Have you ever wondered what the difference is betweena suspendedÂ ceilingÂ and a drywall ceiling?
Most of us look at ceiling tiles and just frown at them without understanding the reasoning behind the application. There is no doubt that a smooth ceiling is elegant, seamless and simple but the difference between the two is important to understand.
If you are not familiar with exactly what a suspended ceiling is here is the Wikipedia description:
“AÂ dropped ceilingÂ is a secondary ceiling, hung below themain (structural) ceiling. They may also be referred to as aÂ drop ceiling,Â false ceiling, orÂ suspended ceiling.Â The area above the dropped ceiling is called theÂ plenum space, as it is sometimes used forÂ HVAC air return. The plenum space is alsovery commonly used to concealÂ piping,Â wiring, and/orÂ ductwork.
A typical dropped ceiling consists of a grid-work of metal channels in the shape of an upside-down “T”, suspended onwires from the overhead structure. These channels snap together in a regularlyspaced pattern – typically a 2Ã—2 or 2Ã—4 foot grid. Each cell is filled with lightweight “tiles” or “panels” which simply drop into thegrid.”
In spaces like basements, mechanical rooms and recreational spaces installing a suspended ceiling could certainly be beneficial. The basement houses a large majority of the wiring, mechanical and plumbing in a home.Â Once you drywall the ceiling, access to those systems means cutting a hole, and patching and painting, and that’s only if you know exactly where all your wires and pipes are running. If you don’t know, it could mean piercing more than one hole, or possibly tearing down a large part of the ceiling in emergency situations.
There are so many reasons that one may need to access their basement ceiling, here are just a few examples:
– If you decide to install a surround sound system, or a monitoring system for your home in the future you will need access to the main hub of wires in your basement.
– If you have heat loss and need to look at the HVAC to see where the deficiency is coming from you will need to go to the source in the basement.
– If you have a leak or need to check condensation on your pipes which tends to build up over the years you will also needÂ a way in.
When you install a suspended ceiling, the ceiling tiles easily pop in and out for maximum flexibility and access to what is hiding directly above you! Today’s ceiling tiles are not like those you may still see lurking around in old office buildings and shabby basements.
Suspended ceiling systems have truly been revolutionized with modern tiles that come in an array of colours, as well as ones that are as smooth as a drywalledÂ ceiling, and even tiles that are made to resemble a coffered or tin ceiling.
For specialÂ applications, there are also ceiling tiles with acoustical properties that have great sound absorption, this is ideal if you plan to have a playroom or a home theatre in your basement. The grid systems, also known as the “T” bars for their T-like shape, have also been updated to have aÂ nearly invisible profile.
When it comes to deciding if a dropped ceiling is the right fit for your space, look at your total headroom. Unlike drywall, which is affixed to the joists, a suspended ceiling requires a drop of about 4 to 6 inches.
If you are convinced that a dropped ceiling is the right way to go but you may have some ducts and large pipes that are running low you may need to include a combination of a drywall and a suspended ceiling toÂ accommodateÂ those lower areas. As long as the majority of your ceiling have access, you will be grateful for the flexibility of it in the long run.
If you have an existingÂ droppedÂ ceiling that needs some updatingÂ considerÂ using a spray gun to paint your old ceiling tiles (after about 2 or 3 paint jobs you will likely have toÂ completelyÂ replace your tiles.)Â To tackle the grid system consider a product known as a ‘grid cover’: this is a decorative molding that goes over your existing grid to create a finishing touch. Check out Armstrong for their “stylestix” product.
For years we have been hearing about taking precautionary measures from the harmful rays of the sun whenever we go outdoors.Â Now there is added awareness that deals with blocking out the damaging rays from penetrating our interiors.
Who would have ever thought of using sun protection for the home?
Keeping your curtains drawn is not the ideal solution for everyday living. Most of us enjoy as much light as possible in our home and the idea of living behind closed shutters sounds a little cavernous.
The truth about the sun is that it not only harms our skin, but it also manages to ruin our interiors.Â The sun will cause fading and deterioration to everything from fabric and leather upholstered goods, drapery, pillows, carpets, art, photography, wood furniture and even hardwood flooring.
Over the years as the sun’s rays penetrate into your home, the results can be as damaging as if you literally had all of your furniture sitting outdoors. Lift up yourÂ rugs to see if your hardwood has faded as this is a true test that the sun has caused damage to your space.
