Using Granite Countertops to Improve Home Value

granite countertops

Why Installing Granite Countertops Makes Sense

All over the country granite countertops are being installed in kitchens, baths and patios at a rapid pace due not only to its intrinsic and aesthetic value but also for its versatility and durability. But what is it about having granite countertops that has everyone wanting to have them? Are they really all that? To help one decide if granite countertops are right choice, be sure to understand the pros and cons of granite countertops.

The Hard Facts about Granite Countertops

granite countertop facts

Granite is truly one of the most beautiful countertop choices available for one’s home. But before spending hard earned money on granite consider the following:

  • Granite countertops come in over 3,000 colors each one with its own unique pattern and movement, and can be given custom edges and finishes.
  • Granite countertops, when properly sealed and maintained, are virtually scratch, stain and chip resistant.
  • Granite countertops are great for making cookies, candies, bread dough and other foods that are best prepared on a cool surface.
  • Granite is heat resistant. If one forgets to grab a heat pad for that pan of lasagna, it won’t matter if it is set it on the granite countertop.
  • The only surface that is harder than granite is a diamond.
  • Granite countertops add a minimum of 10% to the re-sale value to your home.

The Disadvantages of Granite Countertops

Of course, like anything else, there are some disadvantages to having granite countertops installed. They are:

  • Cost-granite is expensive due to the labor for its removal from the quarry, the work involved in cutting it and the work necessary for installation.
  • Granite will dull knives if used as a chopping block, just purchase a good cutting board and save on wear and tear.
  • Granite countertops should be installed by a qualified professional—it is not a DIY project.
  • Granite countertops need to have the sealant re-applied a least once a year to prevent staining or fading.

Quick Tips for Selecting Granite Countertops

selecting granite countertops

Once the decision is made to have granite countertops installed, there are several steps to take in the selection of the type and color of granite countertops.

  • Go to a granite warehouse or show room with a wide selection of granite slabs.
  • Bring along items from the room the granite countertops will be used in—cabinet door, floor sample, fabric swatch, wall cover, etc..
  • Ask to see several slabs of whatever color is chosen to be sure it will work with the room.

By taking the time to select countertops that at are perfect for the living environment, one can ensure that the end result is pleasing to all who enter. Yes the choices are many, but deciding the perfect granite countertops cna be the difference between “just a room” and a beautiful showpiece.

Even with the disadvantages, granite countertops are making strides in kitchen, bath and patios. They are a beautiful way to add style, personality and re-sale value to the home. So, take the time required to select the granite countertops , choose a contractor that is reputble and can be counted on to do a proper installation and get ready to enjoy beautiful, longlasting grantite countertops.

Natural Gas Fireplaces

natural gas fireplaces

Benefits You Can Cozy-Up To

Crackling wood. Delicious smoky aroma. Roaring flames encased in a classic masonry brick setting. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces certainly are delightful! But, when it comes to effective heat generation, these charming hearths fall short.

natural gas fireplaces

Consequently, increasingly more natural gas fireplaces are making their way into new and existing homes in many parts of the world. What makes them so appealing? Let’s look at what they can offer:

Increased Energy Efficiency

Compared to traditional wood-burning fireplaces–that actually may remove more heat from a home than it produces–new natural gas fireplaces are at least 75% efficient. This means, the bulk of the fuel going into the system is successfully converted into household heat for the family’s enjoyment.

Reduced Total Energy Consumption

Though difficult to quantify, a natural gas fireplace may also help reduce overall home heating costs. For example, turning on the gas fireplace when the family gathers in the TV room for a few hours enables you to lower the thermostat that operates the main heating system.

Environmental Benefits

Gas fireplaces are also better for the atmosphere. They are clean burning and don’t create smoke, ashes or other particulate. On days when air quality is low outside, you can operate a gas fireplace with peace of mind.

Immediate Health Benefits

Since natural gas fireplaces don’t produce smoke or soot, people with allergies, asthma or other medial conditions don’t have to fret over the impacts of the fireplace.

You can breathe easy knowing that the entire family, along with your guests, will stay healthy whenever the fireplace is on.

Safe Operation

With natural gas fireplaces, the risk of fire is greatly reduced.

Carpet-burning sparks and dangerous creosote build-up in the chimney become obsolete when a wood-burning fireplace is replaced with a natural gas unit.


With just a flick of a switch or the push of a button, a gas fireplace provides instant warmth along with attractive flames. The chore of storing wood and cleaning ashes is replaced with a continuous supply of fuel to a unit that rarely requires cleaning.

If you want to replace an existing wood-burning fireplace, and already have a gas hook-up, natural gas inserts are available so you can conveniently make the switch.

