General Home Improvement Home Decor

Granite, Quartz, and Marble: Explore Your Kitchen Countertop Choices

Whether you choose granite, quartz, or marble — your kitchen countertop will have a significant impact on the style and functionality of your home. So, before deciding which material you want, go through these points; ask yourself, what is the final look I want?

Do you want a smooth, luxurious look or do you want something more casual? How much effort do you want to put in cleaning? Do you often host parties at home or do you rarely cook? These questions will help you decide if your countertop for your should be more luxurious or functional.

Home decor is about the mix of the latest trends with classic choices that can frequently be changed, but it is rare that people change or upgrade their kitchen that often. Your countertop is a long run investment, and therefore it has to be compatible with the many coming years.

Countertops are exposed to all kinds of substances, both organic and artificial, like water, salt, and detergents; this makes it crucial for them to be durable and enduring. Most common choices that people make are granite, quartz, and marble. Before making a decision, it is good to know the qualities of them all.

Choice #1: Granite Kitchen Countertops

The most preferred choice for countertops, granite is available in many colors like pink, brown, black, grey and even red. The material is most suited for people who want to opt only natural materials. This natural rock is found around the world and is known for its unique character and beauty. Granite has excellent resistance to heat and cold and is lightly porous to absorb some liquid.

However, this might result in getting stains easily on the light granites, but dark granite would be safe from that. Granite countertops are hard and do not break easily, which makes them an excellent long-term choice.

Choice #2: Quartz Kitchen Countertops

Although not a natural material, quartz is the closest humanmade material to them. Quartz gets its color from a resin binder combined with colorants. Quartz is quite similar to granite. One advantage that it has over granite is that it is a human-made material and offers a higher range of color choices; this gives you extensive choices even to combine and match with many other elements. The best property of this material is that it is non- porous and does not absorb any liquid, which makes quartz countertops look clean and new for a more extended period.

Choice #3: Marble Kitchen Countertops

If you want to go out of the way with style and opt for exceptional color choices like greens and grey, then marble is your ideal choice. A marble worktop gives a more furnished look, but at the same time, it requires great caution. It is soft and easily breakable. Marbles are also more porous, which can result in difficult-to-remove stains. Hence, marble countertops are often a decent choice for people who rarely indulge in cooking.

It can be concluded that the choice for your kitchen countertop depends primarily on your lifestyle. Yes, the look matters but it is mostly the functionality and the physical properties of the material that we should consider before making a potentially lifelong decision — Much like choosing the right hardwood floors.

General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring

How to Choose Flooring When Building A New Construction Home

Choosing the floors for your new construction home can be so exciting. With a plethora of great options to choose from, and an opportunity to customize the look and feel of each room to your exact liking, starting from scratch is rewarding. However, exciting as it may be, there are often a mound of questions that come up.

When choosing a new floor, it is not only important to select a floor type that coincides with the furnishings, but it should also fit the unique needs of each space to ensure you get the most out of your flooring. Some flooring options and their benefits include:

When is Stone Flooring a Good Idea?

Stone Flooring

You’re probably accustomed to seeing stone pavers outdoors, but they can also be used to create a stunning, rustic indoor floor. Plus, they are available in a variety of styles, including marble, limestone, sandstone, and old stone, to suit various tastes.

In addition to providing a unique look for the interior of your home, stone floors offer many benefits:

  • Help keep allergens at bay.
  • Stay cool in warm temperatures.
  • Durable enough to withstand the vigor of daily life for years to come.
  • Easy to maintain.

Just sweep the floor each day to remove surface dirt and debris, which helps the stone maintain its effervescence. You should avoid applying cleansers directly on the flooring because this can cause discoloration.

What about Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors, available in solid hardwood and engineered wood, are a classic choice for their warmth and durability.

In fact, no matter which wood type you choose, it is sure to add a luxurious and inviting ambiance to your space, and they are available in various finishes to further add to their allure. They also come in different sizes, including wide planks, for added character.

However, hardwood floors are one of the most elegant flooring materials; therefore, you need to take special care to avoid damaging the floor. For instance, avoid dropping weighty objects on hardwood floors and never slide heavy furniture across the wood, which can lead to scrapes and dents.

