The Care and Feeding of Your Granite Countertops

Granite CountertopsThose granite kitchen and bathroom countertops Victoria, part of the pride and joy of your house, need to be cared for.  They require regular cleaning, occasional stain removal, and re-sealing.

Granite is a most obliging natural material.  It is scratch, heat, and stain resistant.  But while granite can resist scratches, heat damage, and stains, it is not impervious to damage.

Protecting your investment

Here are some simple cleaning and maintenance tips from your granite countertops Victoria specialists:

  • Keep countertops clean:  this is the first principal of granite care.  Clean your countertops with warm water and a few drops of a mild dish washing liquid (using only light-colored liquid dish soap that contains no aromatics).  Wash countertops, rinse them with clear water, and dry them with a soft cotton cloth.

NOTE:  Plain soap and water can build up on the surface over time, giving your polished granite countertops a dull appearance.

  • Sealant:  a commercially prepared granite sealant can protect your countertops from damage – up to a point.  When properly applied, sealant can reduce the absorption of liquids, oils, and stains into the slightly porous surface.

Eventually, sealant will wear off.  You can easily assess its protective condition by sprinkling some water drops on the countertop.  If the water soaks into the granite instead of beading up, the countertops need to be resealed.  Sealant can be done on a yearly maintenance basis or as needed.  You can reseal the surface or have it professionally done by a countertops Victoria stone specialist.

  • The DO NOTs:  there are several important things that you should not do to your granite countertops.

Don’t allow spills to remain: blot up all spills and smears as soon as possible using a paper towel or soft cloth; wiping them only spreads the spill.

Don’t use powdered cleansers on your granite countertops – ever: the pumice in powder cleansers is abrasive and will damage the stone.

Don’t use acidic cleaners containing ammonia or vinegar – ever.

Don’t stand on countertops:  although granite seems indestructible, inconsistencies in the slab may create weakened areas that are invisible to you.  Excessive pressure can cause the slab to crack.

Don’t place hot pans on countertops:  granite is heat resistant but an extremely hot item left for longer than a few minutes can harm the stone.  Use a trivet or mats to protect countertop surfaces.

It’s a good practice to use trivets, hot pads, mats or cutting boards:  place them under ceramic dishes to protect surfaces from scratches. (Granite may not get scratched by your knife, but your knife blade can quickly become dulled when cutting on a granite surface).

Your beautiful countertops were installed with pride by a countertops Victoria specialist.   With simple, regular care, those countertops can add to your pride of home and last through countless generations.

Unfreezing Your Frozen Pipes

Winterizing your pipes is a good plan when you live in an area where freezing conditions are a normal winter condition.  Frozen pipes are a major inconvenience; frozen pipes that burst can cause catastrophic damage.  You can protect your pipes and property during freezing weather conditions with a few simple steps.

The physics of frozen water

Water expands as it freezes.  This expansion places immense pressure on “containment structure” – the metal or plastic pipes, and can cause the pipes to break.

Plumbers Victoria BC are often called to fix burst exterior pipes.  They know that outdoor hose bibs, pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, lines in unheated interior areas, and any poorly insulated lines located along exterior walls are all vulnerable to freezing conditions.

When the pipes are frozen

When your pipes are frozen, the most likely locations are where water enters your house.

Thawing frozen pipes takes patience and careful action.  Plumbing Victoria BC professionals recommend the following steps:

  • Keep the faucet open so that water can flow as the frozen area begins to melt.
  • Apply heat.  Wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe, or use an electric hair dryer or a portable space heater to warm the pipe.

o   Aim the heat stream in the vicinity of the pipe; don’t focus the heat from a hair dryer or heater directly on the pipe.

o   NEVER use a blowtorch, charcoal stove, kerosene or propane heater to thaw frozen pipes!

  • Keep applying heat until full water pressure is restored.
  • If you can’t locate the frozen pipe or it is inaccessible, call a plumber.
  • Check every faucet in your home:  there may be more than one frozen pipe.

Protect your pipes

It isn’t always possible or feasible to relocate exposed pipes to protect them from future freezing.  But there are some basic steps you can take to protect pipes from freezing and breaking.

  • Insulate –crawl spaces, attics, and basement, outside taps and pipes (including drain and overflow pipes).
  • Leave the heating system on at all times during cold spells.
  • Make sure that all leaks and dripping taps are repaired before cold weather sets in.
  • Remove outdoor hoses before winter.
  • Wrap or place hose bib covers over each bib.
  • When freezing conditions are expected, let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.  Even a small trickle helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Leave the heat on in your home (set no lower than 55°F / 12.7°C) when you are away during cold weather.

If you are an inexperienced home owner or renter, consider hiring a plumbing Victoria BC professional to evaluate the current condition of the plumbing, show you preventive steps to protect the pipes during freezing weather, and how to shut off water in case of a plumbing emergency.

