5 Ways to Beautify Your Deck Without Breaking the Bank

23336438_original(BPT) – Are you ready to put your deck on the best-dressed list this summer, but hesitant to dent your savings? With these simple design ideas, you can make your deck the perfect place for summer festivities.

1. Accessorize with Railings.

An easy way to give your deck a beauty boost is to update the railing. The decorative details of this safety feature are easy to overlook during the initial deck building process. Thankfully, with today’s products, it’s easy and affordable to turn this eyesore into an accessory.

For example, by replacing outdated railings with those that complement your deck boards and home’s exterior trim, you can create an outdoor living space that’s a well-styled extension of your home. If you have a non-traditional deck, cable rails or mixed medium infills like tempered glass panels may be your style. Or, if you want to mix modern with traditional elements, consider letting guests lean on attractive, but affordable aluminum rail systems like MoistureShield Pro.

“The sleek lines of aluminum railing are the perfect counterpart to today’s contemporary spaces,” says Brent Gwatney, senior vice president, MoistureShield Composite Decking. “They’re a less obtrusive railing option and give decks a high-end, custom feel without the high-end price tag, and tend to be backed with long-term warranties.”

2. Block the Sun Beautifully.

Another way to balance form with function is to shade your deck in style. Fortunately, there are a number of beautiful, low-cost ways to block the sun that go beyond the patio umbrella.

Pergolas are a popular way to shade your space without breaking the bank. You can vary the direction of the beams to create interest, weave fabric panels across the top to create a cozy respite or use the structure to frame a view.

Screening trellises are another affordable option for relief from direct sunlight. They can disguise an unsightly view, soften your deck or provide an attractive backsplash for an outdoor kitchen, while adding shade and privacy. You can even bend high performance decking materials, like composite decking, to curve around existing trees to let nature act as your canopy.

3. Plant a Deck-Adent Garden

Deckscaping is a timeless, low-cost way to turn your outdoor living space into a backyard beauty. Placing shrubs or a curving flowerbed along the perimeter of your deck can soften its edges and add colorful accents. Alternatively, bringing planters on deck with a mix of annuals and perennials can quickly turn a bland deck into a garden retreat full of seasonal blooms.

If your deck is small, consider keeping floor space free with a gorgeous overhead garden. Hanging flower baskets and trellises with climbing vines are simple and affordable space-savers that can make covered deck spaces resemble a spa-like retreat.

4. Dress your Deck to Impress

To finish your deck and give it that one-of-a-kind feel, outfit it the same way you would an interior room, thinking about color and texture. While this may sound expensive, there are plenty of practical, budget friendly ways to make your deck a stylish extension of your home.

You can easily spice it up with painted furniture and fun accents. Pretty and durable accent pillows made from outdoor fabrics are an inexpensive way to add pops of color. Or if you find an outdoor fabric that you love you can make bench cushions to give your outdoor seating a cozy feel. Accents like an outdoor rug can tie it all together by adding texture underfoot, keeping dirt from being tracked inside your home, and defining areas for different uses.

5. Light Up Your Evenings in Style

Finally, don’t neglect how your deck looks when the sun goes down. With the right lighting, you can extend your hours outside and keep your deck as charming in the nighttime as it is during the day.

From subtle post lights that cast a magical evening glow to understated recessed lights and rail strip lights that help guide guests’ steps, today’s deck lighting choices are both functional and affordable. And, with the emergence of energy-efficient LEDs, you can use them liberally with little effect on your monthly electricity bill. So, let your imagination roam with nighttime illumination options to add after-dark ambience to your outdoor retreat.

Matching Fencing Types To Your Needs

Photo by Susan Law Cain via ShutterstockBefore you buy a new fence for your home or business, ask yourself this: “How do I know which fence is the best fit for my property?” Whether your goals are keeping pets inside, keeping intruders out, adding privacy or increasing value, certain fences will make more sense than others. That’s why you need to know what’s available and how to compare your options.

