Seamless Gutters – How they benefit you

First off, take a walk and look at the guttering on the houses as you go past. This can help you make a decision about what sort of guttering you should have on your house.

Your choice is between seamed or seamless guttering. Seamed (or sectional) gutters join small sections together and they are fastened at the seams. A seamless gutter is constructed by a specialised machine, with the contractor forming the gutters on site. They are made to measure, and the only joints are at the corners, where the gutters meet.

The appeal of seamed gutters is that they are less expensive, easier for the DIY novice to install as a quick project. However they lose in the appearance category, and also in the longevity category. The seams are likely to take hold of debris that is washed off the roof in a rainstorm, causing problems with leaking and potentially rusting. They also need to be gutter cleaned out on a regular basis, and this is a messy job.

How seamless gutters benefit you

  • Because of the way seamless gutters are made, on site with a gutter-forming machine and a contractor, they do cost more, but the cost is far outweighed by their many benefits.
  • They fit, perfectly, every time. Guaranteed. Made especially for your property, and able to be installed immediately without any problems associated with transportation, they are in perfect condition when they are installed.
  • As mentioned, gutter joints can collect debris, so, conversely, the seamless gutters will not collect so much debris and will not need so much time spent cleaning them out. A build-up of debris, leaves, twigs etc causes blockages around the many joints of sectional (seamed) gutters and does not allow the movement of water through the system.
  • A seamless gutter is not so liable to leaking. Where a gutter joint is, leakage can occur. Joints could separate, holes could form, and rust will take a foothold. Seamless gutters, with a greatly reduced number of joints, will not have these problems. And without these problems, they will last longer and their quality is maintained for years to come.
  • They look good. They look beautiful, in fact. They are a perfect shape. The most popular building material is aluminium, but maybe you want copper or steel gutters. No problem. They can be painted if required, or coated with a baked-on enamel finish that never needs painting.

If you choose seamless guttering, you will be more satisfied with the result. Strangely, it seems we notice when something is not good, rather than something that is so good that it does what it was made to do, without being overly conspicuous.

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The Case For Steam Carpet Cleaning v Dry Carpet Cleaning

If you’ve been scouring the internet for a carpet cleaner to clean your dirty carpets, you’ve probably come across the terms Steam Cleaning and Dry Cleaning, and perhaps you’re wondering what is the difference between the two, and which one you should choose. Some carpet cleaning businesses will perform both services, however, some will have their own particular specialisation that will advertise their as the best solution.

This article will give you a quick run down of what’s involved with the two different methods of carpet cleaning, and hopefully will allow you to make your own decision of which is the best option for your particular circumstances.

So, first to …

Steam Cleaning

Both services begin with vacuuming the carpet area to get rid of the top layer of dirt from the carpets, but from then on, they begin to differ.

Steam Cleaning uses a process that is called ‘hot water extraction’. During this process, a stream of hot water, kept under pressure, is injected into the carpet’s fibres. This water mixes with the dirt, dust, grit and all the other contaminants, is then vacuumed up with a vacuum cleaner, bringing the contaminants with it.

There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to this method. An advantage is that the cleaning you get from steam cleaning is deeper, as the hot water extraction method really gets into the lower layers of the carpet fibres to where the dust mites, bacteria, allergens and really deeply ground dirt hide. These are the types of things that could really affect people’s health, so to be able to remove them is a very large advantage.

An important disadvantage is quite clearly spelled out in the name of the process – hot water extraction. Because the process uses water, the carpet will be wet after the process finishes, and may take a while to dry. Also, if you have an inexperienced operator that is new to the process, or has an off day, they can do some damage to the carpet by making it far too wet.

Dry Cleaning

This process applies dry cleaning solvents to the carpet. Despite the name, a little water is also mixed with the solvents, but far less water is used than with Steam Cleaning. This mixture gets to work breaking down all the dirt and oily residue and every other contaminant you want to be removed from the carpet. Then, a little while later, the operator simply vacuums up what remains, leaving clean carpets in their wake.

In this case, an important advantage is listed out in the name of the service; when the process is complete, the carpet, while not perfectly dry, will be far dryer than carpet’s clean with the Steam Cleaning process, and will dry out far quicker. This means that carpets in high trafficked areas can be used again very quickly following a dry clean. A second advantage is that these solutions are very good at treating and removing more types of stains, particularly oily stains.

