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Sunday, 23 December 2012

How to Install French Doors

installing french doors in your kit homeFrench doors are absolutely beautiful when installed in a kit home and it should come as no surprise that more people are choosing to have them installed in their kit house. This may seem like a job reserved for professionals, but installing French Doors is not all that difficult. Yes, it is going to take a bit of time and skill, but if you put the effort in, then you are going to end up with a top quality installation.

Tools and Materials Required:

·         French Doors
·         Power Drill
·         Hammer, selection of Screwdrivers, Screws and Nails (If not supplied with the door)
·         Shims
·         Pry Bar
·         Level
·         Safety Goggles
·         Carpenter’s Square
·         Angle Grinder
·         Caulking
·         Fiberglass Insulation
·         Silicone Sealant

What You Will Need to Do:

Installing french doors in your granny flat
Step 1.    Remove the old door frame using your hammer and pry bar. You have to ensure that you don’t damage the trim as you are going to need this again pretty soon.
Step 2.    Check the opening for your new doors to ensure it is going to be big enough. If the opening is not large enough, then you may want to call in a professional to widen the gap for you. This is not really a job that can be done by you. Even the most experienced DIY expert could end up causing serious damage to the structure of the frames. Even electrical wiring may need changing if it goes over the door opening. 
Step 3.    Check that your opening is a perfect square before you begin installing your doors by using a level in combination with a carpenter’s square. If the opening isn’t level then make any necessary adjustments using a grinding wheel or an angle grinder. It shouldn’t be too bad if a door was already in place.
Step 4.    Put caulking on the floor where the bottom of the door is going to sit. This will help protect and seal the floor.
Step 5.    Center your new frame in the door opening ensuring that it is perfectly level. Once it is, use shims to hold it in place.
Step 6.    Attach the doors to your new frame if they aren’t already in place. Ensure that everything works correctly and check that everything is level once again!  Then screw the frame into place permanently using the hardware supplied with the door. You will need to drill holes at this point! A word of caution: Don’t put the screws in tightly they pull the frame out of square!
Step 7.  Once screwed into place, put your fiberglass insulation in place. You only need to do this if installing exterior French doors.
Step 8.    Attach the moldings that were supplied with the door.
Step 9.    Use silicone sealant to seal up any gaps that the moldings didn’t cover and add all the hardware that was supplied with the door. Paint over everything if you need to.
French Doors are also great value to install in any granny flat.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

How to Choose Interior Paint Colors

How Not to Pick an Interior Colour for Your Home

1.       Never start with an empty room. I know, it’s easier to paint the room if there is nothing in it, but resist that temptation. You will never like it and you will be painting over again once the room has furniture, rugs and curtains in it. Or you will always hate it, not very good choices.
2.    Never pick a color while standing at the paint sample brochure table. Fluorescent lighting is the worst light to pick a color in. Whites have a green hue and all the other colors are distorted also. The will not be the same when you get it home, guaranteed!