You should regularly remove hard particles from the floor using a soft bristle broom, and avoid using harsh cleansers on the floor because it can dull its shine.

Is Laminate Flooring the Right Choice for You?

Laminate Flooring

Laminate floors provide the look of various flooring materials, including hardwood, stone, and brick, but at a fraction of the cost.

They are available in more textures, patterns, styles, and colors than traditional flooring, and they are more resistant to scratches, dents, and stains. However, you still need to take care to prevent spills and clean up liquids instantly to avoid warping and discoloration.

You should use a soft mop when cleaning the floor as it will help prevent hard particles from scratching the surface. You should also only use gentle cleaners diluted in water to clean the floor, which also helps protect the floor’s surface.

This is When You Should Choose Tile Flooring

Tile Flooring

Tile floors make an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and more, and they are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, styles, finishes, and faux finishes, including natural wood and natural stone, to complement various decors.

Tile floors provide a cost-effective choice over other types of flooring. They are a popular choice among many homeowners.

Maintaining tile floors is also easy. Just vacuum or sweep the floors to remove debris, and then be sure to clean the floor using a damp mop at least once weekly to maintain their look.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring, which is available in floor tiles and vinyl planks, provides a sleek and modern feel for a new construction home; this is suitable for a wide range of decor schemes. Vinyl floors are also available in various color combinations. And because they are waterproof and damage resistant, they provide a durable choice for high-traffic areas.

Regularly sweeping the floor and thoroughly rinsing the floor after mopping it can help keep vinyl floors free of detergent and dirt build-up, which can cause them to become lackluster over time.

Vinyl floors are also vulnerable to scratching, so avoid dragging heavy objects across the floor.

Finally, When is Carpet the Best Choice?


Carpet is a common choice for homeowners who want warmth and coziness in their space; it is available in a range of fabrics and colors to suit various tastes. Carpet provides noise reduction, which makes it an excellent choice for upper-level floors, hallways, and play areas.

To care for carpet flooring, you should first begin with a quality carpet, which helps ensure it wears well. Regularly vacuuming carpet will help the fibers from accumulating dirt (which can cause the rug to become dull and dank) in high-traffic areas.

You should have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once annually. This will keep the carpet in pristine condition for years to come. Fantastic Services Group can give tips and provide services for maintaining all types of flooring.  

In the end, when selecting flooring for your new construction home, you should be sure they complement your lifestyle. Also, they should go well with your decor. Ensure that you end up with stylish and functional flooring that you can be happy with for years. When in doubt, consult your builder’s exclusive interior designer or another flooring professional. Someone knowledgeable can recommend a selection that fits your needs.

General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Pets

Hardwood Flooring 101: Best Rooms, Tips for Pet-Owners, & General Maintenance

Choosing a room for your hardwood flooring is not that difficult. Hardwood flooring can withstand almost anything that you can do with it. The grains on hardwood are beautiful and can make your home look stunning. However, your floor should not take the limelight from the room itself. Hardwood should be used to enhance not to overshadow a room. But where is hardwood flooring most effectively installed? Here are some tips that you need to consider.

The Best (and Worst) Rooms for Hardwood Flooring

Before you start planning a new hardwood flooring installation, keep in mind why you might or might not want wood floors in specific rooms.

Here are the Best Rooms for Hardwood Floors:

  • Master Suite – with its luxurious and romantic appeal, hardwood flooring will enhance the atmosphere of love in this most crucial part of your house.
  • Home Office – your office at home will also take a more professional ambiance if the full grains and striking colors of hardwood adorn its floor.
  • Dining Room – hardwood flooring is also a choice floor for dining rooms. It will lend its characteristics to whatever atmosphere you want to imbue in this section of your house. If you want a more casual ambiance, you can choose thin-grained and light colored hardwood. But if you want a more elegant and formal appeal, choose wood species with concentrated grains and darker colors.
  • Living Room – you can also install hardwood flooring on your living room. With its wonderful play of colors and meandering wood grains, your flooring will be a conversation piece when your friends visit your place.
  • Den – you will be able to relax well with the soothing character and atmosphere that hardwood flooring will impart to your den. Reading a book, watching a TV show, or just plain relaxing on top of beautiful hardwood flooring will be something that you will always look forward to at the end of the day.