To determine the best fencing structure for your needs, take the time to do your research. What are all your options? What does each kind of fencing have to offer, and what are its potential drawbacks? To help you evaluate the different fencing types so you can make a good choice, here’s an overview of the specifics:



As one of the oldest and most popular fencing options, it’s no surprise that wood fences communicate timeless appeal. From white picket wood fences to tall privacy wood fences, there are a variety of possibilities within this fencing material. Some pros and cons include:


  • PRO: Greater property privacy
  • PRO: Durable, long-lasting material
  • PRO: Lots of possibilities for design
  • CON: Lengthy installation period
  • CON: Can be expensive



If it’s a budget-friendly fence you’re after, PVC is an option to consider. PVC fences come in a lot of colors and heights, and they’re made to last. Here’s a quick look at their basic pros and cons:


  • PRO: Resistant to weather damage
  • PRO: Lots of design options
  • PRO: Inexpensive fencing option
  • CON: Not as durable as wood



Vinyl fences stand out for being highly durable without any need for regular upkeep. While they may have a higher upfront cost, their low-maintenance expenses can offset some of those costs over time. Their pros and cons include:


  • PRO: Maintenance-free and easy to clean
  • PRO: Stronger and more flexible than wood
  • PRO: Long lifespan
  • CON: Higher upfront cost



Aluminum fencing is not only attractive, but it’s also easy to maintain because, once installed, it requires no upkeep. While it can look almost identical to wrought iron, it’s actually lighter in weight and less expensive. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of this kind of fence:


  • PRO: Versatile designs available
  • PRO: Maintenance-free
  • CON: Susceptible to weather damage
  • CON: Lighter and less expensive than wrought iron


Wrought Iron

Whether you’re enclosing the garden at an English estate or the driveway at a stately home, a wrought-iron fence creates a touch of elegance wherever it’s placed. Because of the distinguished, classical appeal these fences offer, they are popular choices in locations where decoration is important. Here are some of the major pros and cons of wrought-iron fences:


  • PRO: Customizable
  • PRO: Attractive and durable
  • PRO: Prestigious feel
  • CON: Relatively expensive
  • CON: Require regular sanding/painting to look its best


Chain Link

There’s a good reason chain-link fences are the style of choice found at many schools, parks and industrial locations. Chain-link fences are affordable, easy to maintain and made to last: Here are some important considerations:


  • PRO: Inexpensive
  • PRO: Require little maintenance
  • CON: Unless combined with plants, don’t add much privacy


Post and Rail

Also known as stockade fencing or ranch fencing, post-and-rail fencing is a popular choice for enclosing pastureland or horse areas. Frequently used on farms, it’s easy to maintain, doesn’t obstruct views of land or animals, and comes in a variety of styles. Here are some key pros and cons:


  • PRO: Allows for visibility through the fence
  • PRO: Easy to maintain
  • PRO: Versatile design options
  • CON: Doesn’t add privacy or high security


Based on the characteristics listed above about the various types of fencing, do you have a clearer sense of which option is right for you? Whether you’re interested in enclosing your backyard or acres of horses, use the pros and cons above to help you decide.


Author bio:

Dean White is President of Tru-Link Fence and Products. Tru-Link Fence has been Chicagoland’s “go to” fencing supplier since 1952. Please visit our website to learn more about our various products and services.

How To Incorporate Perforated Metal In Your Interior Home Design

perforated-metalGreen is the new interior home design trend that keeps renewing itself. In other words, it’s not just a fad, it’s here to stay.

There are so many reasons to go green in your interior design: respect for the environment, energy efficiency, and return on investment, to name a few. But one of the biggest reasons to go green from a designer’s perspective is the vast selection of environmentally friendly materials available today. Many of these materials offer design possibilities that transcend the usual and make for innovative and striking — as well as sustainable — interior effects.


Perforated Metal – the “Surprise” Green Material


One of the most exciting green materials to catch the attention of forward-thinking designers today is perforated metal. You might be surprised to think of metal as green. However, it can be very eco-friendly.


