How to give your kitchen a facelift by changing the handles and hardware

There is no need to replace your whole kitchen to give it a facelift. Simple and rather effortless replacements can still make a huge difference to its look. One of these things is to change the handles and hardware. Besides it is evidently more affordable too. You could also spray paint the cabinets, and/or opt for worktop overlays too. All of these will make your kitchen look much different, at a fraction of the cost.

Modern Kitchen Door Handles. Image credit: MiuMiu Borse

First off, one of the things that are mostly subjected to wear and tear are the hardware, the handles, knobs and pulls. Older designs can also date very quickly too! Just imagine how many times you opened and closed the doors and drawers. No wonder that they appear worse for wear. Besides there are so many different styles to choose from nowadays, that the sky’s the limit when it comes to replacing handles and knobs. There are lots of different styles, finishes, shapes and colours to choose from, so you may wish to take into account your personal preferences so as to narrow down the choices a bit. It will also depend on the style of your kitchen. The more modern a kitchen is, the more room for originality there is going to be, both in terms of orientation, as well as angles. However, do bear in mind that if you are going to install the handles in a rather untraditional manner, you may need to touch up the doors or drawers so hide where the previous handles were.

Nowadays bar pulls are among the most popular choices when it comes to handles for modern and contemporary kitchens. These tend to be really long and wide, and definitely much more sturdy. Bolts and knobs may sometimes be preferred to handles, especially in vintage kitchens or for those who prefer minimalist designs, but you will need to take into account the width of the drawer or the length of the door, so as to see if they are feasible enough when it comes to opening and closing easily.

Traditional Kitchen Handles. Image credit: Pinterest

When it comes to replacing the kitchen hardware make sure that you buy ones of the same size. In that way you will avoid the problem of having any parts not being properly covered up, leading to the need to retouch your cabinets unnecessarily. The spacing of the screws and the hinge overlay, will need to be taken into account when buying the new hardware. This will make things much easier when it comes to installing them. So make sure to remove all of the parts and to take them with you when going shopping for new hardware.

To remove the old hardware all you will need is a screwdriver, or a cordless drill to make the job even faster. So remove the door or drawer, and then unscrew the hinges and the handle. It is a good idea to buy some extra handles just in case.

Then, simply start to screw the new hardware to each cabinet door and drawer. Rehang them by screwing the hinges to the frame of the cabinets, and that is about it! You will be amazed at how much difference those little new handles make to give you the ultimate in low-budget kitchen makeovers.

External Resources Used

The editor would like to personally thank the following websites for using their material in the creation of this blog post:

Posted by Kyle in Lifestyle

How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Get legal compensation with the best solicitors

Getting the advice and legal assistance of a lawyer is something that most of us cannot do without at some point in their lives. Be it because of marital problems, child custody, or accidents, there are a myriad of situations which call for the legal advice of a solicitor. However, not all lawyers are going to be specialized in offering legal assistance in any and every case. Most lawyers prefer to specialize in a limited number of areas, or in just one field only. They do this in order to be able to dedicate themselves more specifically to that legal field, and be of expert guidance to their clients. So, if you have been a victim of some form of personal injury, it is imperative that you look for a personal injury lawyer, who would be specialized in this particular legal field.

Choosing a good personal injury lawyer is very important if you want to make sure that the outcome of your case is according to your wishes. Let us discuss some things you should bear in mind when looking for a personal injury lawyer.

A Personal Injury Claim is Essentially About Getting Justice. Image credit: King of Wallpapers

First of all, as a victim of a personal injury, your first thought will be that you need to get what is owed to you as a form of compensation for the injury or injuries that you suffered. Therefore, you are going to have certain expectations which will revolve around the need and the wish of getting what is owed to you in one form or another. This good be financial compensation, or payment of medical expenses for example. Therefore you need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to help you bring your case against the person/s who are responsible for the injury or injuries that you sustained. The personal injury lawyer will also be defending you if you are the one against whom someone else is claiming that he or she suffered injuries because of you. So, either way, you need a lawyer who has considerable experience in this field.