However, the major disadvantage is that Dry Cleaning does not produce as deep a clean as Steam Cleaning. Stubborn stains may remain, and those dust mites, bacteria, allergens and other things that hide away at the bottom of the carpet pile may not be affected.

Verdict

This article wasn’t about telling you which solution to choose, but to give you a little bit of information so that you can make your own choice. Your particular situation will have to factor into what carpet cleaning solution you choose, so call a local carpet cleaning specialist. They can look at your carpets and your situation and give you a hand.

Carpets that are in high-traffic zones may be better off with the Dry Cleaning method, but for deep cleaning the Steam Cleaning is the better option. However, there is nothing to stop you going with the Dry Cleaning method for your interim cleans, and then every once an a while, performing a Steam Clean to get a real deep down clean.

But once again, we would ask you to call a carpet cleaning Cairns specialist to advise you.

How Should You Clean Cloth And Upholstery Furniture?

We buy our furniture according to its appearance, its comfort, its colour or pattern, and its compatibility with the other furniture in our homes. When it comes to upholstered furniture, we can choose between leather and cloth, and sometimes we can have both as part of our interior design.

When you need to clean this furniture, leather or cloth, there are points of difference that have to be taken into account. For best results, and to protect your furniture, a cleaning service that specialises in upholstery is the first choice. Then you can forget about the rules and reasons, and let those who know these things do what is best for your furniture.

You may wish to clean these items yourself, so you need to know why leather and cloth upholstery should be cleaned differently.

Firstly, they are, of course, different materials, and they require different treatment. A treatment which does an extremely good job on the leather, may cause damage to the cloth upholstery. And vice versa. A spot treatment that cleans the fabric, can discolour the leather. Even as the production processes of leather and upholstery fabric are different, so the cleaning instructions are different. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding cleaning. Leather needs more maintenance than cloth, as leather can crack and fade over time unless regular care is given to it. However removing spots and stains from leather is easier than from fabric, as the non-porous leather allows marks to be wiped away easily.

Tips from the experts

To keep fabric upholstery looking clean and fresh, start by getting covers that can help prevent spots and stains. Vacuum weekly, and immediately if it gets visibly affected by crumbs and the like.

The manufacturer has attached a tag with cleaning and maintenance instructions. It is important to give the correct treatment to the material that you are working on. For cloth upholstery, make a mixture in a spray bottle of ¼ cup of white vinegar, and ¾ cup of warm water, with one or two teaspoons of dishwash liquid. Shake before using and spray onto spots and stains, completely saturating them. Dab, don’t rub, with a damp microfibre cloth on the stained area to remove the marks. Rubbing may cause stains to deepen. Then use a towel and dry the area.

For leather upholstery, make a mixture in a spray bottle of ½ cup of olive oil with ¼ cup of white vinegar. Use this to clean the leather without stripping its natural oils and shine.

Clean leather upholstery on a regular basis by wiping with a microfibre cloth which has been dampened with equal parts of water and white vinegar. Afterwards, condition the leather with a mild oil (coconut oil, olive oil) mixed with white vinegar. At the end of the day, apply this mixture onto the entire leather surface. Next morning wipe with a dry microfibre cloth and this will buff and shine the surface.

If your furniture is heavily soiled, contact furniture cleaning professionals. They have the knowhow and experience to do the job properly.

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Should We Do Power Washing If It’s Raining?

You’ve decided to hire all the necessary equipment to power wash the house next weekend. Come the weekend, it is raining. Is it a good idea to wash the house while it’s raining?

Yes and No. Let’s start with the No.

If there’s really heavy rain, it’s best to wait a bit until the rain eases off a bit. Using electrical equipment in storms is also not a good idea. It is difficult or impossible to work with lightning and high winds. Wet weather increases slipping hazards, making it difficult for those inexperienced with using the power wash equipment. Accidents are more likely. Go and sit on the verandah with a favourite beverage until the weather is agreeable.

Please Note: This is very important: Your equipment must be certified safe to use in wet conditions. Any unsafe equipment leads to risking electrical shock.