  • Metal is 100 percent recyclable.
  • Metal components and materials are frequently up to 100 percent recycled as well.
  • Metal is easy to clean without using harsh chemicals.
  • Metal is an exceptionally durable material that can stay looking good for decades.
  • Perforated metal can be used in many ways that significantly improve a building’s energy efficiency.
  • Perforated metal sheets use far less material than their solid counterparts.
  • Perforated metal is lightweight and burns less fuel to transport as well.


The design potential of perforated metal is virtually unlimited. Let’s explore some of the interesting and beautiful ways designers have found to put this unique material to good use in the home environment.


9 Perforated Metal Interior Design Ideas


  1. Perforated metal decorative wall paneling. Tired of the same old, tired wall surface options? Perforated metal wall cladding can create an eye-popping accent for a home office, living room or any room in the house. The effect can vary from rustic to futuristic, depending on your choice of metal, patina and pattern — and the many combinations provide almost endless possibilities from which to choose.
  2. Sliding perforated metal doors. Take the sliding barn door look up a notch by using perforated metal panels instead. Perfect for spaces where consistent air flow is a priority.
  3. Perforated metal stair treads. There’s no need for your stairwell to interfere with daylighting your home. Whether it is a stairway up to a loft, a spiral staircase or deck steps outside a basement window, perforated metal combines the strength and durability that a structural stairway requires with exceptional light transmission.
  4. Metal artwork. Perforated metal makes an inspiring material for artists, both on its own or in combination with other metals and eco-friendly materials. Why not commission a piece for your home?
  5. Perforated metal lampshades. Perforated metal makes a stunning lampshade material due to its light-reflecting qualities and the large selection of patterns available. Try pairing it with a base of reclaimed material or found objects. It’s durable, too!
  6. Cabinet grills. Use perforated metal panels as the doors and front panels for cabinets and pull-out drawers. They are especially good to use anywhere you want to encourage air circulation.
  7. Railing accents. Perforated metal makes a practical and beautiful fill material for railing applications, especially where small children or pets are concerned. The perforations allow for visibility, while the metal panels protect from falls.
  8. House plant havens. Why not go green in more ways than one? Living plants make the ultimate environmentally friendly home décor, and perforated metal is a perfect material to compliment them. How about an open bookcase with perforated metal shelves, filled with plants and placed in front of a picture window? The metal is sturdy enough to support even heavy clay pots, while the perforations allow maximum light to pass through to plants on the next level. Consider, too, training vines up a perforated metal panel — an elegant statement for patio or porch.
  9. Window shades. With its light-reflective properties, metal shades can significantly reduce the amount of solar heat entering a home in warm, sunny climates. At the same time, the perforations allow cooling breezes to enter the home.


Many of the applications above can result in fantastic and beautiful light effects. Many others can actually reduce your energy bills. All provide a unique, eco-friendly and practical change from traditional home décor materials sure to spark many a conversation. And, this is just a starting list of perforated metal home design ideas. What additional ways can you think of to use it?


Author bio: Damon Henrikson is Director of Marketing at Accurate Perforating Company in Chicago, IL. He brings more than 10 years of experience in the manufacturing space and over five years of experience within the perforated metal industry. Accurate Perforating produces a variety of metal products for commercial and home use.


Protecting Your Basement From Unwanted Moisture

shutterstock_230577643A dry, well-insulated basement adds valuable living space to your home. When designing and building a new home, it’s essential to protect your basement from unwanted moisture. Basement moisture can cause mold growth, which poses a health threat to anyone living in the home. While you can’t prepare for a broken pipe and the water damage it causes, you can prevent a variety of basement moisture issues.


