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Home Living Ideas

Sealing Your Granite Counter Top

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

After a granite counter top installation, many homeowners think that cleaning up spills quickly, using trivets for hot pots and using the right cleanser are all that is necessary to keep the counter looking attractive. While this daily maintenance is vital, it is just as important that you seal the granite yearly to ensure it looks gorgeous for decades to come. Reasons to Seal the Granite Granite counter tops have a glossy appearance that heightens their appeal. Sealing this surface every year or more often is necessary to maintain the beauty of the granite. Neglecting to seal it makes the stone susceptible to cloudiness and stains that can last a lifetime. Tiny food particles, dust and other debris can work their way into the crevices of the counter top, thus causing cloudiness and a dull appearance. Bacteria from raw foods can also seep into the granite if it is not protected on a regular basis. The sealant also keeps liquids and other spills from damaging the surface permanently. Determining When to Seal the Granite Again Some granite is more porous than others are; therefore, it may be necessary to seal your counter top more often than someone who has a different type of granite. An effective way to determine if it is time to seal the granite again is to pour about a tablespoon of water on the granite counter top. Allow the water to sit for about 15 minutes and then wipe it up. If the granite looks darker in the area of the spill, it is time to reseal the surface. Typically, if the granite is sealed well, the liquid will bead up and not soak into the surface. Sealing the Granite The professionals who installed your granite counter top can come out each year to reseal the surface, but it is also something you can do yourself. Purchase the sealant recommended by the professionals. Generally, you can get it from the store where you purchased the granite, such as Creative Kitchen & Bath, or a hardware store.  Clean your granite well with your normal cleanser and allow it to dry thoroughly. Apply the sealant with a clean brush and allow it to dry the length of time stated on the label.  The directions will tell you on how many coats are necessary and how to long to wait between each coat. This necessary maintenance helps protect your investment; it also rewards you with a glossy shine that allows the rooms to sparkle and look their...

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3 Practical Uses For Excess Topsoil

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Do you have extra topsoil in your yard? It’s not uncommon to find yourself with a mound of it after a large landscaping project or excavation project (such as putting in an in-ground pool). What do you do with all of that extra dirt? It’s unsightly, so you’ll want to remove it or re-purpose it in some way. Here are the top three ways you can put excess topsoil to use: 1. Build Up Low Spots in Your Yard Are there areas in your yard that are lower than others? These areas can collect rain water during storms and saturate your yard. If the low areas are near your house, they can divert this water into your house’s foundation or basement, causing damage that is expensive to fix. You can use your excess topsoil to fill in these low areas and make them level with the rest of your yard. Your yard will be safer to walk around in, (no more putting your foot down in a low area and tripping or losing your balance). Plus, the yard will look better and your house will be protected. Grass will start to grow in the new topsoil soon after you put it down, and it will be no time at all before those low spots are a distant memory. 2. Give It Away or Sell It Believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who are in need of topsoil. They need it to cover bare spots in their yards and to build up their gardens. You can put an ad in the local paper or on a free online classified ads site letting people know you have topsoil available. You can give it away for free if you just want to get rid of it. You’ll probably have a lot of takers. You could also charge a small amount per bag of topsoil, and people with genuine yard needs will be happy to pay it. Either way, it’s out of your yard and in someone else’s, where it can do some good. 3. Use It as Potting Soil If you enjoy growing potted plants, topsoil makes an excellent ingredient in your potting soil mix (as long as it’s not clay or rocky soil). Mix it with an equal amount of peat moss and plant food to make a lovely, healthy environment for your flowers, shrubbery, kitchen herbs, and anything else you like to grow in pots. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor potted plant use. Conclusion If you have a lot of topsoil left over after your big yard project, you may want to use all three of these techniques to get rid of the excess. These are all excellent methods of getting that mound out of your yard and put it to good use. Start using these methods today and get your yard...

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How To Know When Your Furnace Isn’t The Problem

