3 Ways a Deck Can Make Staying Home More Enjoyable

(BPT) – With so many people across the country staying put in their homes right now, a fun and functional outdoor space is more important than ever. Amusement parks and concerts are closed or canceled and spring is around the corner, beckoning families outdoors. Millions of people are working remotely and looking for a more natural option for their home offices. A well-thought-out deck could be the answer to making a staycation, whether forced or planned, more enjoyable.

Here are three ways a deck can improve the at-home experience.

Fewer screens, more fun

When kids are out of school, screen time usually goes up. Whether it’s TV, computers, video games, phones or tablets, screen time is usually a sedentary activity.

A deck can provide an alternative outdoor play space where kids can be active and stretch their imaginations, enjoy the outdoors and do things like bring their favorite toys like building blocks, action figures or doll houses outdoors.

Worried about splinters hurting those little toes and fingers? Composite decking is a beautiful option that makes sanding, staining, sealing and splinters a thing of the past. While composite decking has historically had a higher price tag than traditional wood, boards like Envision Ridge Premium deliver the exotic hardwood beauty and low maintenance of composites at a budget-friendly price.

Continue reading “3 Ways a Deck Can Make Staying Home More Enjoyable”

Unlock the Smart Home You Never Knew You Had

(BPT) – With everyone hunkering down, many of us are thinking about how to maximize what’s already in our homes. What many don’t know is that the benefits and efficiencies of a smart home might already be at their fingertips. With a little research and time spent with your appliances and technology, you can start enjoying the convenience of the smart home features you never knew you had – with added benefits like tips and alerts that will help you take care of your appliances to avoid service issues.

Reacquaint yourself with your tech

Start online by doing a search of the make and model of your TVs, speakers and appliances to determine if your items have smart capabilities. If they do, you can easily locate online instructions for setup and user-friendly tutorials on how to use them to their full advantage. Have you recently purchased a premium new TV or appliance? If you have, there’s a good chance that it’s smart-enabled.

Start exploring your smart app

After selecting a smart-enabled appliance or TV that you’d like to focus on, download the accompanying smart app to your smartphone or tablet. Many brands have one central app for their appliances and electronics to make this even easier. For example, LG’s is called ThinQ. A central app is the easiest way to keep yourself organized.

Continue reading “Unlock the Smart Home You Never Knew You Had”

6 Tips For Advancing Your At-Home Cooking

(BPT) – With everyone spending more time at home, the kitchen is becoming a major hub for daily activities. Whether it is dusting off an old cookbook, perfecting a family recipe, mastering the latest recipe to take over social media, or baking cookies with the kids, people are creating new memories in the kitchen.

That’s why we asked the cooking and baking experts in LG’s home appliance consumer insights lab in Chicago to compile a list of the best tips, tricks and hacks to help get the most out of your time in the kitchen right now.

Create recipes that need less cleanup time

With more cooking comes more cleaning. Try to ease the cleanup burden by creating one-pot meals. Casseroles are great dishes that require less cleanup. Pro-tip: Most casserole dishes should be covered for most of their cooking time, but you can remove the cover and continue to cook the casserole for 5 to 10 minutes until the top is browned.

Continue reading “6 Tips For Advancing Your At-Home Cooking”

5 Steps to Painting Like a Pro at Home

(BPT) – Nothing transforms a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house is one of the smartest and easiest DIY upgrades a homeowner can accomplish, especially as they find themselves spending more time at home. With 71% of homeowners undertaking improvement or renovation projects that include paint, according to an iProperty Management Study, here are surefire tips to ensure you are painting like a pro.

Clean your canvas

Paint adheres better to a smooth, clean surface. While living room walls may only need a dry dusting, kitchens and bathrooms, where dirt, grease, oil or mildew can build up, need extra attention. Wash surfaces with soap and water, rinse well and allow to dry completely. For bathrooms, remove mold and mildew by applying a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes. Then scrub mold and mildew with a soft-bristle brush, rinse the surface and allow it to dry. Be sure to wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when working with this bleach and water solution. For surfaces that are particularly grimy, spray with Rust-Oleum® Original Krud Kutter Cleaner & Degreaser, wipe off with a clean cloth and allow to dry.

Continue reading “5 Steps to Painting Like a Pro at Home”

Turn Your Backyard Into a Safe Space For Healthy Play

(BPT) – As Americans across the country retreat to their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many are rediscovering the value of their yards as places to take in fresh air, engage their children in outdoor games and enjoy physical activity in a safe environment.

3 tips for safe, healthy outdoor fun for the family

Kids who can no longer participate in organized sports activities or meet their friends at the park need creative ways to burn off energy at home. Unplugging and stepping outside can be good for the whole family’s physical and mental health. Consider these three tips as you explore ways to take advantage of the green space around your home.

Educate: The backyard offers a great setting to learn about plant biology and the creepy crawlers that call our lawns home. Take a magnifying glass to your lawn and explore the habitat nestled between the blades.

Exercise: Lace up your sneakers and take to the yard for a 30-minute workout or arrange an obstacle course on the lawn for the kids. Encourage children to compete for the fastest time or create a course of their own.

