3 Facts About Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are an excellent and luxurious choice in countertop surfaces for your home. They are visually appealing with a knack for endurance, making the kitchen, bathrooms, bars or any other countertop surface in your become true showpieces. Are you considering quartz for the countertops in your home? Here are 3 facts about quartz countertops.

1. Durability

Quartz is one of the hardest minerals that can be found on Earth. This alone makes the durability of quartz unquestionable. But did you know that quartz is engineered? Most natural stone countertops are not, but because of the ability to engineer quartz, other materials can be added, increasing its strength and durability. Polyester resins and color pigments are added to crushed quartz.

The addition of the resin protects the surface of your quartz countertops. They are scratch resistant, and because the resin makes them nonporous, they are highly stain resistant too. They do not require regular resealing like granite countertops. Engineered quartz countertops do not require any sealing at all.

2. Style

It used to be that quartz lacked a lot of color and variation, but no more. As outlined above, the quartz is now engineered with resins and color pigments. Some styles also have the addition of metal flakes and glass to improve and vary the styles available. Together, these can make for some show-stopping countertops. Quartz has different finishes offered, like matte or sandblasted. Quartz countertops have enough variety to suit most any style.

3. Maintenance

Quartz countertops, when compared to other types of natural stone countertops, are virtually maintenance free. They don’t need regular sealing. They are scratch and stain resistant. They are nonporous, so standing water doesn’t cause a problem. They do not require special cleaning products. Just regular mild soap and water should do the trick. And again, because they are nonporous, they are anti-microbial. Porous surfaces lead to bacterial entrapment and growth. Quartz countertops are protected against this.

When you are selecting countertops for your home, be well informed. There are plenty of types and styles in both natural and articulate. If you are considering a natural stone, consider quartz. Their style, durability and maintenance free wear bring together all of the positive aspects you want in a high quality countertop. One caution: while quartz can take high heat, it does have a cracking point. Be sure to protect your countertops with trivets when laying down hot pots and pans. Talk to a company like GranBrazil Inc for more information about quartz countertops.

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Going On Vacation? Use These Easy Methods To Water Your Plants While You’re Away

If you have a lot of houseplants, equivalent to a small nursery, you know how difficult it can be to plan a vacation, especially when you can’t find a friend who’s willing to come in a couple of times a week to water for you. One option is to leave your plants to fend for themselves while you’re gone. That option usually results in dead plants. Another way is to devise a system to automatically water your plants while you’re gone. Here are a few quick ways to water your plants while you’re away from home.

Plastic Water Or Soda Bottles

If you drink bottled water or soda, you probably have your watering solution inside your home right now. This method will keep your potted plants watered for up to one week, depending on the size of bottle you use. For this project, you’ll use a 1 liter bottle, which will last about 3–5 days. If you have larger plants, or you’re going to be gone longer than just a few days, you can use 2 liter bottles.

Directions

  1. Be sure that the soil around your plant is loosened up.
  2. Water your plant as usual.
  3. Fill your 1 liter bottle with clean water.
  4. Place the bottle over your potted plant and carefully turn the bottle upside down.
  5. Firmly place the opening of the bottle into the soil.
  6. The water will seep out of the bottle a little at a time to keep your plants watered.

String Irrigation

If you don’t like the idea of sticking water bottles into your potted plants, you can still use bottles for your watering needs. This method uses glass or plastic bottles and thick cotton rope. If you only have thin rope, you can braid several pieces together to form a thicker piece of rope.

Directions

  1. Fill your bottle with water.
  2. Cut a piece of rope that will run from the bottom of the bottle into the planter.
  3. Place one end of the rope inside the bottle of water.
  4. Place the other end of the rope inside the planter.
  5. Cover the rope with some of the planting soil.
  6. The water will absorb into the rope and will keep your soil moist.

It can be difficult to find someone willing to water your plants while you’re away on vacation. With these simple methods, you won’t have to try. Your plants will receive plenty of water while you’re away, using ordinary bottles.

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Keep Your Concrete And Stone Garden Statues Looking Like New

Garden statues age and weather just like any other hardscaping feature in your landscape. Those made of concrete or stone tend to survive better than plastic and resin statues, but they still need regular cleaning to look their best. Before you begin cleaning, determine whether your statue is sealed or unsealed.

  • Sealed concrete and stone usually has a slightly glossy or polished finish. This finish repels water so the statue is less prone to aging and weathering.

  • Unsealed concrete may have a rough or dull finish. It’s typically made to remain attractive even after weathering, but dirt can make it look dingy.

Basic Cleaning

Begin by rinsing off any loose dirt with a sharp spray of water. Skip the pressure washer, because it may etch or damage the concrete. A pressure washer can also weaken the sealer if your statue is sealed. The University of Utah recommends this solution for cleaning especially dirty concrete:

  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1 TB liquid dish soap

Mix the above with a gallon of water and use it to scrub the concrete.

Vinegar Is Your Friend

Most acidic cleaners can etch concrete and stone statuary, but mild vinegar cuts through the dirt without causing any damage to the statue or the sealer. Scrub the statue with a stiff natural bristle brush dipped in vinegar. Don’t use a metal or wire brush though, as it can etch the concrete.

