Top 5 Questions To Ask Prospective Carpet Cleaners

An experienced and reputable carpet cleaning company has the capacity to work magic on soiled carpets. These carpet cleaners are equipped to get rid of long-lasting stains that you might have been struggling with for a long time. This will leave your home with carpets that feel great under your feet, look clean, and smell fresh.

At a glance, some carpet cleaners may seem to have great deals, professional-looking technicians, and reasonable prices. However, carpet cleaners operate a business and making a profit is their primary goal. Too-low prices for the services offered could very well deliver poor results. In addition, technicians who seem professional could be clueless and have no idea what they are actually doing.

Additionally, there are carpet cleaners who make use of powerful chemicals to get rid of stains. Others opt for cleaning products that are kinder to the environment or heavily dependent on steam (which uses a lot of water). You should go for a company that provides a treatment technique that is ideal for your family and your home. My local Chem-Dry here in Santa Cruz, for example, cleans using hot carbonation rather than a lot of water or sticky soaps.

As it relates to selecting a carpet cleaning company, getting recommendations from family members, friends, co-workers and other acquaintances is the best way to go.  However, if this method is not available to you, the following 5 questions for prospective carpet cleaners will help you make the final decision:

Is your company fully insured and licensed?

Hiring a company that makes workers’ compensation benefits available to their employees is absolutely significant.   Nearly all states require companies that employ more than two workers to provide this benefit.   However, there are a number of unscrupulous companies that try to keep costs low by not paying for the benefit.  This has the potential to leave you open to a lawsuit if a worker gets injured while working on your property.  Hiring a company that is fully licensed and insured, including workers’ compensation, will rid you of being liable should a work-related injury come about.

Is a guarantee offered on your services?

Reputable and professional carpet cleaners will always guarantee their work; however, this varies from one company to the next. Guarantees could include a provision for the company coming back to rectify a spot if the spot comes back after cleaning. You ultimately want to be totally satisfied with the completed work. Ensure your carpet cleaner accommodates this.

Is a quote provided?

Requesting a quote significantly lowers the risk of getting unpleasant surprises after the job is done. Ask for a written quote before the work starts. This should include the scope of work, the cost, reference to appropriate insurances and a work guarantee.

Are environmentally friend products used?

Find out if the company cleans responsibly. The chosen company should use cleaning agents that are not dangerous to people, the environment and pets. Additionally, it is essential to know how waste material is disposed.

Which cleaning method will you use on my floors?

There is no single way to clean hardwood and carpets. Instead, the cleaning technique should be unique to the material being cleaned. Consult a certified company to prevent damage by determining the best cleaning method.

Adjustments to the cleaning technique should tackle:

  • The degree of soiling
  • Your demands
  • Composition of material being cleaned

Follow these tips, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of a successful carpet cleaning. Here’s to hoping that you soon have the clean, bright carpet that you deserve.

Renewal by Andersen: NC’s Best Replacement Window Company

bright windows

As the years pass by, your home windows may begin to become worn and weathered. This is when the average homeowner will start to consider replacing them. If you have had your windows for a long time, you may be surprised to realize the benefits that a modern day replacement window can offer your home. You have more choice in color and hardware options, the products are of higher quality & long lasting, and they are much more energy efficient which can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. One of the greatest replacement window breakthroughs is credited to Renewal by Andersen and their state of the art framing material, Fibrex. This wonderful stuff will last you for nearly a lifetime.

Custom Windows Made in the USA

As a subsidiary of Andersen Corporation, Renewal by Andersen has grown to become a highly respected player in the replacement window installation industry. Many even consider them to be the biggest when it comes to windows and doors in the country. Hans Andersen started the company in 1903 out in the town of Hudson, Wisconsin. Customer satisfaction is easily met due to the high standards of quality that are enforced throughout the entire Renewal by Andersen brand.

What makes Fibrex’s Composite Material so Unique?

With wood and vinyl being one of the most popularly used materials for windows these days, our Fibrex is definitely going against the grain. Both wood and vinyl framing have their own positive and negative attributes and it is this very reason that we created Fibrex. Our patented formula takes the pros from both popular options, be it durability, low maintenance, energy efficiency, or structural strength. Thanks to our team of advanced engineers, everyone can now enjoy our long lasting windows at a very reasonable price.

Save Money with Energy Efficiency

We offer many different versions of replacement windows within our High-Performance Low E4 glass lines. With an increase of energy efficiency at times when the temperatures are at their highest or lowest, you can expect only the best savings in energy consumption. The window panes are also very special in the fact that they help deflect harmful U.V. rays that can damage your furniture, skin, and precious belongings. For those that would like a reduced light environment, Renewal also offers a version that has window tint already incorporated. The four different patterns that we offer are Cascade, Reed, Fern, and Obscure. If you are looking for a more durable glass, then the heat-treated option may be right for you. By investing in our windows you can save your family lots of money.

