Category Archives: Home

Basement Waterproofing

Does your  home have a wet basement?

A chronic wet basement is a sign that you have a serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. A basement that is chronically wet can mean you have potential foundation problems. Damp or wet basements can lead to structural issues, water damage, and potential health problems such as mould and mildew growth.

There are many reasons why people use their basements. Some of the reasons you use your basement could include using the basements for additional living space, recreational, a home office, or just simply as storage space. Regardless of the reason, if you have a moisture problem, leakage or some degree of flooding, you need to address the problem because it will not go away on its own.

The only solution to correct your basement’s water issues is to determine the source of the moisture. Most commonly wet and leaking basement problems are remedied through your Toronto basement.

A highly rated home renovation contractor in Toronto can help you find the source of your problems.

However, you need to be aware that not all basements are the same. There are many reasons and causes why your basement leaks or is wet, so there are a variety of waterproofing solutions that can be used to fix your particular problem.

Also, not all basements are constructed the same as foundations for homes can be different, especially in older homes. Building codes and materials used in the construction of basement foundations have evolved over time.

Also, everything changes from the effects of wear and tear, and is subject to movement, erosion, and temperature extremes, just to name a few. Even newer homes can have leakage or seepage problems from different causes.

Reasons for your wet and damp basement problems

Let’s look at some of the causes in more detail for a leaking or wet basement. It can range from hydrostatic (fluid) pressure, deterioration of the foundation from water or frost, shifting and movement of the soil, and a host of other reasons. Each cause needs to be determined and corrected properly or the problem will likely recur again.

Some of the reasons for your wet basement can include one or several of the causes;

Cracked Foundation Walls

Leaks can occur from cracks in the foundation walls or floors of your basement. They allow moisture and even critical leaks of water to occur. These cracks may appear small on the inside of the basement, but even small hairline cracks will leak over time. You might think a simple patch job will fix the problem, but it will do so only temporarily. The problem has to be fixed from the outside through excavation and a full repair. We may employ an interior solution but only if the problem cannot be repaired from the exterior.


Many people experience flooding in their homes because of a heavy snowfall followed by a sudden warm spell which the clogged and ice covered municipal drain systems can’t handle. Even more problematic are the sudden and heavy rainfalls which also overload the system. Sometimes this is confused with a significant problem, or that waterproofing someone previously completed is not functional. However, it is best to let a professional assess the source of the flood and advise accordingly.

Water Table

The and also varies according to amount of rain. You may not have experienced any problems for years. All of a sudden you have leakage, seepage or flooding problems that appear inexplicable. This problem will flood the subfloor of the basement, and does not allow the weeping tile to “weep” water down underneath the finished space of the home.

Drainage Problems

Poor drainage is another major cause of wet basements. Water can suddenly start to appear as if it’s leaking up through the floor. It may appear where the walls and floor meet or come through cracks in the wall. There are used which range from French drains to crushed stones. For one reason or another, there may be damage or the system becomes plugged which causes the water to back-up.

Eaves trough Problems

An eaves trough system is used to prevent rain water and melting snow from overloading the drainage system and direct it away from the house. Unfortunately, many people neglect to keep the eaves trough in good repair, and let it to become clogged, or fail to ensure the water is being drained away from the home.


Window Wells

Poorly constructed or badly maintained window wells can also cause your basement to experience leakage or moisture problems. Most often these wells require a little maintenance which can help stop leaks seeping through below grade windows! Any window within six inches of the ground requires a well with a drain to the footing!


Waterproofing Solutions

Depending on the cause of your wet basement problems, you will need the right solution to permanently fix the problem. The proper waterproofing solution will save you aggravation, prevent health and humidity problems. Additionally, proper waterproofing will give added value to your Toronto home.

There are 2 approaches that can be taken when to waterproofing your basement. They are interior repairs and exterior repairs. Truthfully though, the interior repair is not a real waterproofing solution, and is used for areas when the exterior of the foundation cannot be accessed.

Interior repairs are also used when lowering a basement. This process means that the floor and utilities are lowered, so the weeping tile and drainage board must also be lowered to account for the new depths.

Real waterproofing occurs from the exterior repair of the basement where we employ various layers of membranes to ensure no water can penetrate the worked on area.

Let’s examine both solutions in more detail so you will properly understand the differences.

