Category: DIY

About Smart Home Environments

In those situations Wink really is one of the most stable, and up and coming control hubs you can have. While Revolv may talk to more devices, and Apple may promise a multiple network whole home control center, Wink is delivering a great cross section of devices geared towards making your home respond to you and what you are doing. There are robotic triggers that you can set to get the devices to respond to each other. It is possible to do these things with other controls using IFTTT or geographical sensing on your smart phone, but Wink makes it a bit easier by sensing state changes, or output signal and then issuing predetermined commands to other devices in the house.

Lets use two examples.

Waking up in the morning can be a chore. Rather then letting the obnoxious buzz/jangle of your phone or alarm clock startle you out of bed, imagine that the lights in your room slowly ignite in a soft red/orange combo that starts with only the fixtures farthest away from your bed, and slowly brighten over the course of 5-10 minutes. If that isn’t enough to wake you slowly and much more naturally, the blinds in your room will trigger to open part way after the lights have started to brighten, letting in a little bit of that early morning light. It might be raining but that’s okay. Shortly after the lights come up the speakers in the ceiling in your room and your bathroom start playing your favorite morning Pandora station at a soft level so as not to disturb anyone else in the house.

This very easily accomplished using Sonos speakers, Phillips Hue lighting and the automatic blind controls from Bali motorized window treatments. It’s a much better way to wake up, it keeps you relaxed and stays away from the obnoxious noises that so rudely startle us awake every day.

Situation 2 can be applied to any number of instances. A romantic movie night, a rivalry football game in the man cave, or just sitting down to watch TV in the evening while trying to unwind after your long day. Simply using Wink to turn on a setting for television or movie, will trigger the speakers on to a preset volume, the TV on, the lights will dim around the room and over the TV while the ones at the back change color to red or a soft blue to not distract from the experience. Around the room the blinds lower to shut out the outside world and your intimate setting is ready for action. The best part? If you get up and leave the room, the room can sense your departure, pause the TV or movie and bring up the lights until you return and settle back into place.

Ways Of Unlocking A Bedroom Door

Use a thin screwdriver

If your knob looks as if it requires a key you should slip the head of a thin screwdriver into it. You should then turn the screwdriver on the left in order to unlock the door mechanism.

Make use of your credit card

Here you should slip your credit card in between the door and the door frame then slowly slide the card downwards while at the same time pushing it further from the crack.

When you reach the level of the handle you should work the card into the crack and use the card to push in the metal bolt that keeps the door closed. When you push the bolt you will open the door.

Remove the door knob

If there are no openings in the knob you should consider removing the door knob. You should remove the screws with a screwdriver and remove the knob.

After removing the knob you should reach into the hole in the door and remove the bolt that connects the knob to the hole in the strike plat. After opening the door you should replace the knob pieces the same way that you removed them.

DIY Hanging Vase

  • One of our New Year’s resolutions for 2016 was to find ways to incorporate more plants in our home. We love the sense of peace and purpose our plants bring to our home and we simply wanted to diversify our jungalow.
  • I came across Artisan Wall Mount hanging vases while browsing the Pottery Barn website and really liked the concept (just not the price $69-$119).
  • We can never resist the dollar section at Michaels and *somehow* ended up with 4 adorable glass test tubes for $1.50 a piece. If you have tubes around in your home (think spice tubes) that you aren’t using, this could be the perfect way to upcycle them)

A few visits to the garage later and we had the perfect design for a hanging vase we had pictured in our mind. The finished product involves 4 hanging glass tubes that, while certainly smaller than the Pottery Barn Wall-Mount Vase, are far more economical ($15 compared to $69) and just as dazzling visually. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to incorporate more foliage without cramping your space with pots, this is the perfect solution for you!


  • Glass Tubes
  • Scrap Wood
  • Copper Tube Straps
  • Screws
  • Hanging Kit or Command Hanging Solution
  • Tools
  • Drill
  • Hammer

Note: We did not list the dimensions of the tubes or the tube straps because that will depend entirely on what you find and decide to use. If you have your tubes just take them to Home Depot and you will be able to find the straps that fit them very easily. Also, you are not limited to scrap wood for the base; we just wanted to use what we have. If you’re looking for something less rustic, Michaels has a lot of nice wood pieces that could work. All in all, if you play your cards right, this DIY is very inexpensive and so easy to put together.


