What Home Improvement Stores Offer

If you are about to undertake some projects in your house, you are probably thinking of where to get what you need to start your work. Obtaining supplies is actually not a problem at all because there are stores that devote themselves to providing materials for do-it-yourself wannabes. In addition, most large hardware stores have huge sections that are virtually home improvement stores in themselves.

 Getting Good Service

A key to getting good service from these stores is to be ready to make your purchase. Measure the area you will be working on and note other details about it that might be relevant to the materials you will be buying. As much as possible, bring a picture or a sample to show the salesperson assisting you.

When you go to a store, a salesperson will probably be around to attend to your needs. Most people don’t remember who helped them out in a store but when you make a purchase, it would be good to remember who your salesperson was in case you have questions later or need to buy additional items that are no longer on display.

 Know the Store and the Things You Are Trying to Buy

The merchandise in home improvement stores is so extensive you will find designated sections for lumber, plumbing materials, fencing materials, appliances, garden supplies and a host of other product lines. Familiarize yourself with the area where your materials will come from.

In the same way, familiarize yourself with the goods you are going to buy because sometimes the slightest difference in the way things are made could mean making a wrong purchase and having to make a return trip. For example, screws, hooks, hinges and small attachments can be subtly different from one another because they are ever so slightly shorter or their grooves farther apart.

 Enjoy Your Store’s Little Extras

After you have made one or two purchases at a store you might be asked if you want to be a club member or if you want to have a house credit card. Find out if there are any interest or membership charges. If there are none, seriously consider availing of the credit offer because it can be quite a convenience when you start your project in earnest.

Most big stores have services other than selling their goods through their stores. One of these is the sending of regular catalogues that help you order goods on line or through the phone; another is coming up with an annual catalogue that allows you to place orders for goods not displayed in stores. The weekly or monthly catalogues often show the store’s special offers and discounts which you can single out before going to the store. Think about signing up for their online newsletter if they have one, it is easy enough to unsubscribe if you change your mind later.

Usually there are pamphlets galore in the store. Don’t just ignore them because some of these pamphlets are actually good to keep. Sometimes in the gardening section you will find pamphlets that tell you in amazing detail how to plant what you see featured in pictures. Therefore, next time you see pamphlets don’t just ignore them. Pick them up and scan through their contents before dismissing them as junk.

Free Lessons from Home Improvement Stores

A nice feature of this type of store today is that many free lessons are available making it possible for many to save on labor and still get work done nicely. Classes offered usually include things like weather proofing, exterior painting, installing hardwood flooring and landscaping. If you have a project in mind, ask the store well ahead of time if they have classes on the topic and attend. Then you can go from being a student to actually getting to complete a project with confidence.

Stores that specialize in home improvement are doing more than selling nails and lumber today. They have expanded their product lines, made buying convenient and most of all, they have been teaching their customers how to go about doing their own projects so that there is always an eager and steady market for their goods.

Air Hockey Table Buying Guide

Finding the right Air Hockey game for your Man Cave

Air Hockey is one of the fastest if not the fastest table game available. This is what makes the game so popular. It is an awesome fun way to get a little exercise while hanging out in the Man Cave. We don’t want to over exert ourselves after all were in the “cave” to relax and enjoy ourselves. There is a huge variety of Air Hockey games to choose from and we have tables to suit any requirement or space you have.


Who’s playing Air Hockey

When you start your search for the right home air hockey table, the first thing you need to do is figure out who is going to be playing it most of the time. Tables are made according to the style of play and the intensity of play. If you’re looking for one for you and your buddies to have a little “friendly” competition, meaning no blood no foul, then I recommend the more heavy duty industrial grade type table. Like the ICE Double Fast Track, this thing has all the bells and whistles with overhead lighting, electronic scoring and side shield to keep the puck on the table.

Ice double Fast Ice Hockey Game

Size Matters

Size may also be a determining factor when choosing the right air hockey table. Like pool tables, air hockey tables come in a variety of sizes. Not all Man Caves can handle the full-size arcade-style models, which can be as large as 81/2 feet by 4 ½ feet. If you have the room the bigger the better in my opinion, but if you don’t there are some really well made smaller models. Like the Hathaway Face Off

Hathaway Air Hockey Table
There are 3 General Types of Air Hockey Table to choose from

First there is the Heavy Duty Arcade Style Air Hockey Games

These are the top of the line models and are well worth it, these tables are built to last and take on almost any punishment you may have for it. By far the best value if you plan on keeping it for a while.

