If you are a regular hiker or camper, you’ve likely heard the admonishment “Leave no trace.” The idea is to make as little impact as possible and to take out what you carried in.
This mantra can also extend beyond forests and trails to another popular recreation area: the beach.
In fact, more potential litter makes its way to beaches than to other areas. Coolers are packed with snacks and all kinds of packaging as well as drinks, sunblock, extra towels and clothing, and toys.
Fortunately, it’s usually pretty easy to dispose of your trash when you visit the beach. Most recreational areas have abundant trash cans nearby, so you don’t have to lug your garbage long distances. As for recyclables, if they fit into your cooler on the way in, they’ll fit on the way out!
One unique concern for beachgoers is a stiff breeze. Although paper napkins and plates can seem convenient, consider using cloth napkins and sturdier, portable plates, which are both reusable and less likely to blow away (and which is less annoying for you!).
It’s also a good idea to bring your own trash bag, which makes cleanup a lot easier. And speaking of bags, why not use reusable bags and containers? Again, they’re sturdier; and it’s easier to grab snacks from that container with a lid than it is to reach into a flimsy bag anyway.
Consider bringing a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. The benefit to you: you can invest in one that keeps your cold beverages super cold throughout the hottest of beach days. You carry less ice (read: weight) and save on plastic.
How to install a vapor barrier
If you’re constructing a wall, building an addition, or finishing your basement, installing a vapor barrier is a must. This thin layer of impermeable material, typically polyethylene sheeting, is designed to keep your home dry. Here are a few installation tips.
• Always install the vapor barrier on the inner side of the wall (the surface facing your living area) as it experiences hotter, moister conditions than the outside wall. A vapor barrier for the ceiling is also a must.
• Start in one corner and work your way around the room allowing the vapor barrier to hang down from the top framing sill. Once you’ve made it across the wall or around the room, allow for a fair amount of overlap in the corner where you started to create a tight seal.
• Make sure you seal cracks and holes in the wall. This will block any air gaps. Also, use acoustic spray foam or sealant tape to waterproof spaces around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and light fixtures.
Keep in mind that incorrectly installing a vapor barrier can lead to moisture problems and the need for costly repairs. For this reason, it may be best to leave this job to a professional.
3 tips for installing recessed lights in your basement
Lighting a basement can be a challenge, but recessed lights are a great option. They provide a widespread light source and tuck conveniently out of the way, making them ideal for low ceilings. Here are three tips for installing recessed lights in your basement.
1. Use the right placement
Make sure you position your recessed lights evenly throughout the space to avoid creating dark spots. As a rule of thumb, divide your ceiling height by two to give you the space required between each light. For example, if your ceiling is eight feet high, then position your lights four feet apart.
2. Opt for full brightness
Basements are usually quite dark. Therefore, you should opt for recessed lights that produce at least 600 lumens. This will ensure you have enough light to fully illuminate the space. If you want to be able to tone down the brightness for movie night, make certain to put the lights on a dimmer switch.
3. Consider color temperature
Don’t underestimate the importance of color temperature. For example, warmer tones make a room feel cozy and intimate, whereas cooler temperature hues make a space feel bright and energetic. To prevent your basement from feeling dark and dingy, lights that cast cooler temperatures are best.
Keep in mind that installing recessed lights can be a challenge. Therefore, it’s best to contact a professional to ensure this job is done right.
5 original wedding themes
Are you planning a wedding? If you’re currently getting ready for your big day and looking for an original theme, here are five you may want to consider.
Choose decor elements in bright colors that evoke sweets, candies, and pastries. You can tie this theme together by setting up a candy bar for your guests.
2. Fairy tale
Book your venue in a castle-like setting, choose an outfit worthy of royalty, and arrive in a horse-drawn carriage. You could also include props from the fairy tales you love to decorate the tables.
Incorporate suitcases, passports, airplanes, and maps into table settings, photo booths, and other decors. You could also decorate each table to represent a certain country or continent.
Hang origami flowers, balloons, or umbrellas in an array of hues from the ceiling, and decorate your chosen venue with accessories in all the colors of the rainbow.
Decorate your venue with vintage accessories and second-hand furniture, and visit your local thrift store to find old-fashioned cutlery, vases, tablecloths, and picture frames.
To stock up on accessories that match your theme, contact a wedding planner or visit your local stores.
How to repair potholes in an asphalt driveway
Potholes in your asphalt driveway can damage your car’s tires and suspension and become a tripping hazard. Fortunately, you can repair them on your own in a few easy steps.
• Start by cleaning out any debris, such as rocks, pebbles, and leaves from inside the pothole using a shovel or stiff-bristle broom. You can also use a hose or pressure washer to remove any stubborn dirt. Once the area is clean, make sure the area is completely dry before proceeding with any repairs.
• Measure the depth and length of the pothole to determine how much asphalt filler you need. If the pothole is more than four inches deep, fill the base of the hole with clay, crushed concrete or limestone for added strength.
• Once you’ve mixed the correct amount of asphalt filler, pour it into the pothole to about one-and-a-half inches above the rest of the driveway.
• Next, pack down the asphalt filler using a hand tamper until it’s level with the rest of the driveway. Make sure the asphalt is very firmly packed to ensure it doesn’t sink when a vehicle drives over it.
If your driveway has several deep potholes or cracks, it may be best to call in a professional to assess the damage and proceed with any necessary repairs.
4 must-have features for the ultimate dream kitchen
Are you updating your kitchen? If so, here are four fabulous features you may want to consider installing.
1. Pot filler
A pot filler is a swing-out faucet on a long, jointed arm that’s generally mounted over the stove. Pot fillers are extremely convenient and prevent you from having to lug heavy, water-filled pots from the sink to the stove.
2. Farmhouse sink
With their white, fireclay basins and tall, stainless-steel faucets, modern farmhouse sinks aren’t only stylish; they’re also wider and deeper than standard kitchen sinks. This helps make cooking and cleaning a breeze.
3. Double oven
Double ovens provide extra cooking space, so you have the flexibility to whip up multiple dishes simultaneously. They’re especially convenient if you do a lot of entertaining.
4. Built-in refrigerator
If you want your kitchen to have a streamlined and uniform profile, a built-in refrigerator is a way to go. Built-in refrigerators sit flush with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry in the space and offer an upmarket appearance.
If you’re designing your dream kitchen, keep in mind, you don’t have to do it alone. Consider reaching out to a home designer or general contractor in your area for help.
A buyer’s guide to washers and dryers
Are you in the market for a washer and dryer? Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for your new appliances.
Measure how much space you have to accommodate a washer and dryer. Keep in mind that you need to leave room behind both appliances for plumbing and ventilation. You should also factor in how many people will use the machines.
Top-load washing machines with agitators are often the most affordable option, but they tend to be louder, less efficient, and hasher on clothes than high-efficiency top-loaders. Alternatively, you can opt for a front-load washer, which uses a tumbling method to clean clothes. This causes less wear on fabrics and removes more water for quicker drying.
Dryers only come in front-load configurations. If you want to save space, buy front-load appliances with front-mounted display panels so you can stack them.
Most new washers and dryers come with a variety of energy-saving features such as automatic temperature control and moisture sensors. To make sure your appliances are energy efficient, be sure to look for the Energy Star certificate.
To find the right washing machine and dryer for your home, visit the appliance stores in your area.