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Living with a furnace that’s constantly running but doesn’t seem to be warming your house can be a terrible way to go through the winter. For most people, their first reaction is to assume that there is a problem with the heat source, but this isn’t always the case. The next time you find yourself unable to stay warm enough, take the time to investigate all the possibilities before you pay for costly repairs to a furnace that may be just fine. Gaps, Drafts and Cold Spots More often than not, the reason some parts of your home feel cooler than others is the result of warm air escaping or cold air seeping in. Old window frames, or new ones that were improperly installed, can often be to blame in some homes. Settling or shifting insulation can also allow cold air from outside to penetrate into your home. If you notice inconsistencies in the temperature of your home, take the time to check for drafts around windows and doors with a lit candle. If the flame flickers, you have a draft that’s impacting the temperature of your home. Checking your insulation is a bit more difficult, and may involve a trip into your attic or crawlspace to investigate. Finally, if you have a fireplace, make sure the flue is closed when it’s not in use or you’ll just be allowing warm air to rush up the chimney and away from where you need it. Duct Work that Actually Works Tracking down a draft or the cause of a cold spot can help retain heat, but if the heat being produced isn’t reaching its destination in the first place you have a different problem. Checking the airflow coming out of your vents is a good way to diagnose problems with your ventilation system. When doing so, pay attention to the temperature of the air being forced out. A lack of air flow can be a sign that a duct fitting has come loose, while a loss of heat can be an indication of improper insulation. Thankfully, an HVAC company like Coe Heating and Air will be more than capable of addressing either of these situations. Better still, repairing duct work is a good deal less expensive than repairing or replacing a furnace. There are any number of different reasons why your home won’t stay warm in the winter, and very few of them are caused by your furnace. The next time you complain about the cold and blame your furnace, consider the possibility that the problem may lie somewhere...

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Keep The Cold Out: Four Tips To Help Your Prepare Your Windows And Doors For Winter

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

With winter coming, it is time to prepare your home for the winter months. This means doing repairs and winterizing windows and doors in your home. This can include things like replacing the caulking around your windows, installing new weather stripping on doors or repairing broken windows. If you want your windows and doors to be prepared for the winter months, here are four tips that will help you: 1. Adding More Insulation To Windows The windows in your home should have insulation around the frame of the window and the opening. This insulation can become damaged by pests, or it may not have been installed. You can add more insulation by removing the trim on the inside and cutting batten insulation. Get a metal spatula and stuff it between the window frame and the wood framing, then replace the trim around the window. This can stop a lot of heat loss and drafts that cause your home to be less energy efficient. 2. Checking The Weather Stripping Of Windows And Doors You should also check the weather stripping around all the windows and doors. Due to wear, these can become damaged and not provide the seal that they originally did. You will just need to remove the old weather stripping and replace it. If you are not sure what weather stripping to get, take a piece of the old weather stripping to a hardware store and they will be able to give you exactly what you need to replace it. 3. Fixing Areas Where Drafts Can Enter Your Home There are also many places where you can have a draft coming in to your home. If you replaced weather stripping and added insulation, the draft may be coming from hardware on windows and doors. You can fix this by removing handles and adding a little spray foam insulation and then caulk around the handle. When doing this, you just want to be careful not to get spray foam insulation on moving parts because it can cause them to not work properly or damage them. 4. Fixing Damaged Caulking On The Outside Of Your Home You will also want to check the seal of the windows and doors outside of your home. Look at the caulking that is around all the windows. If you notice that it is damaged or cracked, it is a good idea to replace it with new caulking. You will first want to remove all the old caulking and then install the new caulking around your windows and doors. You can also do this if you notice that the caulking is dry and you see visible cracks. These are some things you can do to prepare your windows and doors for the winter months. If some of the windows and doors are damaged, contact a window repair service (such as Gary D Torgerson Co) to come out and fix them for you. They can also help you with some of the winterizing tasks you have to...

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Laminated Glass And How Your Windshield Protects You

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It comes from sand, yet it can be smooth as silk and delicate as crystal. Its name is Glass. Glass is used in multiple applications, including art, homes and buildings and vehicles. This article will discuss the components of glass, the features that make windshield glass special and how your windshield protects you. The Components of Glass The main component of glass is silica, also known as silicon dioxide. Because of the extremely high temperatures required to create glass from pure silica, other ingredients such as sodium carbonate and aluminum oxide are added to decrease the processing temperature. Depending on what the glass is intended for, other ingredients may be added.  For example, glass intended for cookware and vehicle headlights contains the addition of boric acid and alumina for stability during heat expansion. Glass is also used in specific electronic applications. For example, strands of pure silicon dioxide are used in the creation of fiber optic cables and a method of CD production uses a glass “master” to create multiple copies.   What Makes Windshield Glass Special Windshields are made of a special type of safety glass known as laminated glass. Laminated glass has a layer of resin bonded between two layers of glass. This resin holds the glass together even when it is shattered, thereby creating the characteristic spider web pattern of a “shattered” windshield. Before Laminated Glass Before laminated glass was invented, vehicle windshields and windows were made out of plate glass. Plate glass is a single pane of glass that is still used in the production of mirrors and some types of windows today. Plate glass differs from laminated glass in that it is extremely brittle and easily shattered. While laminated glass holds together under impact, plate glass will shatter into hundreds of tiny shards. When one vehicle collided with another, this brittle glass was not strong enough to keep the occupants of the vehicle contained. Many people lost their lives or were maimed for life as the result of being ejected through a plate glass windshield or slashed by the shattered glass. Why Minor Cracks in a Windshield Are Not Minor The windshield of your vehicle does more than protect you from the wind. Windshields, fixed by people such as X-Treme Auto Glass, provide stability for the roof of the vehicle in the event of a rollover and act as a brace for the airbag when it deploys. If your windshield has been damaged in a minor accident or is chipped or cracked, contact a trustworthy windshield repair company as soon as possible. Your life, and the lives of those in the car with you, may depend on...