These are the Worst Rooms for Hardwood Flooring:

  • Bathroom – you cannot install hardwood flooring all over your house. There are at least two rooms where you shouldn’t install hardwood and the bathroom is one of them. Even the most durable and sturdiest exotic wood species can’t withstand the continuous onslaught of water and moisture.
  • Laundry Room – another room where you should avoid hardwood flooring for the same reason; this part of your house is exposed to the elements such as grime, dirt, spilled oil, detergents, and water — it is not the ideal domain for beautiful and expensive hardwood.

Hardwood Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

Pets are the typical house inhabitants that do damage to house flooring. Even hardwood floors are not immune to their claws and their bites. To keep your pets from damaging your flooring, follow these simple maintenance tips:

  • Clip your dog’s nails, and your cat’s too if necessary – Dogs and cats are unusually fond of scratching the floor and to some extent. So, if you don’t clip their nails regularly, you will be the one that will ultimately pay for the damages that they will cause.
  • Get your pets their own beds – Buy an appropriate bed for each dog or cat that you own. Dogs usually sleep around twelve hours each day. Cats sleep even longer than dogs. So if you will train them to stay on their bed when sleeping, you will avoid scratches and bites on your hardwood flooring.

Step by Step: How to Get Scratches Out of Hardwood Flooring

However, if your pets have already left some scratches on your hardwood flooring, you can fix them by using a wood staining marker that will conceal the scratches. Here are the steps in using this marker.

  1. Clean the damaged spot or spots.
  2. Perform a spot test before applying the marker.
  3. If the spot test is successful, apply the concealing marker.
  4. Rub the stain into the scratches with a clean rag that is soaked with a paint thinner or mineral spirit.

Now, let us reveal how to pick the best hardwood floors for your home.

General Home Improvement

10 Home Improvements to Instantly Boost Your Property Value

This is a guest post contributed by Real Estate Advertising Network WorldWide, experts in home improvements and sales.  Here’s what they have to say about the best ways to increase your home’s value before you list. 

Home Improvement #1: Add an extra bathroom

Adding a bathroom is one of the top-rated home improvements you can choose to add a dash of value to your property. It adds more to the comfort meter but also attracts more eyes to your listing.

Unsure how you can make it happen?

Questioning whether there is enough space to fit an extra bathroom?

Believe it or not, there are always a few square feet you could utilize. It could be either an old closet or a more ambitious improvement like stealing space from two new rooms. If you can’t see the potential yourself, you could always ask a professional to assist you.

Home Improvement #2: Can’t add a new bathroom? Renovate what you have.

Is your bathroom dating all the way back to the 20th century? Well, we’re in the 21st for quite a while and if you haven’t done any renovations lately, adding a dash of modern looks and functionality will always tip the scale regarding value and price.

“If you don’t want to or you don’t have the budget nor time to gut the entire bathroom but, you can retile, repaint, install a few extra lighting fixtures or improve the ventilation. Having a recent renovation to your bathroom will be a huge plus regarding increasing the value of your property.” says the property expert Tom Davies “A few other great ideas are replacing countertops or installing a bit of extra shelving and hangers too.”.

Home Improvement #3: Let’s talk about tiles.

Worn out tiles will have a somewhat negative impact even though if your bathroom is still in great shape. That’s why going the extra mile to prepare your walls for tiling and retile will make the difference. 

Adding unique garage flooring can also make a huge impact on property value, especially for the handyman looking to use that space as a shop. Garage floor tiles can be installed in a day and can give your area a completely updated feel.

Home Improvement #4: Green thinking is fab.

Energy efficiency and low carbon buildings are not only nature-friendly but also business-friendly. You can install energy-efficient light bulbs, a motion sensor to reduce energy consumption, low-energy appliance, heating, smart AC’s and the list goes on. Other areas where you could introduce a greener way of living are your bathroom and kitchen. Reduce water usage by installing a smart toilet, shower head and sink faucets — plus, these are some of the easiest and cheapest home improvements you can make.