The Right Way to Pick an Interior Colour Paint

The order in which you decide to pick your interior color can make the difference between having a cohesive, well designed home and a chaotic mess.  If you are building a new home, have them paint the primer on and let it go at that. When you finished buying the furniture, rugs and curtains then you can choose a wall color that matches the room.
1.       Pick your tile and countertops for the kitchens and bathrooms first. The color choices are very limited here so this is where you need to start.
2.       Pick your tile and carpet for the flooring. Be sure to pay attention to whether they are warm or cool tones in the colors. You don’t want a countertop that has a bluish cast (cool tone) next to tile that has a red cast (warm tone).  You need to decide which way you are going right from the start, cool or warm, and stick with the undertone you choose.
Choosing these items first set the mood for the rest of the room. These items are permanent and not likely to change, so choose wisely. It’s much easier to match these items with a wall color, than having it the other way around, and trying to find the tile that matches the wall color.
Upholstery/Bedding/Curtains/Rugs – All the large items that have fabric!
The next order of business is choosing what furniture, curtains and rugs are going to be in the room. You are going to have a much wider latitude in color choices here, but remember to stick with the undertones you chose in the previous step. Right now is when you will appreciate the most that there are no distracting colors on your wall. Choose what you want for bedding as well at this point.
Decorative Pieces
The next thing on your agenda is your decorative accents. This would include pictures, wall accents, vases, lamps and whatever else. Again, remember to stay within the realm of color tones you already have in place. Warm tones include gold lamp bases, brown or gold picture frames. Cool tones include silver lamps and silver or white picture frames. You get the picture, right? The parts of the room need to flow together, not be piecemeal and broken up.
Finally! It is Time to Pick Your Wall Color
This step should be a piece of cake! If you have everything in the room, the color of your wall should reveal itself without you even thinking about it. But if you are not sure, here are some ideas. Make sure you stay within the color tone you have chosen, whether it is warm or cool.
1.       Do you watch movies a lot on your TV in the living room or bedroom? Choose a darker color that gives the closed in feeling of going to the movies.
2.       Do you gather in the kitchen or entertain in your living room? Accent walls are great for adding that “WOW” when your guests walk in. An accent can be as simple as a painting or a full blown mural.
3.       Ceiling mouldings that have intricate carving and painted with a color such as gold or an accent color can have a dramatic effect on a room. Deep red and dark orange walls will also get you guests in a talkative mood and are great on an accent wall.
4.       Is this a reading or working room? Opt for much lighter colors as it will make it easier on your eyes.
5.       If you put your makeup on in the bedroom or bathroom, don’t use green tones of paint. The paint will reflect on your face and you will be disappointed when you walk outside and look in a mirror.
6.       If your room is small, opt for lighter colors as the room will look bigger.
Remember to stay within your color tones and you will not be disappointed with your wall color and the total look of your home.

Monday, 3 December 2012

How To Install A Range Hood

How To Install A Range Hood is a step-by-step guide to installing a range hood in your kitchen by Bunnings Warehouse. Knowing how to properly install your range hood is important and this easy to follow 'How To' video will help you learn how to install any range hood.

QLD First Home Owner Construction Grant

Facts About the FHOCG for the State of Queensland in Australia

  • The Newman Government's First Home Owner Construction Grant is worth $15,000.
  • The FHOCG is for first home buyers who are buying a newly constructed or off-the-plan property.
  • The FHOCG replaces the First Home Owner Grant which was $7,000.
  • Those first home buyers who are about to purchase an existing dwelling will have until October 11 to finalise their contract (to be eligible for $7000 grant)

  • First home buyers signing contracts for new properties before September 12 will receive $7000 and those signing on or after September 12 will receive $15,000.

  • The program will be administered within existing arrangements in the Treasury Department.

  • Major banks and financial institutions will continue to advertise the FHOCG in their loan marketing material, reducing the cost for taxpayers.

  • The following eligibility criteria still apply:
  • It must become your principal place of residence within one year of taking ownership.

  • It must be your principle place of residence for at least six months.
  • You must not dispose of all or part of the property within one year after you start to occupy the residence as your home.
  • The property must be bought or built at a value under $750,000.

  • Information is sourced directly from:

    Tuesday, 13 November 2012

    Faster Turn Around Granny Flat Approvals in NSW

    More properties to receive 10 day approval in NSW

    22October 2012
    40sqm Granny Flat
    More properties will be able to receive 10 day planning approval under new changes to New South Wales legislation, according to recent announcements.
    Where granny flats have had 10 day approval for some time, more types of buildings are set to be eligible under planning code changes, as well as increased flexibility, minister for planning and infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, said.
    Currently under exhibition until 9 November for 10 day approval potential are complete builds for industrial properties up to 20,000sqm (including warehouse and distribution facilities on industrial-development zoned land), 50 per cent floor space increases in additions or alterations up to 1,000sqm for shops, and more than 240 different combinations of building use changes (such as from light industrial to self-storage).
    The building of single-storey ‘detached studios’ behind existing properties without rear lane access is also tipped to now be permitted.
    “We need to cut through red-tape and fast-track simple development applications in order to get new housing built as quickly as possible,” sad Mr Hazzard.
    However, changes will have to be given to neighbours earlier for comment.
    70sqm Granny Flat
    “The O’Farrell Government’s reforms will require neighbours within 50 metres to be given notification five days before a certifier is able to approve the development,” he said. Previously, this had been two days.
    Some other more restrictive changes may be higher privacy requirements for private residences, as well as more privacy screens required for second storeys.

