12 Must-Have Tools for Home Improvement Projects

Must-Have Tools for Home Improvement Projects

Do you like to tackle your own home improvement and woodworking projects?

Maybe there’s a DIY-er in your family who spends more time in the workshop than in the house!

If working on home projects is more than just a hobby, you probably need a few tools to round out your collection.

To help you along, we’ve compiled a list of must-have tools for home improvement projects that should be part of any workshop or garage collection to help get things done faster, easier, and better.

1) Level

Nobody can accurately “eyeball” something to tell whether it’s level or not, and slight errors will make frames, shelving, floorboards, or other objects look completely off-line. This tool takes all the guesswork away. In fact, it can’t hurt to have several levels of various lengths.

 

2) Putty Knife

A putty knife is great for scraping dry glues and paints and for spreading putty, paste and spackle. Having a 1½-inch size for scraping and a 5- or 6-inch one for spreading is infinitely helpful, and will pay itself back quickly over the years.

 

3) Reciprocating Saw

DCS387P1

If you’re cutting wood for any number of home improvement and DIY projects, you will find that a reciprocating saw is an essential workshop tool. A reciprocating saw is an all-in-one tool that can take the place of several others. It uses a pull and push blade motion to cut in hard-to-reach places where no other type of saw can fit.

 

4) Hammer

Pounding nails, pulling nails, tapping things into place — it almost goes without saying that you need a quality hammer. An expensive hammer is long and lightweight; its leverage can assist you when you take that wall down.

 

5) Power Drill

Drilling implies creating holes, and a power drill is the ultimate luxury when tired hands have turned too many screws. It adapts not only to drill bits to bore holes, but also to every kind of screw-head bit, making larger projects go quickly and with less muscle. Just be careful to stop when the fastener is tight, so you don’t strip the screw head. You will appreciate this tool’s power.

 

6) Utility Knife

From cutting paint around windows that are stuck closed to opening boxes, scoring drywall or even trimming the edges of carpet, the uses are so many that you’ll be surprised how you ever got by without one.

7) Cordless Grinder

DCG414T2

For metal cutting, smoothing or grinding, nothing but a cordless grinder will do! If your projects involve masonry or concrete with misplaced re-bar or anchor bolts, this handy tool will prove quite the workhorse over time. Or slice through plaster or stucco without ripping out the expanded metal lath.

8) Nail Set

A nail set is used for sinking nail heads below the surface of the wood, so that you can then fill the hole with wood putty and sand it, to make the nail disappear. This way the hammer never has to make an ugly dent in the surface you are pounding.

 

9) Tape Measure

Your tape measure is indispensable for estimating material quantities, figuring out placement of objects, and calculating floor plans and furniture sizes. It’s always a good idea to measure more than once to make sure you’ve got it right.

 

10) Miter Saw


A miter saw has a specialized blade that allows you to cut at a variety of angles, making it easily one of the most useful tool in the workshop. Making cuts for crown molding, picture frames, door frames, or window casings? A miter saw is your tool! The saw blade is mounted on a swing arm that pivots left or right to produce the perfect angled cuts each and every time.

 

11) Phillips Screwdriver

A Philips or X-shape screwdriver is probably one of the most common tools in any toolbox. If you have a have a handle that accepts interchangeable tips, you can cover a wide range of screw types and sizes.

 

11) Flathead Screwdriver

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A flathead or straight screwdriver is invaluable; most light switch plates use straight screws, for example. Having the right size flathead can make a difference, so start with at least a set of three
(small, medium and large) to be able to handle most jobs.

 

Looking for the perfect tool – whether it’s for you or a fellow DIYer? Visit your local GNH Lumber today to browse our selection of DeWALT, Stanely, Bostitch and Paslode hand and power tools!

Planning a Perfect Deck

Planning a Perfect Deck

Planning a Perfect Deck
With the weather warming up and the days growing longer, your outdoor spaces will soon be inhabited as much as the inside of your home. Now is the time to start planning a perfect deck that you will enjoy throughout the spring and summer – and also into autumn or even winter!

A deck can expand the square footage of your living space, and can be planned to match the look and feel of your home, while staying within any budget. It can also increase your home’s curb appeal and property value.

Get your deck or porch project started!

There’s a lot of planning and decision-making that goes into designing and building an outdoor deck. For starters, you’ll need to determine what size deck you’d like, establish a budget, select material, and determine whether you want to build it yourself or hire a professional.

