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JT Atkinson

  • Essential Cleaning Products

    Keeping your house clean is extremely important and there are a number of different essential cleaning products you should have in your home for quick and easy access. Create a cleaning kit and include all the essential products in so you can get them whenever you need them. We take you through what you need for a clean house:

    Baking Soda

    This is probably one of the best cleaning products you can have, baking soda is a powerful natural cleaner, and one of the biggest advantages of this product is you can use it on many different applications including fridges, food containers, sponges, carpets, beds, walls, bathrooms, and many more. You can use this to remove baked-on residue from your pots and pans by using baking soda, simply add hot water and dish detergent, leave this for 15 minutes then wash as you normally would. If you have a clogged kitchen drain then this can also be a great solution. With so many uses and benefits of baking soda, you should always ensure you have some nearby.

    White Vinegar

    Similar to baking soda, white vinegar has many different uses as a cleaner as well. This is a cheap solution to many products you can get in the supermarket and can be used to clean toilets, kill germs, and remove stains from carpets and even clean paint brushes. If you have a dirty sink, no problem, white vinegar will take care of that. White vinegar even has the ability to eliminate bad odours. You can use this product in several rooms in your house, even to clean windows, and the microwave, as this will loosen splattered food. Not only does this product have to be restricted to household chores, you can also use it in the garden to kill grass on pavements and driveways, as well as killing weeds. Fireplaces can also be cleaned with white vinegar.

    Essential Cleaning Products

    Washing Up Liquid/Dish Detergent

    You should use dish detergent whenever you have to clean something requiring warm and soapy water, dish soap is good because it has the ability to cut through grease and limescale. Washing up liquid can have multiple uses such as erasing grease stains on clothes, simply rub a small amount of detergent into the stain and rinse it with water. Is there grime on your patio furniture? If so add some detergent to a bowl of warm water and scrub your furniture, then rinse with the garden hose pipe. Hairbrushes and combs regularly come into contact with greasy hair and grooming products, but using detergent with warm water will clean this very quickly. If your kitchen cabinets need cleaning then add some detergent to some warm water into a spray bottle and spray the surfaces to get rid of the grime, then rinse with a cloth and dry.

    Essential Cleaning Products

    Disinfectant

    Disinfectant can be used in both the kitchen and the bathroom; you should use this everyday on food preparation surfaces before wiping it down with a clean cloth. You can use this to clean your fridge as well, plus storage cupboards. It is a good idea to frequently disinfect chopping boards and breadboards. Your sink will also need to be regularly disinfected, however take note that damp conditions can encourage bacteria growth, so dry out your sink with a towel afterwards. You also should wipe down tables and chairs with disinfectant before and after you serve meals. Bacteria can easily build up in bathrooms in areas such as the toilet bowl and under the sink faucets. Domestos is an excellent product to use. You can even use disinfectant on baths and showers as well as the door handles, washbasins and toilet roll holders. Remember to use rubber gloves when you handle disinfectant.

    Essential Cleaning Products

    Rubbing Alcohol

    While this may be one of the most underrated cleaning products in the world, it is one that works very well, rubbing alcohol can be used as a stainless steel cleaner and this is a great way to get rid of fingerprints. It even dries without leaving any streaks on the surface. Hairspray can easily build up on mirrors and rubbing alcohol is an easy solution to remove this build up. This can also be used on tiles. On cold winter days you may get a build-up of frost on your car windows, simply mix one part rubbing alcohol to 5 parts water and spray the solution onto your exterior car windows and mirrors, wipe with a cloth and allow it to dry. Do this every two weeks or so. Sinks can be easily cleaned with rubbing alcohol, in addition to cleaning it; it will also shine it up as well.

     

    Essential Cleaning Products

    The above products are extremely useful to have, you should make sure you are well stocked on them so you can get them whenever you need them. Include them in your cleaning kit for easy access.

  • Maintaining The Roof Of Your Home

    Your house roof is very important and you should always ensure it is of the highest quality. Damage can easily occur, especially after storms and you may get general damage over time. So how do you keep your roof maintained and in good health? We give you some tips in this article.

    Inspect Your Roof Regularly

    You should inspect your roof regularly, at least twice a year. Have a look from the outside using binoculars if you can’t access the roof and also look inside the loft. You may be able to see daylight in the loft, if this is the case then there may be something missing outside, this could be roof tiles or slates that may have been damaged or slipped out of place. In heavy winds it is not unknown for roof tiles to be blown off. You need to replace these as soon as possible; otherwise rain water can get into the loft and cause further damage.