When purchasing an energy-efficient natural gas fireplace, look for the following features:

  • Electronic ignition–eliminates the need for a standing pilot light that uses energy even when the fireplace is not operating.
  • Sealed-combustion direct vent design–uses air from the outdoors to feed the system, unlike traditional fireplaces and vent-free systems that depend on indoor air. The entire operation is separate from the household air, resulting in no drafts or heat loss.
  • Ceramic glass front–transmits heat better than temperate glass and is shatter-resistant.
  • Wide temperature control–offers a range of temperature-settings.
  • A squirrel-cage type circulating fan–helps to push heat across the room.
  • Ducting capabilities–that enable the fireplace to distribute heat, like a furnace, to other rooms in the home.

A Perfect Time for Spring Cleanup

spring cleaning

Time to Clean Your Life Up

It is that time of year when a person thinks about getting rid of all their piles of things that they have accumulated throughout the years. Sometimes it can be hard to get rid of a knickknack or collectible that you have been holding onto but there is no time like the present to reevaluate what things you really need and what things are just collecting dust. Now with spring upon us it seems like the perfect time to begin to throw out those old hand me downs.

Spring Cleaning – Where to Start

A good rule of thumb is if you have not used or worn something in a year it may be time to take it out of the closet and get rid of it. Pick one room in your house as a starting place and then methodically move to the next one. A good idea is to make selective piles of what you want to throw out such as clothes in a clothes pile, toys and knickknacks in another pile and so on. This will help later when you decide where you are going to take all your junk.

Spring Cleaning – Make a Plan

spring cleaning

Most towns have a local thrift shop so why not donate some of your old clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Your load will be lighter and you will feel better about yourself because you will be helping someone less fortunate then you out. Remember one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. In the event that you have a lot of technical junk lying around try taking it to a local pawn shop, you will clear your space as well as possibly make a few dollars off of it in the process.

Heavier messes may require a trip to the dump to dispose of all the clutter. While this may be expensive depending on what you have, there is no doubt that you will feel better about yourself and it will make your living space much more presentable.

Spring Cleaning – Try Not to Horde

Hording is considered an illness by many professionals nowadays and extreme cases may need extra help. If you are a hoarder, why not ask a family member or friend to help you get rid of things. They will most likely be more than happy to help you sort through your possessions and decide what should be kept and what is no longer needed. Having a clean place will make you feel great so why not start today and begin your spring cleaning.

Household Jobs Checklist: Creating a List to Keep Track of Home Maintenance

Home Jobs

Unlike making the beds and cleaning the bathroom, many household chores do not need to be completed daily or even weekly. With busy lifestyles, it is easy to lose track of when such tasks were last taken care of, especially if they only need to be attended to annually.

Some chores, such as checking smoke detector batteries, are necessary to ensure that important household items are working correctly. Other jobs, such as regularly washing curtains and throw cushion covers, help to improve the appearance and longevity of these items. It is important to plan these regular maintenance and cleaning tasks so that they are not forgotten.


Prepare a List of Chores

In a notebook, allocate a page each for regular, monthly , quarterly, bi-annual , and annual tasks. List all the tasks that come to mind on the appropriate page.

Individual Needs

The frequency of some tasks depends on individual requirements.

  • Changing water filters – This is determined by the style of unit and amount of water filtered. Read the instructions accompanying the filter and mark the replacement date on a calendar. If replacement is required at regular intervals, include it on the appropriate checklist.
  • Swimming pool maintenance – It is best to consult a pool supplies business to discuss the appropriate maintenance schedule.
  • Spas and spa baths – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Pets – Many factors affect what is needed to care for a pet. A local vet, pet store owner or reference book will provide the most reliable and appropriate advice.

Create a List to Suit

Differing environments and lifestyles will affect how often certain chores need to be performed.

In some areas, autumn leaves will need to be cleared from gutters more regularly than others. Extreme weather temperature conditions require more frequent cleaning of air-conditioning and heater filters.

Gutter Cleaning

People who smoke indoors generally need to launder curtains, throw cushion covers and similar items more regularly.

Asthmatics or others with respiratory problems may prefer to replace bed pillows more frequently to reduce dust mite irritation. They may also benefit from more frequent airing of pillows and blankets and washing of bedroom curtains.

Households with young children have an extensive list of additional tasks to be taken care of regularly, such as cleaning bath toys and sorting through toy boxes to discard broken or damaged toys.

Home Jobs Checklist

Make a Checklist

A checklist can be prepared in two ways.

  1. Make a page for each month and list all the jobs that need to be done in that month. Monthly tasks will need to be listed on each page, quarterly tasks can be spread out over three months, bi-annual tasks over six months and annual tasks throughout the year so that each month has a reasonably even number of tasks.
  2. Make a jobs chart spreadsheet with all the chores listed in the first column. For a monthly chart, list the days of the week (repeated four times) as column headings (28 in total). Columns only need to be wide enough to allow a check mark to be made to indicate when regular and monthly jobs should be completed. For a yearly chart, use the months of the year for the column headings and list quarterly, bi-annual and annual tasks.

Keep the checklist in a folder for easy reference. By keeping the lists up to date, you will ensure that no important household chores will be forgotten.