Three Sources of Basement Moisture

Understanding where and how unwanted moisture in basements develops is key to creating a basement or lower level living space that remains dry and maintains low humidity levels. According to the University of Minnesota, every homebuilder needs to consider three sources of potential basement moisture:


  • Rain and groundwater
  • Interior moisture (e.g., unvented clothes dryers, bathrooms and moisture found in concrete after construction)
  • Exterior humid air that penetrates the basement, condensing on cool surfaces


Prevent Basement Moisture

A rainstorm that drops 1 inch of rain into your rain gauge deposits 13,577 gallons of water onto your property, reports the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School. If your home doesn’t have the proper protection against seepage, your basement will suffer from moisture and water damage. With a combination of techniques, you can prevent moisture and maintain low humidity levels in your home’s basement.


Know about the water table. 

Before choosing a site for your new home, ask about the area’s water table. Avoid building on a high water table area that can contribute to wet conditions for your basement.

A publication from Kansas State University cautions, “When evaluating a home site, examine soil and rock profile layers for evidence of drainage restrictions. Restrictive layers are especially important in rocky areas because these layers will impede drainage.”

Is your property on a hillside? A cut-off drain may be needed to divert water away from the home’s highest side.


Know your soil.

Certain soil types contribute to foundation issues and moisture problems in a basement or crawl space. A drainage tile system is essential, especially if your soil has a high gravel content or is sandy. If you have clay soil, known as expansive soil, it’s essential to address drainage issues to avoid water problems and potential foundation damage.


Build on highest part of property.

One of the best ways to avoid basement moisture is to build your home on the highest part of the property when possible. Fill in the area around the home so the soil slopes away from the structure. The slope should grade at least 6 inches in the first 10 feet. The soil around a new home or building structure does settle during the first 12 to 15 months after construction. Because of this settling it’s recommended to refill after a year in order to maintain the necessary slope.


Install proper drainage systems. 

It’s also recommended to have 4-inches of gravel under the basement’s slab to aid in drainage. In addition, gutters and downspouts must be installed with the downspouts expelling water away from the home without sending that water into the perimeter drainage tiles. A drainage tile system diverts water away from the home’s foundation, working to keep the basement dry.

Failure to improperly install gutters/downspouts or a subsurface drainage tile system can cause long-term problems. Water that doesn’t drain away from the home increases the risk of foundation cracks and serious water damage over time.


Invest in basement waterproofing.

An exterior waterproofing coat can help reduce basement moisture and mold growth. This type of protection helps maintain stable temperatures within the lower level space, can reduce condensation issues, and even help to decrease foundation cracks.


Allow basement to dry thoroughly.

The cement used to form your basement has a high water content. After the basement’s completion, run a dehumidifier for about 60 days to reduce humidity caused by the water’s evaporative effect.

After moving into your new home, keep humidity levels low and moisture at bay in the basement by insulating all cold water pipes, venting the dryer to the outdoors, and running a dehumidifier as needed.



Author Bio:
As the Vice President of Operations for DKI Commercial Solutions, Bill Robinson oversees disaster relief operations for commercial large loss in the U.S. Bill has seen first hand how water damage can wreak havoc on a home. DKI Services is a remediation and restoration company that offers emergency restoration services for residential and commercial buildings. Some of Bill’s efforts have been nationally and locally recognized throughout the media.

What To Include In Your Dream Bathroom

shutterstock_243627643Designing your dream bathroom is an unforgettable experience — especially when you get to handpick everything from the floors to the fixtures to suit your tastes. The only problem? Total control is a lot of responsibility. How do you know you’re making decisions that will appeal to you and potential buyers years down the road? What features are most important, and which are just a matter of preference? How do you know what adds value to a home?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some top tips for what to include in your dream bath. When you want to make sure you’re designing strategically, keep these features at the forefront of your bathroom plans:


