Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist for July

With summer in full swing and vacation just around the corner, this month’s to-do list focuses on Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist. A few simple preventative measures can save you from property loss and make your getaway the stress-free break you intended. Care for your house inside and out, and enjoy the good times of summer.

Parades and fireworks and clambakes. With summer in full swing, the month of July can seem to zip by. Make the most of your month with these 14 to-dos, covering everything from weekend guests to flag etiquette.

Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less

1. Clean porch lights. If you have glass light fixtures that are easily removed, bring them inside and wash in a dishpan of warm water with gentle soap. If the fixtures must stay in place, turn the power off and carefully wipe the exteriors with a damp microfiber cloth; dry with a soft cloth. When finished, change lightbulbs as needed.

2. Unfurl a flag for the Fourth. Get in the Independence Day spirit by putting up an American flag on your porch in time to celebrate the Fourth of July. Don’t have room for a full-size flag? Try lining your walkway with mini flags, or hang a pleated fan above the door instead. Whether you hang your flag vertically (as shown here) or horizontally, be sure you keep the union (the part with the stars) in the upper left corner.

3. Clean windows inside and out. Keep that summer sunshine streaming in by giving windows a quick rinse with glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry or wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. If you want to avoid using a ladder outside, reach exterior windows with a window-washing hose attachment or telescoping window washer, or hire a window-washing service to get the job done.

4. Check window screens for holes. It’s summer, and the mosquitoes are out in full force. If you’ve been getting bitten inside the house, check your window screens and screen doors for small holes and tears. Use a screen patching kit from the hardware store to repair any damage, and keep those pesky bugs outdoors where they belong.

5. Check safety devices. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors should be tested monthly; replace batteries as needed, and replace the entire device if it is more than 10 years old. Interconnected smoke detectors (when one alarm goes off, they all sound) are the safest because it is more likely that everyone in the house will hear the alarm. Also, take a moment to check the expiration date on any fire extinguishers in the house and replace them if needed.

6. Prepare for summer guests. Before guests arrive, be sure to clear out your own personal items, make up the beds with fresh sheets and set out a stack of fresh towels. Small extras such as bottles of water, a basket of travel-size toiletries and a card with the house Wi-Fi password will be much appreciated. If you host frequent overnight guests, consider adding a trundle bed or bunk to make the most of the space, especially if you know you’ll be having kids visiting.

7. Care for furry friends. Summer poses some unique challenges for our pets, but with a little extra care, you can ensure your furry friends are healthy all season long. If you will be traveling this summer without your pet, be sure to plan ahead to set up care. Most pets are more comfortable in their own homes, so consider using a professional pet sitter rather than a kennel, which can be stressful. To keep pets safe in the heat, you should provide access to shade and ample fresh water and never leave pets in a car unattended.

8. Refresh summer whites. Fresh, clean and crisp, nothing says summer quite like white linens. Keep your white textiles looking their best by laundering slipcovers, cushion covers and curtains, or sending them out for dry cleaning if they’re not machine washable. Keep white upholstery and Roman blinds looking fresh by vacuuming them regularly using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment.

9. Check Bathrooms for Leaks around Sinks and Toilets. While it’s okay that your toilets and pipes sweat a bit, you should look for leaks near anything that is puddling or dripping. The last thing you want to come home to is water damage from an unattended gusher.

10. Run Water and Flush Toilets in Unused Spaces. That bathroom no one ever uses? The toilet probably has quite the ring since you last checked it. Make sure everything is still in tip-top shape and give it a flush.

11. Conserve water. Cut down on unnecessary water use by watering your lawn and garden during the cooler, early morning hours. If you water when the sun is high, much of the water will simply evaporate instead of sinking into the soil where the roots can access it — and it can even scorch tender leaves. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using a WaterSense-labeled timer for your sprinkler system, which acts like a thermostat for your lawn and can reduce water use by up to 15 percent per year. Inside the house, keep an eye out for leaky faucets and have them repaired promptly.

12. Keep landscape fire-safe. If you live in an area with dry summers (such as California), it’s important to remove weeds, fallen leaves, needles and other items that could become fuel in a fire, particularly from the area immediately surrounding your home.

13. Check fences and repair or replace as needed. Inspect fencing and gates around your property. If you find damaged areas (for example, broken boards, sagging areas and soft or rotted wood) schedule repairs or replacement as needed.

