Is a surveillance camera right for you?


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Many people turn to surveillance cameras as a way to make their home and office more secure. There are so many different types of security measures on offer, however, that it can be hard to know which is the right type of equipment for your needs. This article explores the different security measures and tools available and what the advantages and disadvantages of each of them are.

CCTV cameras can be attached to the outside of the building, can be placed over the door step, can be placed inside or can be entirely hidden from view. There are even dummy cameras available that provide a good deterrent aspect but don’t actually incur any additional cost of filming. All cameras that can be seen work well as a deterrent. A burglar is far less likely to break into a home when there is the chance they will shown doing so on video surveillance footage. CCTV cameras don’t necessarily sound an alarm however if security is breached in some way. In this respect they may be able to film a crime being committed but they won’t necessarily be able to put a stop to it. Having the footage available however does mean there is more chance of getting your things back if they have been stolen.

Burglar alarms are another way that people add security to their homes. These have a large number of problems however. First of all burglaries are usually very quick and the perpetrator can be long gone by the time the police or a security firm have arrived on the scene. Secondly the alarm can in some cases be stopped by simply locating the control panel and breaking it. Cats and other animals can also sometimes trip the alarm when they jump through an open window, which can cause problems for everyone.

The ideal solution is to have both surveillance monitoring of some kind as well as a motion sensor, this way you get the best of all worlds. If this stretches the budget too far however then it is better to simply go with some kind of camera equipment. This provides the best value for money in terms of security. In the past it was just the wealthiest members of society who were able to afford security equipment such as cameras, but these days the prices have come right down and now everyone can benefit. Nanny cameras and hidden indoor cameras are another very popular type of security surveillance. Camouflaged cameras can allow you to see things that you would otherwise not be privy to. Parents like to be able to check their nannies are caring for their children well, employers like to be able to check everything is just as it should be in the workplace.

Another scenario in which hidden cameras are ideal is for the use of gathering evidence. If you are being targeted or victimized, having hard evidence to show the police can mean something can be done. Without the proof however the police may be hesitant to take any real action. There is no doubt that cameras are a valuable and versatile security tool. Surveillance can assist in a number of different ways to keep everyone safe and free from harm. If you are unsure of what type you need the first step is to define what exactly you want the security camera for and then decide how much you are willing to spend.

When you search online you will find a host of companies offering surveillance camera equipment and monitoring devices. Make sure you buy from a reputable company with a good website. There is more choice online than in high street shops so it is best to buy your equipment here. From a wildlife camera to tracking devices, go online to find out what is available and get the best prices.

by: Kathryn Dawson 

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_6339.shtml

Renovation loans give homebuyers an edge in a competitive market


(BPT) – In the past, homebuyers could choose from a bounty of properties on the market. However, things are starkly different. In many locations throughout the United States, inventory of homes for sale is at historic lows, creating a seller’s market where multiple buyers get into bidding wars over move-in-ready homes.

“Move-in-ready homes may be selling like hotcakes, but older homes or damaged properties are often passed over,” says Margaret Kelly, CEO with RE/MAX. “This is a big opportunity for smart buyers who are willing to overlook cosmetic or other imperfections.”

If buyers can look beyond aesthetic characteristics like paint color, hardware and floor coverings, they may discover a diamond in the rough, especially if the home is in the neighborhood where they prefer to live. For example, if they like the overall design of a particular home, but the kitchen is old and the deck needs major repairs, a renovation loan can help them purchase the property while upgrading the kitchen and outdoor space exactly how they want them.

“Many homebuyers are surprised you don’t need a ton of money in the bank to fund improvements,” explains Kelly. “A special type of loan called a renovation loan is ideal for these types of homes because it covers both the cost of the mortgage and repairs.”

Renovation loans can also help buyers who want to purchase in a particular neighborhood where most home prices exceed their budget. Properties that need work are typically listed at a lower cost and often go unsold, creating an opportunity for people willing to make improvements. Buyers can use a renovation loan to get into the neighborhood of their dreams, quickly build equity and customize a home to their personal preferences.

Several variations of renovation loans are available. FHA renovation loans are called 203(k) loans. How much money you want to borrow and the kinds of improvements you plan to make will determine which of the two 203(k) types you need. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have their own specific types of renovation loans.