The personal injury lawyer will be aware that a lawsuit will need to be filed within a certain period of time, and so you need to talk to such a lawyer as soon as possible. However this should not impede you from taking the time to choose a good lawyer. You also need to ensure that he/she is a person of integrity, a good communicator, and someone that you feel at ease with. You will also need to consider the expenses involved as different lawyers charge different rates. These are some basic things you should bear in mind when looking for a personal injury lawyer.

Tort Law is Essentially About Getting Compensation. Image credit: Slideshare

Having said that, let us now elaborate a bit further on how to arriving to the final choice.

  1. Do some research so as to learn more about different personal injury lawyers, their experience and training. Personal injury lawyers will not only be experienced in the laws which deal with such cases, but they will also have an in depth understanding of medical processes, diagnosis and treatments required for people who have been injured in most common cases such as falls, slips, road accidents, and accidents at the place of work. This is often referred to as tort law, and personal injury lawyers will have an aptitude with negotiation as well as trial experience.
  2. Check what their past clients have to say about previous cases they handled for them. You will be able to get a better idea about different lawyers’ reputations, trial experience and record of cases they won. You could also try asking for personal referrals such as relatives or co-workers who availed of the services of a personal injury lawyer sometime before.
  3. Contact some personal injury lawyers who seem to be experienced and reputable so as to schedule a meeting with them. Meeting in person and discussing your case will give you the best idea of whether a personal injury lawyer is a good choice or not. You will be able to see how he/she intends to handle your case, whether he/she has a timeframe to resolve it, whether a trial will be required, and other key factors. You will also judge whether he/she is a good communicator, and a patient and emphatic person, or whether he/she is just considering you as a number and seems to be constantly busy answering calls even during your consultation.

Your choice of a personal injury lawyers should be based on whether you feel comfortable with him/her as a person, and with the cost structure of whether the lawyer offers a no win no fee arrangement or upfront payment terms. You will also need to base your decision on his/her experience and credentials, but especially on whether he/she dealt with cases such as yours successfully in the past. Needless to say each case differs from another, but your chances of getting a good outcome from your case will improve considerably if the personal injury lawyer of your choice is experienced in that particular type of accident and injury.

Posted by Kyle in Lifestyle

How to build a Plywood or MDF Stepstool

A step stool always comes in handy. Sometimes you realize you need something to climb on to reach up a bit further, and you find that you do not have a small step stool at hand. Climbing up on a chair or something unstable is certainly not a good idea. Getting a ladder every time is very inconvenient, not only because it is bulky, but also because it may not be opened up properly if you need to use it in a restricted area.

So, why don’t you build a step stool yourself so as to find it at your disposal in such cases? Building a step stool is really quite easy, and you can do it using MDF or plywood. The construction is fairly simple, and the result will be a lightweight but robust step stool that will be useful in many cases. Let us discuss how to go about building it.

Various Thicknesses of MDF Sheets. Image credit: Woodland Manufacturing

Materials Required

You will need to get a plywood board or sheets of MDF. About a quarter of a full sized sheet should suffice for a step stool. Try to find a board that is relatively thick, as the thicker it is the sturdier it will be. Plywood is often found in a 12mm thickness, but in some stores you should also be able to find 18mm thick sheets or even 25mm. The latter is ideal as your stool will be stronger and it will not run the risk of warping or bending over time.

You will also need a box of self-tapping wood screws. A screwdriver is a must of course. A regular one will do the job, but an electric screwdriver is more convenient. You will also need a jigsaw or a circular saw.

Building the stool

Start off by cutting two L-shaped pieces from the MDF or plywood sheet. The length and the depth of these pieces should be of approximately 15 inches. The most important thing is that you stick to the same dimensions on both sides. To create an L-shape, remove exactly one square quarter of the side.

Afterwards, cut four batons. These should be of an equal length as they will need to connect both of the L-shaped pieces together. This will result in the frame of your stool. Each baton should be about 15 inches long and 2 inches deep.

Once you have cut the batons, position them in their respective places and start to attach them. A combination of wood glue and wood screws is recommended to attach them well. The screws should be inserted at either end, and go through the sides of the l-shaped pieces. This is the easiest way to go about it. However, for those who are more skilled at woodworking, there is also the option of making jig holes, also known as pocket holes in the batons as in this way they will hide the screw heads and you will achieve a neater result.

