How to Take Care of Your Granite Counter-Tops

My granite countertops are one of the favorite things about my home that I plan on keeping around for a while. I had installed them in my Short Pump Richmond VA home about a year ago and they seem to be the spot where everyone gets together to drink, snack and chat. To keep them looking good I have comprised a short regimen of maintenance to follow.  It covers both daily tasks and seasonal tasks to keep my granite counters looking brand new.

granite counter-top clean up

There are many do’s and don’ts so I will try and go through all of them for you. As a daily cleaning practice make sure to take a damp warm cloth or sponge with just a little bit of antibacterial detergent. Wash the counter thoroughly and make sure to clean up the soap residue with clean water. Left over residue can result in a filmy look to your granite. When the soap is lifted, dry with another cloth to bring a shine out. If in the case that there is a spill, make sure to blot it up instead of wiping or circling. This prevents the spreading of the spill which could result in a larger stain. If the counter-top is sealed correctly the spill should be repelled.

For heavy duty cleaning make sure to use a proper stone degreaser so you can easily lift grease, grime and dirt. These chemicals are designed so no damage is done to your beautiful granite countertops. They usually come with their own instructions which you should carefully follow. If deep stains occur there is a poultice clay that you can purchase. It is very absorbent and can pull the mess from within the small crevices. You may need to re-polish afterwards.

Most granite comes pretreated with a resin treatment that seals the stone at the factory. This should last ten to fifteen years but if you feel your counters need another sealant make sure to choose a high quality solvent. These are sealants that resist both water and oil based stains. Follow the directions carefully then dry and buff leaving the stone to dry for about half a day.

When cooking, make sure not to put any hot pans or pots on top of you granite countertop. If there is extreme constant heat on them they may be damaged. Ceramic objects are also know for scratching the surface so make sure to use a mat or trivet underneath. Another don’t is using a knife directly on the counter. This is a quick and easy way to dull your blades.

Don’t stand or dance on your counter tops either. Stone is very strong but it’s not very flexible. Too much weight focused on one spot can cause your granite to crack.

These are the rules I go by to keep my granite counter-tops looking clean and fresh.  They have worked just fine for me and I hope they help you out too!!

Buy Andersen Windows For Energy Savings

insulating double hung windowWith rising fuel prices, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to save money. New technologies claim to be more energy efficient and this is absolutely true. But if you want to save money on your energy bill, you don’t need to invest in some expensive, new technological trend. All you need to do is make a simple investment. Your home is your biggest investment and this is where you stand to gain the most in energy savings. Make a smart choice and buy Andersen Windows from Denver Custom Windows or a dealer near you for energy savings. Here are a few reasons why you’ll save money with Andersen.

  • Good windows insulate well. In the wintertime, you want to minimize your loss of heat as much as possible. Andersen Windows will keep the heat inside where it belongs. The windows will also work in the hotter months of the year, too. Cool air will stay inside your house and keep you cool and comfortable. Overall, good windows will help your home maintain a constant temperature and avoid drastic fluctuations.
  • The best energy is free energy. Good windows allow sunlight to come into your house and this sunlight is free heat. You’ll get solar energy without an expensive solar panel! On those rare days in the winter where the sun is out, take advantage of the opportunity and soak up the free heat. When the sun goes down, your windows will hold the heat through most of the night. More heat from the sun means less work for your furnace.

Investing now in Renewal Andersen Replacement Windows for energy savings will help you tremendously in the long run. Great insulation in your house will not only save you money on your energy bill, but you’ll also add value to your home. An energy efficient home is attractive to any potential homebuyer so you would be smart to buy Andersen Windows for your home. Lower your carbon footprint and raise your home’s value today by investing in good windows.

The Benefits of Organic Carpet Cleaners

healthy clean carpetsWhether you’re looking for a carpet cleaning company to hire or you have one that you’ve been using for years, now’s a good time to look into all your options.  More and more people are switching to organic carpet cleaning methods, and for good reason.  Green carpet cleaning is not only void of harmful chemicals, something that should not be overlooked especially if you have pets or young children.  In addition to protecting your family in your home, you’re also protecting the environment when you choose a green carpet cleaning service that uses environmentally friendly methods.