Requirements for the borrower, the amount you can borrow, and the overall structure of the loan are different for each program. Typically, the loan is based on the estimated home value after improvements, and buyers will need to get bids from licensed contractors to help determine the total loan amount as well as a timeline for the work to be completed.

Because finding a home and getting approval of a renovation loan can be complicated, it’s wise for buyers to work with a real estate specialist who has experience in these types of sales. For example, RE/MAX agents lead the industry in professional designations and many have experience working with buyers who want a renovation loan. Visit www.remax.com to find an agent in your area.

“A renovation loan really does give homebuyers an edge in today’s competitive market,” says Kelly. “It’s definitely something to research and determine whether it’s right for you.”

Courtesy of BPT

​Nutritional tips for packing brain-boosting school lunches


(BPT) – Parents know kids can’t concentrate when they’re hungry. But did you know that what children eat – especially in school lunches – can also affect their ability to focus, learn and behave well in the classroom? Packing your children’s school lunches is a great way to manage their nutritional intake and help feed their ability to learn.

It will take some creativity, however, to ensure you pack lunches that not only meet a child’s nutritional needs, but also his or her taste preferences. Keep these tips in mind as you’re packing your child’s nutritious lunches this school year:

* Brain-building foods: Research supports the ability of certain foods to enhance cognitive function. Foods like fish and nuts, which contain brain-building omega-3 fatty acids, can support focus. So tuna fish salad not only supplies protein, but is also brain food. Not every child is a fan of fish, so look for other kid-friendly options like a handful of nuts. From pistachios and almonds to walnuts and peanuts, a serving of nuts not only contains healthful fats, but also a healthy dose of fiber and vitamin E.

* Fill-them-up foods: “Empty calories” are empty for several reasons, including how quickly they can leave children feeling hungry again after they’ve dined on nutritionally poor calories. Foods that are high in protein and fiber, such as a sandwich of deli meats on whole grain bread, can help kids feel full longer and provide them with nutrient-rich calories.

* Liquid power: Sugary sodas are notorious sources of empty calories. One can of regular soda, sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, packs about 150 calories, adding up to the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of table sugar, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Consider packing lunches with more nutritionally valuable beverages like skim milk or water. Skim milk is low in calories and contains calcium and potassium. Water, of course, contains no calories at all and is the best source of hydration.

* The choice is yours: Making sure kids get the nutrition they need while providing the great taste they love can be a challenge. A classic sandwich can achieve both if you choose ingredients wisely. Hormel® Natural Choice® pre-packaged deli meats provide kids with familiar favorites, such as Honey Deli Ham, Oven Roasted Deli Turkey, Roast Beef and Rotisserie Style Chicken Breast, that are 100 percent natural and free of preservatives and additives. Low in fat and free of trans fats, Hormel Natural Choice meats have no MSG, gluten or artificial ingredients. When paired with other nutritious options like whole grain breads, and a side of fresh fruit with non-fat yogurt as a dip, a sandwich of Hormel Natural Choice deli meats can be the foundation of a nutritious lunch. You’ll be amazed how simple making a better choice can be.

* Kid-friendly presentation: How you present lunch can encourage kids to eat it. When it comes to packed lunches, a great presentation could be as simple as having one or two favorite lunchboxes on hand and allowing your child to choose which one he would like to carry today. Or, it could be as inspired as creatively arranging a sandwich and sliced veggies to mimic a smiling face when he opens his lunchbox at school. Remember, kids love color, so providing a colorful mix of foods can be very appealing to them. It also gives you the opportunity to incorporate the concept of a rainbow of nutrition, and the value of eating foods from all colors in the spectrum.

With the right recipe of creativity, fun and nutritious foods, parents can be confident they’re packing school lunches that will keep kids full and happy throughout the school year.

Courtesy of BPT

The best kind of home improvements: high-impact, low-maintenance

(BPT) – Yes, everyone knows making home improvements are a worthy investment in your greatest material asset. Sure you want every improvement job done well with top-notch end results. But when all is said and done, do you really want to have to put a lot of effort and money into maintaining those improvements? For most people – whether they’ll admit it or not – the answer is “no.”

