Modern Living

Modern Living

Home and real estate topics discussed in detail


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Composite Decking – What is the Best Material?

Your home’s outdoor space is an extension of the interior. It makes sense that updating the space can provide a peaceful retreat and boost the value of your home. The project can involve upgrades to better materials, and this means considering composite varieties on the market. Choosing a high-quality material can present a myriad of benefits, including longer life and low maintenance. Given that composites are created differently, here are some of the best materials to consider for your project.

Capped Composites

This is a new generation product that wraps the composite core with a tough plastic veneer known as capstock, of about 1/16 inches thick. The material is made of PVC. This is, in fact, the fastest growing segment of the decking market as it is known to be ultra-low maintenance. In addition to keeping moisture away, the material has more appealing faux-wood finishes, is durable, less prone to stain, scratches, mould, and has an easy-to-clean surface. The ends of these composites are exposed to limit the penetration of moisture. As opposed to the standard composites, the capped ones are a little more expensive but tend to carry longer warranties.

All-Plastic Decking

100 percent plastic is the other popular approach to ultra-low maintenance decking as it eliminates pesky wood fibres. The widespread popularity of Azek alongside other cellular products that are used for the exterior has driven the growth of PVC decking. The older version of PVC was designed from hollow extrusions that are similar to those of vinyl window frames. Today, this material has a solid core of cellular PVC that is condensed in a harder skin. Given that this material has no fibre, it does not have wood-related problems such as wood decay or mould. Its hard-outer skin offers realistic wood-grain textures and colour, and also gives resistance to fading, scratching and staining.

Choose the Right One

Decks to use in the hot sun- highly dense and dark coloured composites tend to absorb too much heat in the sun. Get several samples of different colours and set them in the sun to test the amount of heat absorbed within an hour.

The level of wetness- composites with smooth surfaces get slippery very fast. If you plan to use your deck near a pool, opt for materials with pronounced textures.

Building codes- before having your deck installed, check with the local building officials to ensure the material you choose is approved in your city. There are systems that have limitations in that they require certain framing in various applications. Ensure you know the type of fastener spacing required.

Your Budget- most lumberyards stock different brands and all come at varying prices. Even with the price variation, most of them give the same results and perform well. The differentiating factor is mostly based on design, the mix of plastic and wood, and texture. If you are fine with a limited pallet of colours and repetitive grain patterns, you will find a variety of low maintenance and cost effective products.

Composite decking presents a wide array of products, some of which have a decent track record and others still testing the market. The best way to determine the right material for your exterior is to visit a lumberyard to get samples of different varieties. Some of them look like plastic, while you may not tell the difference between some of them and real wood.

The lumberyard should advise on the best material for your application. It might be necessary to carry some samples with you. Try to stain them with oil and permanent markers and then clean them. This should tell you about what to expect from the material you buy.

Composite decking materials are constantly changing, and with the many technical factors involved it is difficult to evaluate the amount of wood, additives, cap materials and particle sizes used. Since you may not be sure of the condition of the product you are buying, it is important to bank on a manufacturer you can trust to ensure that they will be there to honour the warranty.


For more information about Composite Decking, click here.

Loft Conversions

We all see loft conversions wherever we go. They remind us of what is possible to do with your home when you own it. This can be a very good thing if you care about your home and make sure that it is absolutely perfect.

There are a few reasons home owners these days opt for loft conversions:

More space
Who couldn’t use some extra space for a home office or just another room for another child? These days it is difficult to have a large home unless you choose to convert your loft into usable space. Many towns and cities are so crowded these days and the prices are so high that having a usable loft conversion is the way to go.

Increase the value of your home
If you are planning to sell your house any time soon now might be the right time to convert your loft into a place where somebody could live. It is proven that loft conversions make a positive impression on potential buyers and further increase the value of properties. Even if you aren’t planning to sell your property any time soon, you might want to do it in the future anyway so why not do it right now when there is a lot to gain from this sort of action.