Drawbacks of Interior Basement Waterproofing

Interior basement waterproofing does not employ the use of a sealant. True interior waterproofing allows a membrane to be installed into the interior of the home where we divert water underneath the basement floor to a drainage system (interior weeping tile).

Applying an over the counter sealant on the interior of a basement wall or floor, will likely result in causing the moisture to be trapped in the cracks, and cause further eroding of the foundation. The foundation problems will worsen over time. If the problem is caused by problems in the exterior drainage system or cracks, the interior is a more temporary solution as water still enters but is diverted.

Another drawback of this solution is that if repairs are performed incorrectly you are likely going to be creating standing water. This will perpetuate problems of high humidity, and can develop health hazards from mould infestation which can spread throughout the house.

Interior repairs are only to be performed after evaluating the state of the basement foundation and the severity of the problem. Usually the interior repair is done only until you can fix any existing or apparent problems on the exterior of the basement foundation.

Benefits of Exterior Basement Waterproofing

The best approach to have your Toronto home waterproofed, and to do so correctly, is to perform an exterior repair. This is the only way you can solve drainage issues and to properly correct any problems with the foundation of your home and prevent further structural damage.


How Exterior Basement Waterproofing Works

The first approach would be to correct any problems with the drainage system such as the weeping tiles, and fix any existing foundation problems in the footing or walls of the basement.

After correcting any existing problems which may make excavation unsafe, the exterior of the basement foundation walls and footings are fully excavated. When exposed, the walls are then covered with a special hydraulic concrete and liquid tar like membrane.

This process prevents the advent of moisture and acts as a permanent barrier. The exterior is then re-enforced with a mesh, and the tar is re-applied. A drainage board is installed along with new weeping tile, landscape fabric, clear stone and finish strips.

How long do these liquid membranes last? These membranes have a shelf life prescribed by the manufacturer, but most carry a functional life span of ten years. They are designed to stay elastomeric (never cures hard).

Regardless of what caused the leakage or seepage into your basement, selecting the best waterproofing membranes is always the correct way to repair a wall. The only way to fix failed tar is to dig it back up, so it must be done correctly the first time.

Waterproofing Versus Damp Proofing

When your home is constructed new, it is initially damp proofed to allow the concrete or foundation block to dry. This means that only 99% of the water is deterred from the wall allowing some escape of moisture so the wall can dry. Conversely, this means over time that water can and will enter the wall.

You must understand that damp proofing is part of the building code in Ontario, and lasts an indefinite amount of time. When we employ waterproofing membranes, 100% of the water is kept out of the wall to avoid frost issues, prevents water penetration through absorption, or covers any gaps, cracks, and holes that may leak. This only can be done with exterior repairs!


Some contractors might promote the notion of a ‘quick fix’ by suggesting that you strictly use a sealant as a cheaper alternative to fixing your leaky basement, but the money you save now will most likely end up costing you a lot more down the road.

Your best bet is contact a qualified and licensed contractor and to have your basement properly inspected with moisture tools and repaired by a reputable waterproofing contractor.


How to Stop a Water Leak in your Basement

 One of the main problems when it comes to wet basement concerns is that you cannot always see the leak. If standing water visibly gathers in your basement or it always floods in this area, you know that you to find ways to deal with the problem right away. Here are some of the most common signs of a damp basement if you can’t see water at first glance.

  • Visible mildew or mold
  • Warped wall paneling
  • Musty odor
  • Bowing or collapsing walls
  • Flaking paint
  • Crack in floor or walls
  • Rust on hot water heater or furnace

If you see any of these signs, you should contact a basement contractor so that he can assess the situation and recommend the right solution to the problem. Ignoring the problem won’t do you any good. You run the risk of exposing your family to mold growth and damaging your home’s overall structure and foundation.

Water leaks can happen anytime. It can damage the appliances and furniture inside your home. Water leaks can also promote the growth of mildew and mold, which can lead to the development of various health problems like asthma, fatigue, allergies, respiratory failures and lung problems. These health concerns are more likely to occur if you have a weak immune system or an underlying lung problem.

Waterproofing the wall panels of the basement can help stop leaks and prevent the problems that are associated with it. Before you waterproof the basement balls with waterproofing paint or other water-resistant materials, you need to remove any excess water. The following tips can help you fix and stop water leaks in your basement.