Plumbers Victoria BC are experienced at handling frozen and burst pipes.  Be sure you keep their contact information easily accessible and call one of these professionals if a pipe bursts.

Building Your Dream Home on Your Dream Land

For some, it’s always about the land – inherited land, land bought because it’s the most beautiful place on earth, land for your future retirement home – land.  The house is almost an incidental item to the land.  Others see the merger of house and land, particularly if their house is to be developed and built by a custom home builder Victoria.

Call of the land

Building your custom home on land that you’ve selected can be tremendously rewarding.  But selecting the right property for your dream home takes careful consideration and investigation.  As a future home builder Victoria, there are some steps you should plan on taking, preferably before you actually purchase the land.

  • Have the site professionally assessed for feasibility and cost to build.  Your dream location may be so remote that it is inaccessible to power lines, gas, water and sewer connections, and transportation.

An expert builder can assess what it will cost in money and time to link your property to a power grid, water and gas resources, pave an access road linking your property with primary transportation routes, and hauling materials and supplies to the site.  Any of these potential obstacles may delay or completely halt the building of your home.

  • Your dream site doesn’t have to be a remote location.  It might be in an already developing suburban or even urban area.  An expert home builder can guide you through the potential challenges and possibilities of building on property in an existing developed area.

The custom home builder Victoria can determine if a site requires your future home to be supported by below-ground piers.  Another consideration is if there have been environmental damages, the site is on a known earthquake fault, situated in a flood zone, or on (or near) a landslide area.

Your expert will also investigate any easement requirements, zoning laws, architecture guidelines, permits, review processes, and property line restrictions that may pertain to your prospective home site.

Putting house to land

Thanks to some expert guidance, you have purchased land on which to build your dream home.  Now it’s time to put the house on the land.  What do you have in mind?

  • You can choose to have your new home completely custom-designed. This can be an exciting and creative time as you collaborate with a custom home builder and an architect.
  • You may want to consider selecting from a wide range of available house plans.  There may be one design that is exactly right for both the land you have purchased and all your dream house interests.
  • A third option is to customize an existing house plan so that it more fully meets your needs.

You’ve accomplished two major milestones toward building your dream home:  you have purchased your land and begun the process of designing your home.  Trust your professional custom homes Victoria builder to be one of your best allies and resources as you continue building your dream home.

Expats Guide to Settle in America

America

Life in the UK 

Moving from one place to another, especially having been settled is mixed with excitement and fear. Excitement comes due to change of life and environment, and fear, is because of un-expectation lying ahead. Living in the UK is a great achievement and wish for many people. In recent years, the standard of living has gone up surpassing many big cities around the world. Even though it depends on individuals circumstances, it is hard for an average person to maintain good and balanced life in the UK. Prices of basic things from housing, food, clothing, transport, and entertainment compared to many places worldwide have skyrocketed and hard to meet in the UK. The hard part is when accommodation is for long time.

Moving to the USA

Before moving to the US, it is better to consider the key things and areas you want to settle. It is always advisable to plan ahead of time after doing enough research, and stay within budget. Popular cities with high level of life equal to expensive way of life. For expats moving in the USA are mainly in search of jobs and therefore settling in cities with a stable economy is highly recommended. It is not wise to settle immediately in New York, San Francisco and so on since they are the big and most expensive cities in the USA. Most preferred places to settle are Dallas, Texas, Austin, and Houston among others. Further, note many Americans are moving to less expensive cities and urban.

Culture

Many expats around the world move to the USA and that is the reason it is popular multi-cultural country largely dominated by Spanish, Italian, African, Indians and many more. For new expat, it is easy to adjust and get used to life freely. This includes students, and varied professionals from all parts of the world.

People 

Americans are friendly people and most diverse nation on earth. Getting along for expats is easy, though it is wise to gradually be-friend as time goes on until one is fully used and comfortable. While there, it is very hard to differentiate people’s nationalities, since they become easily assimilated by American culture and lifestyle.

Transportation

The most improved and best transportation in the world is in the USA. Great transport has for long been enjoyed in this country, owing to its good planning. Majority of citizens owns a car, but for those without one or prefer otherwise, use well organized public transport ranging from buses, trains, and cabs. Public transport is very much affordable.

Work

There are many possibilities and job offers that expats may not struggle much without settling. It is no wonder USA, is the world super power country, bearing in mind the number of expats move yearly. The country has a best system and guide on working conditions and job search.

House Rent

Majorities are homeowners, and therefore it is easy for expats to acquire their own homes with time. The process involved is not complicated, and therefore easy to go through. However, at first settling for rentals is a good start, before opting for other alternatives.

Moving is fun and part of learning. Staying in the USA is a good change of weather, environment, and expats adopt easily than any other nation in the world. The process of application is very easy through ESTA system online and no paper work as well as documentation is required.