Category Archives: Home Improvement

Home Remodeling: 5 Areas To Invest In When Decorating

Home Remodeling: 5 Areas To Invest In When Decorating

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There is no doubt that home remodeling is expensive. It is, therefore, only natural to want to save money wherever possible. That does not mean, however, that you shouldn’t splurge. In fact, there are items that are worth paying a little more, be it because you want a quality item or a unique one or for any other reason. Here are six areas where you should definitely invest in when decorating your home.

#1 Walls

Paint is one of the quickest, easiest and most impactful ways to change a space. Higher quality paint will give you richer colors and a broader array of choices. Better quality paint also offers a washable finish which makes maintaining it much easier. You can repaint an entire room a single color or you could paint one wall to create a visually stunning accent. Wallpaper is another option for your walls. It can be eye catching and iconic.

#2 Lighting

Lighting fixtures are one of the most important elements in your design. Recess lighting can help to streamline the look of a room by offering lighting without the fixtures getting in the way. Sometimes, however, light fixtures can add to the aesthetic of a room. A pendant light or lamp for example can complement the décor while focusing light to the places where you need it the most. Whether you decide to go with recessed lighting or with lamps or visible fixtures, lighting is one place that your money will be well spent.

#3 Furniture

Having good quality furniture that can be used in just about any setting is a must. You may have to spend a little more up front, but the investment will pay for itself over time in all of the years you will be able to use it rather than spend more money on a replacement. If you live in an apartment, but have an eye toward buying a home in the future, it is worthwhile to invest in quality pieces now. You will be able to expand your collection when you move into your new home rather than starting all over.

#4 Timeless Pieces

Start with a statement piece. This should be a singular piece such as a piece of art or a piece of furniture around which you can build your design. It should be something that really speaks to you and shows off your style. Surround it with classic pieces. Classic pieces are things that stand the test of time where style is concerned. These pieces can be lamps, picture frames and even furniture. When you spend your money on classic pieces that will be with you for a long time, you are making an investment.

#5 Mattress

A good quality mattress is not just important when you are decorating; it is necessary for your health and happiness. Human beings function better and are less likely to suffer from mental health issues, such as depression, when they are able to get a good night’s sleep. Look for a mattress that is the right size, which may mean getting a larger size than you think you need, such as a queen instead of a full-sized mattress. You should also make sure to get one that is comfortable and gives you the appropriate support for your head, neck and back. Your mattress is the gateway to a solid night’s rest. Its importance in your life cannot be overstated. This is not the place to skimp.

When redecorating your space, make sure you are investing your money wisely. This will ensure that you get the space of your dreams and that it will remain your dream space for a long time.

How To Go Green: Eco-Friendly Bathroom Renovation

How To Go Green: Eco-Friendly Bathroom Renovation

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Experts say that every now and then it is good to bring some change into your life. And the most popular solution is definitely a home renovation project. However, redesigning your bathroom can require a lot of effort, and if it’s not done properly, the results can most often be disappointing. More importantly, this season, eco-friendly bathrooms have become a true craze because they help reduce the harmful impact on nature, they are stylish and cost-efficient. Therefore, in order to help you turn your old dull bathroom into a chic environmentally-friendly one, we have singled out our top bathroom renovation tips. Let’s take a look.

1. Low-flow toilets

low flow toilets
According to the EPA, toilets can consume up to around 30% of all the water in the household. That’s why opting for low-flow toilets is the right way to go. However, most people have a misconception that low flow toilets don’t have enough force because they use way less water, while the actual truth is that modern models have tremendous flushing strength. Additionally, they can be modified with separate buttons for liquid and solid waste which differ in the amount of water used. Lastly, make sure to opt for low-flow toilets if you want to preserve the environment and save a lot of money in the process as well.

2. Motion sensors

Another great way to improve bathroom hygiene and go green is to opt for faucets with motion sensors. The majority of people don’t know that forgetting to turn off the water during a shave or brushing their teeth can tremendously raise their water bills. However, once you have the sensors installed, you won’t need to worry about getting distracted. Additionally, this way you won’t come in touch with any germs from the faucet handles thus keeping your bathroom cleaner and more eco-friendly.