The best home improvements are the ones that not only enhance your home’s value and livability, but also require little work from you afterward to keep them looking great and functioning well. If you’re looking for high-impact, low-maintenance home improvements, consider these popular projects:

No-leak skylights

When it comes to an improvement that brightens your home, enhances its indoor air quality and boosts energy-efficiency, skylights deliver. Unfortunately, early skylights had a reputation for being leaky – a problem that simply doesn’t occur with modern, no leak, energy-efficient skylights. Pre-engineered flashing kits (the metal shield that surrounds any opening in a wall or roof) work with all types of roofs, from shingles to metal, to ensure a properly installed skylight won’t leak.

Need further low-maintenance points to make the case for adding a skylight? Not only do modern skylights keep water out, they’re energy efficient as well. Energy Star-qualified, no leak solar-powered fresh air skylights, like those from Velux, deliver fresh air through cost-effective passive ventilation. Adding remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds allows you to easily open or close a fresh air skylight and shade it when the sun hits that part of the roof, boosting the skylight’s energy efficiency by 39 percent. Keep the shade open during cold weather to admit warmth and reduce heating costs. A 30 percent federal tax credit on both products and installation costs makes a skylight project even more appealing. Visit www.veluxusa.com for a tax calculator to show your savings for a new installation or replacement skylights and a skylight planner app to show exactly how skylights and blinds will look in any area of your home.

Lighting upgrade

Older light fixtures not only look dated, they often use outdated, inefficient bulbs and are lacking in the energy-efficient emphasis that comes with newer fixtures. Upgrading lighting throughout your home is a great way to ensure you won’t have to think about it again any time soon.

If a total lighting redesign is out of the question, you can still make your existing light fixtures lower maintenance simply by swapping out old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with newer, electricity-sipping versions. Options like CFLs and LEDs provide all the light of incandescents while using a fraction of the energy. Energy.gov says Energy Star-rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs, and last 25 times longer. Imagine the time, hassle and money you’ll save not having to replace bulbs constantly – especially in lights that get a lot of use, like porch lights, or that are hard to reach, like the chandelier in your two-story entryway.

Vinyl siding

Wood, fiber cement, stucco, brick – there are nearly as many types of exterior siding as there are colors to paint it. When it comes to low- or no-maintenance siding, vinyl remains the gold standard. In fact, more new homes are built using vinyl siding than any other type of siding product, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute.

While early versions of vinyl siding earned criticism for being less lovely than wood, even those less sophisticated versions had staying power; it’s possible to find homes in use today sporting vinyl siding that was added to the house a while back.

Vinyl siding never needs to be painted, and when properly installed provides exceptional shielding from the elements. New technology has made modern vinyl siding look better and last longer without fading issues associated with older versions of vinyl. It requires basic cleaning, and overall maintenance demands are much less than other types of siding. 

Courtesy of BPT

Which comes first: The real estate deal or the buyer’s list?


This question is kind of like another question where people can’t seem to agree on the answer; “Which came first; the chicken or the egg”? Real estate investors all have a different opinion when they are asked whether you should find a deal first or start a buyer’s list and then find a deal.  For me, the answer has always been “the deal.” If you have a great deal, you can always find a buyer for it.

I had someone email me recently that said they had wanted to begin wholesaling houses for a couple of years, but he just couldn’t bring himself to buy that first investment property. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to sell it. This man had spent a number of years learning the business, but had become paralyzed with fear over this prospect of putting a house under contract that he wouldn’t be able to sell.

If you are just getting started and you find yourself having the same problem, here are 4 tips for you.

1. Know What a Good Deal Looks Like

This is no doubt the hardest part when you are brand new. You almost always pay too much for your first couple of deals. Before you sign on the dotted line, run your potential deal by someone that is an experienced investor. Marginal deals are hard to sell.  If you have any doubt about the numbers or the area where the house is located, just walk away and find another deal. There’s always another one around the corner.

2. Know Where Investors Like to Buy

It won’t do you any good to get a house under contract at a great price if it is in an area where investors don’t like to buy.  Ask experienced rehabbers and landlords where they like to buy. Be sure to find out what types of properties they like, and the price range they prefer. In general, you will be pretty safe in bread and butter neighborhoods; the kinds of neighborhoods for first time homebuyers.  In my area there is a market for more expensive houses, but there are fewer investors in this group.  Buy houses that would work for either a rehab that would be sold to a retail buyer, or a home that would make a great rental and they will always be in demand.