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3 Ways To Prepare Your Roof For Winter

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Your roof is an expensive investment that constantly protects your home from the weather. The winter months are especially hard on the roof, with the added precipitation and inconsistent temperatures. To protect your roof this winter, consider the following 3 tips before the snow falls. 1. Inspect Your Home Thoroughly The time to repair leaks and call in a professional is preferably before the storm hits. On a clear day when the weather is mild, look carefully and thoroughly around the sides of the home, the interior walls, and the attic. Look for streaks on the walls, spots on the ceiling, and dampness or puddles on the floor. Additionally, any open holes or tears in walls or ceilings need to be repaired immediately. Water expands when it freezes, and any small leaks or holes in which there is moisture will only become worse in the winter months. Contact a professional before the winter months to make sure these problems are dealt with before the first snowfall. 2. Clear all Debris from the Roof When your roof and gutters have debris on them, they trap water and keep it pooled on the roof. This allows the water to seep into the roof and freeze, thus expanding and creating more leaks. To prevent this, clean the gutters and roof thoroughly before winter comes. Carefully get on the roof and check the entire surface for leaves, twigs, trash, birds’ nests, and any other foreign object. Have someone else help you from the ground with cleanup and tool retrieval so you can minimize how often you go up and down the ladder. If you do not feel comfortable getting onto your roof to clean, hire a trained professional who can do so safely. They will make sure the roof is clean and free of any damage to the shingles and flashing. They can also check your gutters to make sure they drain properly and are not damaged from the previous year. 3. Buy a Thick Bristled Broom and a Roof Rake During the winter, especially in areas with heavy snowfall, ice and snow tend to become blocked and build up over the winter. Eventually, the impressive weight on the roof will either cause structural damage to the roof, or it will collapse over the side of the home and damage the gutters, and anything else in its path. To prevent this, be prepared with a long handled, thick bristled broom and a roof rake. These tools are invaluable for breaking off icicles and relieving the roof of excess snow and ice. Don’t find your roof unprepared this winter. Contact a professional roofing contractor if you have any questions about the condition of your roof before winter comes. Read more here on winter roof preparation and...

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3 Best Practices For Maintaing Your Garbage Disposal

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal is one of the most useful tools in your kitchen. It keeps clogs and problems with your plumbing to a minimum. In the event that you are faced with a major clog or backup of water into your kitchen sink, you should call a professional plumbing service (such as Lewis Plumbing) to evaluate and repair the problem. However, there are small, everyday things that you can do to take care of and prolong the lifespan of your kitchen sink’s garbage disposal. Here are three best practices for maintaining your garbage disposal. Run your garbage disposal after each load of dishes. You should run your garbage disposal often to keep it in tiptop shape. In fact, you should run it after each load of dishes you hand wash or load into the dishwasher. By adhering to this practice, you ensure that you do not build up too much food waste for your garbage disposal to handle. Further, this also keeps strange odors from emitting from your garbage disposal as food waste begins to break down and rot. Use a stream of cold water from the faucet when running your disposal. Always run cold water when running your garbage disposal. Cold water ensures that waste products such as oils, fats, and greases are cut up by the disposal’s blades and directed swiftly down the pipes. On the other hand, hot water causes oils, fats, and greases to become liquid; your garbage disposal’s blades could not chop them up, and they would likely harden somewhere in the pipes, causing a clog in the future. In general, running a stream of water down the drain as your run your garbage disposal is beneficial because it directs waste from the disposal to travel successfully down the plumbing. Be mindful of the food items that you put into the garbage disposal. Your garbage disposal can become stopped up if you send the wrong food items down the drain. Practice good decision making when emptying your plate into the sink. Some foods such as hard candy and bread should be relegated to the trash. Bread in particular does not pass through the garbage disposal well; when it is wet, it becomes mushy and cannot be cut up by the disposal blades, meaning that it can accumulate in your disposal or plumbing, creating gross odors and causing clogs in the future. When you send food items down the disposal, make sure that they are cut into manageable pieces so that the blades can successfully break them up and safely send them down the...