3. Fix your plumbing

plumbing
One of the biggest reasons why Australians nowadays decide to completely renovate their bathrooms is old faulty plumbing since not only does it cause your bills to rise, but can pose serious health risks to all your family members. On top of that, once the pipes break and water starts leaking through, mildew can develop and spread causing severe damage to other parts of your home. For this reason, we recommend hiring experienced professionals who specialise in efficient pipe relining in Sydney and who will make sure that all your plumbing is well-installed and will stay that way for a long time.

4. Energy-efficient water heaters

There is nothing better than coming home after a stressful day and taking a nice long hot shower to soothe the nerves. Unfortunately, heating up all that water can be extremely expensive. That’s why going for a tankless water heater has proven to be the most cost-efficient solution for modern-day homeowners. The reason for this is that these water tanks tend to use around 20-25% less electricity. On top of that, in order to power conventional ones, you need coal, natural gas and even nuclear power which produces toxic waste and has a detrimental effect on nature.

5. Shower instead of a bathtub

shower
Last but not least, opting for an open shower instead of a freestanding bathtub can help you prevent spilling more money down the drain than you really have to. Basically, each time you take a bath, you have to take into consideration the fact that you are consuming 70 gallons of water on average. On the other hand, switching to a shower will reduce the amount spent by 30%. Finally, you can even further reduce water consumption by installing an EPA approved showerhead.

As we can see, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to turn a dull old bathroom into a beautiful eco-friendly one. All you need to do is go for low-flow toilets and showerhead, manage your consumption and opt for a cost-efficient water heating solution. Good luck with your renovation.

Sitting Pretty: 5 Simple Tips on How to Take Care of Your Sofa

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After the long day of staying outside or being drained at work or school, naturally, we all wanted to relax and lay down. The first thing that would come up into our mind is to lounge on our sofa to rest. Aside from this habit, there are other things that we usually do that makes a sofa more useful for us.

With the cozy features of sofas, they allow us to have a close interaction with others such as our housemates. Thus, it is vital to take care of our couches in any possible way. However, we have no control of spills and stains that can make our sofas filthy and stinky. Knowing how to take care of our couches can be a remedy to this problem.

Another overwhelming reason that makes our head throb is that sofas don’t have removable covers. But worry no more as there are practical tips that you can use to take care of your sofas.

See the Label

There are various types of sofas according to design and materials. Before you start caring and cleaning your sofa, the first thing you must do is to identify the kind of material it was made from for you to know how to clean and maintain it.

Most sofa materials can be anything from leather or linen. If you do a have cotton-blend or linen sofa, you’re lucky as you can clean it easily with natural ingredients which can be available in your kitchen. Thus, if you can’t determine the type of couch you have, better look for a tagging in your sofas where it has labels like:

 

  • S- Which means you can only clean your sofas with solvent cleaner
  • SW-   It implies that you can either use water or solvent cleaner
  • X- Only clean your sofa using a vacuum cleaner
  • W-  It is safe to wash your couches with water

Surface Clean and Prepare Your Sofa

Brown Wooden Coffee Table Near Black Sofa Near the Window

Always do a surface cleaning on your couches before you do grooming and deep cleaning. You can use a dry white towel to smoothly sweep the dirt spots and dust on the surface of your sofas. As much as possible, do not use colored fabrics or sponges when brushing as it may dye and alter the color of your sofa.

Perform Deep-Cleaning

If performing a surface clean on your sofa doesn’t work well due to stubborn spills and stains, perform a deep-cleaning. You can sprinkle a heap of baking soda on the entire sofa to break up the stains in the fabric and then brush it off. If it still doesn’t work, the sofa needs a serious cleaning, in this matter, you can make cleaning solution to save money.

In making a cleaning solution, you can use a teaspoon of white vinegar, washing liquid, baking soda and warm water mix them well together and apply. Don’t forget to do a spot test of your solution on a  hidden part of your sofa to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration. If so, don’t use the solution and better purchase a suitable cleaning solution.

Once you have the appropriate cleaning solution, look closely at your sofa and find any lingering stains. Use a white cloth and dip it into the solution then gently rub the stains off, do it until you wipe out all the stains.