No building permissions required
While you will always need a building permission for an extension at the back, front or side of the house, loft extensions do not require that sort of permission unless for some reason it is really required. Make sure that before you are excited about converting your loft that you check your local authority for the rules.

Zero maintenance rules
Finally, loft conversions are very easy to maintain. They become part of your house and the only effort you will need to put into them is to make sure that you clean it regularly. You might need to spend an additional amount of money on heating or cooling, but this is nothing compared to how much you can gain from improved privacy resulting from having a loft conversion that you have in your home.

Spring Cleaning Shortcuts



Lots of people save their toughest, most in-depth housecleaning chores for the spring. That’s when they can air out the house the easiest and when they have some extra time to spend on cleaning while the weather is pleasant. But those tough jobs don’t have to be quite so awful, as we have put together a list of cleaning hacks for the spring season that will help you speed through the grungiest, most intensive cleaning tasks.

Window Cleaning

Instead of pulling out the cleaners to freshen up your windows, The Cardiff Window Cleaning Company recommends that you can use a simple microfibre cloth and water. It works so much better than most cleaners, since they can often leave long, unsightly streaks behind. Just wipe horizontally on the base, then take a few vertical swipes to clean the rest. You’ll be done in no time at all!

Get Rid of Garbage Disposal Smells

If your garbage disposal in the sink is starting to smell a bit ripe, it may be time to freshen it up with the right combinations of cleaning supplies. Take some hot water, fill about half a cup and vinegar for the other half. Then mix that with half a cup of baking soda and pour it down the drain. In moments, the stench should have disappeared. Your garbage disposal will be smelling fresh once more.

Wine out of Carpet

When red wine goes all over your carpet, you may think you’re going to have to cover that spot up with some furniture, but there is a way to get it out without a lot of hassle. Vale Carpet Cleaning website suggests to start by drying up the spill as much as possible. Then add some white wine to the spill and pour baking soda over the combination. That should sit until it forms a nice paste. Once it does, you can scrape it right off. It may take a little scrubbing to get all the paste out, but your carpet should look good as new. This works equally as well on any clothes you spill red wine on as well.

Get out Coffee Stains

Coffee stains are tricky to deal with too, but we have a sure-fire way to remove them. Dab at the affected area with a microfibre cloth. This is great for drying up the spill. Then make a mixture of one tablespoon of dish soap, a table spoon of white vinegar and two cups of cold water. Pour that over the carpet or cloth that the coffee fall onto and dry it up. Voila! No more coffee stains.

Clean up Pet Hair

You may not be able to vacuum up pet hair like you would any other debris on your furniture or carpet, but you can get it up another way. That hair sticks to everything, so you need something else for it to stick to. Use a tape roller with the sticky side exposed and roll it back and forth across the area with pet hair. It will pick up the hairs for you and save you a lot of work and frustration.

Cleaning Oven Racks

One of the most undesirable cleaning jobs during spring cleaning is removing the crust from the oven racks. However, if you soak them the right way, your work will be so much easier. We recommend soaking them in water with some dish soap and drier sheets. This will remove the dirt and crust and you can just wipe them clean. You will be amazed at how easy it is to get spotless racks this way.

Cleaning the Coffee Maker

Your coffee maker may have some stubborn stains in it, but you can get those out easy as pie. Just full the reservoir with vinegar and water. Run it through a full cycle and then wash it all out with water when you are done. You will have a perfectly clean coffee maker when you are finished.


Why choose resin for your driveway

Pathways, or driveways, as they are called are becoming increasingly popular among households and give a defining element to the house. Sure, a lot of people want driveways and, but not everyone knows about the ways to maintain these driveways. You could be parking your motor vehicle on the driveway, walking on it, or your children could be playing on it with your dog; but you need to take proper care of it. This includes maintaining it, increasing its lifespan, making it look new as ever and make it weather resistant.

Enter, resin driveways.

Resin driveways are not the traditional way the surface of the driveways has been transformed, it a relatively new model. Earlier, people used to use the leftover concrete to coat their driveways.

Nonetheless, gone are those days! Resin is used to coat the driveways these days and there are a number of ways the resin driveways would give you an edge as the owner of the house.