Dynamo Air Hockey Table

Second there is the Mid- Level Air Hockey Tables

These tables are the most widely used for the home. They are very well made and are durable. They also come in a much bigger variety of styles so you can find one to match the style of your Man Cave. Many of the officially licensed tables are in this category. Like this NCAA officially licensed Air Hockey Table by Holland.

msu air hockey table

Third we have the Economy Air Hockey Tables

If you want a table for your kids or to use just once in a while or your looking for a portable model you can set on top of the pool table or other surface then this is the way to go. Although many of the ones we sell are very durable and fit the bill for casual use I don’t recommend them for heavy use and intense play.



There are some other types of tables that don’t fit into these categories including the table top versions and the outdoor air hockey table. We once had a 3 way air hockey table but the manufacturer discontinued it.


In Conclusion

Just make sure you know the space you will be in and the skill level & intensity, of the people that will be using your air hockey table. Looking at the variety of tables available you should be able to match the perfect air hockey table for your Man Cave.


Getting Help on Your Man Cave from Home Improvement Videos

Getting Help on Your Man Cave from Home Improvement Videos

This is the Do-It-Yourself age; a time when you acquire skills on the job and you learn pretty much as you go along. For this reason, in the recent decade home improvement videos have gained popularity as a valuable and easily accessible resource to show how things are done.

Videos as a Ready Resource

Home improvement videos are in demand. For example, the top three instructional videos on installing a commode have over a million views while the top three videos on installing hardwood flooring garnered more than 1,500,000 views.  Videos are a great way to get ideas about how you want to design your Man Cave.

There is an amazing collection of home improvement videos on the internet today. You can find demonstration videos on installing walls and floors, repairing a cracked basement wall, building an entertainment center, or step seating for your home theater – you name it and there is a video for it. The best part of videos today is that usually you will find not just one but several videos on any given topic. This means you can go through several, compare and fill in missing details then choose to follow the one that appeals most to you.

There are videos made by professionals for big name establishments and hardware stores just as there are videos made by amateur hobbyists who want to share how they go through certain projects. Usually it is good to watch the professionally made videos and then compare the hobbyists’ narrative to avoid overlooking important tips.

How to Get the Help You Need

For smooth sailing, when you are about to embark on your Man Cave project, you would want to work on three things. Create a work plan, draw up a budget, and look for an appropriate video and watch it. A work plan illustrates your work schedule, tells you how many people will be working, when you will move things if you have to and other tasks you need to do within a certain time frame. The budget of course tells you how much you can spend and the video shows you how to do the actual work.

Anyone who has tried working with only a manual as guide will tell you that there are excellent manuals, there are fair manuals, and there are manuals that can be understood only by two groups of people: those who made them and those who don’t need them. The manual tells you to attach the disc to the groove; the video shows you how a real person does it – often with a helpful comment about how hard to push or from what end to start.

To start you on your video search, be very clear about what you need. If there are several ways of stating your selected topic, try using each of them in your search and assess the results. Because you don’t want to spend too much time watching videos, you might want to open several and see how well liked they were by people who watched them. Choose the ones with the highest proportion of positive comments and forget about the ones that have too many negative ones. If there are videos done by reputable stores, include them in your list.

Watching, Learning, Doing

Once you have chosen the best video, watch, take notes, and keep an inquiring mind. Keep the video you have selected within easy reach so that you can refer to it from time to time. Proceed with the project as instructed while trying to apply the tips that you learned about. Sometimes it helps to look at the video again at the end of the day just to check that you covered all bases. There is another reason for reviewing the video: to see for yourself what you learned that the video did not teach and what the demonstrator neglected to mention. After all, when you are done, you just might decide to make a video of the project you are making and if you do send us a copy or a link.

Building and Decorating your Man Cave on a Shoestring Budget

Man Cave creation and decoration are activities that most people are reluctant to go into because of the presumption that they will cost a lot. Actually, this need not be true; there are many ways to improve and to look of your Man Cave area without incurring a mountain of debt.   If you want to undertake the worthwhile task of creating a better living space for you, your friends and your family, here are some tips to help you achieve a lot of dash for a surprisingly small amount of cash.


1.Get rid of clutter.  Purge the things you don’t need by holding a yard sale or giving them away to friends. Consider donating to Goodwill or the Salvation Army; both organizations will give you a receipt for tax deduction purposes. Get yourself some space savers and organizers to make your shelves look neater and less crowded.