Stubborn Stains and Moss

If your concrete becomes stained or has unwanted moss growing on it, it requires deeper cleaning. Dilute one part bleach into nine parts water and soak the stained area with the solution. The bleach lightens stains and kills moss. After soaking for about 15 minutes, scrub thoroughly with your scrub brush. You may have to repeat the process for bad stains.

Look for Damage

Hairline cracks or chips can develop into major problems, especially when the statue is exposed to temperature changes. After cleaning the statue and letting it dry, fill the cracks with a concrete repair grout. Smooth the repair and let it cure for a few hours, and then sand it lightly so it blends with the rest of the statue.

Reseal If Necessary

If your concrete or stone was sealed and the sealer is flaking off, you can add another coat of fresh concrete sealer. Scrub off any flaking sealer with your brush and then paint on a thin coat of new sealer. Sealer also comes in spray cans. Simply spray on a thin, even coat.

Concrete and stone statues can go several years before it becomes obvious that they need cleaning, but by then, the dirt and stains can be difficult to remove. If you take the time to clean them well at least once a year, stains are less likely to develop.

For more information, or if you would like professional assistance, contact H & A Landscaping LLC or a similar company.

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Common Misconceptions About Granite Countertops

If you want to bring a natural element into your kitchen or bathroom space, there is no better way to do that than with natural granite countertops. The appealing natural patterns, naturally present flecks of sparkle and shine, and the wide array of color shades make granite a favorite choice among homeowners. However, there are a lot of myths and rumors floating around about granite that may have you questioning whether you really want granite or not. Here are a few of the most common rumors and myths debunked.

Because Granite is Natural, It is More Porous

Granite is a natural form of rock, and it does have some porous qualities. However, it is actually less porous than what most people assume. Water and other spills can seep into the countertop surface if it is not properly sealed, but these spills will usually evaporate right away if they are not cleaned up immediately. Being porous does not compromise the quality of the counter surface. Granite is considered to be one of the most durable materials for countertops in the home.

A Slab of Granite Can Be Ruined with a Hot Pan

Granite is highly resilient to heat, which means that it is highly unlikely that you will cause damage by sitting a hot pan on its surface. In fact, granite will absorb and distribute the heat throughout the slab, unlike other counter materials that are not natural. Unless you take a high temperature blow torch or open flame to your granite, you will most likely not see any damage caused by direct heat.

Granite Loses Its Luster Over Time

Slabs of granite that have been cut for use as counters are polished heavily to a high shining luster. This luster does remain evident throughout the years, but it is a good idea to use a polishing agent to buff out the counters every year. This is a simple process that involves using granite polish to treat the surface. Simply add a bit of polish over the expanse of the counter, allow it to settle for a few minutes, and then buff with a cotton cloth. This helps to seal off slight imperfections, such as small nicks or scratches in the polished stone.

When you know all of the facts about granite countertops, it is easy to see why this is one of the most popular choices in the modern home. Granite is highly durable, resistant to damage, and provides a lasting home element that can greatly improve design appeal and value.

For more information, contact Quality Stone Countertops or a similar company.

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How To Prepare Your Home Before Using Your Fireplace

Using your fireplace during the winter months can be a great thing to enjoy a well-heated home and a cozy atmosphere. Fireplaces can be dangerous if you aren’t careful, however, so it’s important to make sure that your family is properly prepared. Fortunately, following these tips can help you prepare your home before you use your fireplace, which can make for a more enjoyable and much safer holiday season.

Have Your Chimney Cleaned and Inspected

Before you start using your fireplace, you will need to make sure that your chimney is clean and ready for use. Throw down tarps and other protective coverings, and have a chimney inspector come out and take a look. He or she can look for any potential problems that could cause a safety hazard and can carefully clean out your chimney so that it is safe to use.

Rearrange Things Near Your Fireplace

Take the time to rearrange things near your fireplace. Basically, the fireplace area isn’t a good place for any cloth materials or decorations, and you will want to move dry leaves and plants, baskets, rugs and other items that could easily catch on fire. Even if you think that these things look great, it’s best to save your decorations for the months when you aren’t actively using your fireplace. For added safety, consider adding a fire screen in front of your fireplace; if you do, it can help prevent hot coals from jumping out of your fireplace and starting a fire in your home.

Make Sure Your Smoke Detectors are in Good Condition

It’s always important to ensure that your smoke detectors and fire alarms are in good condition, but it’s particularly important now that you will be using your fireplace. Consider hiring a fire alarm inspection service, such as Tri Communications Security Services Inc, to come out and take a look; one of these companies can check the placement of your smoke detectors and ensure that they are working properly. If this is not an option, you should at least consider replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors to ensure that they’re ready for the season.

Using your fireplace can be one of the best parts of the chilly winter months, but you have to put you and your family’s safety first. Fortunately, following these three simple steps at the start of the season can help you keep everyone safe, and you can feel confident and comfortable when using your fireplace to heat your home and provide a nice, comfortable and cozy ambiance throughout the winter and holiday season.

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