Now that the basic frame of the stool is assembled, you will need to tackle the top. Cut your stool’s top with the jigsaw or circular saw. It is highly recommended that you do not cut it precisely to fit the frame’s opening. Some overhang is important as apart from providing you with more room where to stand, it will also make the stool more robust. So, aim for a size that is about 18 inches long and 9 inches deep. Attach the top to the frame of the stool using screws that run right through the surface of the batons.

If you would like to include a carrying handle for your stool, by cutting it out on the top step of the stool. This will make your stool look even more professional and also allow you to move it around and store it away more easily.

Last but not least, you will need to cut the bottom sheet of the step stool. A piece measuring 16 inches by 18 inches should do the trick. Then trim the edges so as to allow this piece to slide easily and manage to fit it in snugly in the stool’s frame. It should overhang a bit at the front when you attach it. The thinner edge of this piece should slide into the back area of the stool’s lower step, and in this way you will be able to attach it with screws and some wood glue.

Finished MDF Step Stool. Image credit: Idano

And that is basically all you need to do to have a finished step stool. As you can see it is quite easy and it will not require neither skill nor expensive materials. This is probably one of the simplest DIY woodworking projects you can do, and yet there is no doubt that having a step stool at home or in your garage is really convenient, and quite often, indispensable!

Posted by Kyle in Lifestyle

Cat A vs Cat B vs Shell & Core Office Fit-Outs

Commercial Property Construction & Fit-outs

One of the main aspects in commercial property construction is to try to satisfy clients’ wishes. As a result, once the construction is carried out, we will need to move on to the fit-out phase. The interior of the building will need to be improved, so that the space is appropriate for occupation, such as to start to accommodate the office workers.

There are various kinds of fit-outs, and for commercial property developers it is important to choose a fit-out that will best serve the needs and wishes of the occupants. However, the degree of completion of the project will vary from one construction to another, and so will the type of fit-out. The main types of fit-outs are Shell & Core, Cat A or Cat B. Let us discuss what each of these types of office fit-outs involves in more detail.

Shell & Core is considered just the bare bones construction. Image credit: Construction Week

Shell & Core Fit-outs

Shell and Core Fit-outs are among the most popular options, especially since there are many who prefer to take care of the design and finishes themselves, or by hiring another specialist company that offer interior design services. A shell and core fit-out will basically revolve solely around the completion of the outer framework of a building. This involves completing the most essential parts of a construction project, such as installing basic utilities like toilets, stairwells, and lifts. Apart from having completed the structure of a building, this involves completing the common areas like the reception or lobby, as well as any external works. So cladding and base plant are also carried out. Whenever this kind of fit-out is completed, the building is basically in shell form. So, with this type of office fit-out the building will basically look to be complete from the outside. But once one steps inside it is practically an open, blank space that still requires a lot of work to be occupied.

Category A Fit Outs tend to be minimalist move-in ready offices. Image credit: Blenheim House

Category A Fit-outs

A Category A fit-out is often referred to as a basic landlord fit-out. This is because a Category A fit-out will include some more work on a building’s interior. So, this will generally include the floor coverings, any raised floors and suspended ceilings, and some generic works on the perimeter walls. A Category A fit-out will also comprise basic mechanical and electrical services, such as lights, air conditioning and other basic controls. For those who opt for it basic fire detection and protection systems are also installed during this phase.

Category B Fit-outs

Category B is considered the most advanced type of fit-out that can be carried out. All design elements will be agreed upon so as to be installed and completed. So, this will involve installing any IT and other equipment that will be used by the workers, and even the office furniture. Any doors, partitions and floor finishes will also be completed in a Category B fit-out. More specialist finishes such as frosted glass, signage, lights and facilities will also be seen to. Basically the offices will be completed from start to finish with this type of fit-out. Any branding and finishing touches will be seen to during this type of fit-out.

Contracts

It is important that one agrees about the specific types of work and jobs to be completed by the company who will be taking care of the construction and the fit-out. In some cases this will be one company, and in others they may be partners. Therefore any ambiguity should be clarified by having a contract and all the necessary documentation which clearly established what will be completed and what will not, and who will be responsible for it.