  1. Natural light. Incorporating windows that let a lot of natural light into your bathroom is both aesthetically enjoyable and more energy efficient. Windows take advantage of the existing outdoor light to naturally illuminate your daily routines.
  2. More space. If you’re still at the stage of design where you can expand your bathroom’s size, do it. Bigger bathrooms are better able to accommodate all the bells and whistles that put the luxury in luxury bath. Boost your bathroom’s floor plan with extra square footage to make it a more desirable space.
  3. Extra storage room. Along the same lines as more square footage is extra storage space. Look for ways to add storage areas to your bathroom — a closet, shelves, vanity space, etc. — in order to maximize its usability and appeal.
  4. Double sinks. Double sinks mean double the space, which means double the opportunities for keeping toiletries and cosmetics. Likewise, double sinks accommodate more users in the bathroom and more potential for use. For more minimal upkeep, look for undermounted sinks and low-maintenance surface options that are easy to clean.
  5. Separate shower and tub. A shower/tub combination is efficient and useful, but separating the shower from the tub adds more comfort, style and luxury. With a spacious shower and a standalone tub, you have opportunities to turn these features into destinations. You might go with a whirlpool tub, for example, or a shower with room for two. For a bonus tip, consider building a shower that’s big enough to not need a door. It’ll save you constant cleanup without allowing water to spray into the room.
  6. Luxury materials. High-end materials like glass, stainless steel, porcelain tile and stone are hot in more than kitchens today. Turn your bathroom in a luxury retreat by incorporating marble-topped vanities, porcelain tile floors or glass shelves. Also check out engineered stone for a natural lookalike that’s resistant to mold, mildew, scratches and stains.
  7. Heated floors. It’s hard to imagine anything more luxurious than stepping out of your bathtub onto heated floors. Likewise, when you step into your bathroom early in the morning or from the plush carpeting from your bedroom, heated floors make the transition easier. With radiant heating under your floorboards, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
  8. Eco-friendly features. From water-saving toilets to efficient shower heads, look for eco-friendly features that will add efficiency and value to your space.
  9. A private commode. Give your bathroom the beauty of privacy by putting the toilet in its own space. A separate water closet is commonplace in some parts of the world, but in America it’s a standout feature.


When it comes to your dream bathroom, your style preferences are paramount — but also incorporating winning features like natural light, high-end materials and eco-friendly features ensures you create value that lasts. When you’re shopping for designs and features for your new bathroom, keep the above list in mind. By paying attention to what features are desirable in the field, you can create a bathroom that’d be a dream for anyone.



Author bio: Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products needed for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of bathroom faucets, vanities, sinks, toilets and showers, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look. 



Get Unhinged: 3 Ways to Create Visually Striking Doors in Your Home

23703499_original(BPT) – Think of a door opening and closing.

Chances are you pictured it swinging on hinges, since that’s how most doors operate. But, more homeowners are choosing other door hanging hardware for a unique look with their interior and exterior doors.

If you’re looking for a way to make visitors to your home say “wow,” consider alternatives to hinged doors for an unexpected twist.

“Once you’ve chosen the door that’s perfect for you, it can be hung in a number of distinctive ways,” says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. “A pocket door, sliding barn door or a pivot door can add some personality and pizzazz to your home.”

Pocket Doors

Similar to closet doors hung on a track, pocket doors slide open and closed, but disappear into the wall when closed. Popular in home offices, bathrooms and utility rooms, pocket doors save space and can make a room feel more open. Using a pocket door in place of a hinged door saves about 10 square feet of floor space, notes home improvement expert Tim Carter.

Depending on the width of the opening, you can use either a single pocket door, or double pocket doors that slide into opposite walls and meet in the middle when closed. Because they don’t seal as tightly as hinged doors, pocket doors are largely limited to use inside the home, instead of as entry doors.

Sliding Barn Doors

Barn doors are a bit like pocket doors in that they slide open and closed, but they’re hung on tracks that are visible. When opened, the doors are located on one side of the wall, instead of disappearing into the wall. For large openings, such as between dining rooms and living rooms, you can even hang multiple barn doors on tracks in order to divide the spaces.

A number of companies offer high-end barn door track hardware, in a range of styles and colors. “People like the unexpected look of a barn door,” says John Golesh, president of door hardware manufacturer Goldberg Brothers. “They’re a great way to add a rustic, yet elegant look to your home. And with the wide variety of door hangers and handles, a barn door can complement any interior décor.”