Some harmful cleaning chemicals you want to look for when you go to hire a cleaner include pesticides disinfectants, fragrances, sodium hydroxide, and acids.  This is just a small sample of what you might find, on the ingredient list of common cleaning solutions. If you value having a healthy indoor environment for your family then I would recommend doing a bit of research on your own about the different cleaning methods used and asking before you let a cleaning company into your home. I would much rather have a dirty carpet and stay healthy than be exposed to unnatural cleaning agents that had the potential to make someone home clean

When I first began to realize this I switched from a traditional cleaner to a steam cleaning company thinking that steam was just hot water. Unfortunately, this is hardly ever the case. Even with steam cleaning for carpets, there is a lot more than water going down even if a lot of dirt is being picked up. Steam cleaning also puts down much more water than you need making your carpets damp for days or even weeks after the cleaning process. See a full comparison of carpet cleaning methods here.

Having a wet carpet is also unhealthy as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Not to mention your carpets or rugs pick up more dirt from that time because it is attracted by the moisture.

What Exactly is HVAC?

If you are a homeowner it is important that you are smart when it comes to the products and services necessary to keep you home up and running. Heating and air systems are no longer viewed as a luxury feature in a home, but rather a necessity. We hear the term HVAC tossed around a lot when it comes to your air conditioning unit. But do you know what it all really means? We have broken down the acronym H.V.A.C. to help you understand what to look for when it comes to your heating and air conditioning repair in Baltimore.

H Stands for Heat

In Baltimore, Maryland about 4-6 months out of the year you are going to be utilizing your HVAC unit for heating purposes. There are a few things you want to keep an eye on when it comes to heating for your home.

-          Does your unit have enough capacity for sufficiently heat enough water for everyone to use?

-          Is your unit operating efficiently and cost effectively?

-          How often do you replace your system’s air filters?

-          Do you have any items obstructing your floor or wall vents?

-          Should problems arise, do you have a source for supplemental heat?

V is for Ventilation

This is one item that is often overlooked when it comes to your Baltimore heating and air conditioning unit. However, ventilation is one of the most important aspects of an HVAC unit because it reduces outside air infiltration while maintaining air pressure between the rooms in your home. That combination equates to proper air delivery, removal, and overall distribution. Ultimately, this is what keeps the entire HVAC system working.

A and C are for Air Conditioning

This is pretty self-explanatory, but with heat you want to check that your air conditioning properties are operating correctly as well. Here are some tips that we have to avoid costly air conditioning repair in Baltimore MD.

-  Use your landscape to increase efficiency: Shading your home from the sun will help to regulate temperatures in the hot summer months

-  Avoid additional heat generating activities: Need to run the dishwasher or run a load of laundry? Waiting until the evening to do these chores can take a strain off you’re A/C unit during the day.

-  Change the temperature: Turning up the heat 10-15 degrees in the summer or down in the winter for about 8 hours can have a substantial impact. Do this overnight while you are sleeping to let your system rest while you do too.


Other important heating and air acronyms to note include:

HSPF - This stands for “Heating Season Performance Factor.” This is a measurement of the level of your heat pumps efficiency. Note, that the higher your HSPF factor, the greater your system’s efficiency. You also may hear of a similar term interchangeably with SEER Rating. This is known as your “Season Energy Efficiency Rating.” Likewise, with this number the higher, the better.

COP – This represents “Co-efficiency of Performance.” This is a ratio that compares your heat pumps heating efficiency to the electrical resistance heating. You heat pump’s COP will decrease as outdoor temperatures become cooler. This means it is becoming less efficient and to a point where heating will need to be provided through electrical heat strips.

Senior Friendly Home Improvements

As we decorate and adorn our homes with trinkets and fond memories, our houses become a part of us. We hate to leave them behind, and moving can be an emotional experience. We especially, all want to live out our later years in the place that we have become the most comfortable. Unfortunately, aging into our senior years comes with certain requirements for a home. Even with 2 or 3 flights of stairs, there are still things you can do to make your home elder friendly. If you need even more help than these suggestions allow, call a home care service to assist you.

Let’s start with stairs while we’re on the subject. You have two basic options when walking up and down becomes too painful on the hips, knees, or other joints. Ramps work great outdoors and can even allow ease of access to wheelchairs and scooters. Indoor stairs seldom have enough length to allow for such a thing though. Electronic stair lifts allow you to sit in a chair and ascend and descend at the click of a button. They come with a price tag of $1,000 to $2,000 though.

