6 Features in Your Home Not to Forget About

Do you ever walk through your home and think of a few things you wish you did differently? Maybe you bought an existing house and felt a different layout would be better, or you wish you would have picked a different colour for the living room?

There ends up being at least one feature in our houses that we wish we could easily change. If you’re in the process of renovating or building a new house, we have six features in your home not to forget about.

Number of Outlets

Outlets seem like such a small thing in the grand scheme of the house that we tend to forget about them. The thing is though, forgetting about the outlets will lead to frustration down the road.

When installing outlets, put them in spots that you know you’ll use them. Have one on either side of where you plan to put your bed. Have multiple outlets in different locations in the living room. Don’t forget about outlets in the garage and outside your house too.

Indoor and Outdoor Railings

Railings are another thing that can be an afterthought, but shouldn’t be. Having a boring railing on a unique and exciting staircase will only bring down the effect it has. The colour and style of the railings can help finish off a room and give the staircase the pop it needs.

Storage Space

It’s not that we forget about storage space, rather, it’s that we underestimate how much we’ll need. Once you move into your new home and start unpacking, you’ll soon realize whether or not you have enough storage.

When planning out your house, have storage space at the top of your list. You can get creative with how you add it, like building shelves into the wall.

Exhaust Fans

By now, we know how important it is to control the humidity levels in your home. Having excess moisture in the air can lead to mould growth, and mould can cause serious harm to your health.

Having exhaust fans in your home will help control the humidity and circulate the air. Install them in your bathroom where there is likely to be the most amount of moisture.

Pet Accommodations

Pets are family, right? If you have a furry friend or are planning to get one, it’s easy to forget about certain pet items until you need them at that moment. More and more pet owners, though, are building their pet accommodations right into their house. Integrated food and water dishes that pull out from a cabinet, an addition the master bedroom for the puppy to sleep on, and having a dog wash station, they may sound silly, but they keep all of your pet supplies organized and tidy.

Indoor Plants

If you don’t have any indoor plants, you should invest in some. Adding greenery to your home not only adds a pop of colour, but real plants offer many health benefits as well. Living plants produce oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the air. We’re left with fresh and healthy air.

How to Build the Perfect Deck

Decks are one of the best hang out spots on the property. Especially during the warm summer evenings, gathering with friends to relax on the deck is the best way to finish off the day.

There’s a difference, though, between lounging and relaxing on a deck built for just that, or hanging out on a piece of wood that looks like it’s going to fall apart. As much as you want the deck to be the feature piece in your backyard, safety should also be of top priority.

If you’re planning on building your house a deck this summer, we have a few tips that will help you out.

Get the Permits

Before you even begin planning out your deck, you need to ensure you have the proper permits from your community. You wouldn’t want to start building, only to find out that you don’t have the right permit and you have to start over.

Go through the bylaws of your municipality to see what type of setbacks you could face. Knowing any limitations will help you come up with a plan that won’t get shot down by the municipality.

Design the Layout on Paper

Trying to build a deck from an image in your mind is next to impossible, especially if you have people helping you. Make things easier on you and design your layout on paper first. That way, you’ll have an idea of what things will look like, and you can show it to people helping you, so everyone is on the same page.

Build a Strong Foundation

You want to prevent as much shifting as possible. Living in Canada, the ground is always freezing and thawing out. The change in temperature can cause structures to shift. If not built properly, that shifting can damage the structure.

If you’re unsure of the best solution for a solid foundation, it’s best to hire someone to do this part for you.

Don’t Push Screws too Deep

It’s important to pay attention to how far you push the screws into the deck. You need to go far enough that it connects that materials together. However, going too deep into the wood, and you’ll create a little crevice that is perfect for holding water.

Don’t Forget About the Railings

We know that railings are an essential safety feature for the deck. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the style of railings you install. You have many options of unique and stylish railings to match the deck you’re building, all while being sturdy and safe.

Think About the Surface Material

Depending on where you live in the country, that may help you decide on the material you use for the deck surface. If you want to go natural, then stay away from pressure treated wood. Cedarwood is a popular option for a natural surface, but it does come with a price tag. Recycled plastic composite boards are becoming more popular. They’re made to look like real wood, but are made out of recycled plastic. This type is very durable and has an extremely long lifespan. Lastly, there’s the option of tropical wood, but many don’t like this option as it makes a big dent in the rainforests.

7 Design Tips for Your Backyard

The backyard of your home doesn’t have to be an area with grass and a few plants. It can be your own oasis. Think of it as an extension of your home. The ways of decorating your backyard are endless.