In addition to the chic look barn doors offer, homes for sale with “barn door” in their listing sold for 13 percent more than expected and 57 days faster, according to research by Zillow Diggs.

Pivot Doors

Common in ancient buildings, pivot mounted doors are virtually unseen in North American homes. For homeowners who want an element of surprise, a pivot door is a good choice. In place of hinges or overhead sliders and tracks, pivot doors rotate open and closed around pins installed in the top and bottom of the door frame. The pins are set several inches in from the door frame, depending on the door’s size.

“For high-end homes with extra-wide doors, pivots are a great way to handle the additional weight, and will be unlike anything your visitors have seen before,” Loveless says. “We are making many different super-sized doors for this exact application.”

Some of these doors are huge – measuring up to four feet wide or more. As “large, simple rectangles,” pivot doors can be designed to look like the surrounding wall, so fit well in modern style homes, notes architect Bud Dietrich. Unlike pocket doors and barn doors, pivot doors can seal tightly to their frame when closed, so can be used as entry doors.

Houses: Building Them Better Than They Used To

23243213_original(BPT) – The phrase, “they don’t build them like they used to,” has been applied to nearly everything from cars to footwear, but most often it seems people say it about houses. In fact, this sentiment has become so common, that many believe the homes today aren’t built to the standards they were 60 or 70 years ago.

People tend to believe this because there is an undeniable charm to older homes – yet, the ones they’re often thinking of were built for millionaires. It’s hardly fair to compare the mansions and manor homes owned by the 1 percent a century ago to today’s middle-class subdivisions. The truth is, there were plenty of poorly constructed houses built back then. We just don’t see them, because they’re no longer standing.

Building materials, techniques and technologies have changed. Most often, these changes have translated into better, more affordable houses. Still skeptical? A quick look at a few examples will show that this urban myth is not too hard to dispel.

A Variety of Exterior Choices

For a time, vinyl siding dominated neighborhoods. It was the choice for new construction and remodels alike. Sure it was maintenance free and far less of a headache than wood siding, and cheaper than stone or stucco, but few called it an inspired look.

A new generation of synthetic wood siding promises to add not only quality, but authenticity to home siding options. Available in a variety of styles and colors, Cedar Impressions Shakes mimic the texture and rustic beauty so many prize in cedar, without the maintenance issues that turn so many away from natural wood siding.

Another important advancement in materials is in roofing, where more homeowners are choosing synthetic slate shingles. Slate, which has decorated cathedrals and mansions around the world, is as beautiful as it is difficult to maintain and afford. Its synthetic counterpart, made from recycled rubber and plastic, creates the appearance of a stone roof, while being stronger, more flexible and easier to install. It also lasts much longer than asphalt shingles – up to 50 years.

Interior Walls

Along with engineering advancements that have improved the structural integrity and resilience of new homes, interior walls have greatly improved as well. While many people have a nostalgia for plaster walls, the new drywall technology used in Habito by CertainTeed Gypsum brings the strength and durability of plaster into a modern drywall.

Incredibly strong, Habito drywall is not only able to stand up to extreme abuse, but it’s also able hold an incredible amount of weight, up to 30 pounds on a single wood screw. This new drywall eliminates the need to find a stud or install a wall anchor, and makes decorating and redecorating incredibly easy. It’s particularly handy for today’s modern lifestyle where televisions, speakers, pictures and shelves are mounted on the wall.

Of course, these more refined and stronger building technologies are only part of the story of why homes are now built better than ever. If you want to learn more and get inspired for your next construction or remodeling project, visit HanginWithHabito.com for more information on their revolutionary drywall product.

And the next time someone says “they just don’t build them like they used to,” you’ll say that’s a good thing.