    Friday, 26 October 2012

    Adding Useable Living Space to Your Home

    One way to add living space to your home is by creating an outdoor living space. This can be done by adding a verandah to the outside structure of your house. Verandahs have a very adaptable design and can be simple design to a most stylish and modern garden room. Flooring can run from a deck to an easy cleaning tiled floor.
    Verandahs usually have a closed roof with open sides like a gazebo, except they are attached to the house. Adding blinds can block the sun if your verandah faces the sun at the time of day you wish to be outside.
    As an added bonus, verandahs can also keep you protected from the blast of light shining in on the inside of your house. You will be able to open curtains and enjoy the view no matter what time of year it is.
    There are several different verandah roof types to choose from.  verandahs for granny flats
    Bullnose verandahs provide very effective insulation

    • the curve of a veranda cuts off direct sunlight and weather into your rooms. As a result, rooms behind a bullnose verndah remain surprisingly cool, even on notoriously hot Australia summer days.
    • They provide a pleasing outdoor living area that can be used by all the family. 
    • They are beautiful architecturally enhancing the asthetics of your home.
    You can also have a veranda that is flat roofed or gabled or curved roof.
    Additional items to add to your verandah are rails and frets to add that little a bit of style to your new verandah.
    If you would prefer something not attached to your house a gazebo is the perfect option. Gazebos are buildings set out from your home, have a closed roof but are open on all sides for a 360° view. If you have a larger back yard, this may be a more interesting option.
    gazebos for living spacesBuilding a gazebo is an easier task, just because the structure is not attached to the house. The roof is covered with boards, shakes or shingles. The vertical posts that hold the roof up are set in concrete to make sure you have a solid structure. Make sure they are straight and squared up properly so the rest of your gazebo is easy to build.
    gazebos for kithomesUse cedar if possible for your gazebo, it will last forever if you buy the best quality and build it correctly. Gazebos can be used for entertaining or just outdoor relaxation. A gazebo for an outdoor hot tub, set inside a raised deck is a perfect relaxation idea!

    Saturday, 20 October 2012

    Raising Funds for a Building Project

    Choosing a lender or a bank

    Providing you meet certain criteria’s, all lenders will want to lend you money.

    granny flat finance in AustraliaAn exception might be when borrowing against a block of land without a house. Here, you will probably have to search a little further, or provide the lender with an idea of what you want to do with the land and when.
    It pays to shop around for the lender that best meets your needs before making your decision. Don’t just take the first choice. The more you shop and take notes of the options available at different lending institutions the wiser you will become when making your final decision.

    Some lenders will reject you outright because you don’t match their criteria, don’t be disheartened. For each lender not willing there is another ready to bend a few rules to help.  Some guide lines to follow are:
    • Do your comparisons:

    Make some comparisons on paper between 4 or 5 different lending institutions. Financial   institutions will want your business but they may not suit your needs. Some institutions may not require a large deposit but may sting you extra charges on the other end. This kind of information will become known to you once you have written comparisons.
    • Shop Around:

    granny flat financeThis will give you a better understanding of the lending institutions terminologies. Doing your own research puts you in control rather than feeling that you are being controlled.
    • Flexibility:

    Always remember, without YOU a lending institution does not survive so they need to make the offer as attractive to you as are your needs to find the lender. Which lender will provide you the greatest flexibility?
    • Early Payout Clause:

    Does the lender allow for early payout should you decide to put more money down than the monthly requirement, or do they impose penalties?  This is an important question because you don't know what lies ahead and you need to prepare yourself for any eventuality.
    • Banks versus Independent Brokers:

    Having some banking history with one particular bank can be most beneficial. They will be looking to keep your business and although they might offer more rigidity than brokers and their interest payment terms might be higher, building yourself some creditability can offset some of the rigid rules. To keep your business, the bank might be willing to stretch a little, so don’t under estimate your power once you have collected all your data to approach them with things that their competitors are doing. Independent brokers on the other hand are more flexible to offer lower interest rates.
    • Free Financial Services:

    Most banking institutions provide free financial advisors. This is a good place to start because you will be able to gather information and feedback that you can use when doing your comparisons.
    • Additional Fees:

    Have you calculated what additional money you will require over and above the loan to pay for fees such as stamp duty, legal fees, administrative costs, brokerage fees etc. In some cases these fees can be added into the overall cost of the loan making your repayments more. Otherwise this is a cost that you will have to provide independent of your deposit money.

