Of all the natural stones that you can choose for flooring granite is by far the hardest material and the most hardwearing. It is also resistant to staining and acid and alkaline chemicals. This is the reason it is the kitchen worktop of choice and the flooring material of choice.

Despite its hardness it is still capable of being scratched by quartz. Quartz is sand like material which makes up the biggest proportion of dirt brought into a building on the underside of footwear. Traffic going over this then moves the small particles of sand over the surface of the granite causing minute scratches. The scratching effect on granite will be much less than that on marble for instance but non-the-less it still scratches.

This effect can be minimized by the correct maintenance programme. A typical maintenance programme for granite flooring would be to dust mop the floor each day to remove these particles of dirt and once or twice a week depending upon traffic wash the floor with stone soap. This reseals the floor and enhances the colour. This is then wet vacuumed up and the floor then washed with pure water which is also wet vacuumed up. This wet vacuuming prevents the possibility of water staining.

Once per week or once every other week, again depending upon traffic the floor is misted with a crystallising agent and buffed at high speed. This removes the minute scratches and restores the shine to a floor which may be dulling very slightly in areas of high traffic. Then once per year it can be shined using a more abrasive crystallising compound and a slow speed buffer with non-rusting steel wool pads.

If this regime is followed then the shine on the granite floor should last for as long as you require it.

If the floor becomes neglected and is not cleaned correctly then it will slowly become dull and the scratching will build up enhancing the dull effect. If this was a marble floor then the scratching would be greater and could be removed and the shine restored by using diamond grinders on a slow speed buffing machine. However successful re-grinding of granite cannot be achieved. It can be re-ground using the diamond technique and made shiny but quite often it causes a colour change in the granite which is obviously not acceptable to the customer.

This regrinding process which for marble might take about 30 minutes per square meter for granite, being much harder takes about two to three hours to achieve any sort of shine.

In the processing plants marble is ground for about 40 minutes to achieve the high gloss effect. Granite on the other hand will be ground for several hours to achieve the same effect. There is no way that once the granite is in place this process can be replicated.

Consequently if you have a granite floor and it dulls and somebody offers to restore the shine by re-grinding it do not bother. You will end up with a floor that may be shiny but has probably changed colour and it will have cost you a small fortune. Take care of it from the outset and you will never be in this position.

David Andrew Smith is the owner of a commercial and domestic cleaning services company information about stone cleaning can be found at http://www.wesparkle.co.uk/floorcare.html

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Keep A House Cleaning Schedule by Joy Jackson

A house cleaning schedule is your first step towards an effortless cleaning of your home. Although each person has his or her own idea as to what a house cleaning schedule should be like, it is generally agreed that a systematic and coordinated approach will produce the best results.

There have been much advice from various professionals as to how a house cleaning exercise should go about but it will be best if you keep to your own ways of doing things. Decide which plan works best for you and keep to it. After all, not all homes have the same architecture, so obviously cleaning will differ from home to home.

The first step is to decide on what needs to be done. Begin with the most difficult and complex job and progress to the less mundane ones. This way, you would have expended the much needed energy on the big jobs and by the time you get tired, it is only left with the small jobs to be done. Another reason why you should begin with the big job is that, in the event that something happens or you get tired, then someone will be more wiling to assist because they will not have much left to do.

Group your activities into manageable parts. For example you can put your cleaning activities into three categories: washing, wiping or dusting. This way, you can do all the activities that involve washing from room to room and then go to the ones that need wiping. Keeping this kind of schedule will enable you to work faster and comfortably.

Keep your schedule flexible so that should there be any change of plan, the schedule will be able to accommodate it easily. Keeping a household cleaning schedule is your surest way to accomplish more in less time when it comes to giving your home a new look.

If New York state seems a little far from the real North Pole, try getting a little closer to the real thing by visiting North Pole, Alaska on your Christmas vacation. The Alaskan vacation package also includes a visit to Santa’s house in the North Pole. Also offered is an optional dog sled ride through Santa’s village in the North Pole. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you race through the magical North Pole on an authentic Alaskan dog sled. Like the vacation package in North Pole, New York, the Alaskan North Pole offers one or two night stays during weekends.

The Alaskan North Pole Christmas vacation includes hotel accommodations in nearby Fairbanks and at the Chena Hot Springs Resort. There is also lodging available at the Santaland RV Park. The Santa House also offers a large store where guests to the North Pole can find every type of souvenir from ‘I Believe in Santa’ hats to ‘Santa Claus Crossing’ signs and refrigerator magnets. Whether you are two or ninety-two the magic of Christmas in North Pole, Alaska will have you believing in Saint Nick.