How to Deal with Mold in Your Home

shutterstock_312910916It’s estimated that up to 300,000 species of mold exist on the planet. While most of this mold grows naturally outdoors — and is actually an asset to the environment they’re growing in — when mold grows indoors, it has the potential to do great harm. Not only is mold unsightly and smelly, but it’s often the byproduct of past water damage or unidentified moisture intrusion. Aside from this, it has the potential to greatly impact the health of household residents. Symptoms of mold exposure range from the likes of increased allergic reactions to respiratory illnesses.

With this in mind, if you suspect there’s a mold problem in your home, it’s important to take action quickly — before it spreads throughout the home and continues to wreak havoc on the health of your family.

  1. Have it tested/inspected. Some mold is more obvious than others. For instance, if you see dark spots on the walls or ceilings, or in your basement or attic, it is likely mold. If you smell a musky odor, it could be the sign of mold. Other infestations are less obvious, and these often grow undetected in wall cavities. While you can buy a mold testing kit to verify mold growth, consider calling a certified mold inspector or mold remediation contractor to fully assess your situation with professional certainty. Don’t assume that you can clean up the mold or remove the mold-infested materials yourself — you may be doing more harm than good.
  2. Identify the source. As noted above, mold needs water to grow, so if mold growth is occurring in the home, it’s because water is getting into or has gotten into the home. Perhaps you have a leaky roof or a pipe is leaking inside a wall. Or, water is getting into your basement. Perhaps storm damage led to the mold growth. Whatever the cause, mold will keep coming back unless the water source has been eliminated.
  3. Call your insurance agent. If your mold infestation is significant, you should rely on a professional mold remediation contractor to remediate it. Depending on the type of mold growth — and how it occurred — remediation may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. For instance, if a storm damaged your home and led to water intrusion that caused subsequent mold growth, you’re likely covered. That said, a phone call to your agent is never a bad idea.
  4. Hire a professional. A lot of unethical contractors prey on unsuspecting homeowners, especially “storm chaser contractors” that aggressively seek business after powerful storms impact an area. Noting this, it’s important to hire a certified, credible and professional mold remediation company. Such companies are normally part of accredited organizations, such as the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or Restoration Industry Association (RIA), and remediate mold per the IICRC S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation. This work involves safely removing porous materials (i.e., drywall, carpet, etc.) that have been affected and cleaning contents and nonporous materials. It also involves proper source containment to eliminate the risk of mold spores spreading to an unaffected area of the home. Disinfection and sanitization are also included. Following remediation, testing will be carried out to ensure it was successful.
  5. Build back. Following successful remediation comes reconstruction (if applicable). If drywall or carpeting had to be removed and discarded, for instance, then a contractor will have to replace it. This work may be done by the same mold remediation contractor that did the mold removal if it is a full-service contractor, or it may be subbed out to another professional.


Bottom line? If you suspect or have identified mold growth in your home, it’s important to take action. Don’t sit on the problem, as it will only get worse over time, spreading throughout more of your home and costing much more to remediate. Of course, there’s also the toll that mold growth has the potential to take on your family’s health. Mold is no joke — and the best way to deal with it is to get rid of it.



Author bio: Bill Robinson is Vice President of Operations for DKI Commercial Solutions, where he oversees disaster relief operations for commercial large loss in the United States. DKI Services is a disaster remediation and restoration company that offers residential and commercial buildings emergency restorations. Some of Robinson’s efforts have been nationally and locally recognized in the media.


Does Your Door Lock Protect Against This Break-In Method?

29517548_original(BPT) – From self-driving cars to Snapchat, digital technology continues to transform almost every aspect of our lives. While these big-ticket smart items make the headlines, many homeowners are more interested in how smart technology can be used to increase their level of home security.

Today, advanced image sensors, indoor video cameras and DIY security hubs allow the average homeowner to install security systems that are directly linked to the police. Homeowners can also lock doors and check cameras from their phones, regardless of their location.

“No matter how advanced your security system, your home is only protected as much as your weakest link,” says Randy Johnson, a professional locksmith with Lock-Tech in Orange County, California. “Far too often, it’s the weak door lock on the door that thieves use as their entry way into a home.”