    Another factor you might have to take into consideration is the case of purchasing land only with a view to building at a later stage, what will be the time frame and what money will you need to make repayments on the land loan until you are ready to draw down on the house loan.
    • Building Restrictions:

    In the situation where you want to buy land and build at a later stage, does the lender or the developer or owner of the land impose some there restrictions on the land as to the time provided when you will have to build?
    • Buy Land Today, Build Later:

    Discuss your full plans including the idea of when you want to build to see how you can incorporate buying the land today and how to arrange finance down the track. Sometimes better deals can be achieved if the lending institute knows the full story.
    • Government Concessions:

    Check if you are elibible for any government concessions. For example, some countries like Australia and New Zealand grants are provided in order to attract first home/land buyers. This monetory assistance can be very useful addition when looking to cover other financial costs. 
    • Loan Repayments:

    Have a plan in your head as to when you want to begin the building project and work out how you can achieve that as well as paying off the existing loan and living day to day also. Perhaps you are in a position where your spouse is also working, so one income can be used to repayments and the other for day to day living.
    • Interest Only versus Principle+Interest:

    If you are looking to purchase land and build immediately in order to sell again, consider to look at interest only borrowings rather than interest and principle. Understand that normally when you are looking at interest and capital repayments, within the first 7 years you are only paying interest. The capital repayment does not kick in until after 7 years. Interest only loans are often cheaper.

    Once you know the requirements sometimes there are ways in which you can become more creative in being able to finance your project. For the sake of repeating myself, there can never be enough research done.

    In Summary:
    • Contact has many lenders to gather different loan criteria’s.
    • Evaluate the different options available to suit your needs.
    • Weigh up the benefits of flexibility.
    • Pay attention to exit penalties when you want to re-sell early.
    • Banking history can be beneficial.
    • Are you eligible for Government assistance as a first time buyer?.
    • Make sure your figures being presented to a lending institute stack up!
    • Leave a financial safety margin for any unforeseeable happenings.
    • Determine what kind of loan repayments suit you, Principal and Interest, or Interest only.
    The Nova Group hopes this information is helpful when you are looking to finance your kithome or granny flat project.  Article by Michael King

    Tuesday, 2 October 2012

    How to Add Luxury to Your Shower

    There have been so many shower type innovations in the last 10 years. Things such as shower panels with multiple jets and showerheads that make you feel like you are standing under a waterfall, sauna up fits and heated towel bars. Each of these innovations are designed to make you feel on top of the world.
    However, as with all new innovative ideas once you succumb to the impulse buy then you also have to address that luxury items are technically more complicated than to install normal ordinary shower.
    For example, a multiple shower install means that you will need larger water lines - at least 3/4" pipe and it needs to be a direct line from your water source. This will ensure that you have enough water pressure. It also means you will need more pipes because you will need the pipe to loop, eliminating dribbling shower heads. Saunas require a steam generation method and require adding extra framing and plumbing.
    Depending on what you are installing and how complex it is, you can plan on not having your shower for 1 to 2 weeks.
    You will need to be able to do basic framing, have electrical knowledge and know how to do plumbing. You may want to consider professional help if you do not have these basic skills. You may also want a professional to do the planning part, just so you know it is correctly installed.
    Six Steps to a Power Shower Using an Existing Shower
    ·    Remove existing drywall from the adjoining wall so that you can install the framing and blocks to mount the control panels and the showerheads. You will also need to install a GFCI outlet in this frame and you need to have this professionally installed.
    ·    With the template that came with your shower upgrade, install the water lines and all the fixtures. Be sure to follow the directions for the water supply valve installations and the water hammer arrestors that run to the fixtures. Do not connect them to the control unit. Fasten the controller to the frame per the directions.
    ·    Using the manufacturer's diagram, find any outlets that will not be used and plug them. Be sure to use Teflon tape and make them tight, but not overly tight.
    ·    Using unions, hook up the hot and cold (3/4 inch) supply lines. They should be marked with color coding so you know which one is hot and which one is cold. Connect the outlets to the proper pipes and attach the pipes securely to the frame. Be sure that there is no movement or you will have pipes rattling.
    ·    Install pressure loops for showers that have more than one showerhead. This is essential if you are integrating fixtures together, or even if you only have the one fixture but it has multiple heads on it. You want all the heads or jets to have equal force. If you have lines ending at each head instead of continuing on through all the heads, you will have showerheads that dribble water instead of coming out of each head with the same force.
    ·    Attach the power unit per the instructions and make sure the door on the valve unit is sealed thoroughly. Turn on the water and check for leaks, tighten anything that leaks. Check to see if the valve powers on and that the light indicator is on.
     Finally, be sure to install an access door on the wall after you are finished so that you have access to everything when you re-finish the drywall.
    The Nova Group often use innovative ideas when designing their kithomes and luxury houses.