Another critical aspect of energy efficiency is heat and hydro insulation. Insulated properties will sell at a higher price and if properly managed, and that means return on investment.

Home Improvement #5: Get rid of old-looking floors: Sand or re-install.

Freshly-sanded hardwood or new tile floors will or add a considerable amount of value while tiles and laminate require less maintenance and are easier to clean. They tend to attract and hold on to less dirt, which is excellent leverage when trying to attract allergy sufferers. These are the type of buyers who are more likely to spend the extra bit you’re after.

Read more: This is How to Install Hardwood Floors Over Concrete?

Home Improvement #6: Equip an outdoor kitchen corner

Functionality and comfort are what luxury home buyers are always after. Being able to prepare a meal outside is an absolute win when it comes to adding more charms to your property. A great project suggested by James who is a professional bricklayer from Edinburgh is to fo a small masonry job and make room for a small refrigerator, sink, or pick the best BBQ for your particular case.  

When it comes to real estate, being able to offer an already-built kitchen corner, without appliances installed, will still tip the scale. Offer culinary arts in the fresh air, and any prospective buyer will appreciate your space. 

On top of having a kitchen corner, think about organizing a dining area nearby. You can make it en plain-air or, even better, inside a gazebo if the size of your backyard permits. A 10×10 soft top gazebo would do a good job here. It can make your outdoor space more welcoming and show the potential buyers its true capacity.

Soft top gazebos are easier to disassemble, so when it comes to selling, you do not have to leave the gazebo to the new owner unless you decide to use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

Home Improvement #7: Repaint the front door

This is one of the best home improvements that add value and won’t break the budget. The entrance of the property takes a crucial role in building impressions. The least you can do is add a fresh coat of paint, change the handle or maybe a dash of extra decoration such as metal fittings, engravings, or any of the countless other creative ideas, you’ll find on the web.

Home Improvement #8: How about a conversion?

Basements, lofts, and garages. Property conversions are a chore and fund consuming home improvement that is worth it. If you don’t have the strength to pull of a thorough renovation, bringing in the extra dash of functionality, such as hangers all over the garage walls, or a bit of plaster here and there can still do the trick.

Another great idea is to spruce up your terrace. Consider basic furnishings such as seating, a coffee table, and shelving.

Home Improvement #9: Take care of the overall curb appeal

If you’re after a sale, a photo of your property will be the first thing that a potential buyer will see. That’s why the curb appeal is crucial. Do you have a driveway? Make sure it’s well maintained and clean. Do you have trees in the garden? Take the time to prune. Refresh your mailbox, or even repaint the exterior.

Home Improvement #10: Install or repair underground sprinklers

Underground sprinklers set up on a timer can make a homeowner’s life so much easier. Sometimes, automatic sprinklers can be the tiebreaker when a buyer needs to choose between two different homes. After all, nobody worried about the stress of moving and undertaking a new mortgage wants to move hoses around or, even worse, tear up their yard to install an irrigation system. If you’re planning on selling, call your local sprinkler repair service and let them worry about it this instant property value booster.

Final Remarks

Boosting the value of your property can work in your favor in many ways, and the opportunities are out there for you to reach out and grab. Ranging from low-end budget home improvements, all the way to stable jobs with a substantial return on investment.

General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance

Best Moisture Barriers for Hardwood Flooring

When you are preparing to lay down your hardwood flooring, you want to ensure that you are getting everything right. Let’s face it; you don’t want to put in all this time and money on your beautiful hardwood floor and then have it messed up in a few months from buckling. Since moisture is the number one enemy of hardwood flooring, you should do all you can to prevent moisture from slipping in unannounced.

By adding a moisture barrier, you can protect your hardwood flooring and protect your investment in that flooring. While many choose to have a professional lay the flooring, some want to do it themselves. For all you DIYers, here is a little more information about the different flooring types and which kind of barriers are suitable for them.

Floating Floor Barriers

Floating floor barriers are just like the name implies. They are barriers that are made to protect floating floor types like laminate or tile. Since there are wooden tiles and laminate flooring nowadays, this is an option for many people. These barriers are typically made from plastic to protect against moisture. The plastic is simply laid before the flooring is placed on top.