  1. Find the source of leaks

You need to know the source of water leakage. Use a 12″ x 12″ sheet of aluminum foil to tightly seal a section of the basement wall that tends to be damp. This will help you know whether the water on the walls is coming from the inside or outside of the basement. Leave the aluminum foil there for one or two days. If water appears on the side of the aluminum foil that is against the wall, the problem is coming from the outside of your basement. If the outside of the aluminum foil is damp, it means that the water is coming from the inside of the basement.

  1. Fix your plumbing system

Plumbing leaks can boost the level of humidity inside your basement, so you should fix your plumbing system if there’s any leak. After you finish fixing the plumbing system, you should open all the windows and use fans to air out your basement. You can also use a dehumidifier to eliminate any remaining humidity.

  1. Repair broken gutters or downspout

A broken gutter or downspout can cause water coming from the roof to collect around the basement walls. Roof water can seep through the cracks and pores in the masonry and damage the structure of your house. Fix a broken gutter or if it’s beyond repair, you should install a new one. You can install a screen to protect the gutter from broken twigs, dirt, small pebbles and fallen leaves and prevent clogging.

  1. Exterior basement waterproofing

Exterior basement waterproofing uses membranes or polymers to waterproof the basement walls. The polymers can last for a very long time, so you can relax knowing that your basement is protected.

Making your basement waterproof is very important. Mildew and mold love damp basements and can do expensive damage to your property. Removing mildew and mold spores is hard. Follow the tips stated above and keep your basement dry at all times.

family pet cats and dogs

Should I Go for a Cat or Dog as Our Family Pet?

Should I go to have a cat or a dog as our family pet? The answer to this question is just so easy for some. If you like dogs, it will be a puppy that you can love, but if you love feline, you will not want to share that attention which a dog requires. Perhaps it is a simple and easy decision.

To know which one is the best pet, you have to be aware of the characteristic of each house pet.  If you have never owned a pet before, you can consult your local vet for advice.  We consulted our local animal hospital in Matthews, NC to get advice on what breeds would be good for us.


Cats love being outdoors occasionally. They might wander off now and then. The only thing they need to be trained to do is to utilize the litter box and not to scratch draperies or furniture. Cats will not stand for much more.

A cat is easy to handle and take care of. They will allow you to have a serene and independent life. Also, they don’t mind being left alone, except you are in need of being on your own.

Cats are definitely more independent than dogs and work well in homes were people are at work and school all day.  Some people also love their independence, as they answer to no one!


Dogs thrive on regular exercise. They love to walk outdoors. They require more training and they really enjoy training. It provides them quality time with their masters. They love to please their owners and training gives that opportunity.

Dogs will greet you with delight. It does not matter if you went outside just to throw the garbage or if you have been at your work all day. Compared to cat, dogs aren’t happy when left alone and thrive on interaction with dogs and people once trained properly. While they may happy in being there to serve you, cats will let you to serve.

In case your choice as a house pet is a dog, there are many things you have to think about. The initial step in picking a dog is looking for the one which suits your daily lifestyle. Are you a home buddy, or a person on the go? Logic might seem to say that a smaller dog will be less trouble. This isn’t essentially so. A mastiff might love to lie around your home all day and wait for you patiently to return. A Russell terrier will bounce her way around your home it doesn’t matter if you are present or not.

How old must your dog be? A puppy is cute and will increase your responsibility. A puppy needs house training as well as behavior training. You’ll have to tolerate accidents and chewing. If you don’t have time to give over to these steps, you’ll be glad adopting an older dog. Keep in mind that not all older dogs are accessible because of bad behavior. Most often they relinquished as of changes in the status of the family, illness and moving of the owners. Through dealing with a reliable rescue, you’ll know lots about the dog prior to adopting your new friend.


In general, choosing between dog and cat as a house comes down to what you wish for a pet, energy and time you are ready to devote. Where you reside also plays an essential role in making a choice. But, no matter what you choose, cats and dogs are lovable and enjoyable to be with.

Swim Spa

Should I Get a Pool or Hot Tub For My Home?

If you need a way to relax and have fun in your home, one of the best ways to do this is by adding a hot tub or an above ground pool. Here are some tips on both so you can decide to get one or both:

When it comes to hot tubs, it’s much easier to install an above ground hot tub, as an in-ground one requires digging and/or some renovation to the inside of your house. Some of the options to consider when choosing hot tubs are the size (usually 2-8 people), seating arrangements (molded or benches), color (tan, white, etc.), shape (oval, round, square, etc.), exterior cabinet (wood, stone or composite), water jets (different sizes and types), or upgrades like LED lights or waterfalls or sound systems.