Here are 5 tips to ease the process along:

 

1. Decide the Deck’s Purpose

Every spring and summer, we get to enjoy the warm weather throughout the region again! A deck may be the answer to extending the enjoyment you get from outdoor living. The first thing to do before you build your deck is to decide how you’d like to use the deck. Once you have a vision for its purpose and function, it’ll be easier to design. Here are a few ways your deck could function in your yard:

  • For entertaining
  • For outdoor dining
  • As a pool or spa surround
  • For outdoor privacy
  • As a place for container gardening close to the house

Timbertech_ReliaBoard_Cedar_RRTradWal_Stairs_High-dt

2. Location, Location, Location

Sometimes it’s apparent where a deck should go but other times, there may be more than one possible location. If that’s the case, how you want your deck to function will determine which spot will be ideal for its location. In addition, think about these considerations when determining a deck’s location:

  • Scaling the deck to the size of your property
  • Tracking microclimates that will affect your deck’s level of comfort
  • Placing the deck in sun and shade for comfort
  • Determining wind patterns that can affect usage
  • Maximizing scenic views
  • Creating privacy from neighbors
  • Having easy access from deck to house

3. Know the Building Codes

Before you assemble your supplies, call town hall or local officials to find out the building codes and legal procedures you need to follow for building a deck. You may need your design approved by your town. City and state laws and permit restrictions vary for residential structure additions or remodeling projects, so do your homework before you start your project. Professional deck designers and builders know the local codes and regulations and will typically take care of the logistics for you.

4. Turn Up the Lights

Lighting gives a deck a certain festive and relaxing ambience while providing more safety for your guests when the sun goes down. The amount of lighting and the types of fixtures (for example, wired or solar) will affect the design and budget of your deck. Here are types of deck lights and locations to consider:

  1. Recessed step lights
  2. Path lights
  3. Overhead lights
  4. Wall or post-mounted lights
  5. Landscape spotlights
  6. Outdoor kitchen lighting

5. Form & Functionality

You might decide to add more functionality into your deck. Certain built-ins give a deck a rich and customized look, as well. Storage on a deck might be designed as benches with hinged tops that lift, shelving, or deck boxes. Here are some items that can be stored safely out of the way on your new deck:

  • Garden tools and supplies
  • Children’s outdoor toys
  • Outdoor patio cushions
  • Outdoor furniture and accessories

Legacy-Glamour-Deck_high-dt

Deck Repair & Cleaning

How to Clean & Repair Your Deck

 

Deck Repair

Did you know that with regular maintenance, a deck will easily last for twice as long as one that isn’t maintained? It’s true, and what’s more, most decks can be rejuvenated for a lot less than the cost of replacement.

Here are some techniques you can use to give an old deck a new lease on life, or to help maintain the look of a new one!

1) Make Thorough Repairs

Begin by inspecting the entire deck. Pay special attention to any part of the deck that is in direct contact with the ground, such as the posts, stair stringers or joists that are at ground level. We recommend using a screwdriver to check for structural damage.

Tip: If you can sink the tip of a screwdriver into a post or joist, it means the you’ve got rot and it’s time to consider renovation.

Also, inspect the connection of your deck to your house. Screws and bolts can loosen and rust, and without the proper use of spacers and flashing, moisture can cause your band joist to rot.

Be sure to tighten the fasteners that attach the deck to the house, while looking for any missing, bent or rusted flashing. Then, carefully inspect inside and out for any telltale black stains that suggest moisture is working its way into your home.

Next, look for any cosmetic damage. For example, tap down any popped nails or consider replacing them with screws. We advise using galvanized ring-shanked nails to repair damaged boards and ensure longevity.

Tip: If you need to rip replacement decking to match existing boards, use a tablesaw. Ease the sawn edge using a router fitted with a ⅜-inch roundover bit.

Finish by carefully inspecting your railings and decking for loose wood. This avoids the possibility of splinters or further cosmetic damage to your deck.

2) Clean the Surface

Deck Repair & Cleaning

Assuming your deck has been maintained regularly, it can be revived with a simple deck cleaner. Some products are mixed in a bucket and applied to the deck directly. Others come in containers with applicators that you hook up to a garden hose. Once on the deck, most still require a stiff-bristle brush and a lot of elbow grease to work the mixture into the wood.

Here’s a deck cleaner you can make yourself and that’s great for mildew and dirt:

  • 1 qt. sodium hypochlorite solution (household bleach)
  • ⅓ cup powdered laundry detergent
  • 3 qts. warm water
  • In a 5-gal. plastic bucket, add the bleach and detergent to the water, then brush the cleaner onto the deck. Rinse thoroughly before applying a finish.

