How to Brighten Your Decor with Hand Painted Ceramic TileWritten by Dy Witt
At one time, ceramic tile was only for wealthy. No more. Today, for same price as you will pay for manufactured cast resin, imitation marble or other polymer, you can have a one-of-a-kind piece of fine art, made by an American artist who is willing to work with YOUR ideas and concepts. Suppose you love plants and flowers, but wall over your sink in kitchen has no window? Tell artist your favorites, she will paint your favorite ferns or perennials, in a basket or within its own little garden. What if you moved south and miss your paper birch trees so badly? A mural over your bathroom sink of these gorgeous white and black trees, with or without surrounding fall foliage, will guarantee a lifetime of perfect view. No wall space for a mural? How about accent tiles placed every foot or so of your favorite cooking herbs in an 1800's style, right out of Farmer's Almanac? Or an easy-to-clean backsplash behind kitchen sink of fruits connected by flowering vines all in a lively color scheme?
The best part about tile is you only have to do it once. You choose timeless and tireless motifs and place them where you need something durable. Side-by-side with gold, ceramic is most durable substance we know. What else has told us history of human culture as accurately? Nothing manufacturers have come up with can surpass ceramic tile for lasting beauty. Nothing.
Working with an artist as opposed to a factory has many benefits. The artist has sentimental memories too, and usually does work she does for other reasons than moving out volumes of product for profit, so she is more than happy to fill your space with warm homey decoration. We all have a favorite old pattern or print, maybe Grandma's stitching or an old tapestry. Everything eventually wears out and must be discarded. Except ceramic. Have it painted on tile and installed for all time.
Concrete Cutting - Adding a Pre-Cast Concrete Stairway Bulkhead to your HomeWritten by Robert Short
Installing a pre-cast concrete stairway to your home's basement is actually quite an easy project for advanced do-it-yourselfer or anyone that can coordinate a couple of sub contractors. Doing so will add a water tight weather proof egress to your basement that, in many cases, is necessary to comply with local building codes during a remodel. Either way, this newly added entrance will add much more function to your home and your basement.
First of all it is probably a good idea to explain what pre-cast concrete is. Pre-cast concrete is simply concrete that has been mixed, formed and vibrated in a very controlled "plant" type environment and then delivered or trucked to its final destination and installed. Despite fact that some pre-cast concrete products are much thinner than conventional "poured in place" applications does not mean that pre-cast products are any less quality and to contrary they are usually much more durable.
In order to orchestrate this project you are going to need a hole dug, a doorway opening cut into your foundation and actual pre-cast concrete bulkhead delivered and installed. Your first step is to locate a pre-cast concrete product dealer. A pre-cast concrete dealer can be located in your local phonebook, or better yet, your online yellow pages. Once you have located a reputable dealer you need to visit pre-cast manufacturers showroom, which usually consists of a giant field full of stairs, bulkheads and culverts. You need to choose size and style that is right for your project. A standard pre-cast bulkhead will generally cost less than $1000 and this includes steel bulkhead cover and installation.
Once you have chosen right product be sure to ask for a worksheet or specification sheet that comes with your particular product. This "spec sheet" will tell you how much digging needs to be done and what size doorway your concrete cutter needs to cut in foundation. The digging can be done using several methods. You can dig it by hand with a pick and shovel (not recommended), you can rent a small excavator (cost about $300) from a tool rental outfit and use machine to dig it out or you can call a professional excavation contractor and have them dig it out for you (cost between $300 and $500). I highly recommend hiring a professional excavator for this part of project. This process will take a professional less than a few hours and you can shop around for best price. Please Note: Be sure to notify your areas "DIG SAFE" program and have them come out and locate any hidden underground utilities before you start your excavation. Also, keep in mind that your excavator will have to remove and dispose of about 50% of dirt that he/she removes from hole because bulkhead to be installed will take up about that much volume of space. If this is not feasible, you may be able to use this dirt somewhere else on your property or you may be able to give it to one of your neighbors. Either way, fill dirt is a very needed and sought after commodity. Hence old saying: Phil Dirt...the most wanted man in America.