A rising danger

Recently, Good Morning America reported on the increase in the use of bump keys to break into homes.

Bump keys can be purchased online and fit into just about any door lock. A burglar needs only to hit the head of the inserted key with a hammer or a blunt object. This causes the pins in the lock to jump, allowing anyone to unlock the door and easily enter your home.

Because this entry method is not easily noticeable, many people don’t even know their home was broken into.

Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice found that household break-in rates regularly increase during the summer. Those findings are confirmed by F.B.I. data that show all criminal activity increases roughly 10 percent during the summer months.

These factors have led security experts to remind the public that not all door locks are the same and homeowners need to invest in bump-proof door locks.

Bump-proof locks

As summer crime spikes, the importance of having the right kind of door lock on your home cannot be overstated. Kwikset SmartKey locks are built with a patented BumpGuard technology that prevents would-be burglars from breaking into your house with a bump key.

Available in door knobs, door locks, smart locks, handlesets and more, there’s a Kwikset door lock with SmartKey security to fit virtually every door.

While there is no shortage of smart security options for your home, the Kwikset door locks specifically respond to a very real threat. This technology will be welcome news for moms and dads looking for the best way to protect their family and keep their valuables secure.

Separating Fact from Fiction: A Closer Look at American Hardwoods

23084782_original(BPT) – As home improvement projects take center stage, the search is on for products that will enhance, rather than jeopardize the health and well-being of our families and loved ones. Products made from American hardwoods have been the natural choice for healthy home and work environments for generations. Today is no different.

With so many options available in the current marketplace, Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center, www.HardwoodInfo.com, suggests a little more research, in order to separate product fact from fiction. “Health-conscious and environmentally responsible consumers are challenged to recognize products and materials that are both aesthetically appealing and safe,” she says. “I encourage taking a closer look at U.S. products – especially flooring and cabinetry, furniture and moulding – made from American hardwoods. They’re uniquely beautiful, safe and a friend to the environment. And they have the credentials to prove it!”

Treasured for Generations, and Forever Fresh

Enhancing our surroundings with products made from American hardwoods is a wise choice and a sound investment. In the kitchen or the bath, over the fireplace or on the floor, the sheer beauty, durability and timeless appeal of the products make a lasting statement everywhere. So paint it; stain it; repair it; refinish it; walk on it; restore it; love it; refresh it! The possibilities are endless.

Made in the U.S.A.

There is much to consider before making a purchase in today’s marketplace. What’s the product’s origin? Is it made of natural materials or is it a synthetic product steeped with chemicals and potential carcinogens? What health and/or environmental implications will its manufacturing process have?

In the U.S., quality standards and manufacturing practices are regulated and monitored by U.S. agencies and associations. Consumers can confidently choose products made from all natural American hardwoods knowing that the hardwood has been responsibly harvested and that manufacturing quality control standards have been met.

A Friend to the Environment

Flash back to seventh grade biology for a memory refresher about photosynthesis and long-term carbon sequestration.

* Growing trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, separate the carbon and oxygen atoms, then return the oxygen to the air.

* They use just the right amount of carbon to grow trunk, branches and leaves, and store or sequester the unused carbon for the life of the tree or the products made thereof.

That means using all natural American hardwoods for products like flooring and cabinetry, furniture and moulding contributes to the long-term sequestration of carbon.


For centuries, products made from American hardwoods have been providing lasting beauty, warmth and functional value to our homes and countless structures everywhere. Future generations can expect the same. The U.S. Forest Service reports that the volume of hardwoods in American forests today is 131 percent greater than it was in 1953 because more than twice as much hardwood grows each year as is harvested. That’s sustainability in a nutshell. We are not running out of trees – hardwoods are an abundant, renewing and sustainable resource.

Step into the world of American Hardwoods, www.HardwoodInfo.com, and take a closer look at the myriad of products made from this natural and healthy, uniquely beautiful, responsibly harvested and more-abundant-than-ever resource!