Using a good quality window film is a revolutionary solution to keeping about 99% of the sunâ€™s harmful UV rays out of your home.Â It will prevent your furniture and interior finishes from becoming dull and washed out.
The film will also diminish the glare on monitors, screens and televisions.Â Using this product will also keep your air conditioning and heating bills down.
In the summer when your home’s air conditioning system is hard at work there will be less heat beaming into the home from the warmth of the sun.Â In the colder months, it will reduce heat loss by reflecting back indoor radiant heat.Â As a result of these advantages, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint!
A solar control window film is a clear, high tech product that is applied to the inside of your windows just as easily as any decorative film.Â There are professional companies out there that will install this product for you, however this is any easy DIY project that you can undertake yourself.
You can purchase the 3M film or other comparable product at your local hardware store.Â This product is also available to purchase online, and if you choose to do so make sure you are only buying from a reputable supplier that guarantees the product’s quality.
Some solar films are also available in aÂ greyishÂ shade if you choose to tint your windows.Â Tinting your windows will create privacy and will reduce the amount of daylight that penetrates your space.
To install the product yourself, ensure that your windows are cleaned prior to the application.Â Follow all the manufacturersâ€™ installation instructions.Â It usually takes about 30 days before the product settles, after that, you can clean your windows just as you would normally.
The average cost of a DIY project is around $4-$7 per squareÂ foot, while a professionally installed product will run you between $6-$9 per squareÂ foot.
Protect your expensiveÂ furnishingsÂ and hard finishes with window films; it will save you money and preserve your interiors.
Painting is one of the easiest projects that any homeowner can tackle on their own. It is a simple and easy project that requires some time and attention. A painting project can run between half a day to three days depending on how many rooms you are about to tackle.
Once you have picked your paint colours, tackling a painting project can appear easy, but before you run out to your local paint store to get your paints mixed be sure to do some initial research and preparation.
Make a list of how many rooms you will be attempting to paint. Take rough measurements of the width, length and height of your room.Â Getting basic calculations will allow you to figure out how many gallons of paint you will need. Bring these to your local paint store and they will help you figure out how many gallons will be required for your project.Â A basic rule of thumb is that one gallon of paint covers about 350 sq.ft.Â (wall square footage.)Â One gallon should generally cover a small bedroom that is approximately 10×10.
Today the most widely used interior paints are latex-based paints. Oil-based paints are becoming obsolete.
You must also consider the existing conditions of your walls. If you live in a brand new home, chances are the builder has already primed the walls and therefore one coat of paint on the walls and one gallon for a small bedroom will suffice. However, if you live in an older home, you must assess the surface of your existing walls and determine whether the prior paint application was oil or latex-based paint. If you are uncertain if the walls or baseboards in your home were painted in oil or latex there is a simple trick of the trade that you can do: take a rag and dip it into some alcohol, lightly scrub an area of the wall; if the paint melts or rubs off then you know for certain it is a latex paint. If the surface you are rubbing stays in tact then it is oil!
If oil-based paints were used on the walls of your home, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can simply paint over it with a few coats of latex paint! It will chip, peel and bubble right off. There are a variety of primer/sealer products on the market that have been designed specifically for switching over from oil to latex. One of my favourites is a Zinsser B-I-N, primer/sealer. Many of the big brand paint companies also have similar products for this application.
When painting over walls that have existing dark and deep tones take note that you will likely need a few coats of primer and a few coats of paint. Deep reds and blues are more challenging to cover over and require this type of treatment if you are switching over to a neutral palate.
When it comes to the type of finish, the possibilities are numerous and sometimes confusing. Most big brand paint companies offer the following options, in order of luster, from matteÂ to shiny:
Flat,Â Eggshell, Pearl, Satin, Semi-Gloss, High Gloss.
There is a general rule of thumb that I use daily: depending on the surface there is a suitable paint finish for each application.
– For bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and hallways I select a latex-based flat or eggshell.Â Flat is lusterlessÂ and is now widely used in modern applications, while eggshell is a perfect medium that provides a durable and washable surface. This is great for homes with little kids and lots of traffic.
-For kitchens and bathrooms I highly recommend that you choose a good quality latex-based kitchen & bath paint designed with unique properties to prevent mold and mildew, resist damage from household cleaners, and clean up easily without damaging the surface. Benjamin Moore’s Kitchen & Bath paint comes in a Pearl finish, which results in an elegant surface for these types of rooms.