    Wednesday, 26 September 2012

    How to Install a New Kitchen Countertop

    Video on installing faucet and sink in new countertop

    Choosing a Countertop

    When you decide to replace your kitchen countertop, there are a multitude of options for countertop material. Laminate, the cheapest option, has come a long way from the squared off corners of yesteryear. They now come with rounded corners and an optional non-drip edge if you want to replace the countertop entirely.

    Or you can opt to just lay a ceramic or stone overlay for a modern look or as an old timey kitchen look, depending on which type of tile you choose. Most tiles are very moderately priced and can be done in a weekend. Natural stone countertop options are granite, slate, marble, soapstone. You can also get the solid non-penetrable countertops which have a surface that moisture cannot penetrate, but these are extremely expensive.

    Prepare Your Countertop for Installation

    If you have purchased a laminate countertop already pre-cut for your sink, you have made a great choice. First you have to remove the old countertop, take the sink and faucet off, and remove the sealant from any surfaces that will come in contact with the new countertop. Be sure to cut the caulk before you try to remove the old countertop or you might damage the back wall or cabinet it is attached to. Attach your sink and faucet according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    If your back wall is not flat all the way across where your countertop is going to lay, you may have to sand the back of the countertop (most are not flat, so don't worry). Sit your countertop against the wall and mark the countertop where you need to sand. You can use a compass with the point set against the wall, then use the pencil part to mark the countertop for the best fit possible. Apiece of masking tape across the top of the countertop will make the pencil mark easier to see. Use a sander and sand it to fit the wall.

    Install the Countertop

    Put a bead of sealant along the back of the countertop and set it into the correct spot on the floor cabinet. Screw the countertop onto the braces inside the cabinet. DO NOT use too long of a screw and be sure not to over-tighten the screws. Most countertops are particle board underneath and you will strip the hole the screw is in. Add a small bead of caulk to the edge connecting the wall to the countertop and smooth it out if your edge does not fit perfect.
    Attach all the plumbing underneath and you are done!
    Many people are choosing to become owner builders to save significantly on costs when constructing a new kithome or granny flat.  Helpful tools and videos come in handy.  

    Thursday, 20 September 2012

    Techniques for insulating rafters and walls

    insulating a granny flat
    If you are converting the attic area into a living area, there are strict guidelines on the amount of insulation to be used.

    Rafter depth is often an issue, as there is seldom enough depth to fit the recommended amount of insulation.  You may have to increase the depth by adding wood to the rafters.

    Drywall will need to be insulation-backed. The frame-foiled type of insulation will need to be stapled across the rafters before applying drywall. An air gap is generally required. 

    Always pay close attention to a manufacturer's specifications on installation. Consider using green insulation materials, such as recycled batts.

    Using Recycled Batts

    Recycled batts are a good option for conventional blanket insulation on rafters and walls. They are more eco-friendly and easier to position than conventional blanket insulation. Either type will need to be cut to fit the exact space between rafters or studs.