Resin is permeable

Resin is a permeable substance that allows selective fluids to pass through it. So, when it rains, your driveway won’t be flooded with water and the water won’t stand still for days on it. Resin coating on the driveway creates a void that lets the water pass through it. This avoids flooding on your driveway, and also lets the water enter the ground water table!

Resin is long lasting

Resin is a durable substance and can last for more than 15 years! If properly maintained, it can even last anywhere between 18-25 years.

Enhanced appearance and attractive colours

What the regular concrete or asphalt driveways won’t allow you are the choice of colours for your driveway. You can choose any colour you like for the driveway and even choose a design or pattern that you like. It increases the aesthetics of the place and makes it look more appealing to the senses.

Weather resistant

The best part about Resin that makes it desirable for driveways is the fact that it’s weather resistant. Resin does not change shape in peak summers or harden beyond imagination in cold winters. All such things happen to Asphalt, which can hamper the quality of your driveway.

Resin is low maintenance

With Asphalt, comes the issue of weed along the sides and the stones that may come out and cracks that may follow. Resin allows no such inconsistency and even discourages any algal formations.

Environment friendly

Resin basically acts as a natural filter for all the rain water; all the impurities are left behind and pure water seeps to the underground water table. Also, it does not let heat islands to be formed because of all the concrete and asphalt.

Designing Your Commercial Office Space

Regardless of your industry, your professional space is one of the first impressions that clients will receive of your business, so it is important to a ensure that you office is both clean and well-designed. Whether business owners opt for a minimalist, modern look or prefer to take a traditional approach, carefully planning the appearance of reception and office areas is the first step toward building a positive image for your company.

Choosing Your Design

The type of business that you are in may have an effect on the type of design that you select for your office. For example, physicians may prefer to foster a cheery, professional appearance within their physical space while those working in graphic design might prefer dramatic windows, large, clean work spaces and modern fixtures. One of the most important things to remember is to look at your design through your clients’ eyes; after all, individuals who hire you will be looking for any reassurance possible that they have chosen the right man, woman, team or company for the job.

DIY Verses Professional Designers

Business owners with a flair for design and a clear understanding of what their customers expect can take a do-it-yourself approach to choosing furnishings and creating ambiance in their work area; however, those who lack the experience to build a space they know their clients will love may wish to consider working with a commercial office space interior design professional. Either way, the result will be the same: a beautifully designed office that will inspire creativity and professionalism among your employees and confidence among your clients.

Feasibility Concerns

If you are thinking of renting a space for your business, you may find yourself concerned about the feasibility of the design that you have in mind; after all, structural changes and even interior customization may be difficult to attain if someone else owns the building. In these situations, talk to the landlord to ensure that your plan for your company is acceptable. After receiving the owner’s permission, contact design firms that are willing to conduct a feasibility check on the space for the plans that you have in mind.

Meshing Professionalism and Personal Tastes

While your personal taste is something that you love, keeping your design within the realms of what it is considered professional is important. Plan carefully to achieve the perfect look for your office.

Sunrooms for All-Season Enjoyment

Creating more usable space for your home with a sunroom is a move that will increase the value of your home and offer a special area that the entire family can enjoy. They can be built as a separate unit form the home. or by simply enclosing a patio, or porch.

Relaxation With Natural Scenery

Thoughts of complete relaxation often turn to walks through parks and various ways of reconnecting with nature. What if you had the ability to spend a day off from work being able to enjoy natural scenery from the comfort of home? Adding a sunroom is an affordable way to create the relaxing space you need to recharge after a long, busy week.

Health Benefits of Natural Lighting

Natural lighting has been proven many times over to improve mood and fight the effects of depression and fatigue. It is much easier to see, which makes a sunroom perfect for the individual that loves crafting or avid readers. It is the mental and physical relaxation area you have always needed. It can be an oasis away from stress and anxiety.