If you are traveling before or during the Christmas season, then consider Hershey, Pennsylvania as your vacation destination. The home of Hershey’s candy, Hershey Park becomes home to Christmas Candyland, where over one million Christmas lights are put on display. In addition to the lights, the staff at Hershey Park constructs a number of animated displays that are sure to delight both you are your children.

Christmas Candyland is undoubtedly one of the most exciting Christmas time getaways for kids young and old. In addition to Christmas Candyland guests can enjoy the rest of the Park. Hershey Park is a popular destination for travelers year round, as it offers a wide variety of both entertainment and great candy. Christmas Candyland typically runs for a month prior to Christmas.

If your family has never taken a Disney vacation, Christmastime may be the perfect time to do it. In addition to enjoying the Walt Disney World parade which is televised each year from Disney World in Orlando, Florida, your kids will also enjoy seeing all their favorite Disney characters decked out in their Santa hats and Christmas outfits. There are also a number of special Christmas time shows put on in the parks including Mickey Mouse’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Belle’s Enchanted Christmas Storytelling.

These Christmas activities can be great for young children. Giant Christmas trees are erected throughout the parks and lit up with thousands of Christmas lights, bringing the spirit of Christmas alive throughout the already magical Disney World. The weeks around the Christmas season are also times where lodging rates at Disney World resorts are typically lower than the peak season rates.

By traveling during the Christmas season you are likely to get tons of fun at a reduced price. The weather in central Florida during the Christmas season is typically in the mid-70s, a great change of pace if you are used to cold, wintry Christmas seasons. Santa’s sleigh may have some trouble landing without snow but the magic of the Christmas season is alive and well at Disney World.

Joy Jackson writes and lectures extensively on house cleaning tips to clean better, clean faster! Her comprehensive website contains freash, real information, tips, articles and resources on cleaning your home! http://www.theonlinemaid.com

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Remember, everyone starts as a beginner at painting. Just because you have never painted a house doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. The money you save by painting your own house is money you can put into other home improvements. It can also be a fun thing for the whole family to do.

Now we need to choose the colors we want to paint the house. There is a really cool tool online that you can use. Click let’s paint. Choose exterior or the interior options. Choose the project closest to yours. Get started and you will soon know what color you want to paint your house and you’ll have a vision of what it is going to look like when you’re finished. Here are some of the basics.

Of course the first thing you need to do is wash down the walls of your house. A pressure washer can be rented at almost any rental yard and is the best way to do that. Now go around with a scraper and remove all loose paint and chipped areas. You don’t have to scrape the entire wall, but any areas where the surface is not flat can cause you problems as you paint your house. Next, figure out your square footage so you can determine the amount of paint you will need to buy.

Buy your paint in 5-gallon pails, rather than gallons to save more money. Talk to the helper at your local paint store and tell him about your project. They can help you decide on how many brushes and rollers and other items you will need. You can buy natural or synthetic bristles for oil based paints, but only use synthetic bristles with latex paint. The same rule applies to rollers. Good rollers can run you around $7, but buy high-quality paintbrushes. A good brush for cutting in around edges will run you about $30. Make sure you purchased some painter’s tape. It’s blue tape that comes in different widths and is easy to remove without messing up your paint job.

That brings us to preparation. Tape off all areas you don’t wish to get this color of paint on. If there are large areas to cover, make sure you pick up some rolls of plastic. You can tape the edges of the plastic down over whatever you need to cover. Don’t paint out of the paint cans. First reason is that leaving the paint can open will dry out the paint and make it difficult to apply. Another reason is that your brush or roller picks up dirt and foreign objects, which will end up in your paint and may even change the color as you go along. Do all of your cutting or trimming in before you paint the walls. Use a 4” brush and with a smooth stroke guide it around the edges where you taped off. Make sure you have plenty of paint on your brush. The biggest mistake people make is trying to stretch the paint too far.

Keep drips cleaned up as you go with a small rag. Remember you will be rolling up to the edge of your cut, so don’t worry about that, just make sure you cover the edges well. Start on the edges of your walls and work your way toward the middle. Most people don’t do this and problems can result. If you start and new can of paint in the middle of the wall and there is any difference in the color at all, it will show up there more than it would on the edges. So with each new can of paint you open, start at the edges first. Dip your roller in water (for Latex) or solvent (for oil-based paint), before you start.

Whether you use a pan or a 5-gallon bucket with a screen, make sure you roll it out a little to make sure it isn’t dripping. You don’t need to go all the way from the top to the bottom as you paint. Do what you can reach. Apply the paint in a Y or an N pattern, then apply paint in columns up and down smoothing out all the edges or ridges as you go. Again don’t try to stretch the paint out, make sure you have enough paint on your roller to give it a good coat.