Even though there is a difference between Shell & Core, Cat A and Cat B fit-outs, there may be cases where one developer feels that certain works fall under one type, whereas another will be willing to complete them in another type of fit-out. This is because these types of fit-outs offer a rather generic idea of what is included and what is not, and there is no standard definition for either of them. Therefore before starting out on any office refurbishment or relocation, it is important to make sure that both the client and the developer are on the same terms and have agreed on what will be done.

Deciding on the type of fit-out

The difference between these types of fit-outs is all about the degree of completion of the building in question. The interior specifications matter a great deal as they will have an effect on how nice the interior environment is, which will in turn affect workers’ motivation, maintenance expenses, and the company’s image. The decision will generally revolve around the costs involved, and how much the occupant trusts the developer to take care of the interior design of the building.

Posted by Kyle in Business

What is Planned Preventative Maintenance?

Understanding the full scope of PPM for commercial businesses

Sometimes, the integrity of a structure is taken for granted. Just because of its construction and because a building seems to be okay does not mean that there is no need for regular maintenance. Planned preventative maintenance needs to be carried out on a regular basis in order to ensure that the integrity and longevity of a structure is maintained and improved.

Staying on top of upkeep is not something that should be considered as an extra burden, but rather it is a way to ensure that any future costly repairs or failures are avoided. And the larger a building is, the bigger the problems can turn out to be. So, the bigger the edifice or building is, the bigger the need for preventative maintenance. Making a plan is highly recommended when a building is large or spread over a substantial area, as there will be various kinds of maintenance works to be carried out in the various areas, rooms and locations. Let us discuss some of the things that will find their way on a preventative maintenance plan.

Many PPM firms use sub-contractors to reduce costs. Image credit: Wise Geek

Roofing

A building will obviously have a roof, and one can safely state that the roof is ultimately one of the main elements that need to be taken good care of. Considering the fact that the roof is subject to various weather conditions and other problems, it goes without saying that regular maintenance should be carried out. Corrective action may be required in various cases, and so it is important to carry out routine inspections at least twice a year. Should there be any severe storm it is also important to inspect the roof so as to see if there is anything that needs to be seen to.

Carrying out regular maintenance work on the roof will generally involve jobs such as clearing roof drains of debris, examining any sections which were previously repaired, checking roof-to-wall connections, inspecting flashings particularly at curbs and penetrations so as to see if there are any tears or wrinkles, and carrying out re-caulking from time to time.

A moisture survey should be carried out at least every 5 years so as to detect any leaks or wet insulation. If there are solar panels on the roof, regular checks are imperative so as to see if there are any panels that ended up getting dislodged or with build-up of snow or other debris.

If the building is large and there are various roofs, it may be best to set up a roofing file for each building so as to keep a note of the various works that were carried out on specific dates, as well as set a plan for future regular maintenance works.

HVAC Systems

Heating and cooling equipment are imperative in a building. Unfortunately a lack of HVAC maintenance leads to inefficiency, higher bills, and poor air quality. Therefore it is important to include HVAC as part of planned preventative maintenance. These should be inspected at least twice a year. Seasonal start-ups and run inspections are important. There could be small jobs such as missing screws to be replaced, or gasket repairs, or more extensive replacements and repairs to be carried out. If there are any pumps annual lubrication is recommended. The cleaning and replacement of air filters should be carried out quite often, generally quarterly.

Having a regular maintenance schedule in place can prevent unwanted disasters. Image credit: Damazine

Plumbing

Plumbing is one of the main areas to keep under check in planned preventative maintenance. A seemingly small dripping or leakage problem could end up into a considerable problem if left unattended. Any leaks or unusual noises should be investigated immediately, and a thorough annual inspection is highly recommended, especially in bathrooms or restrooms. Water heaters and boilers need to be checked too.