When it comes to designing a backyard, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you’re looking for and what your personality is like. However, there are a few general design tips that can help guide you in the right direction.

To design your perfect backyard oasis, consider some of the following tips to help.

Have a Lounging Area

You want your backyard to be a welcoming and comfortable place for friends and family to relax at. To do so, incorporate a lounging area. Fill it with comfortable seating and lounge chairs. If you wouldn’t want to relax on it in your living room, then would you be comfortable sitting on it outside?

Add a Pergola

Pergolas are a great structure for almost any backyard. They work great as a frame for your lounging area, and they are sturdy enough to grow beautiful plants and vines on. If you add a pergola to your backyard, you can even hang string lights from it for a luxurious effect. Make sure the pergola is built properly to prevent any injuries.

Use Lights

Backyards need lights, especially if you plan to hang out there in the evening times. Not only that, they add another element of safety. You have so many options to choose from for backyard lighting. From string lights as mentioned above, to post lamps and exterior wall lamps, you can install light fixtures to reflect any design.

Install Fencing

Adding a fence doesn’t have to be simply for privacy and for identifying your property line. Let your fence be a part of the overall design of your backyard. From modern to traditional, many options will work with any backyard theme you have.

Add a Pop of Colour

Adding colour to any design helps add that wow element. Whether it be through decorative pillows, plants, paint, or sculptures, adding colour helps bring the whole design together.

Have a Water Element

To really make your backyard an oasis, install a water fountain or sculpture. The trickling noise of the running water can be very calming while you relax. On top of that, they work excellent as a statement piece that will have your guests talking.

Build a Pathway

If you want to keep your grass healthy and green, and prevent anyone from running into the flower bed, build a pathway for people to walk on. You can design any kind of pathway that fits into the theme of your backyard. Use brick, wood, stone, and other outdoor materials that can withstand the weather.

When designing your backyard, you want to do so with a primary purpose in mind. Before you begin, ask yourself what you’ll use your backyard for mainly. If you plan to host parties and entertain guests frequently, then you’ll want to have relaxing spaces and possibly an outdoor bar or kitchen. If you have kids, you’ll want to add in something for them too.

Is Your Home Safe? 9 Things to Check

The safety of our homes is always of top priority. Whether it’s yourself, you have children, or pets are running around, you want everyone that steps foot on your property to be safe. If something happens, you could be liable.

Ensure that your home is safe by going through the following checklist. We have a combination of obvious points and some that you may not have thought about.

Replace Frayed Wires

Frayed wires are an electrical shock waiting to happen. Especially if they are easily accessible by kids crawling on the ground, grabbing a live and frayed wire could be fatal. If you spot any, turn off the power to the source so you can safely replace the wire.

Outside Vents Cleared

If we don’t pay attention, outside vents can become blocked and obstructed due to plants, snow, and other items that can get in the way. You want those vents cleared otherwise carbon monoxide can flow back into your house.

Inspect Water Heater

You may forget it’s even there, but have you inspected your water heater lately? If not, you should add it to your yearly checklist. While inspecting the water heater, check for any leaks and rusting. Also, ensure there are no flammable materials nearby.

Check the Railings

It’s one thing to install railings along staircases, decks, and openings on high floors. However, you should also inspect them to ensure they are still sturdy and properly attached. Railings are a way to keep people safe as they walk up and down stairs, and it helps deter small children from getting too close to the edge of something.

Nonslip Bathtub Decals

It’s quite easy to slip and fall in a bathtub, especially if someone was using oils and bubble bath beforehand. Slipping in a bathtub can cause serious injuries or even worse. Add nonslip decals to the bottom of the tub. Not only do they provide grip when standing, but they add a fun design as well.

Emergency Numbers List

Having a list of emergency numbers is especially important if you have kids in the house. The list should be easily accessible if an emergency occurred. Ensure that you have police, fire department, poison control, cellphones of parents, and a number for a trusted neighbour.

Secure Stands to Walls

Large bookcases and stands that you have sitting on the ground should still be installed into the wall. It doesn’t take much for someone to pull on the bookcase and have it come tumbling down.

Have a Fire Extinguisher

Many think that fire extinguishers are only for businesses. However, houses should also have a small fire extinguisher handy. It’s best to have one in the kitchen. If a fire broke out while cooking, you would have your fire extinguisher to put it out before it got out of control.

Ensure Smoke Detectors Work

Smoke detectors are one of the best defences against a fire that families have. If you’re sleeping and a fire broke out, you would likely wake up to the smoke detector. Always check that they have batteries and are working properly.