    Hire a Roofer

    There may possibly be other damage that you can’t spot and if the roof has not been checked for a while you may want to hire a roofer to come out and inspect the whole roof and repair any damage. The flashing, guttering, chimney stacks and pots can all cause leaks and damp. It is recommended to hire a roofer as you may not be able to spot all of the problems yourself.

    Maintaining The Roof Of Your Home

    Reduce the Risk of Fire

    With thatched roofs there is an increased risk of fire, however there are ways to reduce this risk, for example you can have your chimney swept regularly, you should have this done at least twice a year, make sure your chimney stacks are in good condition and have the wiring checked every five years by a qualified electrician. Thatched roofs also have their advantages; they require little maintenance and have a long life of up to 70 years.

    Maintaining The Roof Of Your Home

    Reduce the Risk of Leaks

    Flat roofs often have a gradient which isn’t steep enough to divert rain water, as a result they are prone to leaks more so than other types of roofs. You should ensure that the roof isn’t too flat and has adequate structure and materials under the roof covering. Keep an eye on this regularly and hire a roofer if any problems come up. Ignoring the problem isn’t an option; otherwise the water can pool and will eventually enter the room below, causing damage.

    Maintaining The Roof Of Your Home

    Consider a Green Roof

    A green roof is when the roof of a building is covered with vegetation. This can have many advantages such as absorbing rainwater, encouraging wildlife and reducing pollution, sound transfer, as well as heating and cooling costs. Installation costs for these roofs can be high but they can last for around 50 years and with the advantages they provide, they are worth having. You can get both flat and sloping roofs and they are both suitable.

    Maintaining The Roof Of Your Home

    Hopefully this guide will give you the advice you need to maintain your roof. A healthy roof will have a long life and prevent any potential disasters such as leaks and fires, so it is well worth regularly checking your roof.

  • Benefits of Having a Towel Radiator

    Towel radiators (sometimes called heated towel rails) are extremely useful products, and you may be wondering whether you should get one or not. Even in summer, towel radiators are a great product to have, but you may be wondering what the benefits of having one in your bathroom are. In this article we take you through why you should have a towel radiator in your bathroom.

    Warmer Towels

    The obvious benefit, first of all, is your towels will be warmer. There’s nothing better than getting wrapped in a nice, warm towel when exiting the bath or shower. If the towel radiator is warm then simply hang the towel back up when you are finished with it and it will dry much quicker and eliminate the need to wash the towel after each use.

    Benefits of Having a Towel Radiator

     

    Warmer Bathroom

    Towel radiators give off a lot of heat and this works very well for keeping your bathroom warm. You can get towel radiators that work off either the central heating system in your house, or from the electricity supply. You can get some towel radiators that utilise both systems. If you get one that is connected to your central heating system then set the heating to come on in the morning before you get up, as you won’t want a freezing cold bathroom when you first get up.

    More Space

    With somewhere to hang your towels you are also freeing up space in the bathroom for other things. Having a towel radiator in your home means there’s no need to have a radiator, heated towel rails are generally installed higher up and are smaller than a radiator, this gives you more floor space and will give your bathroom the illusion that it is larger than what it actually is.

    Drying Clothes

    Towel radiators are not only limited to heating towels, you can also use them to dry clothes. Heated towel rails offer you that bit of extra space, which is particularly useful if you don’t have a tumble dryer or indoor washing hanger, or if it is raining and you can’t use your outdoor washing line.

    Materials

    Different towel radiators are made from different materials; there is brass, chrome, stainless steel and many more. Stainless steel offers the benefit of not needing a rust inhibitor, which will save you more money in the long run.

    Benefits of Having a Towel Radiator

    Styles

    There is a towel radiator to suit everybody thanks to the large number of shapes and sizes available. There is plenty of choice out there, allowing you to choose a specific type that would complement the décor of your bathroom. Adding one of these appliances to your bathroom will really modernise it. The most popular type of towel radiators is the ladder rail types. If you would prefer one that is less modern then there are traditional versions available.

    Benefits of Having a Towel Radiator

    Hopefully this article has informed you of the advantages of installing a heated towel rail. There are a number of different types sold by JT Atkinson. Have a look around and see which one suits you the most.

  • Types of Paint

    At some point in your life you will probably use paint. There are so many different types of paint available and they are all used for different tasks, it all depends on exactly what you are doing. We take a look at the different types of paint available and what you would use them for.

    How many types of paint are there?