Cost of Hot Tubs

Hot tubs can cost anywhere from a range of about $2,000 and up. It all depends on the choice of the things mentioned above, and if you install it yourself or have the manufacturer do it or if it is delivered, as that can add on costs. Some of the best brands of hot tubs to choose from are Jacuzzi, Coast Spas, LifeSmart, QCA Spas, Sunbelt, and SpaBerry.

Yes, hot tubs can be expensive, but when you take the hydrotherapy benefits into play, you may find that you may cut down on your visits to your local massage parlor.  I love my massages, but now only go once a month to my favorite massage spa in Charlotte.

Hot Tub Care

It is necessary to properly maintain your hot tub if you want it to be sanitary and last a long time. Things like testing the chemicals and pH levels are some of that required maintenance. Plus, they should be inspected periodically by a hot tub specialist.

Above Ground Pools

Many homeowners also consider building an above ground pool as swimming is fun and a good source of exercise. Above ground pools can be far less expensive than in-ground pools for several reasons. The above ground pools, for instance, require lots of plumbing fixtures, as well as excavating dirt from your yard, etc., while that is not needed for above ground pools.

In fact, above ground pools are said to cost a quarter what an in-ground pools costs. Plus, they come in easy to install kits and can be installed with only two or three people doing the job.

Maintenance And Safety of Above Ground Pools

Above ground pools are also safer and easier to manage. Of course you still have to use the proper chemicals to keep it clean, and remove debris like leaves, but they are easier to maintain. Plus, you can put a special kind of ladder to get into an above ground pool and use a locking gate or just drain it and take it apart when you don’t plan on using it for long periods of time, as this will make it safer to have one in your yard.

Plus, if you move away to a new home, you won’t lose your pool if you have an above ground pool because you can just take it apart and move it along with all of your other household goods.


How to Take Proper Care of Your Natural Stone Tiles – 5 Simple Tips

Natural stone tiles have become quite popular in recent years and are no longer the priority of the wealthy. It is quite common now to have a white marble kitchen top, grey granite floor tiles or antique travertine bathroom walls. Natural stone is a symbol of longevity and durability, however it is also a gentle material that deserves proper care and maintenance in order to reward you with its excellent qualities. The good news is that it is not difficult to clean your natural stone tiles especially if you follow these 5 simple tips given below.


Get to know your stone

In order to be able to take proper care of your natural stone you should know a few details about its origin and qualities. The stones can be divided into two main categories depending on their composition – siliceous and calcareous. The first group are sedimentary rocks that consist mainly of silicon dioxide (SiO2) in the form of quartz or quartz-like particles and silica. These stones are quite popular and include granite, sandstone, quartzite, slate, bluestone and brownstone that are used both as interior and exterior tiles. Siliceous stones are more durable and are resistant to acidic fluids, hence granite is one of the preferred stones for countertop since some juice or vinegar spills won’t ruin it. Calcareous stones, on the other hand, are more delicate and sensitive. They are composed of calcium carbonate that is found in shells or pearls and to this group belong the well-known marble, onyx, limestone and travertine. Another important feature of natural stone is their porosity, i.e. the ability to absorb water. The more porous the stone is the more prone it is to stain and to freeze in harsh conditions if used outside.  according to this quality the stones that are usually used rank as follows: sandstone is the most porous, travertine, limestone and slate follow it, marble is next and granite is the least porous of all.


Choose the appropriate finish

There is not only a variety of natural stone tiles  to choose from but also an array of different finishes and surfaces that enhance one or another quality of the stone. Some of the most popular finishes are polished, honed, tumbled, and antiqued.

  • The polished finish gives the surface gloss and shine and makes it reflective similar to a mirror. It is often used for marble, granite and travertine but can be applied to other stones as well. The advantage of this finish is that it enhances the color of the stone but also makes the surface quite slippery, so it is not recommendable for floors.
  • The honed finish makes the stone look smooth and matted, while preserving its color. The surface has a lighter shade and is not so shine and reflective. The finishing can be applied to almost all stones and is very suitable for tiles that have to withstand high wear and tear, such as floors.
  • The tumbled finish of a stone makes it look aged and as if walked on for years. It is an ideal finish if you want to give your home the unique atmosphere of the ancient times. You can have marble or travertine tiles with this finishing and use them both for walls and floors in the kitchen or bathroom
  • The antiqued finish is also very popular type of surface since in addition to giving the stone a worn look it also stimulates its further aging and makes it more durable. It is a popular finish for a variety of stones, including limestone, marble, granite and travertine.

