Thursday, January 31 2019
Having a newly built or remodeled home can be exciting, and getting settled in to your upgraded space is probably a huge relief—you finally have a new, finished space to entertain in. Before you move in your furniture and put the final decorating touches on the space, you’ll want to make sure everything is clean and dust free. This is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the care and maintenance plan for your brand-new aluminum clad Folding Patio Doors! Keeping your clad Bi-Fold Patio Doors clean and well-maintained is essential to preserve their beauty, quality, and functionality.
About once a month, the interior wood surface of your Folding Patio Doors should be cleaned to remove dust, dirt, and grime. Using a clean, damp cloth, gently wipe down the interior wood surface of your Bi-Fold Doors. Without regular cleaning, the accumulated dust can scratch or damage the wood finish, resulting in a dull and dirty appearance. You should never use abrasive cleaners on the interior wood surface of your patio doors—a dampened cloth is sufficient for regular upkeep. It is important to remember that wood surfaces are not designed to be exposed directly to water and should be gently dried immediately if direct water exposure occurs.
To clean the glass of your Bi-Fold Doors, you may use a non-abrasive cleaning solution and a soft cloth. Spray the cleaning solution directly on the cloth to avoid overspray onto interior wood surfaces, and carefully clean the glass. Never use a razor blade (even a brand ne one!) to clean glass. Contrary to popular belief, razor blades will absolutely scratch the surface of glass.
Don’t neglect the exterior of your Bi-Fold Patio Doors! In a general environment, the exterior aluminum clad surface of your patio doors should be regularly cleaned every three to six months. You should use a clean cloth to wash the exterior clad with a mild detergent soap and water. This will remove any built-up dirt, grime, and cobwebs from the aluminum and preserve the smooth, painted surface!
In harsher environments, like that of coastal homes (within one mile of the ocean), it is critical to clean the exterior clad surface of your Folding Patio Doors monthly. Saltwater and sand are highly abrasive, and if allowed to build-up on the aluminum clad surface, can cause corrosion, discoloration, and damage.
Sill, Tracks & Weep System
An important component of your Bi-Fold Doors that is often overlooked is the door sill and tracks. You should use a soft, damp cloth and mild detergent soap to regularly wipe down the visible track surfaces. To ensure smooth folding of your patio doors, you should always keep the bottom guide channel free of debris. You can use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush nozzle to remove hard to reach debris from the guide channel. If you have a raised sill, it is crucial to keep the drainage holes (weep system) free of debris to ensure proper drainage and prevent water blockage—if the weep system is clogged, water can accumulate in the sill and enter the home during periods of heavy rainfall. To clear the weep system, you may use a pipe cleaner or a can of compressed air to force dust and debris from the sill.
If your Folding Patio Door System is equipped with a retractable accordion screen, you will want to keep the screen channel clean and remove any debris build-up using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush nozzle. You should also gently dust the screen mesh to remove dirt and maintain air flow. Care should be taken not to tear or rip the mesh during regular maintenance.
Tuesday, January 29 2019
January has flown by and Super Bowl Sunday is fast approaching! This day can be stressful to many people who are planning a party. You can minimize party planning stress by creating an organized check list of everything you’ll need to host the perfect Super Bowl party! Keep reading for some tips on how you can throw a memorable Super Bowl viewing party that both Patriots and Rams fans will enjoy.
Start with a clean setup. You want your home to be nice and clean and ready for guests. Be sure to target the spaces where guests are most likely to be: kitchen, guest bath, living room, and patio. Remove clutter and keep your home organized and ready for the event! Designate a main viewing area, and ensure the TV is dialed in—you don’t want any technological difficulties to disrupt the game! Get a headcount of how many people you will be hosting and set up extra seating accordingly! If your indoor viewing space connects to the outdoor patio area with large Bi-Fold Patio Doors, consider opening your folding patio doors and blending the two spaces into one—this will give guests the freedom to roam inside and out. Hang decorations around your home to create a festive environment and get everyone excited for the event.
To prepare for the party, you should also plan out your food and drink menu in advance. Provide plenty of snacks and ask guests to bring their favorite game time appetizers. Some good snack ideas that are better (and healthier) than your basic chips and party mix are: spinach artichoke dip, veggies and dip, fruit kabobs, guacamole, and more! Think outside the box and supply some tasty choices. For recipe inspiration, check out this excellent "Super Bowl Menu" on Delish.com! After you plan out your menu, head to the grocery store and get all the supplies—take a list with you so you don’t forget anything. Go to the store as soon as possible, so you can avoid the crazy crowds that will be there on the weekend. Don’t forget to buy napkins, cups, plates, and utensils so you won’t be stuck doing dishes on Sunday night when the party is over!