Use this checklist to ensure the safety of your home. The more you can do to keep everyone inside, and outside of your house safe, the better everyone will be.

The Importance of Railings in a Home

Whether you’re building a new home, renovating an existing one, or planning to sell your house, do you have railings installed in the appropriate areas of the home? If not, you may want to consider adding some in.

Not only do railings add additional safety to your property, but in many cases, they are mandatory. Depending on the location, the size of the stairs, and the height, you may be required to install handrailings for additional support.

The importance of railings cannot be understated. Although they can add an aesthetic appeal to the area they are in, the primary purpose of adding railings is for safety.

Consider the following four reasons as to why railings are crucial for every property.

Support When on the Stairs

Imagine walking down a set of stairs and missing a step. Your first instinct is likely to grab onto something, like a railing, to stop you from falling. If that railing wasn’t there, or it broke away from the wall due to improper installation, you would likely fall down the stairs. There is a good chance you would seriously injure yourself, or even worse.

Railings along staircases add another security level of support for everyone who uses them. It’s easy to miss a step or step on the stairs. Without that railing, instead of losing your breath from a quick scare, you could fall down the whole staircase.

Prevent Falls from Upper Levels

If you have a house with a second level that looks over the main floor, you should have a railing along the open area. Having the floor extend over the main floor so that you can look down, adds a unique look to the house. Many like having that extra space as a reading or lounging area, or a place to showcase decorations.

Adding a railing will help prevent someone from falling off of the second floor. No matter how high the next level of the house is, someone falling from it could still seriously injure him or herself. The railing stops you from going too far.

Prevent Slipping into Pools

Having a railing around an open pool will help prevent people from slipping into the pool, especially children. Many enjoy the benefits of having a pool outside. Without that railing though, a child could easily walk too close to the water, slip and fall in. If no one is around when this happens, the consequences could be dire.

Adding a railing around the pool, almost like a fence, marks where you need to be extra cautious. It prevents kids from running too close to the water, and if someone slipped on the wet surface, they would have something to hold on to.

Secure a Deck

Another common place for a railing is a deck, and you should have a railing around the perimeter of it if you don’t already. A deck is typically off the ground, enough that if someone stepped on the edge and fell, he or she could get hurt.

Not only will that railing add an aesthetic element to the area, but it provides safety to those who use the deck.

We cannot state enough the importance of having railings in the right places of your property. If you’re unsure if you should install a railing or not, Railings Toronto will help you out.

Every House Needs These 8 Things

Do you ever take a moment to look around your house, and wonder what is missing? You get that feeling that there should be something in a particular room, but you don’t know what it is?

Every room in the house needs to have certain essential items. However, we don’t realize we need a particular item until that moment. If you had a checklist of what you should include in your home, wouldn’t that make life easier?

Well, we have that list for you. Here are eight things that every house needs.

First Aid Kit

Having first aid supplies is not something you want to realize you need until that moment. You should be prepared for any injury that could happen. Keep a fully stocked first aid kit in the room that is likely to have the most injuries – the kitchen. How often do you get a cut and need a band-aid?

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is another item that not many people think of, but they should have in their house. If a fire broke out, would you be able to put it out in time before it gets out of control? Fire extinguishers can help prevent the spread of fire and from having thousands of dollars (if not, more) in damage

Railings

Although this may seem like an obvious point, it’s important to note that every house should have railings installed. For staircases, pools, decks, and overhanging second levels of a house, they should all have a railing to prevent slips and falls. A simple railing can protect someone from seriously hurting him or herself.

Storage Closet

A house can never have enough storage. We always seem to collect things the longer we live in a place, so it’s easy to run out of storage. Have a designated closet that is meant for storing items. Just be careful that it doesn’t get out of control, and you can’t find anything.

Plants

Whether they be real or fake, every house needs a plant or two. The greenery adds a comforting element to the room. Plus, if you can remember to take care of a real plant, many of them have benefits that help with our health, breathing, and focusing.

A Rug

Does a rug really serve a purpose? Yes, it does.

A rug does a few things for a room. It adds a comforting and warming feeling to the area. It helps layout the furniture. The rug also feels like on people’s feet.

Tool Kit

Every home should have a tool kit that has basically every essential tool you would use. When something breaks, you want to be able to fix it yourself. Having a tool kit on hand will let you repair just about anything.

Window Coverings

During the summer months when the sun is beating down, and you struggle to keep the house at a comfortable temperature, window coverings will come in handy. They help block out the hot sun when you don’t want it. They also add another design element to the room. Not only that, window coverings can give the illusion that the window is bigger than what it is.