2.Repaint. Unless your walls have really become dingy and stained, a coat of paint will do wonders for your house. If the stains are really bad, you may have to use a coat of primer to achieve a really fresh look but it will be worth the trouble. While you are it, try playing around with the paint. Pick a wall to make it the focal area of the room, paint it two shades darker than the other walls.

3.Use trim to your advantage. Decorative trim and crown molding can really lend flair to a room. Install them and paint them to complement or contrast the colors you used on the walls and watch what a difference this will make.

images (1)

4.Treat your furniture to a coat of paint or varnish. Reupholster in a different color or print. If this is too difficult to do on your own and too costly if you get a professional, spruce up with an afghan throw or new throw pillows.

5.Replace bathroom and lighting fixtures. If cleaning is no longer sufficient to make your overhead lighting fixtures presentable, change them. There are inexpensive, updated models available in most hardware stores today. Kitchen and bathroom faucets as well as showerheads can sometimes acquire a bright new look with cleaning. Some professional cleaners use glass cleaning agents to make them gleam but if that doesn’t work and the lime and spots won’t go away, think about replacing them. These are not always as expensive as you think.

6.Give your cabinets a treat. Apart from painting them, change their knobs and handles. These items can actually convey or reinforce a style you want to project. Some handles seem to shout oriental, some say Scandinavian, some say Early American and some look Mediterranean. Kitchen handles and knobs to a certain extent illustrate home improvement and decoration on a shoestring.

7.Use color to bring a room together. Color is a powerful decorating tool. If your sports teams all have different colors try focusing the theme on one team and their colors, there is less chance that your room will look disorganized. A bathroom with bath mats and shower curtains that match also has the same effect.

images (1)

8.Put up pictures or sketches with simple frames; look for an uncluttered but effective way to group them. Go over http://mancavemarket.com/man_cave_ideas_designs.html  to get a feel of how this can be done.

Man Cave Creation and decoration need not be impossibly expensive today. For one thing, if you’re willing to do much of the work will find that help is available everywhere and that means saving quite a bit of money. In addition, stores and establishments today are creating nice, reasonably priced goods that target a large number of people who want to create a nice living space but also need to obtain this on a tiny budget.  There is no time like the present,  you don’t need to have the perfect Man Cave right away, just a nice comfortable spot to relax.

20 Man Cave Rules

Man Cave Rules

1. The Man Cave must have a really big TV. The bigger the better.

2. The Man Cave must have a comfortable recliner.

3. The Man Cave must have a bar or mini fridge.

4. Under no circumstances do you give up the remote, you may let others use it once in a while but always be in control of your remote.

5. No flowers, potpourri, other sweet smelling scents, if you need to cover an odor try cigar smoke if you need to have a plant try a cactus.

6. Absolutely no Snuggies or footy pajamas.

7. Always leave the toilet seat up.

8. Beer must always be available and ice cold.

9. Beer is provided to guests free so complaining about brand of beer is prohibited but the temperature of the beer is fair game.

10. Manly topics only will be discussed, such as, drinking, dogs, sports, swimsuit models, farts, etc.

11. All in the Man Cave shall have thick skin, we will all pick on each other like the fat kid in grade school.

12. You must always exaggerate any anecdote told to your friends by at least 50%.

13. If you arrive to the cave when a game is in progress you may ask for the score once but never ask “who’s playing?”

14. Never hesitate to go for the last beer or chicken wing but never both, that’s just plain mean.

15. The smoking of cigars shall be allowed.

16. Remember, a man’s gotta scratch what a man’s gotta scratch, enough said.

17. Under no circumstances may someone speak ill of all time great Man movies such as Animal House, Caddy Shack, and most recently The Hangover.

18. Any disputes lasting more than 3 minutes must be settled with arm wrestling or rock, paper, scissors.

19. Hiding beer from guests is strictly forbidden.

20. The Man Cave that is more like a family room IS a family room so don’t call it a Man Cave.

Creating a Realistic Man Cave Budget

Most people who go have gone through creating their own Man Cave say they spent more than they thought they would. If you do not want to end up saying the same thing after your own Man Cave project, you need to create a realistic Man Cave budget first; one that really covers what your project needs and one you can stick to.

floor plan basementHere are some tips to help you make your budget and accomplish your Man Cave project without later accumulating more bills than you can afford.