Bring some friendly competition to the party by setting up a “Super Bowl Squares” pool. This is a fun way to compete against other guests and win prizes. For a step-by-step guide on how to set up and run a Super Bowl Squares pool, click here.
DID YOU KNOW…?
1 | According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Super Bowl Sunday is America’s second-largest food consumption day (right behind Thanksgiving).
2 | In Las Vegas, more than $115 million is bet on the Super Bowl each year.
3 | 325.5 million gallons of beer is consumed by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday.
4 | Americans eat 1 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sundays.
5 | 30-second commercials in the 2019 Super Bowl are being sold for $5.1 – $5.3 million
Tuesday, January 22 2019
Is your landscaping and outdoor entertainment space ready for an upgrade? Landscaping will increase the overall curb appeal of your home and can actually make your life easier if planned properly! If you’re ready to plan a landscape redesign, we have tips and ideas that will help you through the design and construction process!
DIY or Professional Landscaper?
The first step in tackling a landscaping project is to decide if you should hire a professional landscaper or do-it-yourself. There are benefits to both—if you higher a professional landscaper, you can give him a wish list and he or she can design something to meet your needs. Professional landscapers can be costly, so doing the project yourself could be highly cost-effective. If you save money by doing it yourself, you may have more room in the budget for luxurious materials and unique designs to create the backyard of your dreams!
Wish List & Budget
You should create a list of must-haves that you want included in your new landscape design and outdoor space. You can look for inspiration on websites like Houzz and Pinterest to help brainstorm ideas and narrow down your must-haves. A good way to figure out exactly what you want is to outline how you will use the space and what you want to acheive—will this be a space to host outdoor lunches and afternoon tea, or a space for your children to run around and play, or a space for your dog to get some exercise? Once you decide the functionality of the space, you can start to plan out what amenities you want and need. When you have a list of your top design must-haves, create a budget that is affordable and can include as many of your wants as possible.
Make Life Easier
Everyone has busy lives and worrying about landscape maintenance can add to the stress of household chores and running a family. When designing your new backyard and outdoor space, you may choose a low maintenance design that will mostly take care of itself. Include low maintenance plants that won’t require a lot of water and create an automatic watering system with drip lines and sprinklers to take care of regular water replenishments. You may even consider investing in artificial turf instead of a real lawn to save time and money on lawn maintenance. Click here for more low maintenance backyard ideas.
Include the Patio
Your backyard and landscaping are essentially an extension of your patio space. If you are making the effort to completely redesign your landscaping, you might include your patio in the project. Maybe your patio design only needs a few upgrades to achieve your end goals—consider installing a Bi-Fold Patio Door to connect your home to the outside entertainment area and create an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. With a folding door, you can maximize the views of your newly landscaped yard and easily keep an eye on your children and pets.
Thursday, January 17 2019
If you are one of the many people who live in California, chances are you’re experiencing heavy rainfall this week. As we all know, the rain is much needed, so we are celebrating this stormy weather! In Southern California we are spoiled with sunny weather for around 80% of the year, so sometimes those days filled with clouds and rain can be a struggle—especially when it involves flooding, mudslides, road closures, extra traffic, and power outages! Days like this are the perfect time to spend quality time at home relaxing, cooking, cleaning, and organizing your living space!
Relax & Laze
Staying home and avoiding the craziness during large rainstorms is the best way to stay dry and safe! This is a great time to relax and recuperate from everyday chaos. Take a day to stay in your pajamas, light a fire, and watch movies. Listen and watch through your folding patio doors as the rain splashes down from the sky. Curl up in your favorite reading nook with a good book and a cup of tea to enjoy as you read the day away. After a day of relaxing and doing an activity you love, you will feel refreshed and ready to get back to your busy schedule!
Cook a Meal
A great way to spend your rainy day is by preparing a nice meal or baking some tasty sweets. Making your favorite soup recipe paired with some fresh, hot cornbread could be the perfect rainy day treat for you and your family. Hot soup on a cold winter day will feel good in your belly and help to warm you up! You can also bake some sweet treats to indulge in on this chilly day—everyone will love coming home to cookies or brownies fresh out of the oven!