You can consult the natural stone tiles manufacturer for the best finishing of your stone in accordance with its purpose.


Always seal your stone

The most important advice you should follow is to always seal your natural stone tiles, no matter what type of stone you use or what its finish is. The sealer protects the stone from scratching and stains and enhances its life span. Always choose a sealer that is recommended for your specific stone tiles.

Take daily care

The proper regular care of natural stone tiles is of extreme importance. Both countertops and floors covered with such tiles can be cleaned with mild dishwasher detergent or soap stone and warm water. All food or liquid spills should be swiped immediately to prevent the stone from staining. In order to protect the kitchen tops always use mats under hot surfaces and avoid cutting directly on them as you can scratch them. As for the floors it is good to always vacuum bigger debris and sand particles before mopping and washing them. You can also place doormats or area rugs to protect place that are subject to high traffic.

Remove stains properly

No matter how good we take care of our natural stone tiles they will get an occasional stain or two. If you use the right techniques to clean them, there is nothing to worry about. First you need to identify if the stain is organic (from tea, coffee, food, etc.), oil, rust or other and then proceed accordingly. Organic stains can be cleaned using 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia. Oil stains are better cleaned with a poultice with acetone, ammonia or mild household detergent, while rust is best treated with a commercial rust remover.

Observe these 5 recommendations and the natural stone tiles that you have will serve you very long time, while looking as good as when first installed.

Energy efficient home

Home Energy Tips For the Smart Homeowner

Everyone wants to save money on their home energy bills.  Better yet, wouldn’t it be even better to save money and reduce your impact on the environment?

Younger generations are placing a bigger and bigger emphasis on environmental concerns than older generations, which is great.  We have limited resources on this planet and need to make sure we take care of our planet and leave resources and a healthy planet for generations to come.

When it comes to our home, there are lots of little things we can do that can add up to big savings to your checkbook as well as minimizing the impact on our environment.

Below are some tips for saving money and the planet when it comes to your home.


Use Clean Energy For Your Fireplace

Instead of using wood or coal fireplaces, which produce carbon monoxide and other toxins into the atmosphere, consider using cleaner energy sources like natural gas or better yet, go electric.  Electric fireplaces have come a long way in terms of looks and energy efficiency.  My friend Jeanne over at Stylish Fireplaces in Toronto (now in Vaughan) says that younger people are moving more and more towards electric fireplaces due to their versatility and energy efficiency.


Use Solar Energy

Solar energy roof panels is still an emerging market but many homeowners are making the switch thanks to federal and state-level subsidies available.  While the upfront costs can be high (20K+), subsidies can offset that costs and often within 10 years your investment will start producing a positive ROI for you as well as a greatly reduced impact on the environment.


Energy Efficient HVAC System

If you have an old HVAC system or one that runs poorly, maybe by poor installation or m=workmanship, then you have a chance to save a bundle with a new HVAC system.  If your system is under 10 years old, a good cleaning and regular maintenance plan may be all that’s needed.  If you have an older system, replacing all or parts of the system may be in order.  We had old fiber based ductwork in our house which was falling apart and leaking all over the place and saw an immediate 20% savings on our energy bill, which works out to over $600 a year on our bill.


Tankless Water Heater

A hot water tank can use up to 20% of your monthly energy bill, continually heating water that is just sitting in your tank, even if you are gone all day at work or on vacation.  A tankless water heater produces hot water on demand and only heats it when you want to use it.  A tankless water heater can add up to big savings for you over the course of the year.

The only thing I will add is that if you have a large family and people tend to take showers simultaniously, a tankless hot water heater may stuggle a bit trying to supply enough hot water to every shower head.


Insulate your attic

Do you have your attic insulated or is it old and not efficient anymore?  In the summer, attic insulation will help keep the heat shining on your roof from getting into your home and causing your HVAC system to work overtime.  In the winter, it will help you keep warm air in the attic and stop it from escaping from the house.  A bonus would be to get an attic fan, which will help get heat out of your home during the summer months.