Our Many Different Lines to Choose From

Each homeowner has their own style which can be observed throughout their home. This is why we carry many types of windows that can match anyone’s décor. The styles of window that Renewal by Andersen can custom make for you are:

  • Bay & Bow
  • Casement
  • Double-Hung
  • Awning
  • Picture
  • Sliding
  • Specialty

Once you have picked out the window replacements that best fit your home, then it is time to pair the matching colors, stains, hardware, and grille choices. You can view our full list of colors by clicking here: Replacement Window Color Guide.

Just a few of the hardware finishes that we provide are:

  • Polished Chrome
  • Bright Brass
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze

Our Grille Options are:

  • Farmhouse
  • Colonial
  • Prairie
  • Modified Prairie

It’s almost impossible to not find what you’re looking for. If you don’t see it, we can custom construct it for you!

The Best Customer Service in Central North Carolina

male representative

We believe that providing impeccable customer service is the reason why Renewal by Andersen has become the best window replacement company in North Carolina. With are free consultation service, we make it easy to set up and even get a chance to see what are windows look like with sectioned demo pieces. We bring the fibrex material right to your door so you can see first-hand exactly what you’re buying into. We come right to your home and make all the necessary measurements to get you a very precise quote on the job. We are here for you whenever you need us so don’t hesitate to call. We also hire the highest qualified technicians that will do the job right the first time. We strive in exceeding your expectations and we always make sure to leave your home cleaner than when we first arrived.

Our Window Replacement Warranty

Renewal by Andersen provides the best-limited warranty in the business that covers parts, labor, and original installation services. The company stands by the quality of its glass and ensures customers that they will be free from defects in workmanship, materials, and manufacturing for 20 years. There is also a 10-year warranty on parts other than glass and a 2-year warranty on installation. For more information about their replacement windows, go to the official website or call the company today.


Seasonal Maintenance For You HVAC System

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An HVAC system keeps the indoor temperature of your home comfortable year round. As a resident of Richmond, Virginia, you experience a wide range of temperature changes from summer to winter. You want the heating, ventilation and air conditioning of your home to work efficiently with good indoor air quality. For optimum functionality, you need to regularly maintain the heating and cooling system to keep it in great working condition. By following maintenance tips throughout the year, you are assured of heating and cooling your home without any major problems.

Winter Maintenance

Once the cold weather arrives, homeowners need to periodically monitor the heating system and look for such issues as extreme temperature differences from room to room, dirty air filters and inconsistent air flow from the ducts. Any of these may indicate that the heating system is not working properly. During this time, you have to make certain that the ducts and vents are clean and free of dust and debris. You also need to inspect the air filters to see if they are dirty or clogged and restricting air flow. If you have a gas furnace, inspect the pilot light flame to see if it is clear blue. Other colors may mean there is a problem. For gas furnaces, you also have to check the drain of the heat pump to ensure there is nothing blocking it. You can check if the thermostat is working efficiently by turning down the thermostat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. You also need to look at your energy bills. A higher than normal bill may indicate a problem with the system.

Spring Maintenance

Your spring cleaning should also involve the HVAC system. During the spring, you probably aren’t thinking as much about heating or cooling your home. This is the best time for a bi-annual maintenance checkup of your heating and air system if you prefer to have two inspections a year. Your local Richmond HVAC professional should check the ductwork for air leaks. Every three to four years, you should have the ductworks cleaned by a professional. This will increase the air quality in your home. Another way to breathe in cleaner air is to check the air conditioning filters and the gas furnace filters for dirt and grime. Cleaning or replacing these filters increases air flow and system efficiency. Spring is also the start of allergy season so cleaning the air filters every month is a good idea, especially if allergy sufferers live in the home. As part of ongoing maintenance, check for loose or disconnected electrical cords. This can lead to the system working harder and using more energy.

Sumner Maintenance

For continuous summer cooling of your home, you need to clean or replace air filters every month. You also need to inspect the cooling system to make certain it is not leaking too much and not draining properly. If there is too much water inside the system, this means it is not working efficiently. You have to check the condensate drain and condensate tube of the cooling system to clear them of any clogs or obstructions so condensation can drain out. Without proper drainage, water damage is possible, and mold and mildew can form. Another summertime task is to turn off the water to the humidifier of a gas furnace. Using a programmable thermostat to raise the temperature a few degrees at night and when you are out of the house reduces wear and tear on your system while also lowering energy costs.

Autumn Maintenance

Fall is the perfect time to consider buying a new HVAC system that is more energy efficient, especially if your current system is more than 10 years old. Gas furnaces now have a very high-efficiency rating of close to 97%. You should also think about purchasing a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. These types of thermostats give you more control over the temperature settings. It is important to have the heating unit or heating and cooling system in your home professionally inspected and cleaned before the start of winter. A preventative maintenance involves checking every part of the system. The HVAC contractor will look for any problems and make the necessary repairs. You need to replace the furnace’s humidifier filter and turn the water back on because you turn it off in the spring.
Your heating and cooling system are an integral part of your home. A well-maintained HVAC unit gives you a decade or more of efficient heating, cooling and ventilation. With preventative maintenance by a professional every year, small issues with your system don’t turn into huge and costly repair jobs. By following DIY maintenance tips, your HVAC operates at efficient levels throughout the year while also saving on your energy costs.