Get Rid of Stinky Odors

After removing all the stains and blotches on your couches, the next thing to do is to remove any undesirable smell. By doing this, prepare a baking soda and just sprinkle it on the entire sofa, leave it for 20 to 25 minutes and then vacuum it with a brush attachment. This procedure will make your sofa look clean and smell fresh.

Look New or Brand New

Brown Wooden Center Table

When you have followed the tips mentioned above, you can get two results, it could make your sofa look new and refreshing, or it still looks nasty. If it still looks filthy, then you have no choice but to get rid of it and get a brand new one. If so, try visiting sites like Black Mango to help you have a good opportunity of sofa investments.

Takeaway

As we make use of our couches every day, we don’t have the assurance to prevent it from getting smelly and dirty. With this matter, we should be aware of the things that we should do on how to clean and take care of all our sofas. So, try considering the tips mentioned above for you to learn how to maintain the quality of your sofas.

Beyond Agriculture: 5 Types Hydroponic Systems for Your Garden

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Hydroponics is a method of growing and raising plants in a nutrient-rich, water-based solution. It does not use any soil. Instead, the root is supported using a dormant medium such as perlite, peat moss, rock wool, vermiculite or clay pellets.

The basic assumption of hydroponics is to allow the root of plants to come in direct contact with the nutrients, while also giving access to oxygen that is essential for proper growth and raising of plants. If you want to build a hydroponic garden, here are the types you might consider creating.

The Deep Water Culture System

The Deep Water Culture or DWC which is also known as the reservoir system is the easiest method so far of growing plants using the hydroponics system. In Deep Water Culture hydroponic method, the nutrient solution caters the roots of the plants.

While an air pump in the aquarium oxygenates the nutrient solution, it manages and keeps the roots from drowning. Remember to prevent the light from penetrating into your system, since it can cause the growth of algae that can bring devastation on your system.

The main benefit of utilizing a Deep Water Culture system is that there are no spray emitters that clogs. Thus, making DWC an excellent option for organic hydroponics, because some hydroponics systems that use natural nutrients are more likely to clog.

Nutrient Film Technique

The NFT method or Nutrient Film Technique is an active recovery type of hydroponic system. This method uses submersible pumps while recycling the nutrient solutions. The NFT also uses a reservoir of a submersible pump that draws the nutrient solutions into the grow-tube and suspends the roots of the plants.

The grow-tube is in a downward position, so the nutrient solution can run over the roots and go back into the storage. Thus, the nutrient solution can flow over the roots for 24 hours each day. Moreover, oxygen is essential in the grow-tube, and it must use capillary matting or air stones for fair grow.

The plants are being held up through a grow-basket or collar without any growing medium. The NFT system is efficient, although, some beginners in hydroponic system find it challenging to tune.

It can also be very cruel since no growing medium is available to hold any moisture. Any period of interference in the flow of nutrients can dry out the roots and can cause the plant to suffer and worse, die.

Learn the Ebb and Flow System

The Ebb and Flow type of hydroponics is also an active recovery type system. This method also uses a submersible pump in the tank, while the upper tray holds the plants. They work on a theory of basic flood and drain approach.

The reservoir keeps the pump and nutrient solution. When you turn on the pump, the nutrient solution is blown up to the top tray and then flows to the roots of the plants. The pump should work for 20 to 30 minutes, to achieve a flood cycle.

When the water reaches a set level, an overflow fitting or pipe supports the nutrient solution to move back into the storage. The pump must continue for the entire flood cycle. After that, the nutrient solution will slowly flow back into the reservoir using the pump.

The Hydroponic Drip System

Source: Wikipedia

The drip system of hydroponics is rather simple. This system works by offering a slow flow of nutrient solution into the hydroponic mechanism. It is better to use a slow draining medium such as peat moss, coconut coir or Rockwool. Also, you can use a faster medium of draining, but you may need to use a quicker dripping emitter.

The disadvantage of this system is that the emitters or drippers are prone to clogging. You may decide not to use drip systems, though it can be a beneficial way for growing plants, just make sure to avoid the clogs that can cause trouble to your system.

Consider Aeroponics System

Aeroponics is also a hydroponics system in which the roots of the plants are showered with a nutrient solution while fixed in the air. There are two fundamental ways to get the nutrient solution to the open roots.

