Why Your Next Countertop Should Be Stone

Updating your kitchen is an exciting time, but it’s also one that’s full of choices. You’ll be looking at cabinetry, appliances and lots of different color schemes. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is what type of countertop to install. You want something durable, but also beautiful and modern. The obvious choice for your new counter should be stone, and here’s why.

Easy Maintenance

Stone counters are among the easiest to care for. They wipe clean and always look as shiny as they day they were put in. Some homeowners decide to seal their granite countertops after a few years. When you have your countertops Pittsburgh PA installed, ask the professionals what they recommend.

Sheer Beauty

Granite, quartz and soapstone are an absolute stunner when it comes to kitchen countertops. Whether you opt for a glossy or matte finish, stone makes any kitchen look majestic. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making excuses just to hang out in the kitchen.

Durability

One of the reasons stone countertops are so popular is because of their durability. Granite and quartz last for decades and are resistant to heat and scratches. Granite can handle the heat of a pan directly from the oven without ever sustaining damage.

One-of-a-Kind Look

When choosing a stone countertop, your cut slab will be unlike any other. Stone features flecks of color and “veining”, which is the swerving pattern of colors running throughout. Choose your pieces carefully because these colors will inevitably end up being part of your kitchen’s color combination.

The Best Choice

When the time comes to select new countertops for your home, stone is the most attractive, longest lasting and easiest to maintain. Always have it professionally installed for best results. Once they’re finished, you can look forward to a lifetime of use.

3 Tips for Renovating a Historic Home

Choosing to purchase and restore a historic home is becoming increasingly popular. Lower pricing on houses due to a lack of modern design features, coupled with the lure of quaint, small-town locations, makes it an attractive option for millennials working to get out from under overwhelming student debt burdens. Because of restrictive covenants and easements, however, the repairs and renovations on these homes are often more involved than you might originally think. Here are three tips for turning a run-down historic home into a dream come true.

Study the Home’s History

Every house has a story, and learning the one behind your new home will help guide any changes you make. It can also reveal hidden features that you might not otherwise find. Start at the local library or by talking to a historian familiar with the area, and keep records of everything you find as you go. Compiling the information into a scrapbook can make an interesting conversation starter afterward.

Work With Professional Craftspeople

The number of people who know how to use traditional building techniques has, unfortunately, dwindled over the past several decades. However, there has been a resurgence in interest in historic techniques, and craftspeople who specialize in them can be found in nearly every geographic area. Take the time to research who you plan to work with, including a preservation specialist who can help you decide which projects will preserve the integrity of the property.

Source True-to-Period Supplies

There are some things that you just don’t do when working with historic properties. Putting modern building materials on display is one of them. Stick with traditional materials whenever possible, or use modern alternatives that are designed to blend in. For example, an antique home brick restoration should not be covered with a stamped veneer.

Be sure you know what you are getting into when you purchase a historic or older house. Researching tradespeople, historically-appropriate materials and the home’s history can give you a good idea of the work you’ll face.

5 Simple Ways To Secure Your New Home

Your home is your castle, but without a mote to protect it, it’s up to you to make sure the people and things stay safe inside. You don’t have to build a fortress, but you do need to do these five things to secure your new home.

Change Locks

There’s nothing more exciting than your real estate agent handing you the keys at closing. The best thing to do with those keys is to keep them as souvenirs and get the locks changed right away. You may trust previous homeowners, but you never know who else has copies of those keys.

Add Lighting

Adding landscape light Hicksville NY is a great way to keep prowlers away while beautifying the exterior of your home. You don’t need blinding spotlights, but strategically placed lights can an effective theft deterrent that also adds curb appeal.

Install an Alarm

If you want the best protection for your home, consider installing an alarm system even if your new home is in a safe neighborhood. Some professional models can be pricey, but there are also do-it-yourself options that fit nearly any budget.

Secure the Garage

It’s the biggest door on your home, but it’s often forgotten since just your car and some tools live there. However, securing the garage is key to keeping unwanted guests from gaining access into the interior of your home. Keep the door into the home locked at all times since burglars and other nefarious individuals can sneak in while you pull your car in or out of the garage or while you’re in the back performing yard work.

Lock the Windows

The windows are another forgotten entryway, but it is essential to keep the windows locked. If you can’t resist the fresh air, install specialized window locks that allow you to keep them propped open just far enough to let in the air without letting in an intruder.

Purchasing a new home can begin a new, exciting chapter in your life. Just be sure to secure the home to keep intruders from enjoying a new adventure as well.

What To Do if Your Car Breaks Down Far From Home

Having your car breakdown while you are out and about can be an unnerving situation to manage; however, this can be even more nerve-wracking when you are far away from home. If you find yourself with car trouble and you are somewhere unfamiliar, far from home, here are a few tips to help keep you safe and minimize your anxiety.

Call The Professionals

While you may be feeling shook and uneasy, you don’t need to handle this alone. With the help of a car towing North Branch MN and shared rides, you can safely and easily get on your way. If you aren’t sure what to do, before you set out on foot, consider calling in the pros who can help you get the help you need.