The Right Way to Clean Your Carpets

vJ - vacuum job

When it comes to the carpet in your home, you may not notice it deteriorating over time. While some may be tempted to try and clean their carpet by themselves, different materials require different cleaners. They also can add new sealants to your carpet and prevent staining and matting. Finding a professional carpet cleaner in Indianapolis to regularly clean your carpets and rugs can extend their life and save you money in the long run.

A carpet cleaning company will be familiar with different types of carpet and will be able to efficiently get the job done. By using the wrong products, it is possible to stain or damage your carpet instead of cleaning it. With some of the more tightly knit carpets, its possible for them to retain water, which can eventually lead to mold. This might require replacement of the carpet. For this reason, a shag carpet cannot be cleaned the same way  you would clean a Berber carpet. Because of the different designs they can hold dirt and soil differently as well.

When it comes to dirt and soil the carpet in you home will typically come with a resistant coating on it. This coating wears off in time, leaving you vulnerable to staining and wear and tear. Another benefit of rug cleaning and carpet cleaning is the prevention of matting. Matting is what happens when dirt has built up, causing the carpet fibers stick together. If this is left to continue, it could ruin the carpet and require replacement. The chemicals they use can re-apply that sealant that has worn off. In some cases, a carpet cleaner will give you a warranty on their work, or the sealant they placed.

In addition to helping out with the carpet, most cleaners will also do  upholstery cleaning. Couches, chairs and other furniture all have that same needs as your carpet. They need to be cleaned and maintained. If you are worried about staining or dirt build-up they can also apply a resistant treatment to these materials. In most cases upholstery cleaning is a quick and easy process that can be scheduled the same time as your carpet cleaning. Specials are also available depending on the size of the room or added cleaning.

If you decide not to schedule an appointment and instead do it yourself, you could just be covering up the problem. A standard vacuum bought in the store doesn’t remove all of the dirt in your carpets. Remaining dirt and soil can be ground into the fibers by normal foot traffic. When this dirt is left too long in the fibers it can have a sandpaper affect, grinding away at the base of your carpet. Once these fibers have worn away, there is no cheap way to replace them. Typically buying new carpet is whats needed.

Buying carpet is not cheap, nor is it cheap to reupholster your furniture. In most cases it is often better to invest your time and money in your current carpet than spend much more to buy a new one. It is recommended that you get your carpet cleaned once every six months, up to a year at most. During the summer months is when the cleaners are most popular. Be sure to check with cleaners in your area to find a good appointment time and see if they have any specials available.

Common Summer Air Conditioner Problems

It’s summer, and suddenly your air conditioner stops working. There are a few things as frustrating as this and you need to find a quick solution. While many AC repairs require the input of a professional, there is no harm in knowing about some of the problems that occur during summer and understanding how you can fix them. Being aware of the most common AC issues that occur in the summer can save you plenty of time and effort when the system needs to be serviced.

air conditionerAC Won’t Turn On

If the AC stops running, check that it’s properly plugged in. If so, ensure there is no tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Restore the power and see if it works. Another potential cause is usually that the thermostat isn’t working or that it’s set improperly. Check the thermostat settings and if this doesn’t help, it may be time to replace the thermostat altogether. Before rushing to replace the thermostat, check that the air conditioner’s break box isn’t flipped.

AC Stays On Not Long Enough or Too Long

Where you place your thermostat ultimately determines the length of time your AC will run over the summer. Placing the thermostat in direct sunlight can cause it to run for extended periods of time even after room temperatures are down to comfortable levels. Changing the thermostat’s location will improve overall efficiency as the unit will only be forced to run when it’s necessary. Installing a programmable thermostat, in case you don’t have one already can further lower your cooling costs.

Inadequate Air Cooling

If your AC doesn’t seem to be cooling your home as well as it used to, start by lowering the thermostat a few degrees. If that doesn’t work, you may have a clogged filter. Inadequate air cooling usually indicates an airflow problem. If it’s been long since you last changed the filter, consider having it replaced as it could be restricting air that’s trying to get back into the AC. For optimal functionality, check that the AC has sufficient clearance all around. Anything within about two feet of the unit could be hindering the free flow of air.

AC Runs But Doesn’t Cool

If the AC is running but not cooling the house, still check the thermostat. You should then take a look at the condenser. The condenser can be blocked by grass, weeds, or other airborne debris. If it’s blocked or dirty, clean and remove any blockages. An inadequate amount of refrigerant or a faulty compressor can also be the cause of an AC that doesn’t blow cold air. In this case, you should contact a reputable HVAC company in Huntsville to address the problem.