For tackling tougher stains, use a pressure washer. which is the best way to remove sun-damaged wood fibers and tackle scrub-resistant stains. Graf recommends using a fan-type nozzle instead of a pinpoint nozzle that can dig into the wood.

Finish by going over your deck with a stiff-bristle brush to work the cleaner into the wood fibers, and then rinse. The boards should be kept damp in order for the cleaning solution to work effectively. Allow the deck to dry thoroughly before you begin staining.


3) Staining and Preserving Your Deck

Deck Staining

Once all of your repairs have been made and the deck is sparkling clean, it’s time to apply a protective finish. Clear finishes and transparent stains are fine for new wood, but for older decks, we recommend using a semitransparent stain.

Start by spraying on a light coat of stain and using a brush to remove puddles or splotches. Start at an inside corner and work out, applying the stain parallel to the deck boards.

Tip: To avoid staining nearby brick, use a small piece of cardboard as a spray shield.

Subsequent coats should be applied while the first coat is still wet or they will not be absorbed into the wood. Stain won’t peel, but it can wear away, especially in high-traffic areas. It’s best to apply a fresh coat every other year. A clear water repellent can also be applied between stainings for extra protection.

For more help getting your deck looking its best, get in touch with the GNH team!

Arborcoat Featured

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Deck Stain

Arborcoat Deck

Clear, translucent, semi-transparent, solid? With so many choices in opacity and color, it means choosing the right deck stain can be tricky! Regular maintenance is key for improving the life of your wood deck, and it helps to have a reference guide when choosing stain for your deck care project. GNH Lumber recommends Arborcoat Exterior Stains by Benjamin Moore for durability and style.

Get your staining project started!

Spring is the perfect season for your deck staining project! It’s still low humidity, and the sun shines longer each day. Choose a stretch of days without rain in the forecast and get it done!

Staining your deck is one of the easiest ways to transform the look of your home’s exterior, and a great way to protect and beautify your gathering space for years to come. But the options may seem endless. There are endless color and opacity combinations. Plus, there are better options available for each wood type.

Here are 5 simple tips for choosing the right deck stain for your wood deck:

Choosing the Right Deck Stain

1) Check the Opacity

According to BenjaminMoore.com, when it comes to the impact stain will have on your deck’s design, understanding opacity is key.

Opacity is the degree to which you can see the natural grain of wood, achieved by using one of the following:

  • Clear stain has no color added and shows the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Translucent stain doesn’t obscure grain and texture of wood and includes just the slightest tone.
  • Semi Transparent stain allows most of the grain and texture to show through, with slightly more prominent color.
  • Semi Solid stain, with its deeper shades, covers most imperfections while allowing some of the grain and texture of the wood to show through.
  • Solid stain offers the greatest color depth of all, covering the majority of imperfections while allowing the texture of the wood to peek through lightly.

 

2) Considering Color: Choices Abound

Arborcoat Pool DeckWhen thinking about color for your deck, consider the same shade as your home’s trim. This technique will make it stand out against the main field of your house for a unified look that still highlights your deck’s architecture.

For a more monochromatic look, use a similar shade as your house’s primary color. This is a great choice if you want features like your fire pit or dining area to be your deck’s focal point.

There’s a huge spectrum of color to explore in Arborcoat Exterior Stains, from driftwood grays to warm russets to woodland greens.

 

3) Wood Type Matters

Wood remains the most common choice for decks. More expensive hardwoods such as mahogany or ipe offer gorgeous grain and texture that shine through when using a more transparent stain like Arborcoat Transluscent or Semi Transparent. Softer, less expensive woods, including pressure treated southern yellow pine or cedar, benefit from Semi Solid and Solid stains’ innate weather barrier.

Choosing the Right Deck Stain for Your Wood Type

Wood alternatives known as “composite decking” are also a popular choice. While often sold as maintenance-free, composite decks demand protection from color fading as well as from the elements–just like their wood counterparts; Arborcoat Solid Deck & Siding Stain provides excellent color retention for these popular decking choices.

4) Narrow the Scope

Not ready to go big? Repainting or staining wood outdoor chairs and tables is less of an intensive project than redoing your entire deck. Almost any bright color pops off neutrals and wood tones in an eye-catching way and revitalizes decking with ease.

Another option is to stain your deck’s handrails and bannisters only. Pull from your interior color palette to visually–yet subtly–unite indoors and out. Or consider using a combination of stains to designate where one section of your deck begins and another section ends.

5) Audition Your Stains

Choosing the Right Deck Stain - Test StainsIt’s easy to “try on” stains on the actual wood you want to coat: In fact, there’s no better way to see true color accuracy.