Clean & Organize
If you’re full of energy and feel cooped up from being inside for the day, you may consider spending the day cleaning and organizing your home. Focus on one room at a time so you can be extra thorough! Critical areas to clean that are often neglected are inside and outside kitchen appliances, beneath furniture, window sills, and ceiling fans. Instead of or in addition to cleaning, you may want to use this day to organize spaces in your home. Perhaps your linen closet is out of control, or the bathroom cupboards are full of old beauty products—get rid of what you don’t need and create a clean and orderly storage space.
Tackle a Project
You can use this day to tackle a project that you’ve been postponing. Rainy days are the best for trying out that DIY craft you saw on Pinterest, hanging up that new painting you bought months ago, printing some photos for empty picture frames, or planning out the details of your next vacation! After a day of completing a few projects on your list, you will feel relieved and accomplished!
When leaving your home on a stormy day, be sure to check for road closures to avoid traffic and find the safest, fastest route. It is also important to remain alert and check weather conditions throughout the day, in case there are any mudslide or flood evacuations in your area. Put on your rainboots and open an umbrella to walk the perimeter of your home and ensure rain gutters and draining systems are functioning properly to prevent any flooding!
Click here to learn more about maximizing your views of rainfall with large glass doors.
Tuesday, January 15 2019
Are you planning a home remodel for 2019? There are many reasons people decide to remodel their home, but the top two reasons are wanting a “new look” and upgrading a worn-out space. Whatever the reason for your remodel, you should go into the project with a set plan. Once your remodel is planned out (click here for tips on planning a remodel) and you’re ready to begin construction, there are steps you can take to make living through this noisy and messy inconvenience a little more bearable!
Dealing with Dust
With a home remodel, dust is inevitable, but there are things that can be done to limit the amount of dust and where it spreads. An easy way to ensure some of your household items are not exposed to dust is by packing away the items you won’t need during renovation, like knickknacks, picture frames, and more. Preventing dust from clinging to these items will make your life easier when the remodel is complete because you can unpack and reposition your clean, dust-free décor. Be sure to seal off the construction space, to limit dust and debris from migrating into your construction-free zone. You’ll also want to seal any air vents in the reno space as this is another avenue dust can travel through.
Keep the Construction Zone Clean
Construction is messy, but if you can keep the renovation space clean by sweeping/vacuuming up sawdust and disposing of trash and debris daily, you can combat the mess!
During a home remodel, it is easy to let your home organization get out of control! If your construction-free zone is a mess, this can leave you feeling overwhelmed and like you don’t have a space where you can relax and forget about the chaos going on in the room down the hall. Take time every week to pick up your living space, put things where they belong, and stay organized. You can even do some simple dusting and vacuuming to ensure the space remains dust-free, giving you peace of mind knowing that even a small part of your home is still in order!
Create A Makeshift Kitchen
During a kitchen remodel, you should designate a different part of your home as a makeshift kitchen. There is no doubt that living without a proper kitchen is very difficult, but you can ease the burden by setting up a functional space where you can prepare easy homecooked meals during the remodel. You can set up your toaster oven, crockpot, hot plate, and other appliances and make the most out of the (hopefully very short) time you’ll be without a real kitchen!
Take A Mini Vacation
If the remodel is becoming too much to handle, consider taking a mini vacation to escape the mess! Stay in a hotel for a night or two or visit family or friends to give yourself a break. this is a great way to de-stress, recharge, and come back to the remodel with plenty of energy and motivation to get the job done! Your remodel won’t last forever, so just remember to stay positive and look forward to having an updated and beautiful space to live in!
Click here to learn more about using Bi-Fold Patio Doors to create an indoor-outdoor space during your remodel.
Thursday, January 10 2019
Did you know January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day? This holiday encourages people to look for ways to reduce energy costs and save on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. Making your home more energy-efficient can save you money while lessening your impact on the environment. In honor of National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, here is a list of things that can be done to conserve energy and reduce your carbon footprint!
One way to create an energy-efficient home is by replacing old windows and doors with new, energy-efficient ones. Old windows and doors that don’t meet updated energy requirements could be raising your energy costs—if the doors are not energy-efficient, they may cause heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer, resulting in increased use of heaters/air conditioning. You can replace old patio doors and windows with Energy Solutions Bi-Fold Patio Doors that are Title 24 compliant. Energy-efficient folding doors can keep heat in during the winter and resist unwanted heat gain during the summer and can save you money on heating and cooling bills. Aside from their resistance to heat loss/gain, Energy Solutions Bi-Folds can increase airflow and natural light in your space, limiting the need for air conditioning, electric fans, and lights during peak daylight hours.