Make Sure That You Are Visible

When cars break down, they often present hazards not just to the driver, but they can also present risks to the drivers in the area. Make sure that you avoid urgent and dangerous situations by making yourself clearly visible. Turn on your hazard lights immediately and if you have reflectors or flares, place them nearby, around your car.

Get Out of Any Immediate Danger

Cars often don’t leave you with the luxury of being stranded in convenient locations. To address any imminent dangers, you should promptly try to get your car off to the side of the road or at least out of the way as much as possible. If you are unable to do this yourself, it is essential that you call emergency services and assistance quickly.

Be Prepared For The Future

If you want to ensure that you are safe in the case of car trouble, proactive action is key. Put together a car kit that includes emergency equipment and essentials that can help you in a pinch. Everything from a flashlight to a tool kit to reflectors will be essential if you have car trouble.

Dealing with car trouble can be frustrating and even scary. You don’t need to panic though, because you too can handle the breakdown and get yourself home safely.

Things Getting a New Roof Entails

Perhaps your roof is old and has finally had it and needs replacement. It might be that a major storm recently hit your area and took some of your roof with it. Either way, when you need a new roof you want to be confident that you are knowledgeable about what is going to happen when the contractors are working on your roof.

Things Roofers Do

While many jobs may be classified as requiring a high level of physical fitness, it is certain that roofing is a physically taxing occupation. You want to be sure that while climbing, lifting or kneeling high above the ground, the contractors working for you are properly insured in case of an accident.

The old shingles are removed and often the workers will also remove and replace any plywood under the shingles that is not in top condition. They usually install new tarpaper or some other type of protective layer between the plywood and the new shingles. They cut the new shingles at the correct angles for corners and edges. They also clean up the mess after they are finished.

Equipment Roofing Contractors Use

Depending on the company you use, roofers may use chain hoists Chattanooga in addition to ladders. A chain hoist to haul the supplies to the top of the roof can make the job not only safer but also more cost-effective. It can save quite a bit of time if the roofers don’t have to wait for the material to be delivered or carried up a ladder.

Contractors use a variety of powered equipment such as nail guns and drills. They also use items such as framing squares, pry bars, caulking guns, tin snips and wheelbarrows. Of course, they also use more general tools, such as hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and chisels.

Knowing more about roofing can help you prepare for the job when it’s your turn to have a new roof installed.

Changing Material Characteristics With Electroplating

Electroplating, an electrochemical process of coating a part with a thin layer of some other material, is a common industrial task. It is generally carried out to change some surface characteristics of the plated part. Improvements in aesthetic or corrosion resistance are two common objectives. Jewelry is one of the most common applications for electroplating.

The parts to be plated along with pieces of plating materials are immersed in plating tanks that are filled with a chemical solution. A source of electric current is then connected to the part and plating material and current is applied. An electrical circuit is formed through the materials and the electrolytic solution. Molecules of the plating material, freed by the electric current, begin to accumulate and form chemical bonds to the surface of the part being plated.

Altering the thickness or degree of corrosion resistance of the part being plated is achieved by controlling different variables of the electroplating process. These changes are achieved on the molecular level. Key characteristics that are often addressed in the process are aesthetics and hardness.

Aesthetic Changes

Jewelry is the best example of this plating modification. Base metals which are less expensive and more easily shaped can be coated with precious metals such as gold or silver. These items normally bear markings indicating the type of plating material used such as 24 karat gold or sterling silver. Adding the appealing appearance of precious metal with relatively low expense is perhaps the most common of all applications for electroplating.

Hardness Changes

The surface hardness of a part or tool can be vitally important to its application. Cutting tools, used in machining processes, are regularly plated with high hardness materials to improve performance. Chrome can add the benefit of hardness values approaching that of a diamond.

The combination of electricity and chemistry in the electroplating process makes possible the addition of many valuable characteristics to materials. Future applications similar to this process are being developed in nanotechnological applications with promising results. Electroplating is yet another example of how science is improving the ability to manipulate materials to great benefit.

 

3 Easy Swaps for a Quick Kitchen Makeover

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in many houses. That means everything in it can take a lot of abuse, possibly making the room show its age before other parts of the house. Luckily, you don’t have to do a complete remodel to give your kitchen a whole new look. These three updates can result in a more functional and attractive space without the hassle of a major home renovation. 

1. Upgrade the Appliances

The appliances are one of the most noticed items in a kitchen, so upgrading to newer ones can make a big impact on the room’s appearance. If you are only going to replace one or two, go for the ones you use the most. When you go shopping for appliances Rockville MD, look for features that help make life easier. Smart refrigerators that send shopping lists while you are roaming the aisles of the grocery store, for example, can cut down on extra trips for forgotten items. 

2. Install New Plumbing Fixtures

Older plumbing fixtures can make the entire room feel outdated, which is why this simple switch is a great idea for giving your kitchen a new look quickly. Plus, it’s relatively simple and inexpensive compared to remodeling projects. Swapping out a kitchen faucet is a project that even a beginner DIYer can complete in a few hours or less.  