3. Put an Escape Clause in Your Contract

This is vital especially when you are brand new.  Make the deal subject to inspection or partner approval. This is your safety net. It will make it easier for you make offers with confidence.

4. Begin Immediately to Build Your Buyer’s List

There is nothing like having a good buyer’s list to call or email when you have a property you want to sell quickly. It is truly a wholesaler’s secret weapon.  These folks will be loyal repeat buyers if you always have great deals for them, and if you conduct your business with them in an ethical manner 100% of the time.

Implementing these 4 tips will make it easier to make those first offers and get your first few houses under your belt.

Finding a Buyer for Your Deal

There are a number of ways you can quickly find a buyer for the property you have under contract even if you don’t have a buyer’s list.

You can take the deal to your local REIA group where you will find a group of people that are looking for their next house.  At my monthly meeting, we have a table set up for vendors and for folks that want to put out fliers about properties they have to sell. This is usually the first place people head after signing in.

You could list the house on Craigslist. I have sold several properties there, but I would rather much sell to someone at my REIA group; they are usually more experienced investors.  But even if they are brand new, they will almost always be educated to some degree if you find them at this meeting. Most investors are more than willing to help them if they can close the deal.

Concentrate on getting a great deal, and you can be sure you will find a buyer.

Author: Sharon Vornholt

Sharon’s Website: http://LouisvilleGalsRealEstateBlog.com

Courtesy of BPT

Cool weather crops are hot this fall


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The growing season isn’t over with the arrival of cool weather. Until the first hard frost hits, you have plenty of time to plant, pick and plate cool-weather crops. You’ll save yourself some money in the grocery’s produce aisle too.

Fall is a great time for gardening thanks to cooler, milder temperatures, a decrease in garden pests, and moister, well-draining soil. These conditions make it ideal for crops that prefer cooler weather. Some vegetables taste even better when nipped by light frost.

 

July through August is the optimum time for planting cool crops, so don’t delay. Planting in summer ensures crops will have time to mature before the first freeze in fall. Choose varieties that mature quickly; you can find the days to maturity on plant tags. Starting with transplants, rather than seed, will help make the growing process much easier.

 
If you’ve been diligent in your garden all summer, you won’t have much work to do preparing it for cool crops. If your garden got a little ahead of your efforts, don’t worry. It won’t take long to get it into tip-top shape for a second season of planting. Just follow these simple steps:

 
Tidy up
Remove spent plants, like early planted beans, cucumbers or lettuce, since they’re pretty much done for the season and can harbor pests. Clear away holes left from pulling plants, and get rid of weeds before they go to seed. Throw away anything distressed and compost the rest.

 
Discard any fallen fruits, rotting produce can attract pests. Take note of where everything was planted so you can be sure to rotate crops.

 
Set up the soil
Freshen garden soil by removing the existing layer of mulch and replace it. Straw makes an excellent cover because it’s easily scattered, it’s also a favorite home for spiders that will help control insect pests in your garden. You can also use a layer of shredded leaves for mulch. 

 
Loosen compacted soil and fluff it up with a garden fork. Major tilling isn’t necessary; just move soil enough to allow new plant roots to settle in and let water get through. Test soil (you can buy a testing kit at most garden retailers) to see if it needs help. Add amendments, if needed. At the very least, work some compost in where your plants will be growing.

 
If you’ll be using a cold frame or hoop, set it up early so that it’ll be ready to go when you need it and you won’t risk damaging plants and roots once they begin to grow.

 
Pick your plants
Starting with transplants will buy you lots of time. Since plants are six weeks or older when you put them in the ground, you’ll harvest sooner than if you start from seed. Look for transplants from an established grower, like Bonnie Plants. Sold in biodegradable, environmentally friendly pots, you’ll find fall varieties selected for your geographic region at most local garden retailers.