Another investment you can make to live a greener life is by converting your home to solar energy. Solar power is an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels and can significantly impact your energy costs. Although it requires a larger investment upfront, running your home on solar energy will pay for itself and reduce costs in the long run. Clean solar energy will reduce your energy bills and give you peace of mind knowing that you have decreased your carbon footprint!
If you are one of the 128 million Americans that commute to work on a daily basis, this section is for you. You can greatly reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint by carpooling to work. If your coworkers live nearby, you might consider establishing a carpool group and taking turns driving each other to work. This will relieve your gas and car maintenance expenses while reducing your energy consumption, pollution, and road traffic! When it’s time to buy or lease your next car, you may want to invest in an electric or hybrid vehicle that can lower (or completely eliminate) fuel costs and limit your carbon footprint.
Other small ways that can have a large impact on reducing energy costs and living ecofriendly:
If you can implement even just a few of these habits, you will be conserving resources, creating less pollution, and helping to build a greener community. Some options require a larger investment but will also have a bigger impact on energy cost reduction! To learn more about replacing old doors and windows with energy-efficient Bi-Fold Patio Doors, click here.
Tuesday, January 08 2019
If you keep up with the latest home design trends, you know that indoor-outdoor kitchens are highly desired among homeowners and prospective homebuyers. Architects and designers are seeing a spike in indoor-outdoor living space designs, and that open-air design has reached the kitchen! There are many ways to create an indoor-outdoor kitchen in your home, so you can enjoy an al fresco experience every time you cook a meal or do the dishes!
Folding Glass Walls Open Kitchens to the Outdoors
Bi-Fold Patio Doors can open kitchens to the outdoors by simply folding the doors away, leaving a large open space behind. Folding doors create an al fresco cooking experience with plenty of airflow, natural light, and unobstructed views. The transition from inside to out is seamless, and perfect for indoor-outdoor entertaining. With the application above, the kitchen and bar seating enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle while expanding the space to an additional dining area on the large, expansive balcony! Your door may also be equipped with a retractable accordion screen to protect your home from insects while maximizing airflow.
Folding Glass Windows Create a Kitchen Passthrough
Another way to create an indoor-outdoor kitchen is by installing a Bi-Fold Window to create a kitchen passthrough window! Passthrough windows are perfect if creating a larger opening with Bi-Fold Doors is not possible or desired in the space. A passthrough window connects kitchen to outdoor patio—a typical passthrough window design provides additional dining space in the form of an outdoor breakfast bar. With the servery window seen above, appetizers, meals, beverages, and snacks can be passed from inside to outside with ease! It creates the ultimate entertainment space with the possibility of use as a buffet table or cocktail bar.
Folding Window-Door Combinations Make Walls Disappear
A Bi-Fold Window-Door Combination is a unique and interesting way you can create an indoor-outdoor kitchen in your home. The Window-Door Combination consists of Bi-Fold Doors and Bi-Fold Windows which connect at the center and transform an ordinary space into an indoor-outdoor paradise! On this window-door system, the window locks to the counter and head jamb, and the door and window lock together without additional framing to impede the view. With a Bi-Fold Window-Door Combination, you can still enjoy the luxury of a kitchen passthrough window and breakfast bar dining counter!
Corner Bi-Fold Doors Create Indoor-Outdoor Living
When you want to open multiple walls to the outdoors, opt for a Zero-Corner Bi-Fold System—this unit opens at a 90-degree angle and does not require a supporting post at the corner, leaving you with unobstructed views of the surrounds. To meet design needs, Zero-Corner Bi-Folds may also be inverted! This is the perfect solution to creating an indoor-outdoor kitchen and dining experience in a narrow space. With such a unique and tasteful style, the Zero-Corner Bi-Fold will take your home design to the next level!
Be sure to do your research and consult an architect or contractor before deciding on a design. Professionals can help you find out which design will enhance your space and create the indoor-outdoor kitchen and dining experience you desire! With numerous design options and features, AG Millworks can make Bi-Fold Doors and Windows to fit your specific design needs! Click here to learn more about Bi-Fold Doors and Windows!
Thursday, January 03 2019
If your primary living space is smaller than you’d like, and you feel cramped with the current setup, it might be time to reconsider the design. When a large addition to the space to add extra square footage isn’t possible, there are still things that can be done to maximize the living space and make it feel more spacious than it is! Use these tips to make the most out of your compact living area and turn it into a cozy, comfortable room while utilizing every inch of the space!