Climate Controlled Enjoyment of the Outdoors

Sitting out on a patio can bring you into the beautiful surroundings of nature, but you may have to deal with inclement weather, wind, bugs and other pests. A sunroom will give you the advantage of enjoying the surroundings, while being sheltered from the negatives of extreme temperatures and pests. You can enjoy the sights and sounds of a good thunderstorm without being in an unsafe position. It offers the ability to enjoy each and ever season of the year comfortably.

Extra Space the Entire Family Can Enjoy

You can spend quality afternoons with the entire family, or invite friends over to share the space for the day. You can create the perfect entertainment area for parties, dinners and other events. It can be made into a home office and clients will be amazed at the relaxed look and feel.

Roof Window Panels Offer Evening Star Gazing

A sunroom addition that incorporates the use of roof glass makes it a room that can be enjoyed during night hours, as much as daytime. Imagine enjoying a candlelit dinner with the stars shining overhead. You can enjoy the ambiance without worries and the annoyance of mosquitoes.

Contact professionals in custom home additions San Diego like and begin planning an affordable sunroom addition.

How Voice Artificial Intelligence In The Home Makes Living Easier

Years ago, having a voice-based artificial intelligence technology was not really imaginable. But with the advent of the smartphone age, voice artificial intelligence is slowly becoming the norm due to the ease it can give to people from all walks of life.

What Is Voice Artificial Intelligence

Voice artificial intelligence is a technology that makes use of the human voice as a medium to get input on what to do. This usually comes as an alternative to the keyboard and the mouse in gathering data that will be processed by the device.

What Are Examples Of This Technology

The first thing that comes to mind when voice AI assistants are mentioned is Apple’s Siri. While it was not the first time that voice-based artificial intelligence was integrated into technology, it became one of the most popular and most accessible due in part to the success of the iOS platform devices such as Apple Watch, iPad and IPhone. Google Voice Search is another great voice AI assistant. It is integrated into Google, probably in a bid for the world’s largest search engine to the voice AI train. It is one of the voice AI assistants that have the most exposure as Android, iOS and Chrome users can use it. Other voice AI software on the market include Amazon Alexa, Facebook M, Soundhound Hound and Microsoft Cortana.

Why Are They Important

Voice artificial intelligence in the home is becoming increasingly important, especially when they are trying to do other things. One use of the voice assistant in the home, for example, is during cooking. When you are swamped with cutting ingredients and you want the instructions to be read to you one more time, the voice artificial intelligence interface in your phone can do that for you without you needing to stop what you are doing. Voice artificial intelligence is now also a part of some alarm and lighting systems in different homes all over the globe.

What Demographic Is It Most Useful For

As of this moment, voice AI assistants have still not beaten the keyboard as the main mode of input device in artificial intelligence but it is estimated that 25 percent of all Windows search queries were done using voice AI software. A big portion of voice is from people with disabilities. People with visual impairments, for example, can now benefit from the ease of use of voice artificial intelligence. Technology that was once not accessible for them can now be used through voice activation and speech recognition.

How Will The Technology Look Like In A Few Years

It is expected that homes will get the benefit of advancement in voice AI technology. Its use in residences will become even more developed, with kitchen appliances, sound systems, bathrooms and music devices having voice interfaces in the near future. Cars will also get more intelligent, voice-driven systems for their entertainment and location search capabilities. While there are still challenges to voice AI technology, its future is looking bright due to many innovations that bear its influence that will be in stores in the coming years.

3 Changes in The Bedroom That Will Improve Your Sleep

Sleep is something that so many of us struggle with. Between having to work late and noisy neighbours waking us up early there’s hardly a hope! Well, here are three changes you can make in the bedroom that will improve your sleep.

  1. Improve the Comfort of Your Bed

Having an uncomfy bed is a guaranteed way to ruin your sleep. Tossing and turning all night unable to get comfy, meanwhile lumps poking into your back just aren’t a good time. The problem is that buying a new mattress is a costly purchase and one that shouldn’t be take lightly. But why not buy a new mattress topper instead? That way you can have all that luxury comfort at an absolute fraction of the price!