    There are four general types of paint which are eggshell, semi-gloss, flat or gloss and depending on the surface you are painting, you may have to apply a primer or first coat. Ensure that you always use paint as recommended by the manufacturer.

    Base Coats

    For the decoration to go as smooth as possible and to have great looking results it is important to ensure that you choose the correct base coating.

    Primer – These are mainly used on new surfaces and can be either water or oil based. Primers are used to seal unpainted surfaces to prevent covering coats of paint from soaking in. There are different types of primers available for different surfaces including wood, metal, plaster or tiles. You can get all purpose primers which work for all surfaces.

    Types of Paint

    First Coat – The first coat of paint is a specially formulated paint which builds up opacity beneath finish coats. One or two coats of first coat paint are normally used before applying the final decorative coat. If the surface is outdoors then you can get a special type of exterior first coat paint which is designed to last longer when exposed to the elements.

    Finish Coats

    Once the base coats have been applied you can then start to apply the main coat, so we take a look at the different types available.

    Flat – This type of paint is primarily used on walls and ceilings and is a latex-based, versatile paint type. You can get many different types of finishes including dead-flat matt, matt, a water-based eggshell and silk. This type of paint is available for exterior use with a smooth or rough texture. You can apply as many coats as you need for full coverage. It is best used on siding materials and can help the materials to cope with moisture.

    Eggshell – Eggshell paint is generally used for smaller pieces of decoration such as architrave and skirting. This paint is more durable than flat; you should always check the exact finish as the degree of sheen can vary between manufacturers. You can use this paint on wall surfaces where a hardwearing finish is required as it is easier to clean. For an even colour you can use two coats, using the primer and first coat as required.

    Types of Paint

    Gloss & Satin – This type of paint is very hardwearing and is generally used on wooden and metal surfaces. Satin is also used in the same way as gloss however it is slightly less shiny and is becoming increasingly popular, especially for interior woodwork. Almost all paints of this type are suitable for both interior and exterior use.

    Speciality Paints

    For a specific task it may be worth using a formulated paint. Here are some types you can use:

    Bathroom & Kitchen Paints – These paints are resistant to fungal growth and moisture much better than standard formulations. If you have condensation then you should consider improving ventilation before applying this paint.

    Floor Paint – For concrete and floorboards you can get floor paint which is typically solvent-based and very hardwearing. You can get finishes in gloss or sheen, also bear in mind that new concrete floors should be left to completely cure before you paint them. A moisture meter will allow you to check the progress of this.

    Metal Paint – Metal paints are available and they are usually high-gloss, smooth and textured. They can generally be used internally or externally and some types can be applied straight over rust. You can clean the brushes using a thinner rather than a mineral spirit.

    Other Types of Paint

    Radiator Paint – This type of paint is used on radiators and central heating pipes and is made to stand high temperatures without discolouring.

    Fire-Retardant Paint – This paint has a greater flame resistance than most other paints and will reduce the spread of the flames, however it won’t completely resist fire.

    Bitumen Paint – This is used in areas where high water resistance is needed. Be aware this paint is black and so it is best to be used in areas where appearance is not important. It can crack if stressed when frozen and can also run during hot weather, so use this paint carefully.

    Types of Paint

    Anti-Condensation Paint – This paint is best used in humid rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms and has been specially formulated to prevent surfaces from becoming too cold to touch. Be aware this paint will not cure condensation, merely reduce it.

    This guide was put together to help you choose the right type of paint for the task you need to do. There are many types of paint available so always choose carefully.

  • Know The Plumbing Basics To Prevent Leaks

    We can’t all be experts in plumbing, but it’s a good idea to have a grasp of the basics so you can understand a bit more about your system. This way you can prevent problems occurring and if they do you’re more likely to notice them quickly. Here are some top tips for getting to know your way around the pipes and spotting potential problems.

    Check the pipes regularly

    It’s not always easy to tell if something’s right, but it’s usually pretty evident if something’s gone wrong. It’s a useful idea to check the visual appearance of your pipes regularly. This way you’ll notice if something’s amiss before it causes too much damage. If there are any signs of rust, patches of water or buckling they should be checked more thoroughly. If you’re in any doubt as to what you’re doing, you should call in the professionals.

    Don’t overfill cupboards

    Often cupboards under kitchen and bathroom sinks are stuffed with bottles. If they become too full it’s all too easy to knock one of the connectors and cause a leak. When the cupboards are that overflowing you are unlikely to notice the problem until it has started to cause damage. When you’re opening the doors keep an eye out for any drops of water and get these issues cleared up quickly.

