Home Improvement: 6 Tips on How to Start

carpenter worker installing laminate flooring in the room

    A home renovation or home improvement project can be very chaotic; however, the following steps can make it much more organized than you think.

  • Browse Home Design Ideas

    It’s a good idea to start by building a sense for what you want in terms of the interior design of your space. Today there are plenty of options online to browse home design ideas and create your lookbooks, with Pinterest and Houzz being two of the most popular ones. Organize your thoughts by room, or project so you can tell your service providers what you’re looking for, and why.   Incorporate your design ideas and get a broad blueprint ready before you start your planning process.

  • Plan, Plan, Plan

    The most critical thing you can do at the start of a home improvement project is to spend time planning, and figuring out how to go about things. It can be vital in achieving higher quality, and lowering your renovation costs.  This will also avoid you from springing up last minute surprises on yourself and adding on little details at the last minute, spiking up your costs. This will also prevent you from constantly changing the scope of work, thereby avoiding delays and cost overruns.

  • Decide on the services you need

    Think about whether you need help with Interior Design, it comes at a price. Involving a designer doesn’t mean you don’t do your research on which designs you like and which you don’t. You also need to check if you have major structural work required, in which case you may need an Architect. Else, you would just need contractors to get your work done e.g. Carpenters, Plumbing, and Civil construction.

  • Determine your Budget

    While you may not have an understanding of what your project might cost you, it’s good to think about the outer limit of money you are willing to spend on getting your project done. Keep 10-20% aside in anticipation of cost over runs. The rest of it will essentially split into two buckets, services and products. For midmarket products, the thumb rule applies that the products to services cost ratio is 2:1. Picking luxury products or cheaper products can change this mix.

  • Find Contractors

    Next, you will probably need to start looking for contractors who can do the work for you. Try to find at least 2-3 people, whom you can get quotes from so it helps you validate your budget expectations. Take a look at the service provider’s work, through past references to evaluate which one best fits your needs.

    To find contractors, you could look online, ask your friends, or visit construction sites in your area and speak to contractors there.

  • Project Management

    All of the above should help you get started. However one key piece in making sure everything runs smoothly is project management. You need to have a level of supervision on your project. Whether you choose to give your own time, or hire a part-time/full time project manager, this is a layer that cannot be emphasized enough. Your project manager will help deal with the labor, ensure material arrives on time, check the quality of work and material, clean your place, and overall produce a higher level of quality of work that will last you longer and reduce mental stress (really!).

    Once you have the above steps in place you will realize that renovation need not bog you down. In fact, proper planning and your presence during the renovation can make the entire process stress free and effective as well.

Handy-man tips for exposed brick walls.

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What’s the point of owning house if you don’t mess around with it once in a while? Creating an exposed brick wall is more of a hands-on, DIY project, not meant for the faint hearted. Work closely with your contractor and follow these steps:

  • Pick a wall you want to expose.
  • Drill a hole to check if there’s actually brick back there.
  • Removed the plastering off the brick – this is a labor intensive and messy job so don’t start without enough help available.
  • Consider removing the damaged brick by drilling holes on all four corners of the mortar around the brick and shaking it loose or painstakingly chiseling it out.
  • Use a wire brush to scrub the wall.
  • Use warm water to sponge down your wall.
  • If you don’t want your house to collapse, grab some mortar repair (cement filler) and fill in the cracks and obviously replace any bricks your might have removed.
  • Clean the bricks again with warm water.
  • Use a sponge or brush to apply sealant onto the exposed brick wall, use a brick sealant with matte finish rather than a polyurethane sealant which will give the wall an unnatural glossy finish.

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BONUS TIPS:

  • To hang pictures and paintings drill your holes into the mortar rather than the brick.
  • Use exposed copper pipes as conduits to run wires if necessary rather than chasing the wall.
  • Compliment your exposed brick wall with some sleek contemporary furniture.

So what are you waiting for?  Head to your local hardware store and get started today..

Have you ever exposed a brick wall? Do you have any tips on how to do it? Leave your comments below.

Things to keep in Mind While Waterproofing your Washroom

Stylish Bathroom

    Washrooms are one of the most important parts of every construction project. They are no longer those secluded parts in the corner of the house, but instead are used as areas of leisure and relaxation. And it is quite obvious that bathrooms are the most prone to moisture related mishaps so special attention must be paid to waterproofing it appropriately. Here are some things to keep in mind as you supervise the waterproofing of your bathroom.

Bathroom Flooring

Flooring:

    Use antiskid tiles on the floor. It is always a good idea to use wide grout lines between the tiles and seal the grout lines annually, so that water doesn’t seep through them. Another important aspect of bathroom flooring is the uninterrupted slope towards the drain so that water doesn’t accumulate in pockets.

Bathroom Walls

Walls:

    The wall behind the shower panel, the part under the sink and the area behind the water closet, are most prone to mold and mildew, it is therefore a good idea to use tiles on the washroom walls as well. Use the Dr. Fixit Bathseal kit to protect your walls, floor, and sanitation areas.