Ready to turn inspiration into reality? We’re here to take you every step of the way, from prep to finish. Watch this handy how-to video to see how it’s done, then download the PDF for the step-by-step method.

Pint-sized samples are available in all ARBORCOAT opacities as well as Solid Stains, which are available in all 3,500+ Benjamin Moore colors.

 

Now you’re ready to pick just the right stain for your springtime deck staining project! Remember, if you need tips or guidance at any step along the way, contact the experts at GNH Lumber.

 

Source: https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/project-ideas-inspiration/exteriors/decks-ideas-and-inspiration   

4 Deck Designs for Amazing Outdoor Spaces!

Amazingly Simple Home Deck Design Ideas!

4 Deck Designs for Amazing Outdoor Spaces!

Crafting the perfect deck for your home is about more than what materials you use. A backyard escape should also tell a story through design — and invite you to become lost in the narrative. To get your creative juices flowing, we’ve put together a few fresh home deck design ideas. Get inspired and learn how to transform your outdoor living space from ordinary to oasis.

Looking for deck design ideas and inspiration? Here are some of our favorite styles from TimberTech to help spark your imagination:

 

1) Herringbone Deck Patterns

 

The herringbone deck pattern is an elaborate, fun design that brings a dynamic look to your deck surface. Created by repeatedly laying two deck boards at a 45-degree angle, a herringbone arrangement can be designed with different deck board widths or colors to create an inspiring deck pattern. Due to the intricacy of the design, herringbone pairs best with larger decks that have the space for the pattern to repeat.

 

2) Picture-Frame Borders & Contrasting Hues

 

A picture frame border refers to boards laid around your deck perimeter perpendicular to the inlay boards. Choose one, two, or three boards for your picture frame to give your deck as subtle or as bold of a border as you desire.

For a truly striking and eye-popping perimeter, use boards of a contrasting color to your deck surface for one or more of your border boards!

Love a dynamic, high-contrast look? You can also combine white elements in your deck design with richly-hued modern composite decking for a dramatic effect. Choose white PVC trim for your fascia and stair risers to create a crisp, clean border against the saturated decking. A white composite railing with black balusters adds further contrast to the design.

 

3) Contrasting with Curves

 

When deciding on outdoor furniture, it’s important to choose pieces that complement your deck design. A curved, modular couch echoes the rounded cascading stairs while a dark frame and light cushions contribute even more contrast to an already dramatic design.

 

4) Wide Railing for Cocktails

Deck Designs - Wide Railings

Your deck railing is more than tasteful decoration and added safety to your deck. One of TimberTech’s more fun products is the Drink Rail – part of the Classic Composite Series.  The Drink Rail features a deck board as the top rail to tie your deck and railing together seamlessly. Plus, it’s the perfect place to rest your morning coffee or late-night cocktail. It’s perfect for anyone looking for sharp designs that complement their deck AND home!

And don’t forget! The expert staff at GNH Lumber is ready to help you find the right home deck ideas and work through the process! At the end of the day, we want you to create the outdoor space of your dreams and stay within your budget. Place your order today for a beautiful outdoor living space tomorrow.

 

Sources: https://www.timbertech.com/imagine/stories/deck-design-options; https://www.timbertech.com/imagine/stories/deck-design-ideas

Cultured Stone Home Exterior

How to Install Cultured Stone Veneers Outside Your Home

Bring Your Home Exterior Design Dreams to Life

Cultured Stone Home Exterior

 

With the weather warming up and the days growing longer, it’s the perfect time to spruce up your home exterior! Whether you’re building a backyard retreat (complete with firepit!) or looking to give your home exterior a new look, one product stands out. Cultured Stone veneers are a stylish and versatile option that are great for many projects. What’s more, they’re the right tool for anybody – DIY or contractor, for jobs big and small. The installation process is simple and can be completed in just a few days.

Materials Needed

Before you begin the exterior installation process, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

• Cultured Stone manufactured stone veneers
• Safety equipment (N95 mask, safety glasses, work boots, etc.)
• Flashing
• Rain screen
• Jointing tool
• Masonry brush
• Spacers
• Water resistant barrier (WRB)
• Grout sealer
• Pointing trowel
• Notched trowel
• Welded wire lath complying with ASTM C933
• Corrosion resistant fasteners (staples, roofing nails, etc.)
• Mortar (scratch coat, setting bed, and pointing)
• Drop cloths and cleanup supplies

Job Site Setup

Before beginning your project, start by storing all your materials out of the way, but still convenient to application. Be sure to eliminate any trip hazards and keep your Cultured Stone veneers protected from any worksite dust or inclement weather. Use your drop cloths to protect any landscaping.