If you are applying more than one coat, make sure the first coat is completely dry before applying a new coat of paint. Corners are a difficult part to learn to paint. If you aren’t careful, this is where you will see paint drips later. Get as close to corners as you can, but don’t scrape the roller against the corner. That will cause drips. If you are unsure, have a paintbrush handy to smooth out drips.

That is also a good idea overall. Keep a paintbrush ready for taking care of any drips or ridges you leave behind. Doing this as you go is much easier than trying to fix it after it’s dry or partially dry. Using tray liners for your paint trays will save you a lot of time at cleanup. Soak your brushes when done for awhile and they will also be easier to clean. For water based paint, soak in water and for oil based paint soak them in solvent. I hope some of these tips have been helpful to you.

Have confidence that you can do this job yourself. You will appreciate and enjoy it much more knowing that you or you and your family completed the job rather than hiring someone else to do it. D. David Dugan has a website, http://homeimprovement.divinfo.com/ to help homeowners find all the information they need about remodeling, home repair, building decks and carports, room additions, and more.
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Carpet Cleaning Tips

April 1, 2006


Carpet Shampoo, originally uploaded by askmaxvalue.

Our cleaning technicians in Max-Value are trained and experienced with this job.
This was taken in one of our regular job site for our monthly cleaning.
There are several ways to clean carpet. And in this photo, you can see that our cleaning technician was using hot water extraction machine. This is to ensure that the soil and dirt underneath the carpet will be sucked out.
Normally, a dehumidifier and blower will be placed there after the job is done.
This is to make sure that the big percentage of the moisture in the air will be removed.

Do-it-yourself, or better known as DIY is so popular nowadays.
Seems like everyone can be an expert in doing all the repairing jobs and so on.
Why is that being done? Is it to save money? Maybe.. who knows?
However, just imagine is it practical to do it yourself nowadays?
I don’t think so.

Based on the lifestyle that we are living right now, no matter where is your location, it is basically impossible to do all the maintenance by yourself.
Wouldn’t it be better to have someone to do all the wiring or plumbing job to someone that is commited in doing it?

And you can use the time you would have wasted to do something else that you would enjoy with your family members.

Besides, you could have saved the money that you’re going to spend on the tools for other purpose. Maybe for your next family vacation to a beautiful foreign country?

So, if you need any handyman service and you happen to be in Singapore, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 63271030. We will be pleased to serve you.

Tips on How to Reglaze a Bath Tub By Claire Bowes

Bathtub not looking as good as it should? Are you stuck with one of those outdated colors of the 1970’s? With a few simple preparations and a lot of patience, you can learn how to reglaze a bathtub and save yourself the hassle of buying and installing a new tub.

 Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you work safely. Since refinishing a bathtub involves chemicals, some of which are toxic, make sure that you ventilate the area well before beginning. Also, protect yourself with a ventilator, safety goggles and gloves. Once protected, gather your supplies and get going!

Give your tub a cursory cleaning and remove any loose caulking and gaskets. Most bathtub refinishing kits come with several chemicals. The first two are chemical cleaning solutions that will remove soaps and oils from the surface of the tub and prepare it for the primer. Most kits require you to clean the tub with the first solution, scrubbing the tub with sandpaper, usually 220 or 240 grit.

Once the tub is thoroughly scrubbed, rinse away any residue. The second cleaning solution is applied next, usually with a specially designed cleaning pad that also scores, or roughs, the surface of the tub. This second step removes any remaining oil or soap and also provides “grab” for the primer. Rinse the tub again and dry with an old towel or paper towels.

The third solution in the kit is a primer reducer, a solvent that removes any remaining residue and prepares the surface for the primer. Carefully apply the reducer with paper towels. After this, repair any damage to the tub’s surface and drain area with putty and allow to dry. After about 30 minutes, sand the repaired areas smooth with a fine grit sandpaper, clean with the primer reducer and dry. It is time to mask the area around the bathtub that will not be refinished.

Carefully apply tape and paper to the areas around the tub, burnishing any tape with your fingernail or a credit card to assure a good seal. Next, you’ll apply the base coat to the tub. Remember to wear your respirator for this part of the process, and make sure that your area is properly ventilated.

Following the manufacturer’s directions, mix the primer’s components exactly and use a spray gun to apply to the bathtub. Allow the primer to dry for at least 30 minutes before applying the top coat. Mix the paint for the topcoat following manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the topcoat using the spray gun with even strokes. This topcoat will take about 48-72 hours to completely cure.

