Thursday, December 16, 2010

Choosing Iron Grilles for your Windows and Doors

After doing a thorough house inspection to your new pad and once the developers have completed rectifying all the defects, it is best to start thinking of increasing the security of your house. In Malaysia, almost all homes are fitted with iron grilles on windows and door. This is the first line of defence against intruders which do not require power supply or regular maintenance. For a first time home owner, choosing the type of grilles to instal for your house may seem simple but there are actually several options to choose from.

If you have searched around, you would notice that there are three main types of steel grilles available in the market which are mild steel, wrought iron and stainless steel. Each type has their advantages and disadvantages. So, lets take a look at each of them.

Mild Steel Grilles
  • simple designs -  straight bars, or square grids with minimal flower designs
  • comes in two variants.
    • spray painted - as the name says it, paint is sprayed onto the steel grilles. This means that the paint can peel off. Since the grilles will be subjected to all kinds of weather, spray painted grilles will have to be painted every 2 or 3 years.
    • powder coated -  electrically charged finely ground particles of pigment and resin are and spray painted onto the grilles surfaces which are then cured in a oven to ensure the particles permanently adhere to the grille surface. This creates a smooth finish which is more long-lasting and climate-resistant compared to normal spray painting.
  • cheapest in terms of cost, based on prices in the month of May 2010:
    • window grilles costs
      • RM 5 to RM 8 per square feet (spray painted)
      • RM 10 to RM 12 per square feet (powder coated)
    • door grilles costs
      • RM 9 to RM 10 per square feet (spray painted)
      • RM 15 to RM 17 per square feet (powder coated)

Wrought Iron Grilles
Wrought iron grilles in the current market today are actually mild steel grilles which have gone through extra hammering in the making process. This gives it the slightly uneven texture similar to the original wrought iron of the early 19th century. In the last few years, wrought iron grilles for windows and doors have gained lots of popularity compared to mild steel due to the large number of designs available which are more attractive compared to those of mild steel. So, to sum up its good and bad points:
  • more attractive designs
  • doesn't tarnish easily
  • price depends on complexity of design
  • they can be less tough compared to mild steel for ceratin designs due to the steel being shaped to be of reduced thickness and thus easy to saw through
  • more expensive than mild steel, based on prices in the month of May 2010:
    • door grilles cost RM 18 to RM 20 per square feet
    • window grilles cost RM 11 to RM 15 per square feet

You can see that the wrought iron grille designs in the picture on the left, above, are sturdier and tougher than that on the right which have more flower motifs than straight bars. So, make sure you choose your grille design with safety criteria in mind above the attractiveness.

Stainless Steel Grilles
These are like the Rolls Royce of grilles. Stainless steel grilles are most expensive because they are very strong and do not tarnish. However, the designs are limited and they usually come in only one colour, i.e. the silver colour of stainless steel.

Based on my observation, many people choose either powder-coated mild steel or wrought iron. Stainless steel is chosen if money is not an issue. After doing some internet searches, below are some companies which offer window and door grilles:
Disclaimer: MyHomeMyIdeas has never sought services from the companies listed above and do not have any affiliations with them. Please contect these companies directly for information on their services.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fella Design Warehouse Sale

Fella Design has been around since the mid 1980s which was during my scholing days. At that time, sofabeds were the craze and English Rose prints were the popular fabrics available at Fella Design.

Picture from Fella Design

I still remember the sofabeds bought by my mom and aunty which looks something like the picture above. In fact, these sofas are still in good use to this day albeit with new upholstery. This is living proof that Fella Design sofas are built to last and are of good quality. Thus, every year I await the announcements on their warehouse sale. This year their warehouse sale will be on from 10 to 19 December 2010 at their head quarters in Bukit Subang, Selangor and up north at Tesco Seberang Jaya.

Flyers from Fella Design

If you are not into English or Traditional styles of furniture, Fella Design have also ventured into modern contemporary furniture styles through Morph and modern ethnic inspired furnitures through Urban Culture which are also included in the Fella Design Warehouse Sale. Most of thier branches are also having the Year End Sale so lets head on over to Fella Design to see if there are any good bargains available.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

House Inspection for the First Time

As a proud owner of your new home, the first thing that needs to be done once you get the house keys is to inspect the house thoroughly. For this, you will need:
  • a marker pen,
  • masking tape,
  • a few sheets of paper
  • an electrical test pen or a small table lamp.
Start from the front of the house and go thorugh every room. In each room:
  1. Inspect all the walls, floor and ceiling. If there are any cracks or a damp patch is seen, list it down on paper together with the location, i.e. room name or number. Also, mark the physical spot in the room with the masking tape and write down the lists's reference number on the masking tape so that you and the developer can refer to its location on the written list. For example, you found a crack in the living room wall, so the first item on the list will be written as:
  2. No.
    Crack on wall
    Ground floor -  Living Room