Rejuvenate: As the days get warmer, enjoy a little self-care by soaking in the sun on the lawn. Consider laying out a blanket and reading. Whether it becomes family story time or some quiet time to yourself, spend some time enjoying your own personal piece of the great outdoors.

Continue reading “Turn Your Backyard Into a Safe Space For Healthy Play”

Tips To Protect From the Unexpected: Necessary Home Essentials

(BPT) – While spending more time at home, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to make sure your family is ready for the unexpected in the event a home fire or carbon monoxide (CO) leak occurs. You might be surprised to learn that CO poisoning is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States each year and, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of five fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Make sure your family and home are prepared by following these tips and tools.

Every level, every bedroom.

Even if you have smoke and CO alarms in your home, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected if you don’t have enough devices throughout your entire home. To help ensure the highest level of protection, the NFPA recommends installing alarms on every level of the home, inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area.

Test, maintain and replace.

Even though testing your alarms is as simple as pressing a button and waiting for the beep, a First Alert survey showed that more than 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly. Test alarms regularly, change the batteries every six months if battery-powered and be sure all alarms have a battery backup if hardwired, for protection during a power outage. To eliminate battery replacements for a decade, upgrade to 10-year sealed battery alarms to make battery replacements a thing of the past. Also, if you can’t remember the last time you installed an alarm, chances are, it’s time to replace it. Alarms are on duty 24/7 and need to be replaced at least every 10 years.

Continue reading “Tips To Protect From the Unexpected: Necessary Home Essentials”

Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

(BPT) – Looks matter and first impressions count! So to pique the interest of potential buyers, refresh your home’s exterior and boost the curb appeal with new siding. In-the-know design pros are choosing cypress siding for the upgrade. It looks great and can last a lifetime, no matter what Mother Nature might have in store.

“Cypress siding offers the complete package,” says Zack Rickman of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, www.CypressInfo.org. “It’s not only beautiful, it offers proven outdoor performance by naturally repelling insects – like termites and carpenter bees – and minimizing decay, chemical corrosion and other damaging elements.”

Be informed

Wood siding offers a timeless look that is often imitated, but never really duplicated. And while there are many siding products to choose from, homebuilder Stephen Ellis, MGB Fine Custom Homes of Sarasota, Florida, chooses cypress. And for good reasons!

“Often we clad our homes entirely in cypress,” he says. “It’s a material we enjoy working with because it’s dimensionally stable and holds up well in our humid, coastal environment. And it’s locally sourced, which is something homeowners are valuing now more than ever. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the architectural style of the home, maintenance and cost. I do my best to help homeowners make an informed decision based on their goals.”

When it comes to picking a siding style, cypress is available in all the popular patterns, like traditional bevel or modern shiplap. Yet in Ellis’ area, he’s seeing a different trend. “These days, we’re putting up a lot of board and batten,” he says. “It’s always been popular for farm houses, but it looks great on beach homes and complements the casual, relaxing vibe.”

Continue reading “Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal”

4 Outdoor Cleaning Tips That Could Help You Save Thousands

(BPT) – The sounds of birds chirping, longer daylight hours, and budding trees and flowers are early signs that warmer weather and spring are on the way. That means more time outside to enjoy nature, but it’s also a sign it might be time for a little spring cleaning.

“Cold temperatures, snowfall and winter rains can have a big effect on houses and landscaping, so now’s the time to check for potential home repairs and maintenance,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance vice president of property claims. “Spring cleaning isn’t just about getting rid of belongings you no longer want or need – it’s also a time to get your home in tip-top shape so you can enjoy it throughout the rest of the year.”

Here are four tips O’Rourke recommends to welcome the new season and save some money down the road.

Continue reading “4 Outdoor Cleaning Tips That Could Help You Save Thousands”

Focus Your Bathroom Remodel With a Striking Visual Statement

(BPT) – There is nothing more inviting than a luxurious, well-appointed bathroom, but no matter how ambitious the remodel, there are unique challenges that come with every project. Whether updating the guest powder room or redesigning the master bathroom of your dreams, from plumbing and lighting to budget and space limitations, there is a lot to be considered. One way to approach a project is by defining the space through singular choices that will move an everyday interior into a space to remember: an extraordinary marble vanity, exquisite lighting fixture, classic vessel sink or deep soaking tub – pivotal pieces can set the stage upon which all else revolves.

How you choose that signature piece to take your room to the next level can be intimidating. Here are some approaches to help make your dream space a reality.

Continue reading “Focus Your Bathroom Remodel With a Striking Visual Statement”

What’s Next In Outdoor Living? Top Trends for 2020

(BPT) – The appeal of all things al fresco has never been higher with homeowners across the country investing more time and money than ever before into their outdoor spaces. Based on insights from decking contractors, retailers and home design experts, industry leader Trex Company has compiled its annual outdoor living forecast, predicting the top design trends for 2020 and beyond.

“It’s always fascinating to compare the trends reported by our customers with those projected by the industry at large,” said Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex. “This year, we also engaged celebrity designer Alison Victoria to take our forecast to a whole new level.”

According to the latest report, the following five top trends will influence outdoor living in the new decade:

Continue reading “What’s Next In Outdoor Living? Top Trends for 2020”