Setting Your Basic Budget

When you set up your budget, it is not enough to say you have a good idea of how much the whole task will cost; neither is it sufficient to say you have a certain amount and that is what you are going to use. Setting up a realistic, workable budget requires some serious sitting down and paper work so you can move from having a vague idea or a guesstimate to a solid estimate.

Start with what you can set aside for the project then begin appropriating money for only 85 per cent of this total sum. The remaining 15 per cent is going to be your contingency or flexibility fund – this allows you to address the unexpected. Set aside 25 per cent of your remaining 85 per cent for labor unless you are going to do everything yourself. Bear in mind though that sometimes hiring someone qualified comes out cheaper than doing things yourself. For one thing, the professional has tools you might still need to buy and he is able to come up with a more accurate estimate of the materials you need.

To illustrate, if you have five thousand for your project, set aside 15 per cent or seven hundred fifty for your contingency or flexibility fund. From the remaining amount, set aside a fourth for labor, which would be one thousand sixty dollars and fifty cents. Now you have three thousand one hundred eighty seven dollars and fifty cents to buy materials. All together, your contingency or flexibility allocation, your labor allocation and your materials allocation form your basic home improvement budget.

Filling in the Budget Details

Draw up a detailed list of the things you absolutely need for your project, then start finding out how much they cost. In another list, write down the things you want and start finding out the prices for these too. The “absolutely-need” list is non-negotiable while the want list is conditional; items here are not to be bought until the “absolutely-need” list has been completely purchased.

An important part of filling in your budget is coming up with a good price list. For example, if you are looking at a certain type of commode, find out how much this costs in at least three places and write that down, taking note of the merchant with the lowest price. Sometimes you can find real bargains if you shop online or try looking at recycled items.

Sticking to the Budget

Remember, there are only three budget lines that you can spend from: labor, materials and contingency or flexibility. Keep track of how these sums are moving by faithfully subtracting expenses as they come.

Do not succumb to the temptation of buying things on impulse just because they look good or are on sale. If it is not in your list of materials then simply say no. Things bought on impulse will wreck your budget and leave you hurting for funds to obtain what you really need.

Do not change plans midstream. Deciding to move your sink a foot away is not a viable step to take after you have already started work. Remember that in this instance you will have to dish out money for extra labor, piping, and other materials. Accommodating this type of change is not what your flexibility fund is for; it is for unforeseen developments like price increases in materials or the unwelcome discovery of rusty pipes and termites. If there are no such events during the course of your work then you can go ahead and get that kegerator or the wet bar.

Creating your budget need not be a daunting task today because there budget templates and worksheets that you can download free. A realistic Man Cave budget may seem like an unwelcome restriction when you are eager to get started working but it will help you avoid the nightmare of bills and debts piling up in ways you did not anticipate.

Elements of a Man Cave

Every man needs a manctuary or man cave where he can escape from the stress and chaos of every day life.  Traditionally, a man cave is located in a garage, a basement or a den of a home, but you will be able to decide where the most suitable location is for this purpose.

There are several elements that you should consider when planning for your man cave, in order to ensure that you have everything needed to rest and relax in your space.  We are going to talk about a few of these elements, and you may want to make a list of the ones that are important to you for your own man cave:


  • Comfy seating.  There are so many styles of chairs and loungers to choose from, where do you begin?  Choose a day when you have the entire day to shop and make a list of several stores to visit.  Wear comfortable clothing, much as you would when you will be resting in the man cave to duplicate the same environment.  Take your time and sit in each style of chair or sofa that catches your eye.  If you are testing a recliner, then extend the recliner and see how far back it goes.  Close your eyes for a minute or two.  Once you find something you consider comfortable, go with it.  If you open your eyes and people are staring at you, you may have dozed off for a bit.  Don’t worry, this won’t happen in the man cave.
  • Refreshments! You will need some kind of bar fridge for beer and other cold beverages.  This can be as small or large as you wish, depending on how many refreshments you will consume in a week or so.  It can be inconvenient to buy beer often or restock the fridge, so make sure you get the appropriate size the first time out.  As far as snacks are concerned, you will want to make sure there is room in the fridge for finger foods to be kept.  If you are going with a fridge/freezer unit, then you will want to think about adding a microwave oven as well for heating up those frozen snack items.
  • Relief Station.  You are going to be consuming plenty of beers, etc., so make sure you have your own relief station located within your man cave or very close by.  It would be really, really inconvenient to have to walk up stairs or down a hall to use a washroom.
  • Electronics.  Decide what sort of electronics you would like to have, including style and size of TV, DVR, Surround Sound, Stereo Equipment – Satellite Radio or Television, etc.  Of course, finding one remote to handle all of the various electronics can be an added bonus!