So what about the Yes story?

A light rain can be an advantage when power washing. Again, be sure your equipment is certified safe for wet weather. On days which are overcast or light rain, it really makes cleaning easier. The surfaces have been “soaked”, which helps dislodge the dirt. On hot sunny days when the surfaces are quite hot, things dry out more quickly. On rainy days, the cleaning agents have time to work and don’t dry out so quickly, and your efforts are rewarded without expending extra energy. Also working on an overcast day is easier on your eyes. Obviously a bright sunny day can be hard on your eyes, and this is a job where you have to be looking up most of the time. The glare from the sun on the water will make it difficult to see how you’re doing.

There’s an extra advantage on rainy days , in that the rain will help to rinse off any left-over detergents, and it also washes off detergent drips from any plants and grass under the work area.

So, basically, a light rain should not deter you from getting to work on power washing your house or pathways. But unless you are very experienced in using this equipment, it is not recommended that you do anything beyond your experience.

And again I will say, make sure your equipment is safe to use in wet conditions. And don’t leave it out in the rain unnecessarily.

If your job needs to be done at a particular time (for example if you want to put your house on the market) and the rainy weather just won’t stop, get in touch with a pressure washing company to get the job done by those who are familiar with this type of work.

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Looking after your trees in Summer

Summer in Australia is Hot, Hot, Hot. It can also be Dry, it can bring Bushfires, and it can bring Storms. We jump from extreme to extreme. And our trees, plants, and fauna have to cope with it all. If you have trees in your domain, here are some hints and tips on how to help them through these times.

Regular watering

Really, that goes without saying. Especially for the young trees, to help in their development, regular watering is essential. When the days are hot, don’t waste water which can quickly evaporate in the middle of the day, but rather do your watering in the early morning or in the evening (or both times), when the water is more likely to soak into the ground. Consider the idea of grouping your plants, so that those requiring similar amounts of water can be easily dealt with and none misses out on the water that they need. A regular application of a good quality fertiliser is going to strengthen your trees and plants.

Wherever you live, research which plants will thrive best in your environment. Plants which do well in northern parts of Australia are not likely to thrive in the south, and vice versa. The local plant nursery and local council would advise you about suitable plants for your area. Something else you can do, is to look at the trees, bushes and plants that are thriving in your neighbourhood. If they grow well in Mr Jones’ garden, then they will do well in yours. (Don’t steal them from Mr Jones’ garden, though!!)

Make sure your lawn doesn’t miss out as well. Again the early morning/late evening principle applies, and using a sprinkler will disperse the water so that it is spread evenly.

Storms

Storms can bring a lot of water, or they bring a little. They also bring winds that are stronger than normal and can cause damage to young and fragile plants. Before storm season, look at your trees, young and old ones. Look out for dead branches, damaged branches, branches which overhang any structural elements in your yard, and make sure they are removed and disposed of, to limit the damage that a storm can do. Assess the very old trees as well. Maybe you will need an expert to give advice on whether an old tree needs to be removed. We’ve all seen pictures of trees with their roots pulled out of the ground. They were not strong enough to withstand the winds. You don’t want them coming down on top of your home or your car.

If you want to protect your tree, consider tree wrapping. Wrapping burlap or hessian around the tree trunk is not as silly as it sounds. However don’t leave it there for an extended time. It’s just a temporary protection against any missiles that the storm might send against your tree. Remove it when the threat is over so that the tree does not rot.

Remember, if your tree is dead or dying, call a professional tree removal service to remove the tree for you. Don’t try and do it yourself.

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How to fix problems with your carpets

A new carpet is beautiful, lush and woolly, but after a length of time, with the wear and tear of normal foot traffic in a home, the carpet pile is crushed and matted. As well as foot traffic, the wear and tear on your carpet can be caused by incorrect vacuuming or cleaning.

Carpet crushing and matting

A reduction or loss in the thickness of the pile, due to day to day activities, is a normal occurrence. A way to circumvent this is to choose carpet that can tolerate the day to day foot traffic in the first place. Present this problem to your carpet retailer for advice on the best type of carpet for the different areas in your home. However if you have this problem in your existing carpet, the best people to contact would be those who clean and regenerate carpet professionally. They have the experience to achieve the best result possible.