Unusual Noise When AC is Running

Hearing strange noises every time your AC starts up or turns off could be an indication of blower issues. However, sometimes it may just be a loose screw. Tighten the loose screw and check if the noise disappears. Dealing with high voltage appliances can be very dangerous, so it’s best to call a professional. If you must handle any issue on your own, shut off the power to the AC before touching any components.

AC Costs Too Much to Run

For some people, summer is synonymous with high cooling bills. In the case of poorly maintained units, energy costs can start to skyrocket over time. One of the best ways to cut down high cooling costs during summer is to have your AC serviced prior to the start of the hot period.

Refrigerant Leakage

Refrigerant leaks are a common occurrence in the summer and can prevent your AC from doing its job properly. When there isn’t enough refrigerant to absorb the summer heat, the vent is likely to blow out warmer air than normal. Signs that you may have refrigerant leakage include a much lower cooling output and accumulation of frost on the AC’s evaporator coils. An AC professional can check your system for leaks.

What A Good Mover Can Do For You

The young happy couple looking around their new apartment. Moving purchase of new habitation.

Does the thought of moving from one apartment to another, one home to another or one office to another send your mind and your “to do” list into overdrive?  Do you worry that you won’t have enough time or enough friends to help on the big day?  If you think that nobody could understand or have the wherewithal to help with such a monumental task, remember that there are great Raleigh NC movers who will not only understand, but also help to remove the stress that can pop up at any given moment when you’re faced with the prospect of moving.  From the initial planning stage, to discussion of logistics to packing, a good, reputable mover can:


  1. Get you organized from the very beginning

– Analyze the size of your apartment, home or office and items involved prior to your move

Once your mover has a full overview of what they’re dealing with, you will be ready to discuss fees (which are probably more reasonable than you think), as well as what moving option would work best based on your budget.  Don’t be afraid to set budget parameters at the very beginning: your mover will appreciate your honesty and will be able to tailor a moving plan that stays within your budget.

– Discuss—room by room—the best way to pack and when to start based on your schedule

There are different methods of packing depending on what you’re moving.  A good mover will tell you what would work best for you.

– Talk about the benefit of making checklists

If you’re not the type to make lists, you may want to seriously reconsider.  Lists really are a lifesaver, especially for something as important as a big move.  You may be surprised at how many simple things can slip your mind if you haven’t written them down.


  1. Ensure that you have what you need, when you need it

Moving is one of the most daunting tasks there is.  There are many things to think about, such as:


– Boxes

– Protective wrapping

– The best kind of truck to use

– How many people you’ll need to help


Men working for a moving services company unloading a sofa from a truck

Men working for a moving services company unloading a sofa from a truck

Although they may sound like simple things at first glance, thinking about them as it relates to your move could send even the most organized person into a tizzy.  A good mover will make sure you have the materials, staff, and a truck that will work best for your specific type of move—all while keeping your budget in mind.


  1. Get everything there on time, and with care

A good and reputable mover will:

– Evaluate all of your possessions—even the most delicate ones—to ensure that they are handled with care before, during, and after they arrive to your destination.  This includes honoring specific instructions and requests you may have.

– If you wish, carefully unpack and/or reassemble any items that required disassembling in order to be moved

– Ensure that your items reach their destination on time


Whether a large or a small one, the prospect of moving can be quite overwhelming if you have not properly planned at every step of the way.  Don’t be afraid to seek the services of Raleigh NC movers.  You will find that having assistance with planning, logistics, and extra helping hands will ensure a smooth, successful move.

A locally recommended moving company in Raleigh is Stewart Moving & Storage. They’ve helped countless local residents and have built up a tremendous reputation in the area.


Benefits Of Air Duct Cleaning



Airborne contaminants are inevitably sucked into the duct when the HVAC system is in use.  After a while, these destructive contaminants will cause a buildup inside the air ducts.  The contaminants could include carbon monoxide, bacteria, airborne allergens, animal dander, dust mites, household mold, tobacco smoke and chemicals.


They circulate throughout the home or workplace, polluting the air, aggravating respiratory illnesses and triggering allergies.  Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to these pollutants.


It should be noted that a contaminated HVAC system does not automatically mean the air is unhealthy.  However, this situation could be contributing to larger health issues.  It could also be accumulating contaminants that could trigger serious problems for individuals with autoimmune disorders.


Professional air duct cleaning in Phoenix AZ uses specialized brushes, blowers and vacuums to unclog the intake, supply and return ducts all through the home or office.  Typically, the process also involves a comprehensive cleaning of the registers, air handler, fans, coils, housings, motors and grilles that make up the HVAC system.


There are numerous benefits that can be derived from cleaning air ducts.  They include:


Improved Air Quality


Getting the air ducts cleaned will assist in eliminating poor air quality.  When the air ducts are cleaner, indoor air quality automatically improves.  The cleaning will free the ducts of all unwanted and potentially harmful particles.  It will prevent their release into the living space as well.