Rules for the Man Cave

Claiming your own personal space can be a long and difficult journey.  Once you have staked out your claim and made it your own, you will want to consider some basic rules for your man cave.  Okay, I know what you are thinking – Rules?  I don’t need no stinking rules!!!  Well, you might!

Rule 1:                        Bring your own booze!!

No one wants to supply beer for all of their friends, and having a bar can be a novel idea, however, you will find at some point that certain people keep showing up, a little more often than you would like, and empty handed…  You know, that guy that shows up at a party with a six pack and leaves with a twelve pack.  What’s up with that????  Start off with this rule and enforce it, and you should avoid these freeloaders while laying out your expectations of not having to supply them with booze.

Rule 2:                        No entry into the Man Cave without permission

What?  Well, it is your own personal space.  You don’t want your kids down there having a freakin pajama party, messing up your space and eating all of your snacks… gasp!  If the kids want to watch a movie in your man cave, then they have to follow your rules and for crying out loud, they better clean the place up when they are finished!!

Rule 3:                        What happens in the Man Cave Stays in the Man Cave!!

Don’t underestimate this rule.  Perhaps you and your buddies want to play poker for money or watch some less than mainstream TV or pay per view.  Sometimes things are said that you don’t want repeated… because you are relaxing and you want to let loose a little.  You would not want the ladies finding out about this or they will try to stop or even limit your man cave parties.  Everyone who enters the man cave should not repeat anything that is said within those four walls to anyone… ever….

Rule 4:                        The man is always right (in the man cave).

Your wife or significant other gets to be right the rest of the time (even if they are not), but this is your space to be right all of the time.

Rule 5:                        No Chick Flicks… ever.

You have had to endure years of Sex and the City.  Now it’s your turn to watch sports 24/7 if you want to.  Go ahead, it’s your space and your TV!

These are just some general ideas for rules and there are some great posters with Man Cave Rules that you can purchase to post in your man cave.  It’s your cave, you decide what your rules will be, but make sure that you have some or the entire household will use your cave as a flopping ground.  By golly, you worked hard to claim and create this personal space, so you need to enforce the rules.

Planning your ManCave

One of the most important things a man will ever do in his home is to plan and execute his man cave.  There are plenty of things to think about and plan.  Remember, careful planning will ensure that you include all of the elements you would like in your man cave and it should allow you to have a rough idea of what you can expect when all is complete and ready for enjoyment.

 1.         Theme

Do you want your man cave to look like a garage (complete with a car parked inside) or a saloon, or even a diner?  Every guy has specific tastes and likes, and this is your space to do what you want, because it’s your man cave.  Some guys like to have a sports theme where they can display their memorabilia, etc.  It is entirely up to you, because it is your space, but make sure it is something you really enjoy or you will get tired of looking at it.

 2.         Budget.

Once you decide on a particular theme, decide on how much it will cost you for all of the elements to bring the room together and make it pop.  Flooring, lighting, electronics, seating, refrigeration, paint, bathroom, etc.  All of these different elements and add ons are going to cost a bit of money, and every bit can add up to a lot, so be certain you consider absolutely everything before you get started.

3.         Area.

Which area of the house will lend itself to your plan?  The garage, the basement, the attic?  Wherever you decide, it should be a room that is not used often by other members of the household, or they may be upset when you claim it as your own.  Of course, you could share it sometimes with other family members, but most of the time it will be yours.

 4.         Upgrading.

 If you are planning to install a surround sound stereo system for your TV, for example, you might need to upgrade the ceiling if you are in the basement in order to soundproof the room. What’s the best way to watch a great action movie?  Loud, of course!   The last thing you want is to wake the kids up or tick the neighbors off when you are trying to watch that movie.  Soundproofing can be take a bit of work, but once you have it done, you will never have to do it again.

5.         Comfort.

Adding in all of the elements that make your man cave comfortable are very important.  Of those, seating is the number one thing that you should consider.  Make sure it is something that you will enjoy sitting in for extended periods of time.  Add in easy to reach tables where you can store your remotes or sit your snacks and drinks.  Everything should be less than five inches from your chair so you can grab it when you need it.

 The most important part of planning your man cave is to make lists of all of the things you want, a “wish list” of sorts.  Start by working through this list and then fleshing it out while you shop around for the supplies you will need to make your man cave a reality.