The Pros and Cons of Glass Countertops

The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Glass-Countertops

Homeowners are increasingly looking for elegant, easy to maintain surfaces, making glass an excellent choice for kitchen countertops. What’s more, glass countertops come in various styles – back-painted glass, crushed glass, textured glass, or glass with LED – giving shoppers plenty of options.

But, glass isn’t perfect either. Therefore, when shopping, you need to understand the pros and cons of the material. That’s what we discuss below;

The Pros

Glass countertops are eco-friendly

Glass is a recyclable material. When you dispose of your old glassware, recyclers pick up the items, grind them, and use them to make new glassware. It means that you could even choose to buy a countertop made from recycled glass.

Glass is a recyclable material. When you dispose of your old glassware, recyclers pick up the items, grind them, and use them to make new glassware. It means that you could even choose to buy a countertop made from recycled glass.

Glass countertops are very durable

For a long time, you will not need to worry about tear or even discoloration. You can even place hot utensils on the surface because glass is highly resistant to heat.

The countertops are easy to clean and maintain

You can simply use water or a mixture of soap and water and the countertop will be back to its shiny and pleasant appearance. Also, since glass is a non-porous material, using water will not attract any bacteria or mold.

Glass is one of the most versatile materials

For this reason, you can have your countertop shaped and formed to any size, style, texture, and color. The options are only limited by your imagination. And, you can even stretch that imagination because glass pairs extremely well with most materials.

Glass countertops are beautiful
The countertops create a sense of style and instantly add to the appeal of your home. This can be particularly important when doing a home remodel.

The Cons

Prone to damage and expensive to repair

Heavy or sharp objects can cause cracks, dents or chips to glass. You need to avoid these at all costs because unlike other materials, glass is extremely expensive to repair.

Certain substances can harm your glass countertop

Acid and acidic substances, for instance, are harmful to glass. Additionally, if you do not clean your glass countertop properly and regularly, water prints will eventually make the glass surface appear dull and unappealing.

High-end glass can be expensive

Compared to other options such as wood and granite, glass countertops are rather expensive. You need to have enough money to purchase the countertop, and extra money to have it customized to your taste.

Some glass countertops are not 100% environmental-friendly

Manufacturing new glass countertops, for instance, requires cement binders. To make cement binders, a lot of fuel is required. The fuel used is not always natural. This renders cement-based countertops harmful to the environment.

Glass countertops are expensive to install

You cannot opt for DIY when installing the countertops. Due to their fragile nature, only a professional should handle the installation. The installation expenses will then add to the overall cost.

Summary

As you shop for a glass countertop, keep these factors in mind. Only make a purchase if you feel that the pros outweigh the cons.

Must Know Tips For Choosing The Right Home Builder

Must Know Tips For Choosing The Right Home Builder

Building a new home is an exciting time. But to ensure a home can stand the test of time, it’s very important that you choose the right home builder for the job. There are plenty of horror stories out there about terrible home builders. You certainly don’t want to get caught up in that. Here are some must-know tips for choosing the right home builder:

Think About Your Budget

One of the first things that you should do before choosing a home builder is to think about your budget. Some home builders are simply more affordable than others. This means that the homes are typically less expensive, too. Some home builders specialize in luxury homes. Others focus on affordable. Know what you want to spend before contacting a home builder.

Know What You Need and Want

You should also know both what you need from your home builder and what you want from your home builder. This might include features of the home, too. You must be very clear about the vision that you have for your home, and then choose a home builder who can do that.

Do Your Research

Just like any other company, a home builder has a reputation, and you can find more about that by doing your research. The best way to do this is to look online, of course. However, if you know someone who has used a particular builder in the past, they can be an invaluable resource.

Ask the Right Questions

You should “interview” a couple of home builders before you make your final choice. You likely have questions about the process that you are about to embark on. This is the time to ask those questions. If you aren’t happy with a response, there are plenty of other home builders out there.

Look at Their Goods

Your future home isn’t the only home that a home builder has built. So, find out where other homes are located, and go take a look at them. No, you shouldn’t trespass on someone’s property, but you can tell a lot about a home from the outside, too. If you are building a home in a development, drive around and see if you run into anyone who lives in the neighborhood. Odds are good that they will be willing to give you an opinion about what they think about their home.

These are only a few of the many must know tips for choosing the right home builder. The best advice is to take it slow. You can’t expect your home to be built overnight, so don’t choose your builder that quickly, either.