Energy Savings


Studies have indicated that between 25 and 40 percent of the energy used during the cooling and heating process is wasted.  Contaminants in the system result in it working harder, which will ultimately shorten the lifespan of the system.  Even though filters are used during the heating and cooling processes, normal use will still cause it to get dirty.  When the system gets a thorough cleaning, it does not have to put in as much work to maintain the desired temperature. As a result, you will use less energy and this will lead to improved energy savings.


Elimination of Odor


As the colonies eat, expand and reproduce, unpleasant odors are produced by fungi and mold.  These awful smells escape through the ductwork and eventually end up in the living area.  Food and perspiration odors can become trapped as well.   This is particularly true in tight homes where these smells subsequently become embedded in the dust clusters that are scattered right through the duct system.  Regularly cleaning the duct removes the materials these smells cling to.  The professionals can put a deodorizer into the system, if you so desire.


Lower Costs for HVAC Repair


Most system failures result from improper maintenance and excessive cycling.  Dirty components and ductwork restrictions could amplify friction loss and drastically lower airflow up to 50 percent.  Cycles that run longer cause extreme stress on critical moving parts.  This could lead to excessive wear and tear and the untimely breakdown of the system.


Many homeowners recognize the significance of regularly servicing their HVAC equipment. Unfortunately, the network of the air duct is mostly neglected until it affects the performance of the whole system.


The air quality outside is influenced by several factors we have no control over.  However, the indoor air can remain safe, clean and healthy.  This can be done by incorporating filtration, duct cleaning, UV protection and ventilation into a complete indoor air quality plan.


Visit Cook Brothers Cleaning to learn more about how duct cleaning can improve your home.

Window Replacement Trends for 2016

georgia homeYour house is an extension of who you are. It is where you hang your hat and your favorite photos of your favorite people. This is why you care so much about making your home the best it can be. These 2016 design trends can help you to keep your home looking its best and also performing its best with replacement windows for every style of home under the sun.

1950-esque Silhouettes

Vintage homes are hidden gems in the real estate marketplace. Though they take some sprucing up, the end results of remodeling an older home can be breathtakingly beautiful. It simply takes a bit of patience. One problem with these nostalgic homesteads are their energy draining windows. Letting in cold air in winter and hot air in summer, half the battle of remaking an older home is in window replacement. Try Renewal by Andersen’s Double Hung windows which help you stay true to your home’s nostalgic roots while keeping the elements at bay. The window installation company boasts of a special Fibrex composite material in all of their window options that make their windows energy efficient and are perfect for older homes.

Timeless Traditional

If you are a movie buff, Father of the Bride housed perhaps the best example of a traditional home ever on the big screen, complete with the white picket fence of your dreams. In a world constantly moving forward, tradition can be comforting. To keep your traditional home looking timeless and fresh, try Renewal by Andersen’s Bay and Bow windows for a classically charming vibe that will make every other house on the block eager to cross over to the sunny side of the street.

Sustainable, Green Structures

Environmentally friendly homes are on trend and ever increasing in number. Designed to conserve energy, these hip homes are showing up energy guzzling houses all around the block. Get on board with this terrific trend and opt for energy efficient windows that will cut costs, keep out the elements and save you money on your power bill. Replace old windows with Renewal’s Casement windows, the brand’s most energy efficient style, to help reduce costs and stop any drafts. With weather-tight seals, this window also works in reverse. Simply crank the window out to let the fresh air come in.

bright living room

Unique Digs

Modern homes are unique and wildly creative. From old warehouses to churches transformed into livable spaces, today’s trending spaces think outside the box. To update a special home… you need a special window. Renewal’s specialty windows are custom built windows that are perfectly designed to fit your home’s needs and styles. Also, try their sliding doors for added function in a space that was not originally designed to perform as a living quarters.

Natural Nests

Homes with a view are becoming more and more popular, opting for more land over more house. Think tree houses in the middle of the brush, farmhouses overlooking a horse farm and cottages nestled out by the bay. To celebrate a home with a view, a picture window is the perfect pairing. These simplistic beauties allow you to enjoy the beauty all around you.

Country Coops

Return to a simpler time with a southern style home with a rocking chair front porch. Perfect for sipping tea on a sleepy Sunday, these homes are perfect for family living. No southern home would be complete without an eat-in kitchen. For added ventilation for pies that sit in the oven a smidge too long, Renewal’s awning windows are the way to go, allowing you to let smoke out quickly.

From chic city living to nostalgic spaces, everyone has a different idea of what home should look like. However, everyone can agree on where it should be… And that is where the heart is.

Countertop Trends For 2016

granite counters

Current and trending, from traditional options to modern muses, these countertop choices in Northern Virginia are hot for the new year, taking your kitchen from drab to fab. Whether you are interested in granite for a timeless yet current look or something a little bit different, your countertop is the backdrop for your entire space. It pulls together your favorite themes, chic designs and bold color schemes, making for a look that is cohesive and fresh. From chic and charming to bold and colorful, check out the trends that will carry your kitchen into a bright new year of togetherness.