The first way requires a fine spray spout to wet the roots. And the second option needs a pond fogger. If you want to use a pond fogger, make sure to apply a Teflon covered disc, since it reduces the amount of maintenance needed.

Takeaway

Hydroponics is a functional method of gardening that raises plants in a soil-free environment and is a nutrient-based solution. An efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to grow food.

However, growing plants in a hydroponic system require little agricultural skills to achieve your goal smoothly. You can try to visit online shops like Gstore for various choices of gardening tools in case you wanted to build your hydroponic garden.

Best Renewable Energy Source For A Home

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The market for renewable energy sources for homes is increasing by the minute and with it the real estate market is evolving. People are always looking for more ways to save money, especially when it comes to utility costs. Relying on alternative sources to power your home is not only cost-effective but also good for the environment. No to mention there are many tax incentives for this type of energy production.

So, if you decide to go green, here are some of the best ways to do it.

Wind power

Best Renewable Energy Source For A Home

One of the most common ways of using wind power comes in a form of wind turbines. If you are lucky enough to own a large property, install a small wind turbine to power your household.

The reason you need a large piece of land is that because wind turbines tend to make a lot of noise which makes them not so popular in residential areas. They also take a lot of space so you would be forced to deal with all sorts of laws and zoning regulations.

Yet, despite all the above, harvesting the power of wind is highly efficient. It’s more stable than solar power and it produces a lot more energy, sufficient enough to easily power a home.

Hydropower

Best Renewable Energy Source For A Home

Using this type of renewable energy is only possible if you live somewhere near moving water.

You will need a pipeline from a point where the water level is high to a lower point on the ground. The entire process of producing energy revolves around water running downhill and powering the turbine at the end of the pipe.

An energy production system like this is much more reliable and powerful than wind or solar. The simple fact is water runs continuously, without interruptions thus being capable of producing 100 times more energy than other sources.

As far as the maintenance goes, you have to do regular checkups on the turbine. Also, pay attention to the size and pressure power of the stream you are using. If it’s too small, there’s a chance that it will dry out during the summer or freeze in the winter.

Solar power

Best Renewable Energy Source For A Home

Solar energy has become the most accessible and common solution for renewable energy. Solar panels are often placed on the rooftops but you can also find them scattered around the yard. To create enough energy for your home, you’ll need photovoltaic solar panels, an inverter, and batteries which can save up some of the energy in case it gets cloudy for a while. Depending on the position you place your panels in, you can produce 10 or more watts per square foot. A typical household usually needs a kilowatt of power to operate on a daily basis so prepare to invest in at least a few square feet of panels.

The amount of energy created by the panels differs depending on the region. If you live in a place with the majority of sunny days, this type of energy production will definitely pay off.

But before you officially go solar, make sure you’ve done all the necessary preparations first.

Check the state of your roof in case it needs any fixing. This is imperative if you opt for the rooftop panels. Consult with experienced remedial builders from your area and do all the preparations before you start with the project.

Another option is to invest in solar shingles which are placed on the roof tiles instead of the actual roof itself.

The biggest downside of solar power is that it’s limited to the number of sunny days. In case you live somewhere the sun doesn’t shine all the time you’ll have to invest in an alternative source of renewable energy.

Geothermal power

Since geothermal power is produced in very large amounts, a home variation is usually limited to heating or cooling. Even so, it is still a huge save when it comes to your utility bills.

The way a geothermal system works is that it uses earth’s stable temperature and replaces the one in your home. During the winter the heat is pumped inside the house and during the summer it’s taken out.

Unfortunately, geothermal pumps are not that highly efficient but some are known to reduce your energy costs by 40%.

Yet, installing a pump which is strong enough to maintain an average home is nowhere cheap. The pump alone can cost up to 8000$ and the drilling costs are close to 30.000$.

None of these renewable energy sources are ideal but we can not depend on fossil fuels alone to withstand us forever. Having alternative ways of power is highly important especially in this day and age when mass consumption has reached its maximum. It may seem complex and costly in the beginning but investing in renewable energy sources will really pay off in the long run.

How To Clean Clogged Sprinkler System?