Wall Prep

If your home exterior project has metal or wood framing, begin by applying two layers of WRB as independent layers, lapped in “shingle” fashion. Evenly install your flashings across the primary layer. Make sure that your primary WRB meets all building codes and manufacturer requirements, depending on your project.

After installing the primary layer, apply the second “sacrificial” layer of WRB, to allow incidental water to drain down and out. Lap each material 2” horizontally and 6” vertically, fasten with WRB-approved fasteners.

Make sure that any contact with doors or windows are flashed properly. Head flashings and drip screen will help resist water damage.

Adding Your Rain Screen

For any home exterior projects that involve adding Cultured Stone veneers to your walls, adding rain screens adds an extra layer of protection against water damage. This physical airspace behind the cladding provides a larger path for drainage, using a ventilation drying effect. Standard building codes allow for just a single layer of rain screen, but be sure that it is at least 60 minute building paper or equivalent.

Lath Application

Depending on whether you use expanded metal, woven wire, welded wire, or alternative lath, it needs to transfer cladding load to your framing. Make sure your fasteners penetrate the framing and are spaced evenly. Typical applications would have fasteners 16” on center, spaced a maximum of 7” vertically.

When placing lath, always end lap joints over framing and fasten them there. Any that does not land on framing will need to be wire laced. For all overlaps, use at least 0.5” horizontally and 1” vertically and at end laps. NEVER end your laps at a corner, as this creates sharp edges and breaks in the barrier.

Mortar Application

Once the lath is installed, check for roughness. This will tell you the direction of the cups and determine which direction to apply the mortar. Follow the same path as the cups, using consistent pressure with your trowel to ensure mortar completely fills the lath. Whether your mortar is pre-blended or created on-site, make sure it meets NCMA standards.

Aim for at least a 0.5” to 0.75” layer of mortar, as anything less than 0.5” inches is too thin and runs the risk of cracking. Cover all lath at your target thickness, keeping at eye out for thin spots. You may need to apply a second layer to achieve desired thickness and levelness.

After letting the mortar cure for a few hours, it’s time to texture the surface with a scratch coat. Use your notched trowel in even, horizontal strokes across the mortar. This will allow your Cultured Stone to connect easier to the walls or surfaces. Allow at least 24-48 hours for the mortar to cure completely.

In warmer weather, remember to lightly mist your scratch coat and stone units to keep them properly hydrated.

Setting the Stones

Before installing the stones, check the back of each and remove any dust or debris. Then, gently dampen the scratch coat and stone units with clean water. Make sure both look saturated, but not shiny with water.

Apply your setting bed mortar onto a few square feet of the prepared surface with your trowel. Then apply a thin “back butter” of mortar to the entire back of the stone unit. Press the stone into the setting bed mortar on the wall. Leave enough space for joint gaps, and then leave the stone be.

Clean out mortar droppings as you go along and check stone bonding periodically. If a stone needs to be re-mortared, remove all original mortar first before re-applying and re-setting.

Be aware that if you’re setting stones in corner layouts, that flat stones can be nested and alternated to create a uniform look.

Large Format Stones

For large firepits or radical home exterior redesigns, large format stones are a viable option. The key to proper bonding is achieving a full setting bed of quality mortar, with ample spacing between units. You should also take time to ensure your scratch coat is level and straight, adding another coat if necessary. Many of these large format stones are fitted with mortar joints, but you may need to use a larger 3/8” inch joint to make filling with mortar easier. Use spacers on all four sides of each unit to maintain uniform mortar joint gap, and remove carefully after the mortar has cured.

Joint Treatment & Wrap-Up

With your stones placed and spaced appropriately, you’re now ready to fill in your joint gaps. Make sure the mortar you use is smooth enough to flow easily through a grout bag. Carefully remove any excess setting board mortar from the joints before filling.

Fill in each joint gap evenly with mortar, being careful not to disturb the stones as you go along. Once filled in, wait until the mortar is thumbprint hard, then you can tool the joints as needed. Depending on your desired look, use either a tooling joint or a wooden stick to shape them.

After the mortar has had time to set, be sure to go over it with a masonry brush to remove any additional debris.

 

From here, it’s just a matter of cleaning up your worksite and letting your new wall or outdoor feature set. For more information on installing Cultured Stone outside your home, be sure to contact our talented design team!

How to Install Cultured Stone Veneers Inside Your Home

Add Elegance to Your Home Interior

Looking to add the perfect complement to your living room? Or maybe you need the right accent piece to add to your den? If so, Cultured Stone veneers are a great choice! Whether it’s residential or commercial, large-scale, or small, there’s a Cultured Stone veneer that will work for you. Even better – these natural-looking and customized manufactured stone veneers are also a snap to install inside your home.