 

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Here are some top crops for fall planting:

 
* Top bunch collards – This hybrid is heavy yielding, early maturing, and more uniform than traditional varieties. They grow best in full sun, tolerate partial shade, are rich in vitamins and sweetened by frost. Space transplants 36 inches apart.

 
* Spinach – A cool-weather vegetable related to beets and Swiss chard, Bonnie’s Spinach is a fast-growing plant, yielding many leaves in a short time in fall. Although spinach prefers full sun, it’s  one of the few vegetables that produce a respectable harvest in partial shade.

 
* Winterbor kale – This nutritious leafy green is a vigorous producer that endures winter easily. Cut the outer leaves so that the center can continue growing. Space transplants 12 inches apart.

 
* Early dividend broccoli – Popular, productive and easy to grow, this broccoli is high in fiber and calcium. Space transplants 18 inches apart.

 
* Mustard greens – Offering spicy hot leaves, this is a very fast-growing, nutritious vegetable, and always tastes sweeter when nipped by frost. Space plants 12 inches apart.

 
* Bonnie hybrid cabbage – Grows large, round, blue-green heads. Cabbage is especially high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, K and fiber.
Get started now to ensure your fall harvest is healthy, hefty and fulfilling. With preparation, the right plants and some diligence, you can bet on fresh, low-cost produce well into fall.

Courtesy of BPT

Eight ways to help kids hone their homework habits


(BPT) – Helping children with their homework requires more than an understanding of the subject matter, whether it’s algebra or world literature. To help children succeed throughout the school year, it’s important for parents to nurture positive study habits and organizational skills, and provide kids with a home environment that fosters concentration.

“Whether your kids are just learning to read, write and spell, or they are studying for the SATs, we parents have an opportunity to help instill work and study habits that will stick with our children for life,” says education and parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, who is the bestselling author of 22 parenting books and a frequent TODAY show contributor.

Borba offers parents some easy tips to help children of all ages develop skills that will help them reach their academic goals:

* Give them space – Create a dedicated space for homework and study. This underscores the importance of homework to kids. If you don’t have room for a homework desk, consider keeping all homework and study tools in a bin or box that children can take out and use every day. Keep all essentials in one place to help avoid time wasted looking for the dictionary, ruler, calculator or other tool.

* Create a routine – Choose a time that works best for your child to do homework, then stick to that time every day. A set and predictable schedule helps minimize homework battles. “Work before play” can motivate kids to get their homework done, but if your child plays sports or has other after-school commitments, doing homework after dinner may be the best option.

* Give them smart tools and study aids – Just as your mechanic can’t fix your car without the right tools, it’s hard for kids to do homework without the proper tools. Choose tools like the new Post-it Study collection (www.Post-it.com), which is designed to help students stay organized and use time efficiently. For example, Post-it Study Message Flags are restickable flags that feature helpful reminders like “Study,” “To Do” and “On Test” that help kids highlight material that needs additional attention. Note Tabs, Page Markers, Flags and other products in this collection by Post-it Brand stick securely to papers, notebooks, textbooks and more – yet remove cleanly – to help kids organize information during homework and study time.

* Avoid distractions – Establish a technology-free zone for homework and studying. Turn off TVs, ban text messaging and ensure kids are using their PC for research, rather than Facebook. This measure may seem obvious to you, but remember – kids are so tied to tech these days that they may be surprised to find out they can more efficiently use their time without the distractions of technology.

* Map out assignments – Help children plot homework on a schedule so they have simple reminders of daily, weekly or long-term assignments. Include other engagements like sports or music lessons to help kids have a clearer picture of their own schedules. This can help build basic time management skills, like working on a long-term project every day over time, or avoiding a late-night cramming session for a big test.

* Lessons in planning and prioritizing – Teach kids to make lists of what they need to do each night in order of priority. As your child accomplishes each item, have him cross it off the list. For children who had difficulty staying on task, breaking large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks can help. Encourage kids to do the hardest homework first to help relieve the pressure of a long to-do list.

* Emphasize the effort – Stressing perseverance and effort in a task helps children work longer and harder, because they recognize their success is based on how hard they work. Instead of asking “What score did you get?” ask “How hard are you working?”

