Friday, July 26, 2013

Caring for Your Beautiful Custom Cabinetry

Keeping your custom cabinets as spectacular as they are the day they are built is not any more time consuming than day-to-day cleaning, but adhering to some specifics will ensure that your cabinets stay beautiful and unblemished.

It is essential that cabinets stay dry, so all splashes or spills should be wiped away immediately. Also, avoid draping any damp towels or other wet cloth over the doors and do not use soap and water to clean cabinets. Place small appliances so that they are not causing extreme temperature changes that may cause wood to expand and contract. Clean cooking residues from smoke and vapors using a soft cloth moistened with furniture polish, just like you would dust your wood furniture.

Oven cleaners, ammonia, bleach or other harsh cleansers should be kept safely away from wood finishes. Never use abrasive cleansers or sponges on your cabinetry, and avoid using furniture polishes that contain any silicone or wax. These will build sticky residue over time, which not only makes it difficult to keep them clean, but can make repairs or refinishing impossible.

Guardsman makes some of the best products for wood care, including soft cloths for gentle use on wood finishes. Their Kitchen Cabinet Polish is meant for light cleaning, and does not contain any silicone or wax. The Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner product is for heavier cleaning, and their purifying wood cleaner is one of the only products that is capable of removing silicone or wax residues if the wrong polish has been used in the past.

This should be all you need to keep your custom wood cabinetry beautiful for a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

EcoFriendly Roofing Options

Roofing choices offer a large scale opportunity to make a visual impact. The surface area involved means a "green" choice is a significant benefit. There is an amazing array of possibilities.

Metal roofing is durable, lasting up to 4 times what is expected from an asphalt or cedar roof. It is also fireproof, and typically contains a great deal of recycled material. A metal roof is often visually striking and offers the flexibility for the homeowner to paint them to suit their taste.  Light colors offer the added benefit of reflecting the heat away from the home. Metal tiles are available to mimic the look of ceramic roofing. Certain metal roofing (such as galvanized metals) may leech minerals into the soil via rainwater runoff, so be aware that not all metals are equally beneficial.

Slate, cement or clay tile roofs offer excellent durability, with an expected longevity of 50 to 100 years depending upon the type of tile. Their weight may demand more materials to support the structure or require significant energy and expense consumed by transportation. This means tile roofing's environmental advantages will depend on where you live, but these choices are excellent in terms of sustainability. One plus is that the increase in weight provides increased insulation.

Solar shingles are a new possibility in some parts of the country. As the production capacity increases these will be available in more market areas, so keep an eye on the potential offered by this innovative technology where solar cells are actually integrated into the roofing material.

An ecoroof is a living rooftop of vegetation that thrives in a shallow soil environment. It is placed over a synthetic waterproof membrane. Ecoroofing is a surprisingly low maintenance choice that differs from a "rooftop garden" in that they are not accessible for use. These have been increasingly popular for commercial use where stormwater runoff is a concern. They offer a unique design opportunity for a home and they insulate extremely well (click the link above for some interesting images).

Many synthetic shingles now are made of recycled content, though they generally cannot be recycled after they need to be replaced. Shingles by Landmark CertainTeed look like a typical asphalt shingle, but are easier on the environment. Enviroshake offers an attractive engineered product with the look of cedar shakes.

With so many possibilities available in Earth-friendly roofing materials, one will provide the perfect design aesthetic for any home in any type of community.