How To Clean Stained Glass Windows

How To Clean Stained Glass Windows

Stained glass windows are a beautiful addition to many homes today. But, they can present a challenge when it comes to cleaning. Here’s how to clean your stained glass windows to keep them looking their best for the life of your home.

Identify the Type of Stained Glass

There are 2 types of stained glass windows:

  • The traditional cut and pieced together with metal frames
  • The single-sided painted window or simulated stained glass

The cleaning techniques for both are basically the same except when it comes to the metal framing.

Before you get started, keep in mind that stained glass windows are pieces of art and should be treated gently and with care. You should never use acidic or alkaline cleaners on stained glass.

A pH neutral cleaner only should be used to avoid damaging the glass or the support frame. Avoid cleaners such as vinegar or ammonia. In fact, warm soapy water works best. Abrasive cloths, wire brushes and other scrubbing instruments should also be avoided.

Cleaning Stained Glass

Stained glass windows should be dusted lightly on a regular basis. A soft cotton cloth, dry Swiffer cloths, feather duster or microfiber cloth will work best to whisk away dust and loose dirt particles. Each panel of the window should be cleaned individually.

If you are using a liquid cleaner, spray the liquid onto the cloth first, and then wipe down the window pane gently. Do not spray the cleaner directly onto the window. For hard to reach areas, a Q-tip is a good option. Once you are finished cleaning the windows, dry them with a soft cotton cloth.

Unfortunately, any liquid cleaner you use will leave a streak. But you can use calcium carbonate powder to remove the streaks. This powder is also called whiting powder.

About Lead Stained Glass Windows

Many older stained glass windows use lead in their frames or even to piece together the glass itself. It is the number one cause of heavy metal poisoning today. Unless you are restoring the windows, you don’t have to worry about wearing protective equipment such as masks or gloves (although you certainly can if it’s a concern for you). Stained glass made with lead is actually supposed to be a darker color and polishing it isn’t necessary.

However, this type of stained glass can develop a white, powdery coating on the surface caused by lead oxidation. This can be cleaned using the method above, but you should wear a face mask, and gloves while doing so. Be sure to throw the gloves, mask, and cloth away once you finish.

If you think your stained glass needs more help than a simple cleaning, call a professional to restore it, especially if you suspect it is lead-based. Once the window is restored, the area around where the work was done should be thoroughly cleaned.

Are Granite Countertops Safe

Are Granite Countertops Safe

Are granite countertops safe? This is a question that has been asked periodically by homeowners. The safety of granite as one of the materials used to build countertops has always been a concern.

You will also agree, the look of granite on any countertop is just amazing, especially on kitchen benches. Granite gets its natural beauty from the elements and minerals in it that create a vast range of patterns and textures. Besides its appearance, durability is another feature that makes granite a widely sought-after material in buildings and homes.

However, granite-like any other natural stone may also contain decaying radioactive elements such as thorium, uranium, and radium. These components are normally in a solid state but when they decay, they can emit radon. It is actually this radon gas that makes home builders and owners second guess the safety of granite as a countertop building material.

How dangerous is radon?

As mentioned above, radon gas might be emitted when the naturally occurring radioactive components in granite start to decay over time. So why is it a health concern?

Radon is an odorless and colorless radioactive gas; neither can you taste it. It is naturally present in the environment: in the soil, water, air and even rock. That is why when materials such as granite are mined from the earth they come with the radioactive components that can emit the gas.

People’s major fear is that the gradual exposure to radon gas may ultimately lead to cancer. Therefore according to homeowners, if the gas is this dangerous, why have its source in homes in the first place? The source, in this case, is granite.

What these people do not really understand is that radon is already all around us. If anything, more of it is emitted from our surrounding environment than in our granite countertops.

Are granite countertops harmful?

As we have seen, radon gas is a possibility with granite. This has led rise to claims that hence granite countertops can emit dangerous levels of the harmful gas. But this is not entirely true; granite countertops are safe. It has even been confirmed by various environmental experts such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Only very small amounts of radon gas can be emitted by your granite countertop. And in case that happens, the gas will most likely be insignificant and harmless as it will be diluted with the air in your home. This is another reason to keep your entire home well ventilated.

Moreover, you will be amazed to find out that it is not only the granite countertop that can emit radon. Several other products in your household can also emit radon gas, but also in low and generally harmless levels. These products include coal, non-plastic utensils, clay bricks and other concrete products.

In summary, granite countertops are generally safe. If you are in doubt, just purchase a radon test kit and test the air in your home for the quantity of radon gas available.