Lighting

Many commercial establishments place importance on energy savings. Yet they do not always make it a point to carry out planned preventative maintenance so as to ensure that energy savings and lighting quality are maximized. Lighting fixtures should be properly maintained. Lamps may start to fail and so glare baffles, transformers and other accessories should be seen to. Exterior lights often require more attention than interior ones. Gaskets may need to be replaced so as to provide a better watertight seal. Any burned-out lamps will need to be replaced. A relamping schedule is highly recommended especially in a commercial establishment where there are hundreds or thousands of lights.

Electrical Systems

Having a licensed electrician inspect the electrical systems every couple of years is recommended. In such a way panel boards, switchgear and connections will be checked and any cleaning and re-torquing can be carried out properly.

Outdoor Flooring

Parking lots and outdoor areas will require coating replacements and power washing from time to time in order to preserve them and maintain them in good condition. Crack filling and seal coating are some of the regular jobs that will need to be included in planned preventative maintenance.

Posted by Kyle in Business

Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box Review

With various set-top boxes on the market, you may easily feel a bit confused as to which one you should choose. However, once you have read this review on the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box, you should be able to make up your mind quite easily.

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is regarded as one of the best set-top boxes on the market. As Sky+ has been one of the leading brands in this market for quite some time, one can safely say that the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is an improved version, which couples up all the strong points along with several technical improvements. In fact the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box offers all this, along with streaming as well as a number of offline benefits as well.

Sky Q is a slim and sleek set-top box with tons of modern features. Image credit: Know Your Mobile

Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box in a nutshell

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is one of the many boxes in the Sky range. There is the mini version and the 1TB version too. Needless to say, the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is the high-end option. This latest version is a slimmer box, which will take up less physical space. But, with 2TB of storage it can enable you to watch a show, while recording another four shows simultaneously. It has in fact a storage for up to 350 hours of HD TV. It can also stream on two televisions or tablets.

User Interface & Features

The user interface is a very important aspect when choosing a set-top box. With a new EPG and user interface, the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box may seem to be a bit strange at first, but once one gets used to it, it is a good interface.

One may search for recordings alphabetically, and view them in visual thumbnails, which is much easier than the traditional long list. The programme information can be viewed on top, and is accompanied by a live picture of the current show.

There is a new feature named My Q, which allows you to find the last show that was watched, and it can proceed from where you had stopped last time out. Whatever you started but not finished can be easily found. There are also programme suggestions available, which is something that many viewers enjoy checking out.

Whenever one pauses, rewinds, or forwards a programme, it is possible to see where you are. This is a welcome improvement in this newer version.

The Sky Q EPG is slick and easy to navigate. Image credit: Engadget

Sky Q Apps

Smart TV features are important for many users and Sky Q set-top boxes come with various useful apps including Sky News, Sky Sports News, Music, Weather and My Photos, to mention a few.

Sky Q Hub

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box will be able to act as a wi-fi hotspot for Sky Broadband customers when used with the Sky Q hub router. Later, Sky Q will also be working with a powerline network.

The Sky Q Remote Controls

Interestingly, Sky Q set-top boxes come with two remote controls. Apart from that standard one, there is the Bluetooth Sky Q Touch remote control, which has the main purpose of allowing the user to navigate by means of touch controls, such as by tapping and swiping instead of pushing the buttons.

Price

Prices vary depending on whether one is an existing customer or not. Existing customers on a multiscreen subscription will need to pay a one-time fee of 99GBP in order to upgrade to Sky Q and to get the 2TB set-top box. Those who do not have a Sky Multiscreen subscription can get the 2TB box for a 60GBP installation fee. Alternatively one can get the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box without the multiscreen subscription for an installation fee of 199GBP or buy a box from one of the many independent dealers who retail these boxes to allow expatriates to watch Sky Q abroad.

Conclusion

The Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is considered to be a TV platform that offers convenience and flexibility. One can view online and offline and the 2TB box is ideal for those who like to watch several programmes and record others. The extra storage available in the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is certainly ideal. There is an extensive range of content available, and the price is quite reasonable. Obviously the Sky Q 2TB Set-Top Box is the high-end option but considering the fact that it is practically an all-encompassing home entertainment package, it is a very good option for many families and for those who are looking for a system where they can watch whatever they want wherever they are and whenever they feel like it! In fact one can watch TV abroad in this way, by using a VPN. It surely cannot get any better because even when you are away from home, you will still be able to watch your favorite shows! So it is literally an anytime, anywhere solution!

