Search This Blog

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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Exterior Home Ideas – Working With Stone

Nova Design Group Australia works with stone facades.
Exterior stone façades can add elegance and value to your home. Considering to use stone or a stone veneer as a charming addition adds resale value to the home.

Stone Siding

Whether your preference is rustic, classic or modern, stone siding is a good option.  Covering the entirety of your home's exterior in stone is a dramatic design choice that adds character and possibly value.  Stone siding can be a very effective option for two-story homes with architectural detailing such as a turret or multi-peaked façade.  For a rustic home style look, choose small gray stones to create the sense of a woodland forest cottage. Homes that are more of a classic look are better for larger, lightly colored stones that can add asymmetrical softness to a rigid exterior. Modern homes have clean, simple lines that look good with long, thin stones in a darker slate gray.  Stone exteriors are very durable and have a low maintenance cost, though the initial cost of stone siding is sometimes one of the most expensive exterior siding options. If real stone is out of your price range, consider a stone veneer, which is designed to look and feel like stone without the large initial investment.     

Stone Entryway

Kit homes in Australia look great with stone facades If stone siding is too costly or stands out to much for your preferences, consider a stone entryway to invite guests into your home. Stone around the front door is most effective in a two-story home in which the stone is a frame that extends all the way to the roof. You can add some romantic charm to your door by first adding a covered arch or a peaked gable. Lay warm, sand-colored stones for a Mediterranean or rustic look. Add a decorative door instead of a standard front door for more visual appeal.

Stone Detail

Granny flats in Australia look great with stone facadesEven small additions of stone can add charm and value to your home exterior at a small fraction of the cost of stone siding. Suitable architectural details in your home's exterior that may be suitable for stone applications are replacing or adding stone to a brick chimney to give your home an immediate impact. Add flat stone slabs to your outdoor porch at the bottom and add stone pillars made from rounded stones rather than traditional wooden beams. Bay window can become a visual centerpiece when it's framed with large stones. If these ideas are out of your price range, consider incorporating stones into your landscaping through walkways or stacked-stone front steps.

The Nova Design Group are specialists when it comes to being creative with your project.