3. Update the Cabinets

Replacing the cabinets may not be a quick project, but you probably don’t have to do that to make a kitchen more beautiful and functional. instead, give existing ones a makeover in a day or two. You can refinish them if you are up for an ambitious project, but it’s wiser to start with smaller changes, like these, at first:

  • Switch existing cabinet hardware for more contemporary styles
  • Change the countertops by replacing or refinishing them
  • Add functional storage systems

By changing out some small fixtures, splurging on new appliances and including integrated storage systems, you can give your old kitchen a whole new appearance. 

How To Choose the Best Natural Kitchen Countertops

Marble, granite and quartz are all popular choices for natural kitchen countertops. So, how do you choose which one is the best selection for your home? There are several factors to consider, including maintenance requirements for each surface and their durability against regular wear and tear. Your home’s dynamics come into play too, as one type will work best for singles and couples but not be a good choice for families with young children. Here are a few things to consider when deciding between these three trendy countertop varieties.

Marble

Polished white marble is a long-time favorite among designers and homeowners for its beautiful appearance. However, it is not a good choice for a busy family with young children as it requires regular maintenance. Marble scratches easily and can be adversely affected by surface spills as it has a chemical reaction with acidic liquid spills such as coffee, juice and wine. These must be quickly wiped up to avoid surface staining. Any cleansers containing vinegar, bleach or abrasives need to be avoided as they dull and scratch the stone. Marble polishing Manhattan NY is required every two years to restore the shine and luster to your countertops and protect them from future damage.

Granite

Polished granite countertops are a durable choice for families and come in various colors from neutral white and beige to colorful black and coral, which delivers a stunning contrast to white cabinets. Unlike marble, they are resistant to acidic liquids, moisture and scratches. They do have a tendency to absorb oils quickly, which can cause staining. If your family is prone to spills in the kitchen, choose a darker color over a lighter one, so staining is not an issue for you. Granite countertops are easy to clean with a mild liquid detergent or natural stone soap.

Quartz

Quartz countertops are rising in popularity due to their marble-like appearance and resistance to knicks, cuts and stains. However, they are not natural stone. They are made of a combination of 93% of the natural mineral quartz and 7% of a resin binder that is fused with heat and pressure. This results in a beautiful surface that is non-porous and durable. One advantage of these countertops is they are easy to keep clean and do not harbor bacteria on the surface. They require no ongoing maintenance to retain their great looks, and they come in a wide variety of colors.

To choose the best natural countertop for your home’s kitchen, consider each product’s maintenance and durability and select the one that fits in best with your family’s lifestyle.

3 Tips For Creating a Useable Attic Room

Not everyone has an easily accessible attic, but those who do may decide to change the space from a dusty, neglected area of the house to an attractive, useable room. Before hauling up furniture and accessories, it is a good idea to make sure the structure is sound and that the room will be comfortable to be in all year long.

1. Consider Heating and Cooling

Attics are often hot in the summer and cold in the winter and tend to be rather dry. Evaluate the existing insulation and determine if adding spray foam insulation Maryland will even out the temperature. Examine the ductwork and see if it is feasible to extend the system into the attic. If that is not possible, portable heating and cooling options may need to be considered.

2. Seal Leaks

Leaky, drafty attics should be checked thoroughly to ensure all cracks are sealed. Some airflow is necessary, but holes in the wall, roof or vents can allow unwanted air to enter or escape and may even invite rodents or insects into the home. If water leaks are detected, they should be dealt with immediately, as water can seep into small areas and create big problems throughout a house.

3. Add Natural Light

Many attics have small windows that do not let in much light. Unless the darkness is appreciated for something like a home theater, add windows if possible. If that is not an option, then painting the room white or in other light colors can make the area seem larger and brighter, especially if mirrors are added to reflect available light into the rest of the room.

Remodeling a room takes time, money and hard work, but the end results can be worth the effort. An extra room may add value to the home and be enjoyed by the members of the household for years or decades to come.

4 Water Saving Tips for Businesses

Cutting back on water usage is important in today’s environmentally conscious society. Your business can cut back on water usage by adhering to one or more of the tips below.

Install Motion Activated Sinks and Toilets

Your office will save money on the water bill through the installation of motion activated faucets and toilets. These devices cut back on water waste and prevent excessive usage, saving the total amount used daily.

Fix Water Pressure Issues

If your office is located in a tall building, you may have already experienced water pressure issues on the top floors. You can easily solve this problem by installing a water pressure booster NYC. This machine gives the water located in pipes underground an energetic (and metaphorical) shove toward the top floors, keeping the water pressure equal on all of the floors. Your employees will waste less water with good pressure.

Use a Water Delivery Service

Instead of having your employees use a water fountain, you should sign up for a drinking water delivery service. A delivery of large water jugs will be delivered at your office however many times a week you need them, so your employees can still bring their reusable bottles to save on plastic use. The water service will pick up and reuse the empty jugs to help with that endeavor too.

Hire a Plumber for an Inspection

To make sure your plumbing is working efficiently, you should hire a licensed plumber to complete a full inspection annually. He or she will check for hidden leaks, make any necessary repairs, and give recommendations to make your plumbing work better. Well running plumbing equals a lower water bill.

All of these ideas will help your office save money on the water bill by cutting back on the amount of water used daily.