    How to handle an emergency

    By keeping an eye on your pipes and plumbing system, you’ll be able to pick up on any potential problems much sooner. This should reduce the amount of damage that is caused and mean that issues are resolved before they become too serious. However, if the worst does happen and you suffer from a broken pipe or other emergency, it’s vital that you get it dealt with as quickly as possible. How you handle the immediate aftermath of a situation such as this can help you to keep the damage to a minimum.

    Know The Plumbing Basics To Prevent Leaks

    As soon as you notice the leak, switch off the water at the main stopcock. This should be situated underneath your kitchen sink or where the water pipes first come into the property. Then drain your system by flushing all the toilets and switching on the cold taps. If your heating is on this should also be turned off and then the hot water pipes drained.

    It’s important to turn off the mains electric if the water is leaking close to any electrics. However, do not touch this if it is already wet. You need to call in a professional as soon as possible so that they can get to the cause of the problem and see how to deal with it.

    Water damage can have a significant impact on your property, especially if it’s not dealt with quickly enough. Often these can be caused by hidden leaks, but if there are visible signs that water is leaking you should have them checked out quickly. Always call for professional help if you feel there is a danger to you or others around you.

  • Now Is The Right Time To Check Your Heating

    It might still technically be the summer, but now is actually the perfect time to check that your heating system is in working order. You don’t want to leave it until you really need to turn it on and then find that it doesn’t work. If you pick up any issues now you can resolve them before it gets cold and have the system serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

    Boilers and heating systems are a crucial part of your home and they are in regular use, especially during the winter. It can be a huge inconvenience if your boiler breaks down suddenly and if this occurs in the winter it could leave your property extremely cold. A boiler that’s not functioning correctly could also be dangerous to you and your family, as there is the potential risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Having your boiler serviced at least once a year can pick up on any of these problems and ensure that there are no leakages.

    The importance of boiler servicing

    Often home owners presume that having their boiler serviced is a cost they could do without. They mistakenly believe that if their boiler is working fine then there are no problems. However, paying for a service could actually save you money in the long term.

    By maintaining your boiler and heating system properly and carrying out regular services, it means that any problems will be picked up quickly before they escalate. This can prevent your boiler from breaking down unexpectedly. It is often the case that broken boilers occur at the start of the cold weather, when they are turned on again after months of low usage. If you’ve already had a service carried out, the engineer will have checked that the system is running efficiently and this should prevent any unnecessary breakdowns.

    Now Is The Right Time To Check Your Heating

    Check your heating system

    Even when your heating is not required as much, you should still turn it on occasionally to check that it is working correctly. This will warn you of any problems and help to prevent blockages caused by the build-up of dust and debris.

    Before the winter sets in you should also bleed all of your radiators to keep the system working efficiently. Bleeding the radiators will release any air that has become trapped in the pipes, which can result in a noisy system and stop them heating up fully.

    As with any area of your property that involves the use of gas, you should have a boiler and heating service carried out by a qualified and certified Gas Safe engineer. They will understand the system and can carry out the appropriate checks to ensure that it is all working as it should be. They will also be able to advise you of any potential issues, so that you can have everything sorted prior to the winter.

    Now Is The Right Time To Check Your Heating
  • How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy

    We have put together this article to give you some tips and advice on keeping your landscape garden healthy. There are quite a few tasks you can do to ensure the plants in your garden have a long life.

    Examine Plant Roots Before You Buy

    Before you buy plants for your landscape garden you should check the plant to see if it is sick or not, you don’t want to introduce a plant with a disease into your garden as this can affect other plants. You should do some research into what a healthy plant looks like so you can check for the signs yourself. You will want to avoid taking home plants that have dead spots, rotted stems, or insects. It is also a good idea to check the roots of the plants to see if they are healthy. The roots should be firm, usually white and spaced all over the root-ball.

    Keep Insects Out Of Plants

    Regularly inspect your plants to see if they have any insects, insect damage can be serious as it can then cause further problems to your plants including viruses and bacteria. Some insects even transport viruses from one plant to the next. There are a few ways to keep insects away from your plants, one way is to create an unsafe passage – slugs, snails and caterpillars approach your plants from the ground, so spread crushed eggshells around the plant and it will be difficult for them to approach, you can also use poison, which is completely safe for humans.

    How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy

    Clean Up in the Autumn

    It is a good idea to clean up your garden in autumn, this is the best way to control diseases that are already in your garden, it can also act as an effective deterrent to any potential diseases.