  • Once you have all your pieces, all you will need to do is drill two holes (corresponding to the holes in the tube straps) into your base. Make sure that your base is thick enough to withstand the length of the screws.
  • If you are choosing to hang these on your wall the old fashion way, go ahead and nail your hanger to the back of the base.
  • Once complete, drill the tube straps halfway into the base so that the straps are loose enough to adjust.
  • Slip your tube through the tube strap until it is positioned the way you like (we aligned our tubes so that the tube strap was the halfway mark). Once you are happy with the positioning of the tube, tighten the screws until the tube is secure (do this gently so as to not crack the tube).
  • Mount your completed vase to the wall and decorate with real or artificial flowers, grasses, or air plants.

Ceramic Tile Floor Installation

Tools and Materials

The first step to installing ceramic tile involves gathering all of the necessary tools and materials. You will need to select the kind of tiles that you want for your project. Next, you will need backing or foundation, as well as adhesive or thinset. You will also need a notched trowel. A trowel is a flat metal piece with a handle. Look for one with flat edges for smoothing out the adhesive, along with notches for scoring the surface of the adhesive. There are many different types of notched trowels, of all shapes and sizes. Choose one that will pair well with the kind of adhesive you are using. A rubber mallet is necessary for tapping the tiles into the adhesive without damaging them. You will also need a hammer and bedding block. The bedding block is a piece of wood you will place against the tile so that you can strike it with a hammer without breaking it.


Ceramic tile should not be installed directly to a wood surface. If you have a wood floor, you will need to install a sub-floor prior to laying the tile. If you are installing it onto a concrete surface, you won’t need to lay down any type of covering. However, you will need to clean the concrete prior to installation.

Lay Tiles

Once you have decided on the proper layout, you will start laying tiles. Apply tile adhesive with the trowel to the tiles. Always start in a corner and work outward. Use the rubber mallet to nudge or the hammer and bedding block to push in the tiles. Allow the adhesive to set for 12 to 24 hours before applying grout.

Ceramic Floor Maintenance

Once your project is complete, it is important to get started on the right foot when it comes to maintenance. Check with the tile manufacturer for specific cleaning instructions. Regular professional tile and grout cleaning will ensure your floors look great for the long run.

What to Do Before Painting a Room


Did you know? The most common reason for a non-fatal injury at home is due to falls – a large percentage of them at home. Before you start painting, take safety precautions as seriously as you would any other steps. Something you can do is to buy or borrow a sturdy ladder which will not give way. Invest in ones with an in-built shelf that you can store your paint bucket and tools in.


Another step in preparing yourself for the paint job is to dress appropriately. Painting can be a messy affair, not to mention one with permanent consequences. To prevent paint splattering onto your favorite clothes¬†and¬†shoes, dress in old clothes and trainers that you won’t mind getting paint on.


Before actually applying paint, you need to have your paint prepared. By prepared, we mean making your color selection, sampling them onto your wall and finding the right sheen for the wall color.

A frustrating problem that can surface later on would be when your paint runs out before the walls are done. To avoid this, make sure cross-check the surface area of your walls with the estimates printed on the paint can. Just to be sure, plan for a couple of coats and then some for touch-ups in spite of what the product promises.


Naturally, important furniture, equipment and others have to be moved out of the way before you start. Roll out carpets and rugs and place them in another room. For everything else, you can lay newspapers on the ground and push furniture into the center. Cover them with a dust sheet so they will be shielded from the painting process.


Want your DIY paint job to be flawless? Wash those dirty walls! Dust, dirt and grease spots can get in the way of your fresh paint from sticking properly. Not following this step can result in some serious disappointment. You’re investing all that time and energy to it anyway, so what’s an additional cleaning step?

You can wash walls using a cellulose sponge and soapy mixture of water and soap. Experts normally use TSP or trisodium phosphate, but the safety risk it carries requires you to take even more precautions.