If you intend to use wood subflooring, you do not need a floating plastic barrier because the subflooring needs room to breathe. Since your flooring will not be nailed or glued down, your barriers do not have to be thick, either. However, if you have other subflooring like cement, you should use plastic or paper to protect against the moisture that often accumulates in these conditions.

Nailed Floor Barriers

When you are installing nailed flooring, you want a barrier that will protect the subfloor as well as the flooring. By installing plastic sheeting on top of the dirt under the subfloor, you can protect your subflooring from getting too much moisture. Between your subfloor and your new hardwood, you can lay a special felt paper that helps to eliminate moisture from getting to the topmost layer of flooring.

Since you need to purchase two different types of protection in this situation, your budget might need to be raised to accommodate the extra expense. You can purchase this felt paper and plastic at most stores that sell flooring, like hardware stores or home improvement stores. Most stores will be able to cut the plastic and felt paper to your required length, making it easier on you. If you are unsure about what is needed for a project, check with a reputable flooring dealer first.

Glued Floor Barriers

Glued flooring is often installed to concrete subfloors. These subfloors typically gather a lot of moisture especially in moisture-rich areas where humidity or heavy rain is common. If you are preparing to glue down your wood flooring to a cement subfloor, you will need a heavy moisture barrier product. These work to protect your subfloor from sweating during humid days or accumulating water from heavy rain or spills.

The most common barriers for glued flooring is epoxy or resin to help seal out the moisture and prevent more from soaking through. You can buy the correct epoxy at home improvement stores or hardware stores. Usually, the epoxy is laid with a trowel, but you can DIY it by using special tools to lay the epoxy. Remember to give it plenty of time to dry completely before laying your flooring.


Some flooring comes with a built-in barrier that is great for different floors, especially floating flooring. You can even purchase barriers that have noise absorption like cork, which might even help to insulate your flooring. Before you purchase flooring or barriers, you should check for built-in barriers and also look at the subflooring to see which would be the better option for your home. If you are unsure take pictures and consult a reputable flooring professional to avoid expensive mistakes and learn more about choosing the best hardwood floors

General Home Improvement Hardwood Maintenance

Winter is Coming: This is How to Keep it Outside Where it Belongs!

In our last post, we talked about ways to keep the heat inside when temperatures plunge outside.  This time we’ll talk about how to prevent the winter weather from wreaking havoc inside your home. Follow these steps to weatherize your home.

Step 1: Weather-Ready Your Roof

Before the snow starts falling, check for any buckled, missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace them before they result in a leaky roof.  Make sure flashing around the chimney, walls, skylights, and vent pipes are firmly adhered and in excellent condition and seal any joints where water might penetrate with roofing cement.

Beware of Ice dams

Ice dams result when snow that has gathered on your roof melts as a result of the heat from your home and begins sliding down your roof, then refreezes when it gets to a colder spot.  When enough snow refreezes in a given area, any snow or ice that follows gets dammed up behind it.

Eventually, this dam will back up to spaces that never get cold enough to freeze and the melted snow and ice will find another path­­—through the shingles and seams of the roof; this can quickly cause cracks through which even more water will soon seep, causing severe damage that is difficult and costly to repair.

Making sure your ceiling and attic are properly insulated can go a long way in preventing the original melt-and-freeze action that causes ice dams in the first place.  If your house is designed to have a vented roof, make sure the vents are open and free from debris.

You can also have de-icing cables installed on your roof to eliminate those spaces where ice might refreeze.  Remove pile-ups of snow after storms and keep your gutters clear to ensure that melted snow and ice have a safe place to go as they run down the roof.

Step 2: Clear Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause all kinds of trouble at the best of times. But, when temperatures drop below freezing, and snow and ice start piling up, it can melt all at once awhile later with nowhere to go and lead to siding, foundation and roof damage. It can also cause floods that can destroy your hardwood flooring.