Lighting should be abundant and easily accessible. Shower Safety Hand BarIt’s easy enough to bump your hip on a counter or stub your toe in the dark when you are young and able bodied. The health ramifications of these minor incidents can be amplified later on in life. Entryways and common nighttime routes like the hallway to a restroom should be well lit.

Baths and showers are our final safety tip. Grab bars are a must have in the shower, and putting them next to the toilet are incredibly helpful too. Another non-negotiable is non-slip traction surfaces for showers and baths alike. Slipping can result in broken hips and concussions in worst case scenarios. One of the final dangers that we often forget about is scalding from hot water. If possible, use a single lever temperature control system instead of dual hot/cold knobs for more consistent water temperature.

Residential Glass and Window Tinting

More homes are using an increasing number of window panels in their modern design to maximize day lighting. However, more window panels will mean more heat and UV rays entering the home. Therefore 3m Prestige Window Film is specially designed to allow visible light to pass through while cutting out the heat, glare an UV rays. Ultra Violet rays are a major cause of premature aging, skin cancer, fading of drapes, artwork, and even flooring. Window film can reflect away up 99.99% of the suns UV rays, thus providing excellent protection for you and your family, especially for the sensitive skin of babies and toddlers.Residential Window Tinting

3m Film window tint from Midwest Glass Tinters Chicago also reduces up to 97% of the sun’s infrared heat that comes through the windows, leaving your home cool, thus saving energy and money in utility costs. In addition, 3m window film is able to cut annoying window glare to it is useful for studying or computer and television viewing. As there is absolutely no metal in the construction of our window film, you will see no mirror images, reflected back from the interior of your home. Instead, you get a clear, uninhibited view of the nature or cityscape outside of your windows. You’ll be amazed how truer the colors are as well. Imagine going to the beach with a $200 pair of sunglasses with modern polarization. Now every window in your home or business can provide the same vivid visual experience.

Prestige window tinting film also is a great security addition to any home, as is made with microlayered technology that reduces the tear resistance of the film significantly. This makes the window shatter resistant, holding the glass together should anything or anyone try to forcefully push through the window.

Types of Home Siding

One great investment that is very common among home owners is replacement siding for their home. Depending on the type of material that is already installed on your home you could have a wide range of time is required for replacement. There are many different types of siding that you could choose for your home that include wood, vinyl, fiber-cement, brick or stone veneer. Each type of material has its perks and its advantages but it also has a price range difference.  If you are unfamiliar with the term fiber-cement siding then click here to view Arrow Exteriors website for great examples of this quality material. I believe that the other three types of siding are considered common knowledge and we can jump into the benefits of each without much explanation.

  1. Wood has a great traditional look for most homes but this material has some major downfalls. It is very easy to warp and absorb moisture which could lead to rotting wood. Wood siding is also more susceptible to bugs like termites.
  2. Vinyl is very versatile and an inexpensive product to install on your home. This is one of the most common types of siding in the United States although it does have some disadvantages. This material is not very durable during storms or high winds and can actually be damaged very easily.
  3. Fiber-cement is hybrid between wood and vinyl siding in the fact that it is very durable so it will hold up in high winds. The fiber cement is bug resistant, fire resistant, and damage resistant. This product also has a wide variety of colors and styles to choose from. The disadvantage of this product is that it is a little bit pricy compared to wood and vinyl siding.
  4. Brick or stone veneer is a different and great way to make your home stand out in the neighborhood. This product is very durable and has a great look to it but the disadvantage is that it is very expensive and needs to pass certain inspections.

Any type of replacement siding that you decide to put on your home will actually increase the value of your home. This is why we recommend replacement siding as a smart home investment for any home owner looking to increase the value of their home.

Heating and Air Home Improvements

There are many great types of home investments that you could make that will improve comfort and increase energy savings. A great area to invest in is the heating and air system of your home, because it can increase the overall comfort of your home and help increase energy savings. There are different ways you can go about investing in your air system that include – replacing or installing new equipment, upgrading existing units, or improving the indoor air quality. No matter what area you are thinking about improving you will receive added benefits of comfort and savings.