  3. Knock or tap on every wall or floor that is covered with tiles. If you hear a hollow sound, this means that there are hollow spaces underneath the tiles. This must be repaired by the developer so mark the location with the masking tape and add to the list as before.
  4. Make sure all tiles are perfect with no cracks or chipped corners. Don't forget to check under the sink or wash basins and at the corners of the wall.
  5. Count the number of lighting, fan, airconditioner, water heaters and wall socket points in each room and around the whole house. Make sure the number tallies with that promised by the developer.
  6. Test all socket points with an electrical test pen or a small table lamp to make sure that they are working properly. If there are any defects, mark them and add to the list.
  7. Test all the bathroom fixtures and make sure they are fixed properly especially underneath the wash basin and at the water outlet point on the floor or wall. Test all the taps or faucets, shower heads and the flushing system of the toilet bowls.
  8. Check for any leaks near/under the toilet bowls and underneath the wash basins.
  9. If you can, check the water tank on the roof of your house. Make sure there are no leaks and that the tank can be filled up to the required level, i.e. the water meter stops running once the tank is filled. If the meter keeps running and the tank is not filled up, then there may be a leak some where along the pipes.
  10. Most houses will have a water outlet from the tank overflow pipe which indicates if the water tank is leaking. Check to make sure no water flows out from this outlet if you cannot climb up to the roof to check the water tank.
  11. If you can, check the roof of the house for any cracks on the roof tilings. Check inside the roof to ensure the beams are strong and that there are no items left behind from the construction.
The best time to check for leaks on the ceiling of the house is after a very heavy rain. So do the house inspection a few times especially after a heavy downpour. After the inspection, list all defects and marks them with the masking tape. The list can then be handed in to the developer. It is best to do other renovation works to the house after the defects have been repaired.

Hence, get the inspection done as early as possible because the developer takes a few months to correct all the defects. The longer the list, the more time you need to wait. So, let's get started with the list.

**Credit: Picture by Benis979 from stock.xchng

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home Renovations for First Time Home Owners

I still remember the day the letter came from the developer stating that I can come and collect the  keys for the first house my husband and I bought. It's easy to remember because I was very excited to begin the next phase of the journey.

The first phase was filled with lots of paperwork which started nearly two years before when we signed the agreement to buy the house. To me and maybe many of you out there, the second phase of owning a home is the most exciting of all as it involves renovating and decorating. But at the same time, I was also filled with a daunting feeling of embarking on the big project of home renovation and decoration. I am pretty sure many of you, first-time home owners, out there are also feeling the same way.

Where do you start? What must be done first, the iron grilles or electrical wiring? How do you decorate the house, traditional, classical or modern style? Will you have enough money? All these question must be stirring up in your head. Even so, do not worry and get all riled up. Let me help you through this process.

Plan Ahead
Based on my experience, the best way to start renovating and decorating your home is by having a clear plan of what is to be done. So sit down, with a pen and paper, and start planning.
  1. List down the all things that needs to be done to the house starting from the exterior, including the lawn and backyard, followed by the interior of the house, room by room.
  2. Then go through the list again but this time prioritise, i.e. which item is the most urgent and which can wait. This will help you to plan your work and also your budget.
For a typical Malaysian home, the list might look something like this:
  1. installation of window and door grilles
  2. backyard renovations for wet kitchen
  3. electrical re-wiring for additional lighting, fan or socket points, including installation of an electric gate and/or home security system for some people
  4. installation of plaster ceiling (if budget permits)
  5. painting of walls
  6. installation of lights and fans
  7. adding furniture and kitchen cabinets
  8. adding other soft furnishing like curtains and wall decorations
  9. planting grass and landcaping for the garden

Start Your Research Here
Once your list is completed, do some research for each item that needs to be done to the house in terms of options available, advantages, disadvantages and costs. This will help to determine the individual budget for each item. Apart from budget, your lifestyle and those whom you live with will also influence your choice for each of the items listed. There are many online forums available to help you with this. But look no further.

It is my privilage to present you with this website to help first time owners during their journey of home renovation and decoration. So stay tuned for more information on

**Credit: Picture by PlusVerde available from stock.xchng