Reglazing your bathtub can be a cost effective way to dramatically update your bathroom! Claire Bowes is a successful Webmaster and publisher of Bath Tubs & Bathing. Claire provides more information on her site about Refinishing a Bath Tub that you can research at home.

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Short cleaning tips

March 6, 2006

Check out these amazing cleaning tips! I bet you’ve never heard some of these before! Paint on carpet, Ink stains, Crayon on walls, etc.

ANT REPELLANT: To keep ants out of the house, find where the ants are entering the house and sprinkle a “barrier” of cinnamon or any type of ground pepper to block their way. The spices are too hot for the ants to cross.

BATHROOM ODORS: Place a shallow dish of baking soda behind the toilet to absorb bathroom odors.

CANDLE WAX: To remove wax from carpeting you should first scrape away any excess. Then, using a warm iron and a clean cloth or even a paper bag simply place the iron on top of the cloth over the wax and as you iron it will adhere to the cloth instead of the carpet. Continue moving the cloth around as you pick up the wax so you are always using a clean section of cloth. If a little grease stain remains sprinkle on baking soda and let sit overnight before vacuuming which will remove the grease residue and deodorize at the same time! If colored wax leaves a stain, blot with spot remover or carpet cleaner, following label directions.

CHIMNEY: To keep your chimney clean, throw a handful of salt on the fire. CHROME: To remove rust from chrome, wipe it with aluminum foil dipped in Coke. To polish chrome, use a crumbled up piece of aluminum foil and rub!

CLOUDY DRINKING GLASSES: Soak them for an hour or longer in slightly warm (not boiled) white vinegar. Then use a nylon-net or plastic scrubbie to remove film. Still there? The damage must be etching (tiny scratches that occur in the dishwasher) and is permanent, sorry to say. To avoid this altogether, hand-wash your best glasses.

COFFEE GRINDER: Grind up a cup or so of rice in a coffee grinder to clean the grinder and sharpen its blades.

COPPER: To polish copper, rub an ample amount of catsup on the copper and let it stand for 5 minutes. Rinse off the catsup with hot water and dry to find an incredible shine.

CRAYON ON WALLS OR WASHABLE WALLPAPER: Spray with multipurpose lubricating oil. Then gently wipe, using a paper towel or clean white cloth. If mark is stubborn, sprinkle a little baking soda on a damp sponge and gently rub in a circular motion. If lubricants residue remains, dampen a sponge with a solution of one or two drops of mild dish-washing liquid to one cup water. Squeeze out sponge and gently rub in a circular motion. Rinse sponge; lightly moisten with water to go over area; dry with a clean cloth. Another method is to use a blow dryer. It heats the wax and wipes away instantly. If the color reamins behind, like red usually does, wet a cloth with bleach and wipe.

DEODORIZE: dishes, pans, cutting boards or utensils with those same pungent odors, simply add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to your dishwater.

FIREPLACE SOOT ODOR: To diminish and remove this odor, after you clean out the ashes, place a shallow pan of baking soda for a few hours or overnight in the fireplace.

FISH OR OTHER SPOILED FOOD ODOR: Place a bowl of white vinegar on the counter for a few hours. The odor will disappear for good.

FRESHEN A GARBAGE DISPOSAL: Sprinkle baking soda in it along with a few drops dish-washing liquid. Scrub with a brush (a new toilet brush works great), getting under the rubber gasket and all around the inside. Then turn on water and the disposal and flush thoroughly. For a fresh citrus scent, throw in a few cut-up lemons or limes and run them through, too, using lots of water.

FRESHEN LAUNDRY BASKET: Place a fabric softener sheet in the bottom of your laundry basket (remember to change it weekly.) You can also simply sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of your basket and that will help absorb the odors as well.

FRESHEN LINEN CLOSET: In the linen closet place cotton balls that have been sprayed with your favorite scent. Once they are dry place them in corners and on the shelves.

INK STAINS: The best way I have found to get out ink stains is to put rubbing alcohol on the stain – it disappears! This must be done before washing. For ink on the wall, wipe with bleach and it will disappear.

KITTY LITTER: To keep cat litter fresh smelling, mix baby powder in with the litter.

MICROWAVE ODORS: Keep a cup of baking soda in the microwave between uses to keep potatoes from smelling like bacon or other unusual combinations! To clean baked-on food quickly, simply fill a measuring cup full of water and turn the microwave on for about 1-2 minute, until you see the water boiling. The moisture makes all the old food easily wipe off!