Materials Needed

Before you begin the interior installation process, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

• Cultured Stone manufactured stone veneers
• Flashing (if finished product will be exposed to water)
• Jointing tool
• Masonry brush
• Water resistant barrier (WRB)
• Grout sealer
• Pointing trowel
• Notched trowel
• Welded wire lath complying with ASTM C933
• Corrosion resistant fasteners (staples, roofing nails, etc.)
• Mortar (scratch coat, setting bed, and pointing)
• Drop clothes and cleanup supplies

Set up your worksite, removing all tripping hazards and setting down your drop cloth to make cleanup easier!

Wall Prep

If your project has metal or wood framing, begin by applying two layers of WRB as independent layers, lapped in “shingle” fashion. Evenly install your flashings across the primary layer. Make sure that your primary WRB meets all building codes and manufacturer requirements, depending on your project.

After installing the primary layer, apply the second “sacrificial” layer of WRB, to allow incidental water to drain down and out. Lap each material 2” horizontally and 6” vertically, fasten with WRB-approved fasteners.

Make sure that any contact with doors or windows are flashed properly. Head flashings and drip screen will help resist water damage.

Lath Application

Depending on whether you use expanded metal, woven wire, welded wire, or alternative lath, it needs to transfer cladding load to your framing. Make sure your fasteners penetrate the framing and are spaced evenly. Typical applications would have fasteners 16” on center, spaced a maximum of 7” vertically.

When placing lath, always end lap joints over framing and fasten them there. Any that does not land on framing will need to be wire laced. For all overlaps, use at least 0.5” horizontally and 1” vertically and at end laps. NEVER end your laps at a corner, as this creates sharp edges and breaks in the barrier.

Once the lath is installed, check for roughness. This will tell you the direction of the cups and determine which direction to apply the mortar. Follow the same path as the cups, using consistent pressure to ensure mortar completely fills the lath. Whether your mortar is pre-blended or created on-site, make sure it meets NCMA standards.

Mortar Application

Once the lath is installed, check for roughness. This will tell you the direction of the cups and determine which direction to apply the mortar. Follow the same path as the cups, using consistent pressure with your trowel to ensure mortar completely fills the lath. Whether your mortar is pre-blended or created on-site, make sure it meets NCMA standards.

Aim for at least a 0.5” to 0.75” layer of mortar, as anything less than 0.5” inches is too thin and runs the risk of cracking. Cover all lath at your target thickness, keeping at eye out for thin spots. You may need to apply a second layer to achieve desired thickness and levelness.

After letting the mortar cure for a few hours, it’s time to texture the surface with a scratch coat. Use your notched trowel in even, horizontal strokes across the mortar. This will allow your Cultured Stone to connect easier to the walls or surfaces. Allow at least 24-48 hours for the mortar to cure completely.

Setting the Stones

Before installing the stones, check the back of each and remove any dust or debris. Then, gently dampen the scratch coat and stone units with clean water. Make sure both look saturated, but not shiny with water.

Apply your setting bed mortar onto a few square feet of the prepared surface with your trowel. Then apply a thin “back butter” of mortar to the entire back of the stone unit. Press the stone into the setting bed mortar on the wall. Leave enough space for joint gaps, and then leave the stone be.

Clean out mortar droppings as you go along and check stone bonding periodically. If a stone needs to be re-mortared, remove all original mortar first before re-applying and re-setting.

Be aware that if you’re setting stones in corner layouts, that flat stones can be nested and alternated to create a uniform look.

Joint Treatment & Wrap-Up

With your stones placed and spaced appropriately, you’re now ready to fill in your joint gaps. Make sure the mortar you use is smooth enough to flow easily through a grout bag. Carefully remove any excess setting board mortar from the joints before filling.

Fill in each joint gap evenly with mortar, being careful not to disturb the stones as you go along. Once filled in, wait until the mortar is thumbprint hard, then you can tool the joints as needed. Depending on your desired look, use either a tooling joint or a wooden stick to shape them.

After the mortar has had time to set, be sure to go over it with a masonry brush to remove any additional debris.

 

From here, it’s just a matter of cleaning up your worksite and letting your new wall set. For more information on installing Cultured Stone veneers in your home, be sure to contact our talented design team!

Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal with Cultured Stone Veneers

cultured stone

Textured Tradition

It’s no secret that some of the most beautiful and memorable structures in the world are made with stone.