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Often, we find that the spray heads of our sprinkler system tend to stick up, when they should retract back down. In reality, this is a common issue among many sprinkler system models after a period of use. We should the age of the sprinkler heads. Wear and tear may already develop after 3 years of usage or more. There could be rough edges that may keep the spray head to stick up. The riser will wear more easily if the soil has higher sand content. The only way to solve this problem is by replacing the spray head and in order to ensure longer service life, we should make sure that the sprinkler head has stainless steel riser. This device should last much longer, although they can be a little bit more expensive. We also need to check whether there’s dirt that enter the sprinkler system.

There could also be sediment in the well or water source that cause problems with the sprinkler system. Before replacing the head, we should check whether the problem can be addressed by only cleaning it. In this case, we should step down on the riser, while being immersed in a bucket of water. Let the head running by turning the water on. Let the head pop back up and we need to step on it again. We may need to perform this for a number of times. Then, we should turn off the sprinkler system and check whether the spray head still sticks. With this simple cleaning method, we should be able to clean out dirt and debris from the sprinkler head and around the wiper seal. The quality of water has huge contribution on whether your sprinkler system can be frequently clogged.

You should check whether your water source has relatively high iron content and you also need to check it for the amount of debris. If your water supply is dirty, the nozzles can get clogged and the heads may stick fairly quickly. If the sprinkler system in your lawn tend to get clogged, it is important to flush it out, so you will get better results. Check the spray heads and see whether you can remove the screens and nozzles. Then you should install the flush caps and run water through the entire system. When you buy the spray heads, they should come with flush caps. If you don’t have the flush cap, you should still be able to completely remove the head, pull up the swing joint and finally flush the whole system. Even so, you should be aware that it’s not the same with blowing out or draining your system.

On older sprinkler systems, the spray heads are often not installed on the swing joint. In this case, all you can do is to examine the riser that is usually made of hard PVC. Just make sure that there’s no dirt that can flow back in the pipe, while it’s flushed, so the system won’t get clogged again.

Things You Should Know About Robot Lawnmowers

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Robot lawnmowers are more than just typical gadget and they can become actual serious mowing machines. If you choose the right model, they should be able to offer marvellous mowing job and they will definitely keep our lawn properly mowed. Electric robotic lawn mowers can be an answer to many problems. For starter, they don’t cause any pollution, since they run solely on batteries. Traditional, noisy lawnmowers are essentially small car engines that contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses. Robotic lawn mowers are also smart and they follow all the rules that we have set up, such as the 1/3 grass cutting rule, or only a third of the grass that will be cut. This will result even and smoother cut results across our lawn.

Robotic lawnmower may seem to have a random mowing pattern, but it is actually based on an algorithm to make sure that we get the best results. The lawnmower should be usable to work on a medium-sized lawn with a single charge. Some can also perform self-recharge, if it comes with its own charging station that we can put outside the house. It means that the lawn mowing task can be performed automatically based on a schedule that we have determined previously. Some models can last for 5 hours and the recharge time is usually about 2.5 hours. It’s plenty of time for any robotic lawnmower, because the charging process can be performed overnight. With this device, we will no longer miss a spot here and there.

Because robot lawnmowers are essentially digital devices, we can set them up to mow a section of the lawn at a time. With just a few clicks of the buttons, the robot lawnmower should be able to work with a designated section. We should be able to move the device one section at a time. This is useful if we have a large lawn and we choose to purchase only a low-cost lawn mower with limited battery life. It means that there could be 2 or 3 mowing sessions in a day, as the robot lawn mower will need to be fully charged each time. This could be performed automatically if the robot comes with its own outdoor charging station. Some robot lawnmowers come with smartphone apps that allow us to control the device through wireless LAN or Bluetooth.

It is also a good idea if the robot lawnmower has a built-in rain sensor that can send the device back to the charging station when it’s raining. There are different brands of robot lawnmowers in the market. They offer different models of robot lawnmower and it’s important for us to choose a model that matches our requirement. We should be able to purchase them easily through the Internet and they will be sent directly to our house. However, if you are concerned on whether the device will really work; it is a good idea to the local stores. It would feel much better to be able to check the device directly, before we purchase it. The store should also be able to provide some troubleshooting solutions when there are issues with the device.

How To Organize Family Room?