Use our checklist to ensure you have all the essential items in your home. When it comes to installing railings on your property, call Railings Toronto to get the job done.

5 Tips for Building a Deck

A deck is an excellent addition to a home. It turns into a gathering place in the summer months when it’s warm out. The deck may be where you have your barbeque to cook while relaxing outside.

There are many usages for a deck that will benefit the whole family. If you’re looking at building one, there are a few things you’ll want to remember to help you out. We have five tips to help you build your deck.

Know Your Property Line

When building a deck, you want to ensure that it stays within your property line. Unless you have a fence that lines the perimeter of your yard, it’s hard to eyeball where the property line is. You wouldn’t want to spend all this time building a deck to find out you’ve gone into the neighbour’s yard.

You may need permits from your municipality before you begin. Ensure you have all the proper permits and documentation with you.

Don’t Pick Just Any Wood

The type of wood you use to build your deck is important. The wrong material for the environment you live in could cause you to have to do major repairs in a year or two. Pressure treated wood was a favourite for the longest time since it can withstand the outdoor elements. However, many are unsure about the chemicals used to pressure treat it. Although, over the last several years, pressure treated wood has become less toxic.

Cedar is the most common natural, untreated wood for decks. Staining it will help prolong the lifespan of the deck, along with protecting it from the UV rays of the sun and the elements of the seasons.

Add a Railing

Quite often when building a deck, most of the focus is on the deck itself and the stairs leading up to it. However, there is another aspect of the deck that should not be forgotten about. That is the railing.

The railing along a deck is there for added protection, as well as aesthetics. If you have small children around, those railings can prevent your child from falling off the deck.

Be Careful About Deck-to-Wall Connections

One of the most common spots for a deck building project to go bad is the deck-to-wall connections. You want to ensure that you go through all the proper steps so that there are no gaping holes. Decide if the deck will be a standalone one or if you’ll have it attached to the house.

Have a Plan Before You Begin

Building a deck with no plan in mind is not a great idea. You may find that halfway through the project, you don’t like the look of it or the placement. Then you’re left having to tear everything down to start over.

Plan out your deck before you begin. Have a drawing that shoes where you want to place the deck and what the structure will look like. Have the dimensions so you can refer to it as you go. Your plan should also include the materials used and what colour you want the deck to be.

How to Choose the Best Railing for Your Staircase

The staircase can be a feature piece in your home. It may be the first thing someone sees when they walk through the front door, or even if it’s tucked off to the side, the design makes the staircase stand out.

If you’re someone who takes pride in their staircase, then you know that choosing the railing to match your staircase is essential. You wouldn’t want to go through the time and effort of designing the perfect set of stairs, only to have it offset by the lack of planning with the railing.

There are many options available for the type of railing and colour options to match your stairs. You just need to decide which option looks best. When choosing a railing for your stairs, consider the following points to help.

The Style of the Stairs

First, what is the style of the stairs? If you have a modern floating staircase that has a very clean look, you wouldn’t want a traditional wooden railing to go with it. The same thing goes for the opposite. If the stairs were a beautiful natural wood, you wouldn’t necessarily want a bold colour for a railing or a glass option.

Match the railing, style and colour included, to the design of your staircase. Consider the atmosphere it builds and use that as a guideline.

Is It an Accent Piece?

Do you want the railing to blend in with the stairs, or would you rather it stand out and be a bold accent piece? You can go either way with it.

If you want the railing to be a statement piece, have the design or colour to stand out against what is there. If you the stairs are subtle, have a bright coloured railing. If you rather have everything flow together, paint the railing to match the colour of the stairs.

What’s the Purpose of the Railing?

Not all railings are installed with the same intent in mind. Some use the railing as a style feature for the staircase. Others use it for security purposes, especially if there is small children or elderly adults using the stairs. If that is the case, you’ll want a sturdy railing that is there for support.

If the railing is more for style, you can go for many options then. A glass railing can look quite good for a modern staircase. You could have something simple that doesn’t cover the stairs and is completely open.

Have fun when deciding on a railing for your staircase. With so many options available, you can really change up the design and atmosphere of the area around.

Remember, though, if safety is top priority, you do not want to compromise the integrity of the railing for a special design. Not all railings are sturdy enough compared to others. Make sure you know the primary purpose of the railing before choosing.