    How to Lay Loose-Fill Insulation

    Loose-fill insulation can be used as an alternative to blanket insulation. Bags of loose-fill insulation are easier to handle and more convenient to move into the attic, than blanket insulation. It is also easier to use when your attic is oddly shaped in design and layout (lots of odd blocks or voids). Loose-fill insulations are usually a more user-friendly installation option than batt-type blanket insulation. There are conventional and recycled loose-fill insulations.

    Using Recycled Paper

    insulating a granny flat in Australia
    The greenest option in loose-fill insulation is shredded recycled paper. This is sometimes used in wall insulation, but it can also be blown into attic spaces using a blower-type applicator. Ensure that the correct depth has been blown in to make sure that thermal efficient results are achieved.

    Laying Loose-Fill Insulation

    First, clean crevices to remove any debris. To stop the loose-fill leaking out from under the eaves, create a barrier where the joists and the rafters meet using a small section of blanket insulation. You can use a blower pump and a hose to fill you roof /ceiling space with loose insulation made from recycled materials such as news paper. Move the hose around to prevent excess loose-fill to areas that need to be built up.
    techniques for ceiling insulation

    When leveled off, the fill should be level across the entire attic space. If you have electrical hardware such as recessed lighting, build a wooden frame around it to protect the loose-fill insulation from contact. You need to provide insulated light covers which can be purchased from all electrical outlets suitable for you particular type of lamp

    Deep Filling

    Deep filling can be done with loose-fill, but a more practical solution is to use deck boards above the loose-fill and combining the two creates a useable storage space in the attic. Always think about combining insulation — even if you don’t create a large storage area, the deck will provide safe access across the attic.

    As long standing architects of building design aspects, the Nova Design Group  provide good advice when you are looking for the best solution to insulate your kithome.

    Saturday, 15 September 2012

    How to Insulate Your Roof

    Choosing Your Insulation
    When insulating your roof, you need to decide if you are insulating to keep out the cold or keep out the heat.  Your ceilings require protection at the joist level to stop heat loss in winter and heat gain in the hot summers.

    The best results for Ceiling insulation is R2.0 wool blanket or 90 mm polyester non allergenic insulation bats, or blanket.

    insulating the roof for granny flats and kit homes in AustraliaThe depth recommended for insulation has been increased lately, so you may have to increase the depth of the beams if you want to create usable platforms of storage space.

    Blanket insulation
    One of the more commonly used is blanket insulation and it is easy to work with. Always wear long sleeved shirts and pants for protection against the insulation getting into the pores of your skin as this can be very irritating.

    Before you start, make sure that you have measured the surface area of your roof correctly, and that you get the correct depth recommended for your location.

    Recycled  insulation
    insulating the roof for granny flats and kit homes in Australia
    Recycled insulation is a natural and non-itch choice to fiberglass blanket insulation. The method for laying this are the same, but non-irritating insulation makes it a more comfortable process. Read the directions on the product to make sure that you are installing it to the manufacturer's specifictions. 
    How to Lay Blanket Insulation
    Clean away any debris from between the beams of your roof. Find out whether a vapour barrier is required. If your drywall surface is silver-backed, you won't need a barrier — if not, it is prudent to install one.

    insulating the roof for granny flats and kit homes in AustraliaLay out the vapour barrier, cutting and laying lengths in between each pair of beams. Fix the barrier to the sides of the beams using a staple gun. Cut holes in the barrier to go around any electrical hardware.

    Do not open the insulation until you are in the roof. This will keep the insulation fibers contained to the work area.

    Roll out the insulation between the joints, making sure you do not compress it. Tuck it into the sides of the joists. Put the lengths of insulation next to one another with no spaces. Cut holes to allow for electrical hardware or pipes.

    Keep any cables or wires above the insulation to keep them getting over-heated. Any heat they do give off will rise into the cold attic. If you need more than one layer of insulation, lay it at right angles to the first layer.

    insulating the roof for granny flats and kit homes in AustraliaUsing Sheep's Wool
    Sheep's wool is another user-friendly option to conventional fiberglass insulation. Build up depth by laying subsequent layers at right angles to the preceding layer. Check the instructional literature for depth requirements.

    insulating the roof for granny flats and kit homes in Australia
    As long standing architects of building design aspects, the Nova Design Group provide good advice when you are looking for the best solution to insulate your kithome.