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Family room is the place where everyone gathers together. Unfortunately, after just a few weeks, the family room can really cluttered and chaotic. It is important for us to know how to create an orderly, comfortable and calm space in the family room. This is a place where the whole family can relax and entertain themselves. Before organizing the family room, we should know about its real purpose. There are different activities that family members may want to do in the room, such as watching movies, playing with children and reading books. Some may simply want to take a short nap, with air conditioner turned on and smooth jazz music playing quietly in the background. Regardless of what we want to do, there are specific details that we want to have in the family room. It means that we can organize the family room based on these purposes. We should be able to remove things that are not related to the original functions, such as ironing board, clothing, work laptops and shoes.

For reading material, we may put newspaper, magazines and books inside the family room. For multimedia, we may put DVD, Blu-Ray, stereo, big screen TV and gaming desktop PC. There could also be toys and board games that we include the room. Various paraphernalia and photos could also enhance the interior design of our family room. Small objects can be placed in cabinets, drawers and baskets, based on specific categories; so it will be much easier for us to find them. By being organized, it is even easier for us to find things that we haven’t touched for years. We should know that using too many boxes will still create clutter, so we need to be prudent and avoid having too many items in the family room. It is quite likely that there are many things that we no longer use. We may sell them in garage sale or donate them to orphanage. Some magazines and newspapers can be recycled or given to people who still consider them useful. We should put the remaining items in order.

Many families want to put as many as pictures inside the family room; but it’s quite possible that many of them are not appropriate. Unflattering, out of focus and duplicate pictures can be removed from our family rooms. Pictures should be arranged to achieve a balanced symmetry on the wall. They can also be grouped based on specific categories. This will allow us to arrange the family room based on comfort and specific functionality. If there are different activities that we want to do inside the room, we may need to assign different zones. As an example, there could be separate reading and gaming zones. Headsets can be used by anyone, if they don’t want to disturb others with loud noises or get disturbed by loud noises in the room. The family room needs to have ample light source, which allow for comfortable reading and playing. In some family rooms, there should be a large table to allow a comprehensive board game to be laid out for a long time, because each game session may need days or weeks to complete.

How To Properly Sharpen Lawnmower Blades?

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You need to ensure that the blades of your lawnmower stay sharp to ensure quick and clean cuts. During the main cutting season, it may be necessary to sharpen the blade regularly. With enough care, it should be quite easy to ensure that the blade of your mower is perfectly sharp, so the result of cutting remains clean and precise. After a period of usages, the lawnmower blade could become blunt due to contact with hard twigs and small stones. You will see that blades will be dented along the sharp edges. You may end up ruining the overall results of your lawnmowing job. The first thing that you should do is to remove the blades from the lawnmower. Check the user’s manual on how to perform this task. If your lawnmower runs on gas, make sure that the liquids won’t spill into the air filter and carburettor, as you turn the lawnmower onto its side. After the blades have been detached from the lawnmower, the first task is to clean them. It could be better to remove grim and grass clippings that could be embedded on the blades. The sharpening task should be much easier to do if the blades are perfectly clean. You may perform proper cleaning task with hot soapy water and a clean cloth. It should be quite easy to remove any dirt and debris, especially if they are not oily. In order to prevent the formation of rust, it’s a good idea to dry the blade using clean, dry cloth. Once the blade is cleaned, it should be quite easy to notice any dent and nick that we should focus on.

If blades are bent and have cracks, then it is a good idea to get replacement blades. In general, it should be relatively straightforward to sharpen the blade of your lawnmower. These blades should be placed securely into the bench vice, so they won’t move easily as we start sharpening the blades. Once these blades are properly secured, we should use metal file to proceed with the sharpening process. Gently push the metal file down the lawnmower blade. We need to continue doing this until these blades have shiny and clean edge. It isn’t really necessary to make these blades to become razor sharp. It should be enough to sharpen these blades to a level of sharpness similar to butter knife. It may take some amount of experimentation to determine the angle when we file the blade. Due to differences in the shape of the lawnmower blade, the angle could vary from model to model. Once the metal files are properly sharpened, they need to be placed back to the lawnmower. In this case, we need to make sure that the blades are properly balance. Visually, the blade droops when it is not balanced and we need to make proper adjustments. By taking enough time to sharpen the lawnmower blade, we should be able to ensure neat and clean cut.