6 Things in Your Home that Need a Good Cleaning Post-Holidays

You spend so much time getting ready for the holidays, for them to go by so quickly. Then, you’re left with a big mess to tend to. There’s a good chance that you put of some of the cleanings that you don’t usually do just because you need a break.

Although it’s good to ease into it and not overwhelm yourself with cleaning, there are parts of your home that shouldn’t be missed. To help you out, here are six things in your home that you should clean after the holidays.

The Fridge

During the holidays, you’re buying groceries that you don’t normally buy on a regular basis. That is because you’re having a big feast for you and your entire family. There are bound to be items that get pushed to the back and forgotten about.

Spend some time cleaning out your fridge and giving it a good wipe down. Go through shelf by shelf and start taking things out. Check the expiry date. Anything that is way overdo should likely get thrown out or put in the compost. Wipe everything down before putting it all back together.

Railings

The railings tend to get forgotten about during your regular cleaning routine. However, they shouldn’t be. If they don’t get regularly wiped down, they become a place where germs gather and grow. Think of all the hands that were on the railings during the holidays. So, wipe them down with a mild cleaner or disinfectant wipes to kill any bacteria lingering around.

Furniture

Now, furniture is likely something you thought about cleaning before all of your guests arrive, but have you thought about cleaning it afterwards? Furniture can hold on to many dirty particles and germs just from us sitting on them.

Take a day or two to clean all of the furniture in your home thoroughly. Vacuum them down first before coming through with cleaners that are safe for any material your furniture is made out of.

The Vacuum

Speaking of a vacuum, when’s the last time you’ve cleaned yours? Think of all the work you did with the vacuum before, during, and right after the holidays. It’s likely quite full of dirt and dust, even if you regularly empty the bag. Give your vacuum a good cleaning, so it continues to work like new.

Appliances

The kitchen appliances, more specifically the stove, dishwasher and coffee maker, should get a good clean after the holidays. Those are some of the main appliances you use when guests are over. To keep everything working like new, spend a day giving them a much-needed clean.

Bathrooms

Although you likely have a regular cleaning schedule for your bathrooms, we’re talking about a good deep clean after the holidays. If you have lots of guests over, your bathrooms will get used more than usual, especially if you have guests staying the night.

Spend some extra time wiping down areas of the bathroom that aren’t apart of your regular cleaning. Wash the shower curtain and restock the bathroom with any needed supplies.

How to Keep Your Home Safe

Safety is of top priority for households around the world. Whether it be from intruders, fires, slips, and other accidents, protecting your household from as many dangers as possible is essential.

Keeping your home safe doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are many small changes you can implement in your daily life that will help keep your home as safe as possible.

Take a look at these six tips that you can easily do to boost the safety of your home.

Install Dummy Cameras

If you can’t afford to install a real surveillance camera around the perimeter of your home, install fake ones. Sometimes, it’s seeing and knowing that there is surveillance at home is enough to deter criminals from attempting to enter your house.

Keep the Lights On

You don’t necessarily need to have every light on all day and every day. However, by having the front porch light on, or the entrance light, it helps deter intruders away from your home. Lights signal that someone is home, which is the opposite of what a burglar would want.

If you don’t want to have the lights on constantly, you can set up motion sensors. That way, if someone walks by (especially at night), the light would flick on, and the person would be visible.

Tidy Up the Front Entrance

A clean entrance not only helps keep intruders away, but it also helps prevent anyone from slipping and falling. Newspapers make it seem like you’re not home and away on vacation. Also, stepping on them could cause someone to slip.

Set Up Railings

Railings are a great way to stop anyone at any age from falling. Especially around a pool or staircases, railings are a sign that potential danger is nearby and to be careful.

Outdoor pools should have a railing, especially if you have small children around to stop them from getting too close to the water. Stairs should also have a railing, so people have something to hold on to while walking up and down the stairs.

Keep Batteries Around

Batteries become your best friend in the case of an emergency. If the power went out, you’d want flashlights so that you can see. You may have a portable radio that runs on batteries in the case of bad weather. Not only that, smoke detectors need regularly changing to ensure they are properly working.

In an emergency, you don’t know how long it will be until things are back to normal. That means you don’t know how long your safety equipment will last without power. Having the correct batteries on hand will prevent anyone from not having everything they need to stay safe.

Teach Your Family a Safety Plan

Having a safety plan is an excellent tool that the whole family should know. From knowing the escape routes during a fire to what to do if someone unknown comes to the door, your plan could be the difference between safety and danger.

Teach your children what to do if the doorbell rings while you’re not home, what to say if someone asks for their parents over the phone, and how to call for help in the case of an emergency.