14. Upgrade pool safety measures. If you have a pool in your backyard, it is essential to keep it securely fenced with a self-closing, self-latching gate at least 4 feet high, to prevent children from jumping or falling in. Place a safety cover on your pool when not in use, and never allow anyone to swim in your pool alone. The American Red Cross also recommends installing a pool alarm that will go off when anyone enters the pool. And if you have children, it’s important to make sure they all learn to swim well, whether or not you have a pool of your own.

15. Add shade to the yard. Make your backyard more comfortable with an umbrella or shade sail. With ample shady spots to sit, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to spend more time in your outdoor space — and shade is a must for summer backyard parties.

16. Keep your home safe while traveling. Before you leave on a trip, take some time to put safety precautions in place. Let your neighbors know when you will be away and ask a friend to check on your house from time to time. Motion-sensing exterior lighting, timed interior lighting and well-trimmed hedges can make your home a less appealing target for break-ins. If you will be away for a longer period of time, have your mail held for you at the post office and hire a lawn service to keep your yard from getting overgrown while you are away.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Outdoor Kitchen Remodel

Designing the Outdoor Kitchen Remodel – The grill is the main ingredient, but there’s a lot more to a successful recipe.

Today’s outdoor kitchen designs—whether part of a new home or a remodel—are more likely than ever to complement a home’s architectural aesthetic and environment. To create inviting and functional living spaces, where all the features work together, you need a refined and thoughtful approach. Here are a few design concepts to help you make that happen.

Start With the Grill

The heart of any outdoor kitchen, big or small, is the grill. It can make or break a client’s satisfaction with a project, so select the best one that fits within the budget.

When it comes to grills, there are no uniform depths, heights, or widths. This means that upgrading a grill sometime in the future could present a challenge, so its selection should be based on the cooks your clients aspire to be, rather than on the cooks they are now. Also keep in mind outdoor cooking options other than the standard gas grill, such as pizza ovens, smokers, cooktops, and charcoal- or wood-fired grills.

Once the grill has been selected, the next big decision is placement. If your clients entertain often, position the grill so it is perpendicular to the dining area to keep the cook in the party. That way, the cook can work without having his or her back turned to the guests and without having the open hood in the way.
In the Zone

The perfect outdoor kitchen for entertaining is about more than just the appliances. Like indoor kitchens, outdoor kitchens are made up of functional zones. These include hot, cold, wet, and dry zones.

Hot zones, not surprisingly, consist of all cooking areas, like grills, pizza ovens, and cooktops; cold zones include refrigeration and freezers; wet zones include sinks and adjacent workspace; and dry zones are dry prep counters and storage. The key to designing an outdoor kitchen that functions well is planning for all four zones to work together, along with providing plenty of countertop space to support the “workflows” of prepping, cooking, serving, and cleaning. For example, the cold zone should be next to the wet zone, to facilitate moving food from the refrigerator to the sink to wash it and get it ready for grilling in the hot zone.

Think about other outdoor living activities, as well. If there is a pool, consider placing beverage refrigeration near it.

Defining Size

Outdoor kitchens come in all sizes. When you’re determining design, layout, and available space for your clients, it’s helpful to think in terms of four basic categories.

Small (10 linear feet). A small kitchen generally includes a grill, a cooktop, a sink, and storage. It needs at least 36 inches of usable countertop frontage, no less than 24 inches deep.

Essentials (13 linear feet). A bit larger, this size typically has a refrigerator in addition to a grill, a cooktop, a sink, and storage. It should have at least 48 inches of countertop frontage, at least 24 inches deep.

Medium (16 linear feet). To the essentials kitchen, a medium kitchen adds more storage and counter space and sometimes more refrigeration. There should be at least 72 inches of countertop frontage, 24 inches deep.

Large (more than 20 linear feet). A large kitchen has all the amenities and can accommodate multiple cooks. Provide 156 inches of countertop frontage at 24 inches deep.

Space to Land

You can almost never have too much countertop space. Outdoor kitchens are typically smaller than their indoor counterparts, and insufficient countertop space is still one of the most common design shortcomings I see.

Ideally, you should provide your clients with free and clear “landing areas” on both sides of grills, sinks, and cooktops. This space can be used for ingredients, cutting boards, platters, colanders, and other items that the cook needs to have close at hand while using the station. When it’s time to pull the swordfish steaks off the grill, for instance, there needs to be space next to the grill where a platter can be ready and waiting.

Omitting landing areas on one side or both sides of key equipment such as the grill or the sink is the most common design mistake. Similarly, grills and sinks should never be placed at the end of a counter run; there should always be landing areas to the left and right sides of both.

To figure out how much space you should provide for your clients, you can use the following recommendations of basic landing-area dimensions for common outdoor kitchen workstations:

Grills. Be sure to keep 24 inches of open counter on one side and 12 inches on the other side.