* Effective study habits – Spreading out study sessions and practice testing were the two most-effective learning tactics, according to a recent report by the Association for Psychological Science. Both techniques involve strong time management skills. Help children think of study sessions or pieces of a larger project as daily to-dos, and just as important as the homework assignment that may be due tomorrow.
 

Courtesy of BPT

Ideas for giving both you and your kids a GREAT Halloween this year!

No longer is Halloween just a night for kids to trick-or-treat. In recent years the holiday has skyrocketed to become one of the most celebrated times of the year.

 

Nearly two-thirds of adults have dressed up every year for the past two to three years, and more than half of adults plan on decorating their homes this year, according to a recent survey released by Savers, Inc., a global thrift retailer with Savers and Value Village stores across the world.

 

“Halloween is a welcome escape for so many people,” says Mary Ginnaty, senior buyer at Savers, Inc. “It’s a holiday where you can take a break from everyday worries, alter your ego and just have fun celebrating with friends and family. Folks love that.”

 

But some thrifty Halloween shoppers may be worried about how to create new costumes and decorations without spending a fortune in the process. There’s no need to fear, though – just consider these tips for a festive All Hallows’ Eve that won’t leave your credit card haunting you:

 

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Set a budget – The first step of any shopping venture should be to set a budget that the whole family agrees on, and stick to it. Halloween is no different, so make sure you decide in advance how much you want to spend on costumes, decorations, candy and any other miscellaneous merriment.

 

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Mix new and used – One of the best ways to save money and create a completely original costume is to combine new and previously owned pieces. For instance, pairing a fancy little girl’s dress and vintage jewelry with new accessories like a wig, tiara and wand makes for a completely customizable and unique princess look. You could also purchase a prepackaged costume, such as a vampire, and then punch it up with secondhand items like tuxedo pants, shiny dress shoes and white gloves to make the look even more authentic.

 

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Take the road less traveled – When shopping for a Halloween costume, visit a thrift store and be sure to browse every department – especially areas you don’t typically shop. For instance, if you’re looking to create a men’s pirate costume, check the women’s section for billowy and ruffled tops and loose-fitting pants. Many men may not realize the women’s section offers completely different styles and textured materials, which could be perfect for a variety of costume ideas. Women, too, should check out the men’s and boy’s sections for things like vests and authentic uniforms.

 

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Consult the experts – If you’re having trouble pulling together the exact look you’re going for, search online and in magazines for inspiration. Some stores even offer trained costume consultants who are completely dedicated to helping people put together the perfect costume on any budget. They can help shoppers find a new ready-made costume, offer advice in mixing themed accessories with clothing items found in their closets, or find unique secondhand finds for those looking to create a completely handmade look.

 

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Do-it-yourself decor – When shopping for decorations, don’t feel like you need to pay top dollar for standard store-bought goods. Crafting spooky Halloween decor for just a few bucks can be as simple as applying a layer of black spray paint to secondhand silk flowers or quirky ceramic knick-knacks, like owls, crows and cats, and sprinkling them around your “haunted house” for a creepy surprise.

 

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Pass a good value on – After Halloween has come and gone, don’t forget to donate your costume at a Community Donation Center. You’ll help benefit a nonprofit in your community, and give someone else a great Halloween look next year.

 

For more Halloween costume ideas visit the following websites:

http://www.savers.com/homemade-halloween-costume-ideas.aspx

http://spoonful.com/halloween/halloween-kids-costumes

http://www.costumesupercenter.com/new+Halloween+costumes.html

 

 

 

Granite tile countertops for beauty and savings


The two alternatives for homeowners who made the decision to install granite countertops are granite slabs and granite tiles. Granite slabs are exactly as they sound: large objects of granite that lay on the best of cabinets, with the slab of granite comprising the countertop. Granite slab countertops are practically indestructible, as well as visually pleasing! However, there are issues involved with granite countertops.

First, due to the fact that a slab of granite is heavy, most cabinets will need to be reinforced to hold up the weight of the slab on top; this adds time and additional expense to the kitchen remodel.

Secondly, since granite slabs have intricate patterns, these patterns must be intentionally matched. Therefore, all of the granite slabs in a kitchen must to arrive from the same granite quarry. This limits the selections of property owners, based mostly on the dimensions of their countertops, and makes granite slabs incredibly expensive.