Winterize Your Home: Clean your Gutters via @macwoods

While the weather is still mild, check your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are properly fastened and can support the weight of whatever ice and snow typically falls in your area.  Once the leaves have stopped falling (or periodically as they fall), make sure to clear them out of the gutters so you can start fresh when the winter precipitation comes.

Also, make sure your downspouts spout at least four or five feet away from the house, which will help prevent flooding when all that snow and ice start to melt.

Step 3: Winterize Your Pipes

Plumbing is especially susceptible to freezing, and burst pipes can cause extremely costly damage to your home, including­—altogether now—your hardwood floors.  Preventing this damage, though, is not so difficult.  Water lines that run along exterior walls and through uninsulated areas of the house that need insulation against the cold, and turn off exterior water faucets.

Right now, before it freezes, go ahead and disconnect your garden hoses and drain any water that remains in the faucets by turning them off from the inside, then leaving them on outside until the water stops running.  You can also insulate them with special faucet cozies you can get at the hardware store.  And, just in case, know how to shut off the water valves in your home.

Step 4: Trim Your Trees and Shrubs

Now is also the time to prune trees and shrubs.  They are starting to shut down for the winter anyhow, so they’ll experience less shock from the trimming, plus less surface area provides less opportunity for damage from the cold.  Be especially sure to cut away any limbs that could fall on your home when they get weighed down with ice or snow.

Step 5: Ready a Mudroom

Winter wet and muck can cause severe damage to hardwood floors.  To prevent this, create a protected space just inside (or outside) the doors you use the most where your family and guests can leave wet boots, slickers, and umbrellas.

Get a Mudroom Ready Before Winter via @macwoods

Remember, a mudroom doesn’t have to be a whole room.  If your hardwood runs right up to your front or back doors, find a rug, or even an old piece of carpet, to fill the space in front of the door, then put a proper mat on top of it.  This way you have something to trap the muck and protection against splash over.

You may also want to put a waterproof barrier underneath the carpet or rug — but, if you do, be careful that water does not get trapped underneath it (where it will have no escape but into your hardwood floors).  If you have space, add a bench with cubbies underneath and a rack where folks can hang wet outerwear; this is also an excellent way to keep bulky winter gear out of the way inside the house.

Make sure, too, that the space outside the door remains clear of snow and ice, and have a heavy duty doormat where they can knock off clumps of ice and snow before they ever even come inside.

Step 6: Enjoy More of the Cozy Indoors

Here in Colorado, we have all sorts of ways to enjoy the winter months.  But when the storms come in and the days get short, your home is your escape from the dreary cold.  If the winter weather gets to you, make sure that inside space will cheer you up.

Inspect Your Light Bulbs: 

First, make sure there are enough of them.  You may want to add a few lamps around the house to provide extra light when the sun goes into hiding.  Also, consider the quality of light.  Full spectrum light bulbs do a much better job of mimicking sunlight than your average bulb and are less expensive and less bulky than sun-simulating UV bulbs.  Also consider eco-friendly bulbs, which offer more light for the same power, giving you a brighter room even when your light fixtures may limit your wattage.

Add Some Color: 

One of the benefits of hardwood is that it goes with everything, right?  So change up your décor for the winter.  Find a few bright pillows, throws, or curtain accents to add to your rooms.  You can even find or make slipcovers for furniture with brighter patterns that will bring extra life to your indoors while the world hibernates outdoors.

Utilize More of Your Space: 

In case you’re not a skier or winter hiker, you’ll need other ways to keep from becoming sedentary through the winter.  Try creating a space where you can stay fit indoors.  If your home is small,  find a corner of a room where you could put a yoga mat or a set of weights; if you have extra space.

Ready Your Garage For Winter Indoors with Floor Tiles via @macwoods

If you don’t have to use your garage to park your car, consider creating an exercise room or playroom for the kids; the new space doesn’t need to be elaborate — just make sure you have somewhere big enough to move around and stretch out those weary winter limbs. You can easily make the makeshift room more comfortable and appealing by adding garage floor tiles or a protective floor coating.


Final Thoughts

These tips should help you get your house ready for winter.  But don’t forget, you also need to prepare your family, pets, car, and yard.  There’s a lot to do before the freeze.  That’s why it’s always best to get started early.