Whether it’s a grand work of art or an average office building, stone is a material that has shaped our lives. Nowadays, stone has its place in redesigning your home’s interior as well. According to a recent Zonda Media report, manufactured stone veneer (MSV) ranks number two nationally for providing high ROI. Only garage door replacement ranked higher on this list! If you’re looking to improve your home’s curb appeal, try Cultured Stone veneers.

 

What Are Cultured Stone Veneers?

Cultured Stone veneers are a type of manufactured stone. They’re made in flexible molds using a concrete mixture. Afterwards, they’re hand-colored with iron oxide pigments to resemble natural stone. The result is a versatile and lightweight material that adheres to most surfaces. It comes bearing the best credentials as well. Every veneer produced meets AC-51 criteria – the strictest requirements in the industry. As long as you see that CSV® stamp, you can rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality material.

 

Less Weight, Less Problems!

CSV® offer both the home DIYer and the expert many advantages over natural stone. Due to its unique composition, it is almost one-quarter the weight of natural stone. A standard box of CSV® weighs about 10 pounds, and comes pre-sorted for variations in size and color. This means that once you’ve got your stone veneers on hand, you can spend less time moving material around!

This makes the entire installation process easier as well. Natural full-bed stone puts a tremendous amount of strain on surfaces. This means that even the most expert stonemason can only make so much progress each day. That’s not the case with CSV®! Its lightweight properties let you work more with less physical strain. Anyone working with this material is sure to be upright at the end of the day and have a spring in their step.

 

A Variety of Choices

Touching up your firepit? Adding some extra beauty to your home exterior? Then there’s a CSV® in whatever color or style you need! You don’t have to feel confined to standard shades of brown or gray either. A wide variety of the options available are modern, trend-setting, and much newer to the market.

Whether you’re going DIY or hiring an expert, the range of customization is almost endless. CSV® is the perfect material for artistic expression and creative layouts. Working with material like this means the only limit on any of your projects is your imagination!

 

Traditional Beauty Meets Modern Style

Looking for some ideas to jump start your project? We recommend smaller, simpler ideas to get your home interior feeling new!

For example, if your home exterior needs a new look, why not give it a CSV® makeover? This Sculpted Ashlar is modern-meets-classic, with just the right amount of warmth. It looks great both inside your house and out!

sculpted ashlar cultured stone

There’s no better time than now to get that firepit or outdoor bar looking its best for the warmer months! Add beauty and value to yours with this Pro-Fit Alpine Ledgestone. Give your backyard get-togethers the feel of a Northern Ski Lodge!

Using CSV® for your next project gives you the timeless look and feel of stone, at a much better value! Get in touch with the team at GNH Lumber today for any advice and guidance you need with your next home project.

 

Sources: https://www.culturedstone.com/blog/stone-savants-the-artistic-evolution-of-the-modern-mason; https://www.culturedstone.com; https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2021/

Tell Your Home’s Story with Cultured Stone

Add Metro Mojo with Cultured Stone Whether you’re moving into a new space or adding onto your current home, improving its aesthetics is key. It’s important to end up with a look and style you love, but it all has to tell your home’s unique story!

Simplistic spaces evoke calm feelings, but the opposite approach has its own benefits. One of the hottest trends in home design nowadays is “Maximalism”. From a design standpoint, it means more is more!

Mastering Maximalist design involves more than using quirky art or wild colors. But incorporating this style lets you get bold and creative as well! Your own design journey should be personal and evocative.

If you’re looking to add a touch of Maximalist metro mojo, using Cultured Stone is a great place to start! These cleverly crafted cultured stone veneers are a great way to give your home an impressive and stylish look.

Make Your Home Your Own

Cultured Stone Maximalism

When you start designing, the first thing to consider is what you want the finished product to look like. What inspires you? Are there important details that you wish to display? What tells the story of your life and your creativity in the most elaborate way possible? The beauty of Maximalism is that it allows your space to be as unique and expressive as you are.
 
This is your chance to add those interesting design ideas that you’ve dreamed about! You’ve always wanted a cheetah print couch and a funky cobalt blue accent wall? Do it! This style works at its best when you combine traditional elements with funky pops of color. The end result is a room that is the personification of “you”!

Creating Trendy Together Spaces

Trendy spaces

There’s something magical about the communal component of urban living – no matter where. It’s time for your fireplace surround to soar like a within a historic brownstone home. Your wall between the den and the kitchen can function as an indoor window. There are many little touches that can bring any space together in a modern and stylish way. Cultured Stone makes it simple to recreate any urban and trendy looks! Even better, these manufactured stone veneers can be colored to match whatever the tone of whatever room you’re adding onto.