Why Sustainable Living Is The Way Of The Future

Why Sustainable Living Is The Way Of The Future

Do you ever think of the future and sustainable living? If you don’t, you should? Because if we don’t start thinking about it now, there will be no future to think about.

Yes, this is a dramatic stance, but it might take a dramatic stance to help us all understand the concept of sustainable living.

In a nutshell, sustainable living is a way of life where we protect things like our natural resources and both human and ecological health. At the same time, we continue to push innovation and keep and improve our typical way of life.

sustainable living planetWhy is sustainability important?

Because if we don’t do this now and start paying attention to the way we consume, our planet’s resources will run out….and our current ways of life are in for a dramatic change.

How to Live a Sustainable Life

There are a number of things that you can do right now to start bringing the concept of sustainability into your own life.

Here are a few ideas:

Reduce Home Energy Use

Simple things, such as turning off the lights when you leave a room, can have a huge impact on energy use in the home. Imagine how much energy we could save if everyone did this!

Using energy-efficient lights, setting the thermostat a couple of degrees lower in the winter, and using a cool breeze from the windows when it gets warm instead of the A/C can also help a lot.

Stop Using Disposables

sustainable living disposable goodsAnother thing you can do is to stop using disposable items like cups, plates, razors, coffee pods, and plastic bags.

These fill up landfills very quickly, and all of these have more permanent options available. This includes bottled water. If you can’t drink from the tap, consider buying a water filter.

These fill up landfills very quickly, and all of these have more permanent options available. This includes bottled water. If you can’t drink from the tap, consider buying a water filter.

Start a Garden

Even if it’s a small herb garden, having a garden in your home does two things. First, it helps to cut down on large-scale farming, which takes up a lot of land.

It also helps to save you money on your produce and puts more oxygen into the air.

Purchase Fair Trade Goods

sustainable living fairtrade bananaIt’s likely that the items you use every day, such as coffee, sugar, fruit, cocoa, and tea, are not produced in a sustainable way.

These items also are often harvested by taking advantage of the local people, and in some cases, treating them very poorly.

However, if the items are labeled as “free-trade,” this isn’t the case. The items are harvested and prepared in sustainable ways, and the locals are not negatively impacted.

These are just a few of many ways to live a more sustainable life. Taking these steps is easy and it allows you to live a way of life that you are used to, both today and tomorrow.

How To Get a Home Improvement Loan With Bad Credit

How To Get a Home Improvement Loan With Bad Credit

Owning a home is certainly part of the so-called “American Dream,” but even if you own a home, and you have bad credit, you might be struggling.

People who don’t have credit issues seem to get loans with no issues, but if you aren’t one of those people and need a home improvement loan, is it hopeless?

No, it’s not, but there are some things that you need to keep in mind as you search for one.

Here are some tips if you want to get a home improvement loan with bad credit:

Improve Your Credit Score

credit score ratingBy far, the easiest way to get a home improvement loan is to improve your credit score. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but sometimes, only a couple of points help.

It might be easier, for instance, to get a bad credit personal loan, use that to pay off your credit cards, and then apply for a home improvement loan. Then, you only have two payments to make and a credit report that shows that your credit cards are paid off.

Look for a Peer-to-Peer Lender

Instead of only focusing on a traditional lender for a home improvement loan, you can also consider peer-to-peer lending. What is it? It’s where an individual gives the loan instead of a bank.

You would have a contract with that lender, not the bank. Many large lending companies have areas on their websites that allow you to apply for this type of lending, even if you have bad credit.

Consider Refinancing

If you have been in your home at least seven years, and you have equity in the home, you can talk to the bank about refinancing your mortgage. Often, even with bad credit, you have a better chance of getting approved for this than an actual loan.

Look Into Government Resources

The U.S. Government has programs available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

These programs allow certain individuals to apply for home improvement loans up to $35,000, but you must meet a number of requirements. However, credit doesn’t have as big of an impact on these resources.

home improvement loan bad credit

Apply for Bad Credit Loans

There are definitely bad credit loans and lenders on the market. However, if you are going to use them, you have to know that you will pay a lot for the loan. It isn’t unusual for these rates to be well over 10%, and could even get close to 20%, where someone with good credit can get a loan with 0% to 5%. That’s a huge difference.

Barter or Exchange

home improvement loan plansFinally, depending on what you want the loan for, you might be able to barter or exchange with a friend or someone else you know.

For instance, if you know someone who works in home improvement and can help renovate your kitchen, ask if you can trade that work with car maintenance if you are a mechanic.

Of course, just make sure that it’s an even exchange.