Granite Countertops in Deep Hues

Modern looks with deep hues and sleek hardware are a top trend right now that designers are in love with. Though traditional and timeless, variations in color make granite up to date and perfect for your next remodel. As far as granite fabrication/fabricator concerns go, it cleans easily, lasts for generations, never stains and saves you money in the long term. Try pairing your granite with black and white artwork as well as small pops of color in bold options. Think bright chairs and fresh, clean lines. When you pair several bold choices with muted ones you statement pieces and countertops will pop.


Quartz with Chic Accents

Coming in beneath granite, quartz is the second best choice for counters that last a quite a while if cared for. Though beautiful, this element is not very heat resistant. If you sit a hot pot down for a moment, you could be looking at a great deal of damage, however, with granite countertops this is not a problem. If you decide to go with quartz, pair it with chic accents to bring out its natural beauty. Vintage chandeliers work wonders as do pops of magenta with intricate woodwork in soft colors like whitewashed eggshell.


Marble with a Traditional Vibe

Marble is a favorite among designers but tends to be very porous, making staining a real concern, unlike granite stone which seals out the yucky stuff. Current and now, this trend works well for a traditional look paired with classic elements of a home-style kitchen. Some designers argue that marble can date a home, but it depends on your own personal style and taste. Some find marble quite timeless.

green grass and flower

Recycled, Environmentally Friendly Countertops

If you are concerned with the world around you, recycled countertops may be right for you. With a unique look, this design mixes papers, plastics, rock and other elements to create a look that is different from the rest. This design works well in apartments and flats for trendy hot spots filled with modern, colorful art. While in a league of its own, it is not very durable. This makes for the possibility of redoing your entire kitchen later on. If this is not a concern for you, it can work if you treat counters with great care.

Of all the trends for the bright New Year, granite takes the win for form and function. A granite contractor in Northern Virginia, like Granite Source, can help you create the kitchen of your dreams that will serve you well for years and years to come. From new beginnings to changing seasons, year after year your granite countertops will keep you on trend and in love with your cooking space, making for a lifetime of memories shared in the kitchen that you love to come home to.

Kick Start the New Season with a Clean Home

clean homeIf there is one thing that seems to get people going, it has to be that overwhelming feeling that comes over you when you visit a friend’s squeaky clean home. It’s only when you get back to the clutter and congestion of your own home that you will begin to notice the subtle (and maybe not so subtle) differences between yours and your friend’s. And at that point, there is no turning back.

Not only does that sharp contrast in cleanliness beckon you to act, it urges you to do so almost immediately. You begin to clean your house in a daring, defiant mood, vacuuming, dusting, and catching up on house work that between seasons had – literally – been swept under the rug. But with all the huffing and puffing, you still find yourself exactly where you started: a tired mess incapable of rejecting your husband’s suggestion that you hire a local maid service to do the house cleaning. The question you must be asking not “why,” but “why not?”

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew: The Benefits of a Local Maid Service

Over time, overlooked chores can pile up. What seems to stop most of us dead in our tracks is the tremendous effort it takes to make all the months of dirt disappear at the wave of a magic cleaning wand. Maybe it’s because we try to bite off more than we can chew instead of simply doing what most people do – delegate responsibilities. Professional cleaning services are guarantee to leave your home so spotlessly clean that you will be able to see your own reflection in the tiles. What’s more is that it is so much easier to maintain what has been brought up to standard than to scrape off the layers of grime yourself in between work and family time.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Now that all the clutter has been packed away, the cobwebs are all dusted, and the grease and grime is all dutifully scraped off, all that’s left is to maintain the pace that’s already been set. No doubt, you have been given a world of advice to get you started. Now it’s up to you to clean up after everyone. Here’s an action plan that’s focused around five main tasks to perform regularly:

  • A quick wipe of the countertops after cooking.
  • A rigidly enforced “after use” put-away system. Knowing the key centers of activity, or “hot spots,” in your home is one way of staying ahead of the game. Make sure that people in their hot spots are aware of the need to put things away immediately after use.
  • Routinely doing the dishes soon after meals. Cleaning up after dinner can be made simple and fun by playing some music or cleaning the dishes with a friend or family member. It also helps to wash bowls, knives, and pots as you cook so that you can lessen the amount of work to do after a heavy meal.
  • Schedule laundry days and chore lists. Everyone has to pull their weight otherwise nothing will change. Keep a schedule in clear sight of the family (if your children are old enough to help out) and watch closely as your home gets tidier with time.
  • Pest and disease control by regular sanitation and fumigation if necessary. As much as your house may now have the appearance of a clean and well-organized abode, pests still need to be controlled to rid your home of potentially harmful, disease-causing bacteria. And if you have an air conditioning system, it will be worth your while to have the ducts and vents cleaned as well. Fungus has been known to build up unnoticed in such areas, posing a potential health risk if left unattended to.

