstone to make patios is to choose the wrong patio size. Try to always take your time to figure out how much space the patio will occupy, which mainly depends on the reason why you need it. Some of the things you can use to estimate the size of the patio include the number of tables and chairs you will need to fit in it as well as the number of people who will use it.

Also, consider how much free space you will require for the patio. Consulting your contractor about flagstone placement is essential, since they can use their experience to help you figure out how much space you need. What you don’t want is to spend a lot of money on a patio that is far too large for your needs, or one that is too small.

Patio grading 

Patio grading refers to the way the patio differs from the surrounding earth. For the best results, the patio needs to be slightly elevated compared to the surrounding earth. In addition to that, it has to be at a gentle slope to reduce the risk of water accumulating on some areas of the patio, resulting in cracking if the water is left there for a long time.

Most people don’t pay much attention to this, and the end result is always higher maintenance costs as well as a higher likelihood that you will need to do major repairs within a few years of having laid the flagstone.

A poor flagstone base 

When laying down flagstone, the base on which the stones will sit is very important in determining various aspects of the flagstone including its longevity and beauty. A mistake that you might find is people not preparing the flagstone base, and in the end put the flagstones on earth that is far too soft.

The result is that some areas of the flagstone will sink or spread in different directions, making for an uneven-looking aesthetic. During the installation process, make sure that your contractor first compacts the base of the areas in which the flagstone will be placed. Of course, if your contractor is of high quality, this is something that you will not even need to tell them about.

Doing DIY flagstone placement with limited knowledge 

During tight economic times, many people try to do home improvement on their own. This might seem less expensive compared to renting a contractor to do the work. However, you need to remember that for this to be effective, you will need to have extensive knowledge regarding flagstone placement. One way to solve this issue is to remember that when you use a professional to install the flagstones, you will spend a lot less money in the long run doing maintenance and repair. Spending just a little more on a professional is actually the cheaper way to install flagstones, since it cuts down on the cost of repairs and maintenance.

Reduce the Cost Of Constructing Your Deck Without Compromising Quality

Decks provide an excellent location for you to not only relax, but to also take part in recreational activities while also enjoying the outdoors. However, the problem is that many people consider decks to be the preserve of the wealthy, when this is not the case. As a homeowner, you can end up with a high-quality deck without having to spend a colossal amount of money on it, and it will still end up being appealing. The trick to doing this is recognizing the common elements which cause increased deck construction rates, and then putting in place measures to reduce them. A few of these include:

Design scale

Decks and patios come in myriad designs, each of which has their own pros and cons. Some decks designs require multiple levels, screening and other elements which will quickly elevate the price of the deck. To avoid this, the first step in making sure that your deck will not cost as much as you had anticipated is choosing a design which will fulfill your needs, but which will not be outlandish or too “out there”.

The presence of the internet has made it easy for anyone to find information regarding deck designs, so you can use this as a resource to figure out what to get and what to avoid. More importantly, you should figure out why you need the deck in the first place. If you have a small family and simply need an outdoor space where you can congregate for occasions such as a barbecue, there would be no need to spend a large amount of money on a massive deck since this would be a lot more than what you need.

In this case, you would be better off choosing a reasonable design for the deck, which is likely to cost a lot less than a massive, multi-level deck. The best thing about it is that it will still function as you expect it to.

Choose your building season carefully

You may not know this, but deck building is also done in seasons. Spring and summer are very popular for homeowners to build decks, which means that most of the firms providing the services will hike their prices for the construction or simply not be available. To have a better chance of low cost deck construction, you could consider having the deck built during the low season, such as during winter or the first few days of spring. The benefits you stand to gain include having an easy time finding a qualified deck contractor to do the construction, as well as having leverage in negotiating for lower rates. Since the costs of both labor and materials go down during this season, the cumulative savings can be massive.

Pick wood as your construction material of choice 

Using wood to construct decks has become a complicated issue for many people, especially considering issues such as deforestation, the durability of wood and other factors. However, when it comes to cost savings during construction, wood can help you save a lot of money. For one, wood is less expensive compared to materials such as vinyl and composite material.

It’s also generally easier to work with wood. In addition to that, you can further save by finding the wood on your own rather than ordering it through your contractor. For instance, you can look for second hand wood for the deck. This can be leftover wood from someone else’s construction project. Depending on your state, you can also find firms which encourage construction firms to turn in leftover wood, which you can then use for the construction. This saves the environment, and is also cheaper than getting wood that has been freshly logged.

How To Select An Ideal Driveway Design

If you have just bought a new home, you might want to make a few changes to it even if most of its aspects are perfect. One of the commonest focus points is the driveway. You will want to choose a driveway design which matches the home’s design, as well as any future plans you have for the lawn. It may seem like a simple undertaking, but it’s easy for you to waste money on a driveway design that may rapidly increase in cost, or which will require a lot of maintenance in future. In order to avoid this, you should carefully choose the driveway design, rather than using a gut feeling to help you make a decision. The most important qualities you should focus on include:

Durability 

Unless you have bought a used home, you don’t want to start making repairs and changes to any part of the house on a regular basis within a few years. With the wrong driveway design, this is a problem you will definitely face. Some driveway designs are more durable than others, and these are the ones that you should focus on. If a driveway design looks impressive but requires meticulous attention on a regular basis, you would be better off without it unless you are comfortable on spending the time and money keeping it in an aesthetically pleasing state.

Durability is a very important element of any driveway particularly when you consider the type of treatment the driveway will get. The act of vehicles driving on the driveway repeatedly can put a lot of stress on the materials, and this means that it is at high risk of falling apart if it’s not built properly. Interlocking driveways are ideal for use in such situations owing to their structural features which allow them to spread the forces they are exposed to evenly, resulting in a more longevity for the driveway and low maintenance costs.

Adaptability

Some driveway designs, by virtue of the material they are made of or the manner in which they are put together, tend to work better in different conditions. For instance, there are some that will fall apart faster when they are exposed to environments with higher humidity than others. When picking a driveway design, always make sure that you sign off on this. Find out if the driveway design will be adaptable to the region you are in, which will then reduce the risk of reduced lifespan for the driveway. In essence, the driveway design should be adaptable to the local region where you live.

Aesthetics 

Of course, the main reason why you are even thinking of changing the nature of the driveway is to improve the aesthetics of the home. however, not all driveway designs can do this effectively. Some driveway designs only work well when paired with a particular type of home, while there are some that look beautiful irrespective of the type of house. An example of this is an interlocked driveway; these tend to be globally appealing irrespective of the type of home you live in.

Choose your installation company wisely 

Once you have gone through the above checklist, you will then have to make a decision on who will do the driveway installation. Typically, interlock installation is one of the best solutions for driveway installations on account of its durability, beauty as well as low repair and maintenance demands. If you have decided to pick this type of driveway, you would need to choose an experienced firm to do the installation for you to ensure that not only will it last long, but that it will also be cost effective.