    Use Fertilizer

    You should use fertilizer however you should not use too much of it as this can cause more harm to the plant than good. Overuse of fertilizer can make the plants more susceptible to stress from drought, cold and heat. You should also get a soil test carried out to find out accurate information on nutrient levels of your soil. This will help you to provide the correct level of nutrients for your plant.

    How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy

    Remove Damaged Limbs

    It is best to do this in late winter, wounded limbs on a plant can become infected so you should remove them in winter as this will prevent the disease from spreading to new growth. Use sharp tools when doing this as it will ensure clean cuts heal rapidly and grow back to healthy tissue.

    How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy

    Water Your Plants Regularly

    You should make sure that your plants are getting the water that they need; however diseases also need water so you need to do this correctly to limit moisture on the plant’s foliage. Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation and hold the leaves out of the way as you water the roots.

    Don’t Crowd Plants

    Space plants out as this can improve airflow around the plants which reduces high relative humidity and allows the foliage to dry more quickly. Plants that are placed too closely together can deprive them of sunlight, water and nutrients, making them weak and more susceptible to attack. Diseases can also be spread when an infected leaf from a plant come into contact with a healthy leaf from another plant.

    Following the tips provided in this guide is the best way to ensure you keep your landscape garden looking good and keeping your plants healthy.

  • Essential Tools For Your Home

    At some point you will probably have to do DIY around your home, from hanging a curtain pole to heavy duty DIY work there are essential tools that you will need to carry out the job. We have listed some essential tools that every person should have in their toolbox for quick access: Continue reading

  • Construction Industry Comes Out Top For Timber Sustainability

    Sustainability and striving to be more environmentally aware are key areas for businesses to focus on. They can help a company stand out from the competition, as customers look at more than just product availability and price when choosing a supplier. A new analysis of the use of sustainable timber shows that the construction industry is leading the way in this area, but that there is still more work that could be done.

    The WWF-UK timber scorecard looked at the policies of more than 100 businesses concerning their use of sustainable timber. It found that a number of manufacturers and suppliers in the construction industry came out with the highest rating; three trees. In order to reach this level, the company needs to have made a public commitment to sustainability and show that they aim to use sustainable timber in as many areas of the business as possible.

    The scorecard highlights that some of the biggest supermarkets are also achieving high levels of sustainability. However, there are a range of businesses that still need to make significant progress in this area.

    Demand from customers

    Construction Industry Comes Out Top For Timber Sustainability

    Sustainability isn’t just a subject that businesses need to look at to help satisfy their environmental criteria. It’s also a topic that is of relevance to their customers and can help to increase sales. Recent research carried out by WWF-UK found that consumers are concerned about the type and quality of the timber that they buy.

    However, customers are not always satisfied with the information that is available regarding sustainability from suppliers and manufacturers. If they don’t know where the timber is coming from, they could be causing further deforestation without even realising it. As opposed to the information we receive on food and drink products, such as levels of animal welfare and fair-trade certification, the quality of the information concerning timber sustainability is often felt to be lacking.

    More can be done

    Construction Industry Comes Out Top For Timber Sustainability

    The WWF-UK campaign has been designed to highlight that every business has their part to play in increasing the use of sustainable timber. They do not have to simply be a cause of deforestation, but they can actually be a part of the solution if they simply implement the right policies. It is possible to make a difference by putting in place initiatives that can bring about change.

    WWF-UK wants those businesses that scored low on this most recent scorecard to make a commitment to increase the use of sustainable timber across their company. They also need to highlight these changes to their customers. This needs a commitment from the Government to support the move towards a sustainable timber industry. They want incentives and systems put in place so that we can be part of a sustainable timber market by 2020.

    If this takes place and consumers only buy products that they can guarantee are from a sustainable source, levels of deforestation will continue to decrease and we will reach a point where just sustainable timber is available.

  • Maintaining Your Decking

    If you have decking in your garden you will want to maintain it to keep it looking good. We have listed a few tips to help you to look after your decking. With the correct care your decking will continue looking great and be in the best condition for as long as possible.

    Keep your decking clean – Buy some special decking cleaner to remove moss, mould, algae as well as grease and dirt to keep your decking looking clean. You should do this twice a year, once in spring to prepare it for summer and once in autumn to prepare it for winter. Scrub the surface using a stiff brush and a hosepipe, or you can use a jet washer if you prefer. You can apply a protective coat but you should wait around 2 days for the decking to dry before you do this. Continue reading

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