Posted by Kyle in Technology

How To Choose The Best Running Shoes For Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is a painful inflammation of the muscle which connects the heel bone to the calf muscles called the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendinitis is mainly caused by using the affected limb too much and it is quite common among athletes.

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. Inflammation of the tendon may result from repetitive stress or sudden increase in its use. When the heel and toes strike the ground during high impact activity and force travels through the muscles and the bones of the leg and foot. The muscle then responds with a contraction and the tendon undergoes repetitive stretch and tightening. Inflammation can lead to the hardening and thickening of the tendon.

Anatomy of the Achilles Tendon. Image credit: Sports Injury Clinic

It can easily be confused with xanthoma of the tendon, which is the disease caused by the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood. People who are prone to Achilles injuries are likely to stop running if the problem is persistent. Achilles tendinitis can affect both young and old people.

Your running shoes, if not proper, may cause flare-ups in your Achilles. A proper pair of shoes, on the other hand, can help in alleviating the pain.

The risk factors for Achilles tendinitis include tight heel cords, poor foot alignment and sudden changes in your running shoes or activities.

Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis

  • Sharp or dull pain on the tendon, but often close to the heel
  • Limited ankle flexibility
  • Redness and heat over the affected area
  • A cracking sound when the tendon is rubbed by scar tissue when the ankle moves
  • A nodule, or lumpy block that can be seen on the tendon

Causes of Achilles tendinitis

  • Overstress or overworking of the tendon
  • Overpronation, which is excessive rolling out of the foot as you run. This leads to too much weight being transferred to the medial or inner side of the foot, rather than the ball of the foot.

Features to look out for when buying running shoes for Achilles tendinitis

  1. Flexibility in the forefoot and midfoot area
    Avoid shoes that have hard or rigid heel counters. Shoes that have softer heel counters or those that lack heel counters are ideal for people with Achilles tendonitis as they allow for more flexibility and freedom around the back of your foot. This is ideal for relieving pressure and it aids in recovery after an injury to the Achilles tendon.
  1. A higher heel-to-toe drop
    With Achilles tendinitis, the heel drop is a key feature. A higher drop of 9mm and above reduces the amount of stretch exerted on your Achilles tendon when running. If the tendon does not have the strength or flexibility to deal with the stretch produced by flatter shoes, problems, including injuries are likely to develop.

When a diagnosis is made surgery may be an option. However, this may not be necessary and other options may be explored first including physical therapy, pain medications, and supportive orthotics or shoes.

Many running shoes available in the stores have extra heel cushioning which increases the heel drop, so it is important to buy shoes that fit properly and replace them when the soles start wearing out. A great example of a brand ideally suited to runners with achilles problems are New Balance running shoes. Orthopedic inserts can also provide a heel pad or lift which is important in reducing the force exerted on the Achilles tendon.

A bandage wrap or silicone Achilles sleeve is also important in case your shoes rub uncomfortably against your tendon. Shoe inserts provide additional comfort and stability, and at the same time, they provide enhanced sensory feedback to the muscles of your calf so that they do not become overloaded.

Note that, should you start experiencing Achilles pain, it is time to stop running for some time. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or aspirin, and massage the area with ice for a few minutes several times a day until the pain subsides. Once the swelling or nodule is gone, make sure you stretch the calf muscles. Do not resume running until you can comfortably raise your toes without pain.

New Balance 860 V7 is considered a great running shoe for weak achilles tendons. Image credit: New Balance

Before you resume running, start off with the skipping rope, progress to jumping jacks, and eventually, begin running again. This should take roughly six to eight weeks.

It is also important to shop for running shoes in the afternoon or early in the evening when your feet are at their largest. This is because feet tend to swell or expand in the course of the day and any pair bought earlier in the day is likely not to fit as the day progresses.

You should also seek the advice of a qualified podiatrist especially if you are not sure of your shoe size so that they can measure your foot. They will also be in a good position to diagnose Achilles tendinitis especially because it is easily confused with xanthoma of the tendon as discussed earlier.

Posted by Kyle in Lifestyle