Thinning

Over time, your carpet may show signs of thinning. In most cases, it would be the carpet underlay that is the problem. The underlay cushions the carpet, so that it feels soft and bouncy underfoot. If your carpet seems to be wearing out quickly, it’s probably because the wrong underlay was used. Regardless of the underlay, regular cleaning is essential to remove the dirt and grime which is harmful to carpets, as it is to everything else in our lives.

Shedding

Do you notice loose fibres, or carpet fluff on your floor, or when you vacuum? New carpets will shed,  but shedding should stop within 1 or 2 months.

Indentations

Furniture is always going to leave indentations, and sometimes they become permanent and unable to be rectified. One way to solve this problem would be to move the furniture often, or use protectors under the furniture which will help to minimise or reduce indentations. Once again, ask the retailer to help choose a carpet which will not be affected by furniture indentations.

Colour problems

First and foremost, check the instructions on the cleaning product you want to use to spot clean the carpet. Some may cause discolouration. Try it first on an obscure part of the carpet. Apart from this, direct sunlight may cause colour to fade. Regular cleaning by an expert can help with this problem, as they use the right products for the purpose, and can even advise about re-dying the carpet, if this is necessary.

Split seams

In large areas, seams are necessary. But in those areas of high foot traffic (or kiddy play areas) the sections can separate and start to fray. You could glue down the edges, but this is not the final solution for the problem. The seam is quite likely to open up again. You need a carpet repairman to limit the damage and prevent further tears.

Buckling

If the carpet is subject to moisture problems, buckling or rippling may occur. It may happen when the carpet is professionally cleaned, but when it is dry, the buckling or rippling should disappear. However if your environment is damp or humid, it may be necessary to re-stretch the carpet by the carpet repairer or installer.

As in all things, proper maintenance and care is important to keep your carpet beautiful, and a good professional carpet cleaning schedule helps do this.

Cleaning your Solar Panels

While in most instances solar panels are self cleaning, in some instances where the area is particularly dry, or where there is minimal tilt, the panels may be subject to dust, bird droppings etc which are not cleaned off by the rain. This can affect the amount of electricity that can be generated by the panel. Just a little bit of dust and droppings can affect the whole panel. And as a result, it will be necessary to clean the solar panels.

For safety’s sake, you should read the manufacturer’s manual for the instructions on closing down your solar system before you start the cleaning process.

Stay grounded

Stay on the ground to clean the panels. This is the safest way. You will need a good quality, soft brush on a long extension pole, and on another pole a squeegee which has a sponge on one side and a blade on the other side. Use a nozzle on your hose which can stream the water onto the panels.

If you can’t reach the panels from the ground this way, don’t use a ladder. This can be dangerous if you don’t have the training or safety equipment. Hire a qualified expert.

The best time to do it

We suggest that the best time is when it is cloudy. This will hinder the sun from heating up the panels causing the water to evaporate, which will probably leave a smeared result. Morning or evening is best. Very early morning could be a good time, as any grime might be softened by overnight dew. This will make it easier to get the panels clean.

How to do it

First brush away loose materials from dry panels, before you add the water. Don’t use abrasives or metal objects to remove material that is caked on. If the glass is scratched its performance is affected. Don’t use detergents; these may leave streaks on the glass. Don’t use abrasive powders.

Use your soft brush or the sponge-on-a-pole, together with clean water from your hose and a gentle scrubbing method, to remove most grime. If you have collected rainwater, use the soft rainwater as the final rinse, and use the squeegee blade to dry. If you only have hard water from the mains to rinse the panels, make sure you dry them well, as the minerals in the hard water can deposit on the glass panel as it is drying.

If you have oily stains

This might happen if your home is near the airport, or under the flight path, or may even result from trucks on a nearby major roadway. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean off oily spots.

However …

Under normal installation circumstances, it is not always necessary to specially clean your solar panels. The sun gives you power, the rain will wash them.  If you are noticing trouble with the performance of your solar panels, then the first step to solving the problem could be investigating the cleanliness of the panels. Beyond that, you may need to call in professional solar panel cleaners.

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