MOTHBALL SUBSTITUTE: Take your leftover soap slivers and put them in a vented plastic bag. You place the bag with seasonal clothes before packing them away. Not only will the scent prevent them from moth harm but also they’ll smell great when you pull them out.

PAINT ON CARPET: Spray with Windex® and wipe clean.

PERMENANT MARKER ON CARPET: Dab a washcloth soaked in rubbing alcohol onto the marker stain. Do not rub it – just blot it – rotating the cloth to a clean spot every time.

PET URINE ON CARPET: First, blot up what you can with paper towels. Mix one teaspoon mild dish-washing detergent in one cup warm water, dip a clean towel in the liquid and, working from outside in, dab at stain. Do not overwet. Rinse with fresh water and blot dry. Next, add on-third cup white vinegar with two-thirds cup water and dab on stain. Rinse with water; blot until dry. Once area is totally dry (after at least 24 hours), sprinkle entire carpet with baking soda or rug deodorizer. Vacuum after a few hours.

PHOTOS STUCK TOGETHER: With a hair dryer on low, slowly melt them apart.

ROACH PROBLEM: Combine equal parts boric acid (a powder sold in hardware stores and drugstores) and sugar, mix well. Sprinkle in crevices and, if building or remodeling, between walls before putting up plaster board. Put the powder in jar lids; place lids behind the fridge and under sinks. Caution: Keep mixture away from children and pets. If ingested in large quantities, or even in small amounts over several days, boric acid can be harmful.

SHOWER DOORS: I have clear glass shower doors. I have tried everything from CLR, Comet, to Clorox – you name it, I’ve tried it. Today I decided to try something different. I found a bottle of Resolve spot remover for carpet and fabric. I figured “Why not? I have tried everything else.” All I did was spray the Resolve on the shower and with no effort ran a dish sponge over it and rinsed and every bit of the soap scum came off.

SMELLY COOKING HANDS: Simply rub your hands over a stainless steel utensil under running water. This works especially well for the odor of garlic, onions or fish.

SMELLY SNEAKERS: Simply fill knee-high stockings with unused litter, tie the ends and tuck them in overnight for a quick refresh. Add baby powder, too! Another refresher for smelly sneakers is to simply take a few teaspoons of baking soda and put in the center of a cotton cloth. Tie the cloth and rubber band the edges securely creating a baking soda sachet, which you put in the shoes overnight as well. These sachets can be used over and over in any kind of shoe.

SOUR SPONGE: Soak the sponge in lemon juice and rinse it out. This will remove the odor for good but keep in mind that it is important to either dispose of, microwave, or run your sponge through your dishwasher regularly to keep bacteria from growing.

STAINS IN PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINERS: Use a baking soda paste (baking soda and water) and rub into the stain. You can then rinse with vinegar (optional) and wash normally. Another method is to place container outside on a nice sunny day and the sun actually bleaches the stain out. To avoid stains in the first place, spray container with cooking spray before putting things in it that stain i.e. spaghetti sauce.

STICKERS, DECALS, AND GLUE: To remove them from furniture, glass, plastic, etc. saturate with vegetable oil and rub off.

TARNISHED SIVERWARE: Line a cake pan with aluminum foil. Fill with water and add 1 Tbls. of baking soda per 2 cups of water. Heat to 150 degrees. Lay silverware in pan, touching aluminum foil. Watch the stains disappear!

TRASH BAG IDEA: Save money on trash bags by reusing plastic grocery bags. Use them in all your trash cans. To keep them from slipping down, affix a plastic, self-adhesive hook to both sides of the inside of the trash can. Hang the shopping bag from the hooks.

WHITE HEAT MARKS AND WATER RINGS ON WOOD: If the wood has a good finish (don’t try on bare wood), mix equal parts of baking soda and regular white, non-gel toothpaste. Lightly dampen corner of a clean, soft white cloth with water and dip into the paste. With circular motion gently buff the marks for a few minutes. Wipe area clean, and buff to a shine. Follow with furniture polish. (If rings remain after buffing five minutes or so, they may have penetrated the wood; you might have to refinish the piece). If that doesn’t work, dip a cloth in vegetable oil, then in cigarette ashes, then rub it over the mark. Another method is to rub real mayonnaise onto the stain, allow to sit overnight, then wipe with a dry towel.
About the Author

Cecilia Sherrard is a full time dedicated Realtor in Northeast Ohio. With years of experience and knowledge, she has maintained a multi-million dollar producer status. Visit her website at http://www.youshouldown.com you can also view her Real Estate tips at http://www.youshouldown.com/realestatetips.asp