Extend It with Custom Patio Doors
One way to make your living space feel larger is by using Bi-Fold Patio Doors to connect the inside living space to the outdoor patio area. These custom patio doors can eliminate entire walls and can extend your space to the outdoors to make it feel larger and more open! With just a simple remodel and installation of folding doors, you can enjoy enhanced views and maximize your living space!
Mount Your TV
Mounting your TV on the wall is a great way to eliminate the need for a bulky TV stand and recover some extra square footage. A slim, modest-sized floating shelf beneath the TV is perfect for storing the cable box, remotes, and other necessities! If possible, keep wires hidden to maintain a clean and organized look—clean lines and minimal clutter is optimal for making a room appear larger!
Mirrors for a Spacious Feel
You can hang mirrors to trick the eye and make the space feel more open. When hanging mirrors and other artwork, be sure to hang them slightly above the eyelevel to stretch your walls and give the illusion of a tall ceiling.
Take Advantage of Wall Space
Utilizing your wall space by hanging floating shelves is a great way to add additional storage and display your favorite décor pieces, while eliminating space-eating furniture.
You want to keep small spaces free of mess and clutter to create a fresh, open space that won’t feel compact. Strive for a minimalist look when decluttering the space and use your favorite décor and design elements to add pops of color and charm!
Furniture That Doubles as Storage
Invest in some furniture pieces that will do double duty—an ottoman that doubles as storage, or a window bench that folds open to store extra blankets, or even a couch with storage underneath! This will give you a place to store the clutter, DVDs, magazines, and anything else you may need to hide away while providing extra seating and design.
Shrink Your Dining Table
When your kitchen and living spaces connect, you can maximize space by opting for a smaller dining table. A dining table is a large piece that takes up a lot of space, so choosing a small 2 or 3 seat dining table or counter seating can free up a lot of room!
Stick to Light Walls
Painting walls white or another light color, will make the room feel open, spacious, and bright. Sticking to light colors and a neutral palette for the interior design will help create an open and airy feeling. You can still use pops of color here and there to prevent a monotone look!
Tuesday, January 01 2019
Happy New Year from all of us at AG Millworks! A new year means new ideas, new styles, and new home design trends. Design pros are predicting what new designs will be big in 2019. From kitchen backsplashes, to flooring, to wall colors, to windows and doors, home design trends are always changing. If you are planning a home remodel, or you work in the home design industry, these are some of the design schemes to include in your projects!
Bold & Beautiful Backsplashes
One home design trend to expect in the new year is boldly patterned kitchen backsplashes. White, neutral kitchens have been one of the biggest trends in the past few years, and designers are predicting a transition to bolder color schemes and graphic backsplashes. Boldly patterned backsplashes can add a unique design element to your kitchen, and a pop of color in what would otherwise be a simple, neutral space!
The indoor-outdoor living trend will grow in 2019. Homeowners want to spend more time enjoying nature and making use of their outdoor living spaces. Eliminating walls to create open-air living is an element that homeowners and designers are gravitating towards. Indoor-outdoor living can be created with Bi-Fold Patio Doors and Multi-Slide Patio Doors, which open up to make large open spaces and expand indoor living spaces to the outdoor entertainment area.
Light Wood Floors
Thanks to the homeowners’ desire for bright open spaces, light wood floors are making a comeback in 2019. Light shades of wood as pictured above reflect more light and can be used in a casual or formal design setting. The light floor coloring isn’t limited to wood—all light-colored floors will increase in popularity this year.
Kitchen Passthrough Windows
Kitchen Passthrough Windows are a growing design trend that will increase in 2019. Passthrough windows are created using Bi-Fold Windows that foldaway and connect kitchen to patio. Additional dining space is created in the form of a breakfast bar and makes for easy outdoor entertainment!
Bold Wall Colors
Bolder, darker color choices will become popular in 2019. Homeowners are more adventurous when it comes to their wall color, and so 2019 will see an increase in new and exciting colors throughout the home! Again, design pros are straying from the typical neutral walls that have flooded the industry for a few years.
Floral Pattern Fun
Floral patterns for wallpapers and fabrics are going to be big in 2019. Florals have been around for a while, but design pros are predicting that we will see floral patterns explode in the new year!
Leafy Indoor House Plants
Indoor house plants are said to never go out of style, and that remains true for 2019. Indoor plants with large, shapely leaves are here to stay for 2019 because they add a natural, fresh, and airy feeling to the space. Besides their aesthetic benefits, most live plants actually improve air quality which is a real health benefit! If you worry about your ability to keep your indoor plants alive, you can opt for high-quality artificial plants that only require an occasional dusting but look as good as the real thing!