-For ceilings, I only recommend that you use a flat finish. Make sure that you use the same type of white ceiling paint throughout your space. Mixing different brands for ceiling paints will result in a shift in shades. Tip: using tones and colours other than a brightÂ whiteÂ will make your ceilings feel dark and low, something that many of us want to avoid.
-Doors, woodwork and trim look best in a semi-gloss finish. It keeps these areas durable and allows them to stand out without being too striking. High gloss resembles oil paint and is no longer a contemporary choice for trims.
When it comes to decorating the home I find that people tend to struggle with ways to tie everything together.
There are many elements to consider and many ways to embellish your existing spaces. Colour, pattern and texture are all key essentials to giving your space that designer touch. Stick with a theme, a colour palate and repeat prints and patterns with a subtle approach.
Decorative trim has become one of the latest and greatest ways to update your existing goods while keeping things chic and on a budget! Trim is a great way to tie it all in even though it was once considered old-fashioned and overdone. Today, trim has a new-found meaning to the world of design. Instead of overdoing it with passÃ© heavy embellishments, trim is now sophisticated, modern and can be found in stylish hues.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Walsh Gorton from Reid & Lyons, a trim specialist who runs a lovely showroom in downtown Toronto. We collaborated on some design tips and she shared some of her trade secrets with me on how to make the most of trim and embellishments. So here is what we came up with:
1. No need to buy new furniture and pillows to update your interior; use trim on your existing pieces to create patterns and colour, especially contrasting colours. For example, use inexpensive braids to create your own pattern on a plain pillow or headboard. It will create a three-dimensional look and make your room pop. Gather ideas for the latest patterns from fashion and design magazines. Use trim to create these â€˜hot’ patterns. If you don’t have plain pillows you can easily pick up some plain finds under $20 at retailers like Bouclair, Walmart and Home Sense. By adding creative trim embellishments you’ll make those bargain finds look like a $150 pillow! Tip: try to find down-filled pillows, they simply look better on a sofa.
2. Put your money where it counts! Add trim to inexpensive curtains and draperies to give it that ‘designer look.’ It takes more fabric to make curtains than it does to add trim and the overall effect will look like a million bucks.
3. Make your investment last a lifetime. Invest in solid fabrics for your main pieces such as sofas and curtains then keep up with the trends by adding trim with the times. Use trim on solid-coloured bedding, from duvet covers to bed skirts. The trim can easily be removed and interchanged if you choose to refresh your look after a few years.
4. Not your granny’s trim. Trims today can “contemporize” your look with many new materials such as leather, metal, crystal and linen. For that comfy cottage feel look for sea shell trim.
5. Reinvent grosgrain (grosgrain is a type of ribbon typically made of silk or rayon, with tightly woven ribs.) Think outside the box and use grosgrain on wall panels, headboards, shutters and shutter doors…the possibilities are endless!
6. Size Matters. With condo living and oversized two story windows, think about the size of your curtain tiebacks and whether the size of the tieback matches the scale of the room and window treatment. Today, tiebacks are available in 24″ lengths.
You can add trim yourself with delicate hand sewing; some trims can also be applied with specific spray adhesives. Make inquiries with the retailer or showroom where you are purchasing your trim; every type will require a different application method. If you are unsure, it is best to go to a local seamstress, this type of needlework will not be a costly ordeal.
The kitchen is the most inhabited area of the home; from cooking, to eating to entertaining- it all happens in that fun space.
Some of us like it uber-modern, some prefer country chic and others like a classic lived-in look. But whatever your flavour is, the looks can get tired and dated over time. With some simple and inexpensive solutions you can give your beloved space a refreshing face-lift.
Taking a good look at your kitchen will allow you to examine elements that you like and dislike. Perhaps you need more storage, a fun backsplash or a solution to dated cabinets.
There are so many ways that you can give new life to your existing kitchen without ripping it out completely. Here are some of my top 10 tips:
1. Add a little splash to your backsplash! Maybe you have some dated tiles or your backsplash is bare. Whatever the case, the possibilities are endless. Installing new tiles is predictable and can result in a pricey update. Try Graham & Brown ‘s Slate Grey wallpaper; it looks like stone and has texture to simulate the real thing. It is easy to apply and at $40 a roll, it can be a huge transformation on a budget. Painting a backsplash in a chalkboard paint is another fun and inexpensive option. If you need extra storage for kitchen utensils and other knick-knacks, consider a painted pegboard backsplash. It looks fun and packs a lot of function.