When we renovated our home a few years ago, we converted our attic into a family room for our growing family.  The home renovation company in Toronto we hired needed to retrofit the attic with proper wallboard, HVAC system, and air circulation to make sure the room did not get too hot in the summer and cool air could reach the third floor when needed.


So here are just a few tips to save money on your energy bill at home.  Have any tips of your own?  Let us know in the comments below!

Why Electric Fireplaces Are Better Than Gas and Wood

Are you considering getting a new fireplace for your home?  Before you go out and purchase a gas or wood fireplace, learn more about the benefits of an electric fireplace!

Years ago, electric fireplaces were basically space heaters with a picture of flames on the front glass.  Oh how times have changed! Not only is the flame media much more realistic, some people can’t tell they are not real flames until they have their face pressed up against the glass.

The realistic look and energy and health benefits, make an electric fireplace an attractive option.  Let’s look at some benefits of an electric fireplace.

1 – They are energy efficient.  The costs to run an electric fireplace compare favorably against a gas fireplace and offers the convenience of being able to be placed anywhere an electrical outlet is nearby, you can’t do that with gas.  And with wood, you need to vent 90% of the heat out of the flu or else you’re at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2 – They are convenient.  Turn on, turn off, set a timer and away we go.  Get clean heat on demand without any gas or wood smell in your home.  Want to turn it on during the summer?  No worries, use the flame only feature and have a fireplace without the heat, something you can’t do with any other fireplace.

3- They are eco-friendly.  No pollutants in the air, no carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.  It just delivers clean, cheap and efficient heat and ambiance whenever you feel like it.

So where you get an electric fireplace?  There are dealers all across the country, Dimplex, Napolean, Amantii and Modern Flame are some fo the better options out there.  We purchased our Dimplex wall fireplace from a Dimplex fireplace dealer in Toronto last year and loved it.  If you live in the States, there are many online options as well that offer great prices.

Check out the tips below for some more electric fireplace tips and hopefully, it’ll help you decide what type of fireplace to buy for your home.

Why Electric Fireplace

Outdoor Fireplace

How To Create A Perfect Backyard For Your Family

Most homeowners know that the act of buying a property hardly comes without a certain amount of compromise. For some, instead of having sprawling grounds, it is better to make peace with a seemingly cozy yard.

You can transform your postage stamp yard to an amazing hideaway with just a little planning and forethought. You can create a space a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing small backyard if you can put certain simple ideas together. Here are some small background ideas that can help you transform that ordinary space behind your house to a perfect backyard for your family.


Render Your Space Function

One effective way to make your space look more cohesive is by defining its function. You can begin by thinking of various ways through which you can ideally choose to use your exterior. This may include installing a large dining table for some kind of al fresco summer feasting or a turning it into a perfect relaxation spot with plush seating area. You can either decide to break up your yard into a few distinct areas or stick with one feature depending on the availability of space.


Build a Tree House

This is almost a must have for every home with a backyard and kids. In fact, the tree house is the No. 1 DIY project for the backyard. This is a place where kids will love to set up meetings, play together and have fun all through the day. If you do not have any in your backyard, it is important you start constructing one with your kid but if you already have one, ensure to render a quick makeover.


A Nice Pool

No doubt, swimming pools has a calming effect. They tend to give a backyard that cooling effect. Building a swimming pool or even a Jacuzzi in your backyard would definitely go a long way in transforming your space into a soothing oasis. This special edge can even be obtained from a simple bird bath.


Plant a Vegetable Garden

Your yard can be brought to life if you plant flowers and shrubs in it. Even if they may only live for a few months, change the look of your backyard and make it come alive by strategically placing flower beds, shrubs and herb gardens. This will make your space lively and perfect for family parties and pensive personal moments.


Put in a Hot Tub

Whether in the middle of a regular-length day or at the end of a long day, nothing is more relaxing than soaking in a hot tub. However, ensure to apply extreme caution around the water, so as to keep things family-friendly.  If you want to use your hot tub for health and exercise, then consider getting a swim spa for your home.


Construct an Outdoor Fire Place

An outdoor fireplace comes in very handy during the chilling times of the winter season where you and your family members can cuddle up together to share warmth. It is also a great spot for barbecue parties and to enjoy your backyard in the cooler months of the year.


Should I Use a Mortgage Broker or a Bank

Getting a mortgage is one of the most important steps in the life of any person, a step that needs to be performed with care. One of the crucial things you need to take into account is whom you are contracting the loan from. One of the main options you have is either a mortgage broker or a bank. Both come with advantages and disadvantages, so you nee to be aware of both before taking into account any of the two options.