Embrace Your Outdoor Space

Cultured Stone Veneers Outdoors

 

Whether your home has a rooftop escape or not, you should make the most of your outdoor space too. In addition, you can do it with any sort of space – even if it’s shared with neighbors!

You can spruce up your outdoor space with floral arrangements, in pots if needed. We also recommend adding murals or other artwork that reminds you of city parks. You can even add strand lights to help enhance that hip metro feel. If your backyard isn’t shared and you have extra space, you have an even better option. Try building a secret garden to give you a “private” feeling to remind you of other secluded gardens. Personal walkways or garden walls with Cultured Stone are the perfect final touch!

Don’t forget to make sure your outdoor space is fit for entertaining guests! A backyard getaway or rooftop escape is the perfect place to gather after sundown. Make it great for an evening under the stars by creating a conversation space. Be sure to equip it with lovely seating options around a Cultured Stone firepit or firebowl. With all the sizes and styles available, you can craft your own magical space to make lifelong memories!

Wherever you call home, whether it’s urban, suburban, or something more – it should match the needs of you and your family. By adding onto your home with Cultured Stone, you can create a warm and personalized space for anyone. Contact our talented team today to learn how we can help improve your home!

 

Source: Cultured Stone

Measuring for Kitchen Cabinets

How to Measure for Kitchen Cabinets

Measuring for Kitchen Cabinets

Measured Decisions

If you’re installing kitchen cabinets, one of the most important steps is taking measurements. Since your cabinets are one of the main features of the kitchen, it helps to take your measurements right. Having the proper measurements beforehand means you won’t buy cabinets that don’t fit. Also, with accurate measurements, ordering and installing your cabinets is a breeze. So, before you start looking at brands, you should know how to measure for kitchen cabinets.

Tools and Preparation

Before starting your measurements, you’ll need the right supplies on hand. For this, we recommend using the following tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Planning grid/scratch paper
  • Calculator
  • Step stool or ladder
  • Level ruler (to help determine if additional work is needed)
  • Laser measuring tool (optional, but useful to double-checking measurements)

This is also a good time to draw out your rough sketch of the kitchen. Every appliance, window, door, electrical line, plumbing line, and vent should be included. This sketch doesn’t need to be perfect, but it should be easy to understand.

Taking Horizontal Measurements

Now you can begin taking horizontal measurements. Measure the current cabinets to start, and if you’re overhauling an entire space, measure the whole wall. This will let you know how you can reconfigure the cabinets within the space. Be sure to go from wall edge to wall edge to get the total space. For openings like doors or windows, your measurements should be from one underside of the trim to the other underside. Remember to write your numbers clearly, and round to the nearest 1/16th of an inch.

Taking Vertical Measurements

Start by measuring the distance from the floor to the ceiling in each corner and at the middle of every wall. This ceiling height will determine the preferred height of your upper kitchen cabinets. If your kitchen has soffits (a little wall that hangs down from the ceiling above doors), they must be measured as well. You can measure these by going from the floor to the bottom of the soffit. For reference, most older homes have ceiling heights of 8 feet, and 9 feet in newer homes. But accurate measurements are still encouraged – you want those upper cabinets to fit.

Measuring Existing Fixtures and Cabinets

Unless you’re changing the entire kitchen layout, you should measure the existing fixtures and cabinets. Everything from the oven to the sink must be considered. You’ll need to find their center point to get the best measurements. This can be done by starting at the end of the appliance closest to the wall. You then measure back until you come to the middle of the appliance. If it’s located in an island, start your measurements at the end of that island. For any electrical, gas, or plumbing lines, measure from the wall to the center of the line/pipe.

You’ll need to measure the height, width, and depth of your existing cabinets as well. This will give you an idea of what size will work for your project. Depending on the cabinet’s design, it might have extra features that add extra space. These include toe kicks, oversized countertops, or frameless doors. If you’re only replacing your cabinets, this will determine if your new cabinets fit or not.

Standard Cabinet Measurements

With your measurements in hand, it helps to know some standard ready-to-assemble cabinet sizes. Base, or lower, cabinets are usually 24” deep from the wall and 34 ½” high.  They often have a 3” inset for the toe kick at the bottom.  Upper cabinets are usually 12” deep and are available in 30”, 36”, or 42” heights. These choices account for different ceiling heights, and whether you want space above them.  Pantry cabinets come in 84”, 90”, or 96” heights and are 24” deep.  The width of cabinets varies so getting the most accurate measurements is crucial.

With the right measurements, your DIY kitchen cabinet installation is sure to go off without a hitch! Get in touch with us today for help designing your kitchen or selecting the best cabinet!