Bringing order to otherwise chaotic living arrangements is not a walk in the park. As you may have realized by now, it is all about breaking the huge chunk of house cleaning work into tiny, chewable pieces. In all likelihood, it will begin with you enlisting the services of a local maid service, like The Maid Crew in Richmond VA, to get you back on track. And once that initial cleaning is done and taken care of, it’s pretty much a piece of cake from there on.

My D.I.Y. Home Window Tinting Nightmare

couple in loveI like to think that I’m a pretty good handyman and my lady loves me for it. However, when it comes to my previous home window tint renovation, it didn’t turn out so great. It all started when I was sitting on my couch in my lovely Colorado Springs home and realized that I was constantly sitting in a bath of our sun’s rays.  We had a lot of windows, which I loved because of the great views of the Rockies, but, I just felt that there was a little too much light blaring into my home. We have expensive furniture & rugs that I didn’t want to be ruined and the excessive light was very distracting when I needed to concentrate or work on the computer. It was because of this that I decided to search for professional home window tint company around the area.

I hopped on my i-phone and started to scour the area for the best company that could provide my home with high-quality window film. Through my research, I also discovered that 3M window film was believed to be the best so I made that a priority to find a business that could provide me with that specific brand. This is when I stumbled upon High Country Window Tint of Colorado Springs, CO.

I gave them a call and set up a free consultation for the following week. The next week they arrived at the time they promised and did a full detailed assessment with my 20 windows. The quote they gave me didn’t sit well with me so I decided to call around to other local Colorado Springs window film companies. It turns out that High Country did have some of the best prices with great reviews to back them up with. I still wasn’t happy with the price so I decided to purchase some 3M window film and try it for myself.

I headed down to Lowes to investigate what style of film I wanted to purchase. I knew I wanted something that would block out just a small amount of light so I decided to pick one of their lightest 3M window film coverings. It would block out the unwanted light while protecting my family and me from any harmful U.V. rays. I decided to get the one that had a light bluish tint on it. The store clerk explained to me that the blue was achieved by blending in certain metal compounds that put off a blueish color.

nice homeWith all of my materials bought, I headed back to the homestead. I began measuring out all of my windows which was easier than thought because there were only two different sizes. With the measurements in place, I began cutting the window film to size. Next I began to clean the windows and used a razor blade to clean up any paint that was near the edges. I dried them off then applied more water to apply the window tint. I peeled the backing and started to put the tint on the windows. With the first film panel in place, I realized that I had not bought a squeegee.  Luckily for me an old DVD case did the job good enough. I slowly worked out all of the air bubbles but some didn’t seem to be coming out and this is when I noticed small specks of dust or dirt behind it. I then took off the entire covering and cleaned the surface again. I had previously used a paper towel to put more water to prime for the film which I believed to have left behind paper fibers that caused the air bubbles. This time, I decided to use a sponge what seemed to work well.

I went through and applied the rest of the window tinting coverings and left it to sit and dry. Over the next few weeks, I started to notice more air bubbles, some with dirt or dust inside. It seemed like my methods just didn’t work and it was getting worse over time. With my frustrations slowly building up, I had decided to give the professionals at High Country Window Tint another call. I was sick of seeing my terrible attempt at this very time-consuming improvement. These guys came over and were able to get my situation fixed in no time with excellent results. They were even able to salvage a few of the window tint panels, but the others needed to be tossed because of crooked cuts and snips.

For anyone thinking of tackling a window tint renovation in your own home, I suggest your reconsider.  If you’re in Colorado Springs, contact a reliable business like High Country Window Tint.

Home Improvement Options for Seniors

stair lift 2Instead of moving into an assisted living facility, many seniors are making the decision to “age in place.” By definition, aging in place involves living independently in one’s home, well into old age. Seniors who choose to remain in their home as they grow older typically do so for a variety of reasons — including the cost of assisted living housing, and the sense of independence and dignity associated with living on one’s own property.

Although it may be more cost effective and preferable to age in place, it’s not without its own necessary procedures. As people age, weakened bones and a decreasing sense of balance make falling a significant concern. Certain components of our home that we typically take for granted, such as steep stairwells, lofty shelves, or stacks of magazines sitting on the floor can be potential falling risks for older seniors. And as aging in place doesn’t provide the 24/7 care found in assisted living facilities, special precautions must be taken to prevent falls well before they occur.
If you or a loved one is choosing to stay in their own home through old age, consider the following home modifications in order to improve the overall safety of the home.

Add Night-Lights to Hallways: If you’ve ever had to walk down the hallway to use the bathroom or grab a snack in the middle of the night, you probably know how easy it is to trip and fall when you can’t see where you’re going. A simple solution is to buy some night lights to light up walkways and stair ways — anywhere that you think you or your loved one may need to access in the dark.

Easy to Reach: Many cabinets, pantries, and closets feature notoriously high shelves that are nearly impossible for most people to reach without being on their tiptoes or using a step stool. Both of these actions can cause a senior to lose his or her balance and fall. Be sure to prevent this risk by moving all necessary items from high shelves to shelves that are more within reach, especially if you or your loved one is “vertically challenged.”