2. Countertops can look dated; a new top will create a fresh surface. For inexpensive tops consider Ikea’s butcher blocks or their thick stainless counters. These alternative surfaces will create a refreshing look.
3. Cabinet refacing is becoming a popular approach to tackle old cabinetry. A company like Nubold will replace or refinish your cabinet doors and refinish your existing cabinet boxes to match. With this approach you can completely change the colour and style of your kitchen and you can add moldings, taller uppers and trims. The possibilities are endless, all at one third of the cost of a brand new kitchen!
4. Sanding and painting cabinets is another great option. This is a great DIY project.Â You can have a company like â€˜Paint it Like New’ to do the job for you. They will take your cabinet doors and spray them in their factory to guarantee a hard, durable and long-lasting coating.
5. Adding storage with an island is a great approach for any kitchen. You may also choose to replace your existing island for a larger one that maximizes your function. Depending on the look you wish to achieve you can introduce an island in a different wood or painted finish. You can also choose from an industrial-type stainless steel island; this will provide the ability to have open storage and a unit on castors that is easily moved around for alternate scenarios. This can be a practical and pleasant alternative.
6. If you have tall ceiling and short cabinets consider extending your cabinets, it could be simply decorative with glass doors, closed with solid doors for added storage or a combination of both.Â This may require you to have your original kitchen manufacturer come back and customize these for you.Â Another alternative would be to find a good millworker to fabricate these; a reliable professional will match your existing door finish and style without a problem.
7. Add colour to your kitchen walls with a fresh coat of paint. Pick a punchy tone to give your kitchen some life! Likewise, you can add some drama to your kitchen with a patterned wallpaper.
8. A new faucet can speak volumes. Adding a fancy tool that is shiny and new can be pleasant to use and easy on the eyes!
9. Give your kitchen height by breaking through the dated dropped ceilings. These were popular in the ’80s and ’90s but not anymore. For lighting solutions, look for contemporary track lights.
10. Change up your old gold knobs for a sleek set of kitchen pulls. This can be an easy do-it-yourself project. Refer to my previous postÂ “How to Update your Kitchen Cabinets” for more details on how to tackle this project.
Thanksgiving and Halloween are just around the corner. Decorating and preparing for festivities is always an exciting and motivating time of the year. The holidays are always a great symbol of love, generosity, and gratitude, so what better way to prepare than with a little dÃ©cor!
There are so many of us that are in a financial pinch these days, and some that would just rather save their bucks. Nevertheless, since family gatherings and joyful periods of the year make us want to spend some money, there are great options to make the most of your decorating and entertaining expenditures. Local stores like Canadian Tire, Loblaws, Pottery Barn and others offer some innexpensive and smart products for home decorating. You will be able to find everything from serving platters to decorative reefs. Selecting a few speciality products will truly help create the holiday spirit; a few decorative items such as leaf-shaped plates, twigs, wood stumps, leaf garlands, or napkins in the warm fall tones of burnt orange and natural greens will create that seasonal touch.
Consider using fresh fruits and veggies to decorate your tables and fireplace. There are so many fun ways that you can use Indian corn, pumpkins, pepper squash and other varieties.
If your creative thumb is limited just find a large open bowl or a voluminous canister and fill it with the colourful winter veggies. You can also do the same with iconic fall fruits such as apples and pomegranates.
Inexpensive ways of decorating for fall can be creative and lots of fun. Consider countless ways to display the classic pumpkin; they have a beautiful and naturally sculpted shape with such a vivid colour that it makes this veggie a great item to decorate with. One of my favourite ways to decorate with pumpkins is to buy a large selection (10-12) in varying sizes, from very large to mini and they don’t need to be carved or adorned. I use these in a random display to decorate my fireplace just as one would do with candles because it creates a simple and elegant display. If you don’t have a fireplace consider a similar arrangement at a vestibule, on a terrace or even on a console or countertop.
Consider using pumpkins as candle holders. Carve out a hole that would accommodate your favorites, from pillars, tea lights to dinner candles. You can make any of these work! Use these on a fireplace mantle or as a centerpiece.
You can also transform your pumpkins by painting them! Create an elegant and glamorous look by painting them all white or spook them up and paint them in charcoal and black tones.
My last tip for decorating with pumpkins would be to re-use your existing urns that you may have had out on your front porch for the summer. Now that your flowers have all dried up, find a large enough pumpkin that can sit inside, a simple statement can speak volumes.