Common Tools Used in Tile Installation

Electric Wet Saw

Probably one of the most well-known pieces on the list, the electric wet saw is great for cutting notches, bevels, and, of course, center cuts. While this saw is one of the most expensive, it is a necessity if you plan to complete a large tile installation project. Many stores offer these items for rent if you don’t want to invest the money to purchase one.

An electric wet saw uses a diamond-edge blade to make accurate cuts. However, since the blade will quickly heat from scoring the ceramic, it utilizes a tube to feed water onto the blade. This keeps the blade’s temperature at an appropriate level and keeps dust from clogging the machinery.

Diamond Hole saw

For those who need to score tough tiles or drill a hole, the diamond hole saw easily completes the job. It fits any standard drill, so you can use your own equipment. To drill a hole, place the tile on a solid surface and gently press the bit until the tip scores the surface. You can also drill all the way through, if needed. The diamond hole saw creates clean cuts without damaging the surface finish.

Scriber Tool

Scoring softer materials does not require diamond encrusted cutting tools. One of the most common pieces of tile installation equipment is the scriber tool. This allows you to score the surface gently and then snap the ceramic in two. In order to use it, simply use a ruler or other straight edge as a guide and gently apply pressure as you pull the scriber across the surface. Normally, one cut will do the job and the piece will easily brake at the scribe line. However, should you need to make a second run across the score mark, do not apply too much pressure; if you do, the ceramic may crack.


Every tile installation job needs to use cutters. Not only do they score the surface for easy snapping, they also facilitate clean cuts when breaking the pieces apart. Cutters have an adjustable angle guide to help ensure the ceramic is properly angled.

To use cutters, place the piece on the cutting platform. Turn the piece so that the surface that you wish to cut is on the cutting guide. In order to keep it from moving, make sure it is flush against the stopper. Then simply pull the handle along the guide to score the ceramic. Once scored, push the handle down to break the pieces apart.

Home Automation With Security System

With Home Automation there are unlimited possibilities of doing things with the click of a button. Your home automation system can start out small with just a few key items and easily be expanded to control many of your home appliances. All of the following are available with home automation:

  • Wireless Door Locks
  • Wireless Thermostats
  • Wireless Door Bells
  • Wireless Lighting Control

Installation of smart products give the home and its occupants various benefits – the same benefits that technology and personal computing have brought to us over the past 30 years – convenience and savings of time, money and energy.

“Smart Home” is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.

Take Control of Your Life

  • New smart phone apps are a portable command center that allows you to control door locks, lights, thermostats and video cameras.
  • Real Time notifications which include security reminders, temperature alerts, video clips and everything else you might want to be notified of.

More Accessible to your Loved Ones

  • With a smart home you can make access easy for the right people. Unique user codes can be assigned to provide different levels of access.
  • With each person having a unique code you can be notified when each person gets home and who is using the system.
  • Temporary access can be given to contractors or pet sitters. Any access code can be time restricted to only allow access during certain hours.

Focus on The Important Things

It’s easy to get too much information so with the new smart home systems you can filter out what you don’t want to receive alerts for. For example, you can choose to be alerted when:

  • Your front door opens when you’re at work
  • you leave home without arming your security system
  • someone changes your thermostat temperature
  • someone opens a desk drawer in your home office
  • your outdoor camera records a motion-triggered video clip

Benefits of Skip Hire


Making multiple trips to the dump or recycling facilities is time-consuming and it can leave your car in a right old state. The main benefit to hiring a skip is convenience.

A skip hire company will deliver your skip to the desired location, arranging any permits where necessary, and collect it once it’s been filled. All you need to do is work out where you would like it placed, and when you want it delivered.


Multiple trips to the dump involve wasting unnecessary time and money, especially with the rising cost of petrol. However, by hiring a skip you won’t have to pay a penny extra for transport as that’s built into the cost of hiring a skip.

What’s more, with a range of skip sizes to choose from you will only pay for the size that you need, making it a cost-effective solution.


All reputable skip hire companies have a range of skip sizes on offer so their service can be tailored to your exact requirements. Skips are classified according to the volume of waste they hold, which is measured in cubic yards.

They range from a mini skip for light domestic use that holds 2 cubic yards of waste (approx. 20-30 bin bags of rubbish) to a maxi skip for large house clearances that holds 16 cubic yards (or 140-160 bin bags of rubbish). The average skip size is a builder’s skip, which is 8 cubic yards (or 60-80 bin bags of rubbish).