Despite the fact that mortgage brokers have been around for quite a while, people are still weary to work such an important loan from them because in the past some of these brokers added hidden costs that increased the overall cost of the loan, something that was fixed recently with a law specifically created for this alone.  Mortgage brokers offer homeowners more choices and more education than you would typically see at a bank.

Many people with non-traditional circumstances also benefit from working with a mortgage broker.  People with mediocre credit or self employed people may find a mortgage broker the better option when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage.

The mortgage broker is basically the middleman. He won’t loan you the money, instead he will find the best loaner that you need at an accessible price. This can be either a commercial bank, community bank, credit union, or even a mortgage bank. Some of the most important banks in the country are Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. In Canada, you have Toronto Dominion, RBC, Scotia and BMO as some fo the major national banks. One of the main advantages of a mortgage broker is that is offers you a wide range of variety when compared to the bank, meaning that you have access to a wide range of services from multiple lenders, and you, as a client, only need to select the one that you want. This makes the overall experience a lot more convenient, something that we definitely want.


On top of that, as a borrower that contacts mortgage brokers you will save a lot of time because the broker will do whatever it takes to fin the best deal for you, according to your own parameters. Brokers also handle the paperwork and meetings with the lenders, so all you need to do is sign the papers and the money will be delivered to you as fast as possible. This surely makes the service very convenient and it’s specifically created to help busy lenders.

The banks on the other hand are the ones in control because they make the decision of lending the money. If a borrower is a longtime client of a bank then he might be able to receive some favorable terms when it come to contracting a loan. Getting the loan using the services of the broker means that you need to pay a fee, while contacting the bank directly will remove that fee. Remember that in the end the bank is the one that sets the interest rate, so the broker is basically a middleman that will help you find the best deal without worrying. However, this comes with a cost.

To sum up, you need to figure out how much time you have to speak with the lenders and take care of the paperwork. If you can do that on your own, then the services of a mortgage broker are not required, but if don’t have the time to do that, then the broker might be a good option. It’s a good idea to find out the fees first, so you won’t end up with unpleasant surprises.


What Is Manual Physiotherapy?

Manual therapy is a practice that has become very popular in the last few years. Manual therapy is mainly an approach used by physical therapists to find out the causes of the injury and then treat the joint structures as well as the soft tissues, with the final purpose being of modulating pain, eliminating any tissue inflammations and so on.

Moreover, manual therapy is also useful if you want to facilitate movement, improve various body functions and induce a sense of relaxation, something that is needed in a stressful society such as ours.

Manual therapy is basically a way of performing therapeutic techniques without the use of technical equipment. Instead, people known as manual therapists use their own hands to treat injuries or joint problems for example.

A manual therapist is a person that has an advanced training as a physical therapist and which, of course, has obtained a certificate in this field of work. This means that a physical therapist has a lot of knowledge regarding clinical terms and conditions.

There are different types of manual therapy that can be performed. One of the most popular ones is mobilization and manipulation. This one includes different types of high velocity and small amplitude therapeutic movement, all of them combined with the main purpose of helping you move better and easier.

Then there’s the muscle energy technique that specifically uses the contraction of the patient muscles against a counterforce from a certain position towards a certain direction. This particular technique is suitable for engaging the joint restriction barrier without stressing it.

Moreover, there’s the strain-counterstrain technique which places the body in a position of comfort with the sole purpose relieving pain by reduction.

Another technique that is very popular is the soft tissue mobilization that breaks the restrictions between muscles and decreases hypertonus. The hypertonus is usually associated with muscle tightness, which can cause different problems.

The high velocity, low amplitude thrusting techniques is another one suitable for joints, this time it makes it easy to restore the gliding motion of your joints so you can close and open them efficiently. It’s a little more aggressive than the other one, but if it’s used properly it brings a decrease in the muscle tone as well as an increase in mobility.

However, manual physiotherapy can’t solve all problems, that’s why patients are always encouraged to use various types of treatments. Combining these with exercises for back pain and some aerobic can definitely improve the condition, as this is a great exercise for any patient.

In the end, the main goal of the manual physiotherapy is to help the body recover from stress or any other issue. By combining it with other activities you will have the opportunity of living a much better and healthier life.