December 14, 2017

Lighting for deck stairs

I have come up with an easy and inexpensive way to light up your deck stairs. First you must have what are called risers, ( boards that run between each step, used to close up the area under each step. I cut out a 1 inch  high by 12 inch width rectangle of the riser (bottom side closest to the step). The best part is that I envisioned a frosted plexiglass cover for each cut out . However, plexiglass seemed way to labor intensive and costly, so I thought what material would give me the same look? I was at Home Depot and thought plastic, clear plastic which isn’t clear, has a frosted look. I headed to the paint department to find a roll of plastic. I cut the plastic into squares and stapled  the plastic squares to the back the stair risers. I use a single light under the stairs that is on a timer.  Look at the pictures as they explain and show the results. Forget the plexiglass and use the inexpensive plastic to create lighting for the stairs. This project shows how to substitute materials and save money doing it!

This idea could also be used on a handicap ramp!

 

Counter Top Questions

Choosing your material for a new counter top can be very daunting. We have our favorites, but price always enters the equation..  What counter top  material really makes sense, and where do you start?

Let’s break down this major kitchen commitment…

First of all, the most important part of making your counter top decision is choosing your fabricator. This is the segment of the business that measures and installs your countertops. And just FYI , some storefronts sub contract their work, not bad, but make sure they are using an established local business..  Reputable product distributors use a good fabricator. Good fabricators have updated equipment, trained installers, and they work with reputable products.  It may sound like the cart before the horse, but what good is a beautiful piece of  raw stone if someone cuts it wrong, seams it in the wrong place , and does not stand behind their work?

Next? Material…

There are many options, and you have to ask yourself a couple questions..

How will I use this surface, and how can I make this countertop an important part of my kitchen design, and enhance my home?

Ok, let’s start with material and function.

Granite is a natural material, and it is a commodity. Granite quarry’s exist all over the world. Prices and availability change depending on the local economy. . Aesthetics change depending on the environment in the places they are mined. Granite is unique, beautiful, durable, and porous. It needs minor maintenance., and can vary greatly in price. It does have the ” upgrade ” factor If you are considering resale.

Quartz has come a long way. It is a great material, but until recently, not much to look at. It is a natural product that is manufactured, and because of this often has a warranty. The process of mixing the stone with resin, and then heating it, makes it non porous,and basically zero maintenance. It is a wonderful material in a functional kitchen, and it now has great design options. Its biggest drawback is the overall cost. Best advice for quartz on a budget, is to use it in a smaller space in your kitchen, and use a more economical product in your larger areas. If you choose to bite the bullet, and use it everywhere, you will not be disappointed.

Laminate is also very viable option, and I believe has a bad rap. It is a manufactured product that is non porous, durable, practical, and has great longevity.  Again, choices for design options have come a long way. Pricing is good, and the palettes for aesthetics are limitless.

You can also go crazy with concrete, stainless,  recycled and unique natural material., like seashells, and glass.

Don’t forget to ask your fabricator about remnants for a small space , ( powder room, laundry room..)..and don’t be afraid to mix and match your materials. Often that can make things work on a budget.  Don’t forget to talk about edge options with your fabricator. This can make a big statement as you frame out  your  kitchen. If  you choose to use any type of stone, a good fabricator can take the scraps from your slab and make cutting boards, and /or trivets to match , and protect your new surface.

Bottom line..  Counter tops are a big part in the big parts of your home. Educate yourself on the options, and create your counter surfaces with confidence!

Andi Bartruff