  1. Keep Your Phone Away From The Bed

Mobile phones are one of the great technological advances of the age but it’s not worth keeping them beside the bed for all the problems they cause. The light emitted from the screen actually stops the production of melatonin which is the hormone that passes round your body telling it it’s time to go to sleep. Without it you’re going to have a really tough time sleeping so keep the phone away from the bed.

  1. Create a Proper Routine

The human body responds so well to routines that having one in the bedroom really improves how easily you fall asleep and how you feel when you wake up. A great bedtime routine consists of having a set time you stick to each night, and a way of winding down before sleep. My hands down favourite wind down has got to be reading. Getting lost in a great book is just the best, it calms the mind and let your eyes fully relax. It becomes so easy just to put the book down close your eyes and fall asleep.

The otherside to that is waking up at the same time every day. Once your body gets the hang of waking up at the same time everyday it only gets easier and soon you’ll start waking up right before your alarm fresh as a daisy.


Keeping Your Truck In Good Shape Is Good Business

Whenever you are in the trucking business, your livelihood depends on keeping the trucks on the road. They only make money when they are hauling freight, and they are not hauling freight if they are sitting somewhere waiting on parts. If you need Kenworth T600 parts, or parts for any other make for that matter, places like Lynn Truck Parts can supply what you need to keep you going.

With as much time as these heavy vehicles spend on the road and the miles that are accumulated as a result, it is inevitable that they will occasionally need parts replaced. This may be because of mechanical problems or because of some type of damage that was incurred. Knowing where to turn during these times can get you back on the road in a timely manner so your truck can continue to bring in revenue.

One of the items that can sustain damage through no fault of anyone is a radiator. Something could fly up from the road surface and knock a hole in it. When this happens, you will not be going very much further without doing significant damage to the engine. As a result, replacing the radiator right away will prevent more serious damage.

Mirrors are things that can easily sustain damage and need to be replaced as a result. After all, they are sticking out from the side of the truck and are in a prime location to be struck by objects. Because these are objects that are critical to the safe operation of the vehicle, they must obviously be kept in good working order. This means a prompt replacement is necessary if damage occurs. In addition, the mirror covers can help with the aerodynamics of the vehicle, since they have a rounded shape to let the air flow around them more smoothly. This will also cut down on the amount of wind noise.

Keeping a vehicle in good shape is obviously important for its operation. It is also good for business. Customers who are in positions to decide which freight carrying company is going to be awarded their business are much likely to reward companies that keep their trucks in good shape visibly. When there are apparent flaws in the trucks cosmetics, the thing that runs through the decision maker’s mind is what else may not be working properly. They may begin to wonder if short cuts are being taken in other places like operating under legal hours of service laws.

Liverpool: How selling your house in the city has never been easier

If you live in Liverpool then selling your house in this region has never been so easy. Right now the housing market in and around the North West of England and in particular the city of Liverpool is very buoyant with local properties taking less than 6 weeks on average it sell from initial enquiry to completion.

Liverpool is very popular with buy to let Landlords who are looking to capitalise on a strong rental market and high yields. Properties within the region of £60,000 – £90,000 offer landlords the greatest returns and it is these 2 up and 2 down lower value properties that are selling like hot cakes.

Local estate agent Ask Susan said “We find there is a very strong demand for houses within this price range and these types of properties are selling very quickly in and around the outskirts of the city centre”

Related article: Liverpool: A Seller’s guide to selling your house quickly in 2016
Tips to sell your Liverpool based property

  • First impression matter – ensure your home is clean and tidy and ready for inspections from potential buyers. This may include repainting, cleaning the garden, clearing out any clutter, and making your home look its very best.
  • Ensure your home is correctly priced within its market. Compare prices within recent sold prices on your street and within your local area to ensure your home is correctly priced to sell quickly.
  • Consider using dual agents to sell your home. This may double the exposure you receive and may increase your chances of a quick sale at a good price.
  • Ensure your home is listed on all the major property portals such as and to ensure you receive maximum exposure.

Right now there has never been a better time to sell your property with quicker than ever sale times and above average sale prices being achieved for the right type of properties.



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