Correct Disposal of Waste

Hiring a man with a van to dispose of your waste may sound like a good idea, but legally waste is your responsibility so if that man decides to fly-tip your waste you will be liable for a huge fine. By choosing a reputable skip hire company you can rest assured that your waste will be dealt with professionally, and your reputation, and bank balance, will remain intact.

Environmentally Friendly

Finally, skip hire companies are responsible environmentalists. Your waste will be transported to a processing plant where it will be sorted, with as much as 90% being recycled.

Stay Safe During DIY Roof Repair

Work Area

Make sure that your work area is clean and organized. It’s easier than you think to slip and fall because of a misplaced hammer or measuring tape. You’ll want to block your work area off from children and pets and identify possible danger zones before you get to work. This means locating unsafe access areas, dangerous power lines, and more. Also consider the temperature. You should never work in extreme elements. Very hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration, while icy weather can lead to slick roof surfaces.


Preventing falls is obviously the main concern when performing roof repair. On average, six roofers die in the US every month from falls. There are ways to stay safe, however. First of all, never work on a wet roof, and keep your workspace as free of debris and tools as you possibly can. Make sure to wear safe footwear. Soft-soled boots provide great traction and are probably your best option. You’ll also want to protect yourself with a safety harness, net, guardrails, and other safety equipment. It might seem like a hassle, but it may save your life. Lastly, always make sure to wear your helmet and set up your ladder properly.

Electrical Safety

Electricity can actually “arc” or travel from a wire to a ladder located nearby. This is why ladder safety is so important. Make sure that your ladder is a non-conductive model made of wood or fiberglass when you’re working near wires. Never touch electrical wires with your hands or any tools. You should always call your local power company if you have to work close to wires. They can inspect them and insulate them if necessary to keep you safe as you work.

Material Handling

You’d be surprised how much material needs to be delivered during roofing repairs. Make sure to lift with your legs, not your back, to ensure that you don’t injure yourself. Be sure to carry your materials up one bundle at a time. If you’re carrying too much, you’ll overwork your body and be more likely to fall. Store your materials as close as possible to the roof – the less you have to travel, the less likely you are to fall.

Making a Wooden Gazebo

First off, you need to get a gazebo plan from an authentic and experienced provider to design your gazebo. Numerous websites offer such gazebo plans on the internet free of cost. Pick one plan according to your preference and the available space in your garden. Make sure you take the accurate measurements for all the wood pieces before starting the construction.

Buy pre-cut wood from your local hardware shop or cut the wood yourself. Many hardware shops will cut wooden pieces in case they do not have the pieces that fit the measurement you need. The measurement will entirely depend on the gazebo blueprint you have chosen for construction.

Once you have decided the place where you will be making your wooden gazebo, you can start measuring the area where the foundation of your gazebo will rest. Dig approximate 30-inch deep holes using a posthole auger where each of the posts will go. The number of posts will be equivalent to the number of sides. Generally, they are six or eight in number.

Place the wooden posts in the holes and use concrete to set them. Use a spirit level to make the posts even and level. Support them with braces in order to help them stay in position while the concrete dries. Let the concrete dry for at least 24 hours before moving ahead with the construction.

Install the deck by connecting the plank to the post with decking screws. Make each plank even. Install the center deck post and joints from the center to the outside planks to build the deck base. Level each joist and screw them up inside the frame planks. Add cross supports between the joists and install the deck floor.

Build a concrete slab to extend about 2 inches past the length and width of the staircase and keep it about 4 inches thick to get support from the base of the steps. Measure the distance from one post to another post on the opposite side of the octagon. Cut the roof rafters equal to half this distance.

Nail two opposite rafters to a center point of the roof. Lift the truss to the top of building with the help of ropes and place the truss in place. Nail the cap plates into the appropriate posts. Attach rest of the rafters to the center point and corresponding posts.

Climb up on the roof and install tongue and groove joints for covering the rafters. Install asphalt roofing shingles with short roofing nails. Attach the rail sections to the ground posts using screws for the outside of your gazebo.