  • By installing a newer condenser unit or air conditioning system can drastically improve the overall quality of the air in your home. If you notice that your air system is malfunctioning or doesn’t heat or cool your home properly then you know that you may to purchase a new system. The newer residential air conditioning models have improved efficiency and energy savings and you can see savings only a few years after installation.
  • If you can’t afford to make a full investment to replace your entire system then you could simply upgrade different parts over time. By taking step improvements you will gain partial benefits but at a lower upfront cost. This is what a majority of home owners do because they are not willing to make such a large upfront investment.
  • There are many different ways to improve the indoor air quality in your home and cut down on the amount of airborne pollutant particles in the air. With proper circulation you will be able pump fresh air into your home and make the air quality greatly improved. This is a lower investment compared to the other two because you can drastically change the indoor air by replacing dirty filters and cleaning the air duct system.

If you have expertise in HVAC then you will probably want to conduct this project by yourself to save you money. There are great experts that provide quality air services and information like Aire Serv. You can view all of their services and ask the expert material for tips on troubleshooting or even installation at With the wealth of information out there you will be able to find the smartest investment for your home instantly.

Benefits of Vent Hoods

Kitchens are a great place to start when trying to improve your home through various home improvement projects. These rooms are fantastic for and easy to make a change that will drastically change the feel of your kitchen area. Home owners that perform home improvements on their kitchen generally enjoy cooking and if you are cooking a lot it is important to have a vent hood over your oven.

If you are the family cook then I am sure you know better than anyone what the benefits of installing a vent hood are. They are used to control the vapors and flames that are created through cooking on ovens. These devices are used for removing smoke, heat, grease, odors, and steam form the kitchen atmosphere allowing the cooking environment from becoming a hectic catastrophe.

You might know vent hoods by a different name like exhaust hoods, extractor hoods, or even range hoods. All modern homes are beginning to install these appliances to help protect your home from fire damage. These appliances are very useful because they will draw all the vapors and airborne food particles that you don’t your family breathing in.

These items are installed over the cooking surface or oven and can be very difficult to install. These items are very heavy which makes the installation very difficult. When installing the one in my home I had to call an appliance expert come and assist me.  I was only able to find one appliance repair company that worked on vent hoods at Their service technician was very friendly and he was able to do a majority of the work without me. I was very satisfied with the service I received from Mr. Appliance I will definitely contact them in the future to an appliances that I need repaired.

After the installation of the vent hood the benefits were almost instant. The first meal that my wife cooked the vent hood prevented a large majority of steam from filling the kitchen. With very minimal window openings in the kitchen steam would always fill our home and it would cause a lot of irritation with the family members.

Recycling Home Décor Bathroom Concepts

Are you looking to update the look of your bathroom but you don’t want to invest a lot of money into expensive bathroom fixtures? Create your own one of a kind bathroom vanity by reusing an old dresser. It sounds like a crazy idea, but it actually works. Let me explain how. First you are going to want to gather your resources. You will need the basic home repair tools such as drill bits, tape measure, level, saw, sander, screwdriver, and wood glue. Then, you are going to need to dresser itself. Make sure it is the appropriate size to hold the bathroom sink you desire. Then, and possibly the most important step, make sure you have an expert plumber on hand to help you with plumbing complications.

Plumber Crystal Lake IL

  1. If you don’t have an old dresser on hand you can visit any flee market, antique shop, or estate sale and discover great finds. After finding the dresser, the first thing you are going to want to do is make sure it is clean and in the best condition possible.
  2. Next, you are going to measure and cut out the top drawer so you are able to fit the sink’s plumbing pipes. With the second drawer, cut the back off and move it forward to shorten the drawer.
  3. Paint the dresser your desired color. This is where you can get creative! Truly make this a statement piece or leave it with its original finish for a vintage look.
  4. Then, mark the placement of your sink and faucet fixtures. Once you have drawn your outline, drill a hole to get you started and finish the cut with a jigsaw.
  5. Lay your tile. Using clear adhesive, start from the center outward and lay the tile on the vanity top one at a time. Once the adhesive has had enough time to dry, seal the vanity top.
  6. Lastly, place the sink using clear adhesive to help keep the sink in place. Have your plumber check the holes in the sink to make sure they line up so you avoiding leaking through the tile.