Cooktops. Maintain 12 inches of open counter on each side. However, when you combine a grill and a cooktop into one station by positioning them next to each other, use the landing area recommendations for a grill (24 inches on one side and 12 inches on the other).

Sinks require 18 inches of open counter on each side, because your clients will be doing a lot of washing and cleaning in that area.

Pizza ovens. Landing areas are especially important for pizza prep work. Provide 24 inches of open counter on one side and 12 inches on the other side.

Kegs. Having room to place and set aside glasses is important for the keg tapper, so provide 12 inches of open counter on each side.

Under-counter refrigerator/ice maker. Be sure to have 15 inches of open counter above it.

When multiple workstations are combined, the minimum landing area between two pieces of equipment may be determined by adding 50% to the largest landing-area width recommended for the two pieces of equipment. For example, the landing area between a grill and a sink should be at least 36 inches wide because the largest recommended landing area related to those two pieces of equipment is 24 inches next to the grill.

Storage

Many homeowners want fully functioning outdoor kitchens. That includes having places to keep pots and pans, as well as dishes and plates, during the season. Other items, like wood chips, hot mitts, charcoal, and grill brushes, normally remain outdoors at all times, and need permanent storage there.

Because it’s outside, cabinetry needs to be able to withstand the elements. Whatever you select should be able to keep the items inside dry when it rains. I recommend weathertight cabinetry with seamless rain gutters around the door and drawer openings to help divert water.

The recommended amount of linear storage frontage varies depending on the size of the kitchen. The following suggestions assume that smaller kitchens will need to store fewer items outdoors, while larger kitchens are more likely to store pots, pans, and serving pieces:

• Small outdoor kitchen: 21 inches

• Essentials outdoor kitchen: 36 inches

• Medium outdoor kitchen: 72 inches

• Large outdoor kitchen: 96 inches

Seating

There are three main types of seating to think about: dining, bar, and lounge. Having all three is ideal for entertaining. When laying out a space, always try to keep the cook nearby; make sure the primary cooking areas are not isolated from the seating areas.

When planning for seating in an outdoor kitchen, you need to allow adequate width for each seat, as well as space for knees below the table, counter, or bar, and adequate space for traffic behind the seats. Typically, you should allow 24 inches width for each seat, but for more accessible seating, allow 30 to 36 inches.

If there won’t be any traffic behind the seats, you need only 32 inches between the table, counter, or bar and the nearest obstruction. To allow people to just edge past behind the seats, provide 36 inches. If you want guests to be able to walk past unobstructed, make sure you leave at least 48 inches.

For counter and bar seating, also provide space for knees. Here are recommended measurements:

• Lowered-counter/table-height seating (30 inches high) needs 18 inches for knee space.

• Counter seating (36 inches high) needs 15 inches knee space.

• Raised-counter/bar-height seating (42 inches high) needs 12 inches knee space.

• Accessible seating (30 to 34 inches high) needs 19 inches knee space.




From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets

Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets Hardwood Flooring in Modern Metalic Kitchen

Get all the information you’ll need on bamboo kitchen cabinets, a high-end alternative that can provide a unique, contemporary look for your kitchen.

When preparing to renovate an old kitchen or install a new one, one of your first tasks will be to decide on the materials you’ll use for your kitchen cabinets. Bamboo kitchen cabinets are a popular option today.

If you’re looking for a fresh look in your kitchen that may offer a bit of individuality and a more modern style, bamboo could be the perfect choice.

Bamboo is a strong and sustainable natural resource that’s become increasingly popular for floors and cabinets in homes. Although often mistaken for a wood, bamboo is in fact a grass; as such, it is sustainable and quickly renewable. Because bamboo grows to maturity within as little as seven years, it is available more rapidly than hardwood, which can take decades to reach the age of harvesting.

Bamboo, unlike particleboard or some of the softer hardwoods, is very durable and hard. Bamboo’s sturdiness makes it particularly well-suited for high-traffic areas like the kitchen.

Bamboo has a beautiful natural hue that warms up a kitchen with a light, neutral coloring. The color of natural bamboo is so appealing that most people do not feel the need to stain bamboo cabinets—they shine on their own with a simple clear coat. The grain of bamboo is distinctively linear and can be oriented either vertically or horizontally.

In terms of cost, because bamboo is still a fairly new and uncommon material, it is on the moderately expensive side—comparable to the cost of high-end hardwood. Because of its newness, manufacturers typically still only have a few styles of stock bamboo cabinetry. Therefore, you may need to order custom cabinets to complete your specific kitchen design; this may also increase the cost of your overall design project.