Convert Multi-Story Home to One Story: This may not be immediately necessary, but when impaired mobility prevents the possibility of going upstairs without risking injury, it maysenior toilet be time to move the home downstairs. This could involve converting an unused downstairs dining room or office into a bedroom — essentially reducing the need to use stairs. However, if a conversion isn’t a possibility — as is the case for many seniors — you may want to invest in an electric stair lift.

Railings in the Bathroom: Possibly one of the most important precautionary steps to take in home modifications for seniors is to add railings in the bathroom.
The bathroom floor and the tub can be particularly slippery when wet, and are the most common places for seniors to fall and injure themselves. The best way to prevent risk is to install easy-to-grip bars around the toilet and in the shower or bathtub so the person can hold on if they lose their balance. A couple other good ideas are to install a seat in the shower, or a walk-in bathtub.

Bonus: In-Home Care

Many seniors who choose aging in place simply don’t require the high level of care provided by assisted living facilities. However, many could still benefit from a little help around the house. If this is the case, hiring in-home help is an excellent option. In-home caregivers offer help with anything from preparing meals, home cleaning and maintenance, yardwork, check-ins, transportation to doctors’ visits or the grocery store, or even simple companionship. Seniors Helping Seniors in Rowlett, TX is a great example of an in-home care service for seniors choosing to live independently.

Aging in place can be a great option for seniors who are able to live independently. However, especially when living alone, the necessary precautions must be taken in order to ensure safety and prevent dangerous falls.

Top Benefits Of New Window Installation In Your Home

Going along the lines of last weeks post (can you tell we have been window shopping lately) I wanted to share a bit about the details of what the benefits of new windows are once you have decided you need them. Lets begin.

Almost everyone would agree that a home is the largest investment a person will make in his or her lifetime. Replacement window installation is one of the most important aspects a person must consider if he or she wishes to maintain or increase the home’s value. Below are some of the numerous benefits associated with replacing old, drafty units with custom crafted windows. Thank you to my local Renewal by Andersen window installer in New England for helping provide this information.

Energy Savings Resulting in Lower Monthly Power Bills

home energy efficiency guideWindows that are in substandard condition allow warm air to escape from the home, which in turn, results in a higher fuel bill for the homeowner. Additionally, during hot months, cool air escapes in a similar fashion. This causes the home’s air conditioner to work harder than usual, which also increases energy costs.

Some people are unaware of a leaking window’s impact on the consumer’s fuel bill. A homeowner would most likely not even consider allowing a window to be left wide open throughout the winter season. However, numerous energy studies show that only three to four panes in the home that have small leaks result in the exact same amount of heat loss as the wide open window scenario.

Increased Property Value

house made of moneyMany homeowners would agree that not only are they concerned with maintaining their property, but strive to increase its value, as well. No homeowner should be in a position where he or she cannot make a profit when the home is sold. Replacing old, outdated window units that leak air is an ideal way to instantly increase the value of any dwelling. Real estate agents commonly inquire about replacement windows when a person is listing a home for sale.

When the property owner can prove that custom measured replacement units have been installed by a professional window contractor, it allows the realtor to list the home at a higher price. This is because prospective buyers are far more likely to choose a house that has already had such work completed. This is particularly true for models that are made in the USA, as this assures prospective buyers that top-notch quality can be expected.

Windows with insulating glass save virtually all homeowners a substantial amount of money on heating and cooling costs each year. Therefore, replacing old units that are in poor repair with new energy efficient models will solve this problem.

New Windows offer More Convenience

easy open clean windowFor most individuals, convenience is an important consideration when embarking on any home improvement project. Standard old-fashioned windows are typically made from materials that are time consuming to maintain. If the frames are wood, they must be painted each spring in order to ensure they maintain an attractive appearance. Most homeowners would agree that this can be a lengthy project depending on the number of windows in the home.

Washing older model units can also be a difficult task since they are often hard to access. Depending on where each window is placed, the project of cleaning may result in the need to use ladders or awkward equipment that can be cumbersome or even dangerous. Additionally, panes may need washing during the winter season, but homeowners often find that this task must be put off due to inclement weather.

Most contemporary, energy efficient replacement windows feature a “tilt-in” option. This option allows both the interior and exterior panes to be accessed from inside the house. This considerably cuts down cleaning time as there is no need to set up garden hoses, ladders, or wait for pleasant weather.

Aesthetic Appeal from High Quality Window Replacements

beautiful replacement windows in MassachusettsWhere a window was once considered an entirely practical object, most manufacturers now realize that they are a decorative part of a home, as well. There is no better avenue in which to improve the appearance of one’s home than to replace old, unattractive window units with shiny new panes framed in modern, attractive material.

The eye is naturally drawn to the window units of a home, more so than any other area of the dwelling. With this in mind, if a homeowner must choose only one project with which to enhance the beauty of his or her home, it should be an investment in US manufactured, custom crafted replacement windows.