Bathroom Ceiling

Ceiling:

    Ensure that your washroom ceiling is coated with waterproof paint so that it doesn’t absorb moisture.
Always ensure that there is enough ventilation and an exhaust fan in the bathroom so that moisture doesn’t stay. Also ensure that the joints in the plumbing and faucets are sealed properly; and, we repeat, the slopes on the floor direct the water straight to the drain.

    In fact, they Waterproofing is an extremely essential part of every construction project as the lack of it, or inadequacy of the same, can cause moulds to fester, seepage, and ultimately weaken the walls.

    Different types of waterproofing materials are used in the building industry. In order to obtain satisfactory performance, it is essential to apply the water-proofing treatment prior to laying the tiles and special care has to be taken to carefully preparing the building sub-surface so that it can receive the treatment as recommended.

    It is essential to ensure the water-tightness of the structures so that the flow of water from inside the structure to outside (in case of swimming pools), and the infiltration of water from the surrounding soil into the structure are effectively prevented.

    Have a look at our growing database of waterproofing products and have a look at some amazing bathroom images on our pinterest page to inspire you to start designing your dream bathroom today.

 

How to calculate AC tonnage for your Home or Office

air-conditioner-room

Summers setting in, and it’s time to bring out those AC’s, and a lot of us will be out looking for new AC’s this season.. Shopping for the right kind of air conditioner can be quite confusing, and a lot of times we can be misled into buying a larger unit than required or worse than that, buying something which is too small for our room!
It is important to have some idea about how to calculate the AC capacity that you require for your room… which depends not only on the size of the room but also on the size of the windows, which direction they face, number of people who occupy it, the insulation of the room (is it on the top floor or in the basement) even the wattage of equipment in the room influences the required AC capacity (more relevant for offices).

The most basic thumb rule to get started is to calculate the volume of your room in feet and divide it by 1000, this will give you the required capacity in TR (tons). So a 10 foot by 10 foot room which is 10 feet high will need a one ton AC (10’x10’x10’ = 1000 Cu.ft. / 1000 = 1 ton).

But to add some precision to this calculation do the following:

Measure the dimensions of your room.
Identify the orientation of your windows and measure their sizes (don’t add up the window sizes as a north facing window impacts the calculation different from a south facing window)

Follow the links below and use the AC tonnage calculator provided by companies like Bluestar and LG to get a the required tonnage for your room (more calculators can be found online)

https://www.bluestarindia.com/ac-tonnage-calculator/toncalculator.asp

http://www.lg.com/in/support/ac-tonnage-calculator

After this let’s understand the units. One ton (TR) of refrigeration refers to the heat extraction capacity of the unit, it’s an American unit and equates to the amount of energy required to melt one short ton of ice (about 907 KG or 2000 pounds). This is equivalent to 12000 BTU/h (British thermal unit), beware of products that claim to be a one ton unit but have a cooling capacity of less than 12000 BTU. Finally we need to check the power consumed by the unit in watts and the star rating which is based on the EER (energy efficiency ratio). If we convert the cooling capacity to watts (1 ton = 12000 BTU = 3517 watts) and then divide it by the power consumed to achieve this we get the EER, the higher the better (this shouldn’t ever be below 2.3 and should be around 3.5 for a 5-star rating).

So to summarize:
AT HOME:
Calculate the cooling capacity (in TR) based on your room requirements
AT THE STORE:
Check the cooling capacity (in TONS as well as BTU then convert it to watts)
Check the power consumed.
Check the BEE rating. (verify by dividing cooling capacity by Power consumed)

The Chronicles of Getting Anything Built or Renovated, Ever!

Hand adding another brick to a wall made from colored blocks
Anyone who has been through the building process would know how tough it is to get anything built or renovated, it’ll cost you more than it should and take forever!!


The hassles one has to go through to choose the right products for his or her project leads to price insecurities and cause many people heart ache, very often straining the client-designer relationship and upsetting the overall health of the project. Being an architect, I meet such hassled customers day in-day out. And hence, the idea of ‘BuildingBlox’ was born. Well no, we don’t make construction blocks, but what we are working on is a virtual expo of building materials. In its current form ‘BuildingBlox’ is a gallery of construction products that will come in handy while constructing or renovating any space, very soon we will expand our horizons to professionals and retailers to create a more robust platform.


The idea behind the portal is to help you reduce those material sourcing trips to the market, and to reduce your dependence on the contractor’s suggestions. We strive to give you the power to research materials and products in the comfort of your room.


We are steadily increasing the product directory and hope to make it a one stop shop for all your construction and design needs, in the interim, we hope you like what you see: http://buildingblox.in


Also watch this space for everything related to design and construction, with posts relating to new and innovative products, material quantity calculators, ‘Do It Yourself’ tips and loads more!