Bamboo overall lends itself to a fresh and modern look in your kitchen. The distinctive linear grain and light color of bamboo kitchen cabinets may be just the look you are going for to modernize or update your home.

Other Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Kitchen Cabinet Material
Wood Kitchen Cabinets
Pine Kitchen Cabinets
Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets
Cherry Kitchen Cabinets
Oak Kitchen Cabinets
Recycled Kitchen Cabinets


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Oak Kitchen Cabinets

marvellous-rustic-kitchen-design-with-light-brown-colored-oak-wooden-reclaimed-wood-oak-kitchen-cabinets-and-silver-refrigerator

Learn all about oak kitchen cabinets and discover why this type of wood has stayed so popular in kitchen designs everywhere.

Oak kitchen cabinets are popular in traditional kitchen designs. Oak is a very hard, heavy wood that’s strong and durable. It also features a coarse and highly visible grain pattern, which makes it a popular choice.

If you’re considering oak kitchen cabinets in your kitchen redesign, you might want to consider that oak comes in a wide range of colors. Oak is often known for its distinctive pale gold color, but it can also be seen in brown with rich red highlights. The pronounced grain pattern of natural oak wood is often brought to light when stained, so oak may be a particularly good choice if custom cabinets are what you seek.

You can actually choose from more than one subspecies of oak. Red oak is strong, durable and relatively inexpensive. It is often featured in traditional cabinet styles as it shows off the pronounced grain patterns that oak is known for. It is available in a wide range of styles and finishes and is widely available in stock cabinetry as well as through custom retailers.

White oak is as durable as red oak and even a bit stronger. It has more of a golden tone than red oak and a more subtle grain pattern. White oak is generally quarter-sawn for custom cabinetry—a process that creates a distinctive grain pattern with a characteristic fleck. Quarter-sawn white oak is often seen in Arts and Crafts furniture design, although it is also popular in contemporary design because of its consistent grain pattern.

For the budget-conscious kitchen designer, oak is lower in price than maple, cherry or birch. This lower price allows you to buy very sturdy yet inexpensive kitchen cabinets in many different styles and colors. Oak is widely available in stock kitchen cabinetry, which allows for much less expensive kitchen renovation. It is also available from custom cabinet retailers, allowing you to design your oak kitchen with more creative freedom.

Other Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Kitchen Cabinet Material
Wood Kitchen Cabinets
Pine Kitchen Cabinets
Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets
Cherry Kitchen Cabinets
Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets
Recycled Kitchen Cabinets


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Cherry Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen-Remodel-North-Columbus-Cherry-Shaker-Kitchen-Cabinets-Columbus-OH-SemBro-Designs

Get the information you need on cherry kitchen cabinets, a popular and beautiful wood choice for your kitchen design.

When planning a kitchen installation or renovation, you’ll need to decide on your kitchen cabinet materials. Wood is a common material in kitchen cabinetry today, and cherry kitchen cabinets are among the most popular options.

Cherry kitchen cabinets are a favorite because of their warm tones and rich look. Cherry tends to have predominantly red undertones; however, it can range in color from pale yellow to deep brown. The texture of cherry wood is smooth and satiny, which allows it to accept stain beautifully. Another reason for its popularity is that it matures over time and changes in color. Cherry wood becomes warmer and richer as it’s exposed to the air—a feature many homeowners seek out when choosing wood cabinets for their kitchen.

Cherry wood also shows a beautiful fine grain that gives cabinets character and unique personality. The pattern of the grain tends to be circular; once it’s stained, cherry shows an even-toned finish. It is moderately heavy and strong, which makes it durable and able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday cabinet use.

Cherry cabinets, while not as expensive as other premium woods such as mahogany, are more costly than certain lighter woods or cabinets made from particleboard. If you want the look of cherry cabinets but can’t fit them into your budget, you may want to consider maple or another of the darker woods. Another option is to purchase cabinets made out of one of the less expensive wood materials and have them stained a cherry color. The actual cost of cherry kitchen cabinets will depend on the number of cabinets needed in your design and whether you are able to buy stock cabinets or if you need to have them custom built to fit into your design space.

Other Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Kitchen Cabinet Material
Wood Kitchen Cabinets
Pine Kitchen Cabinets
Stainless Steel Kitchen Cabinets
Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets
Oak Kitchen Cabinets
Recycled Kitchen Cabinets


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

Leave your Comments below!

Feel free to share this article with your friends on social media of your choice.

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