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3 Ways To Know If You Need Professional Water Damage Restoration

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Whether your home has experienced water damage due to broken pipes or a natural disaster, it is important to make sure that you have a plan. You may need the assistance of a water restoration team, but how will you know if you do? By simply reviewing the following three tips, you will have a better understanding of when you need to make that call. You Still Have Standing Water If the storm has passed or the water leak has been stopped and you have a lot of water sitting in your home, you need to call a professional water restoration team. The reason for this is that you cannot allow that water to sit in your home for too long because of the amount of damage that it can cause. For example, it can begin to warp floors, destroy entire sheets of drywall, and spread mold throughout the home. A team of experts will be able to come in and quickly remove all of the water from your home. You Notice Mold Growing Even if you no longer have any standing water in your home, it is important to keep an eye out for mold growth. It does not take much moisture to be in the air with the right amount of humidity for mold to grow and spread fast. If you happen to notice mold growing anywhere in your home after you have received water damage, it is time to call the professionals. They will be able to remove the source of the mold and remove the mold itself. Your Carpets Are Soaked Sure, the standing water might be gone and the flood might not have lasted for long. However, if you have carpets in your home that are soaked with water, it is vital that you call in a water restoration team. They will need to remove your carpets, and possibly the carpet padding as well. They will treat the floors beneath all of that to make sure that nothing warps or begins to grow mold. Once that is done, you can then have carpet installed once again. With this advice in mind, you should be able to have a clear idea on when to call in the water damage restoration company. This way, you will not have to worry about wasting any time or whether you are doing the right thing for the quality of your...

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Tips For A Successful Bathroom Remodel

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A bathroom remodel is a sound investment in your home. In addition to enjoying it yourself, you can recoup a good percentage of the remodeling costs when you sell your home. If you want to ensure a successful bathroom remodel, consider the following tips: Set a Realistic Budget A high quality bathroom remodel is not cheap, so you need to plan your finances accordingly. Work with your contractor in advance to figure out a clear cost estimate of all materials and labor involved in your project. When you’re doing a full remodel on a bathroom, the last thing you want is to run out of funds before the project is completed. If you want to try to keep costs down, don’t make big changes to your plumbing. It is best to leave your sink and toilet where it is, and focus on spending your money on quality materials. Don’t Start the Remodel Until All Materials are Accounted For When you’re completely overhauling a bathroom in your home, you can count on not being able to use it for the duration of the remodel. The key is for the project to be completed as soon as possible after demolition begins. Not having all the materials necessary can slow down progress, so make sure that you have received every last tile, fixture, and anything else that you need for the project before your contractor begins.  For the Best Results, Work with an Experienced Contractor There is a time and place for DIY projects around the house, but a full bathroom renovation is not one of them. If you are making the financial investment to buy all of the materials needed to remodel a bathroom, spend a little extra to have a professional contractor do the job. When you work with a contractor you can usually count on the remodel being completed faster and everything being done right. Settle On a Design Before the Project Begins There are so many options for a bathroom remodel, but once the project begins it is not a good idea to make changes. Making a drastic change to the design after your contractor has started the remodel can result in additional expenses for new material, and may also drag out the length of time it takes for the project to be completed. Spend as much time as you need working with your contractor to create a design on paper, and make sure that you are happy with that design before you give the okay to start the remodeling...

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Keeping Your Home Warm When Your Heater Goes Out

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If your heater has gone out and it’s cold outside, you want to do all you can to warm your house up until you can have the heater repaired by a company like Mackay Heating & Mechanical Services. Luckily, there are ways to keep the inside of your home warmed up without the heater. You can use some of the tips below to keep your home warmed up until you’re able to get the heater working again. Do what you can to insulate your home Take a look around your home and make sure it’s sealed up tightly. You want to use towels to fill the cracks under any drafty windows and doors. You can also cover any hard flooring with rugs to help hold the heat in the room. Close all the blinds so you can keep the cold from coming through the glass as much. Use a portable wood stove If you have access to a portable wood stove, then you’re in luck. You can use it to warm up your home with a little re-arranging. You want to set the wood stove in the room you and your family will be spending the most time in. Place the stove on fire resistant flooring or a large piece of flat, fire resistant material you have covering your flooring. You want to place the piping out of a small window and make sure the piping is pointing up toward the roof. Put wood into the stove, light it and shut the stoves door tightly. You’ll find the wood stove will do a great job of heating up a medium sized area. Closing off the doors to any unused rooms in your house will help to keep your home feeling warmer. Bake some goodies When you’re trying to heat up your house, you want to take advantage of the opportunity to bake some warm goodies. After you’re done baking, take the food out of the oven and leave the oven door cracked open while the oven cools down. This will help you to get more warmth in the house. Eating your fresh baked goodies will also help everyone feel a little warmer. Use an emergency heater You can make a small emergency heater by taking a clean quart sized paint can and putting a roll of toilet paper (without the cardboard center) in the can. Add alcohol until it comes about an inch from the top. Light the toilet paper and use the lid to control the flame. By following the tips above, you’ll be able to keep your home warmer until you can get someone out to repair your heater for...

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