Kitchen area is a crucial place where your loved ones spend spend time cooking and enjoying meals; updating your kitchen improves the style/look in your home, while increasing overall property value and generating appropriate ambience. Granite countertops add a classy appeal to your kitchen and property which is why it is a favorite among real estate entrepreneurs and interior designers. Granite countertops are the top quality choice for residences and industrial buildings in the U.S., admired not only because of their intrinsic beauty and design, but far more so for their resistance to wear and tear and long lasting high quality.

Granite countertops are very resistant to heat, moisture, stains, spills and scratches, yet regardless of their inherent strength, granite countertops require suitable care if you want to guarantee splendor and sturdiness. These healthy stone countertops make a good residing statement for your kitchen, bathroom and also provide a soothing ambience for hotels and company establishments. The ideal factor about granite countertops is that they come in hundreds of designs that will match any style.  The three most popular types of  granite tops  employed in households and industrial establishments are Granite tile countertops, Modular granite countertops, and Slab granite countertops. Each one of them has a corresponding cost and quality that is based on manufacturer, set- up, and fabrication components.

Granite tile countertops are the choice of many for their unique splendor, exceptional designs and overall sturdiness. Like anything else, while they are resistant to stains, chipping and cracking much more than many other choices out there, granite counters are not without their flaws. Fortunately, there are several products available in the market to boost the natural durability of granite. To protect granite tile countertops from harm, it does pay to understand how and why troubles can arise.

Granite is acknowledged and cherished for its stunning flakes of color, unusual line formations and exceptional general appearance. It is specifically these characteristics that result in physical wear and tear appearance with time. While granite counters will be sealed prior to ultimate turnover for use, this same sealant  meant to guard the surface area may at times damage the material itself, along with moisture and stains which prove irreparable to granite alone.

Consider this exceptional material when buying, re-decorating or updating your countertops, it will prove an exceptional investment for your home.

By: Albert Alvarez

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7245.shtml

 

Upcycling: Breathe new life into decor with a dash of DIY inspiration


(BPT) – If you’ve ever looked around your house and gotten the urge to purge, you might consider pausing and first thinking about how you could transform that old, damaged piece of furniture or outdated light fixture into a fresh-faced showpiece for your home.

Not only are you doing something good for the environment – and likely your pocketbook – by restoring something, you’re embracing your inner creativity. You can make a truly one-of-a-kind decor piece, tailored to your personality and style.

This notion of restoring and reusing items that would otherwise be cast aside to the junkyard or thrift store is called “upcycling,” and it’s a trend that has caught on quickly, especially in home design. With a little inspiration, creativity and the right tools, you can tackle countless decorating projects with things you already have around your home. And the best part? Upcycled pieces make for great conversation starters, often tell a good story and can even be sold for a much higher price than you put into them.

So where do you start? Here are some helpful tips for tackling your own upcycling projects.

Start with a little inspiration

Take a look through magazines, home design blogs and websites to gather inspiration. Look for pieces that catch your eye and have the same structure and “bones” as the items in your home that you’d like to restore.

For example, DremelWeekends.com is filled with inspiring and low-cost do-it-yourself projects, tool recommendations and step-by-step instructions to help you transform just about anything while bringing a new perspective to home renovation and decoration. You can even sign up to receive weekly project inspiration right to your email inbox.

Shop around without breaking the bank

Decorating your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Look around your basement, attic, or at yard sales and consignment shops for free or inexpensive items that you might be able to breathe new life into. The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” would apply here. Do your best to look beyond an item’s current condition and let the inspiration you’ve gleaned take over as you see its full potential in a different light. If the piece has some defects, don’t immediately overlook it. Sometimes perfection and personality can be found in the imperfection.

Secrets of upcycling success

The secret to any do-it-yourself project is to plan ahead. Beyond finding the inspiration for a project, gather the supplies and tools you’ll need, read up on step-by-step instructions, dedicate a roomy workspace where everything is at your fingertips, and be sure to carve out time to focus on the project.

But the No. 1 secret of upcycling success is to be patient and not get discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s OK to make mistakes because sometimes you’ll uncover hidden beauty during the process. The important part is that you find the whole experience of restoring and reusing rewarding.

Courtesy of BPT