And in this spirit we sincerely say THANK YOU and best wishes for the holiday season and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
One of the most sought-after amenities in a home is wood flooring. Because of its natural appearance and warmth underfoot, wood is beautiful and timeless.
Original hardwood floors are among the benefits of older traditional homes. Newer homes that have a lower price point but that still want the natural look of wood often use laminate to win over homebuyers.
No matter your preference, there are pros and cons when it comes to hardwood versus laminate wood flooring. This article will help you determine which one is best for your lifestyle, budget and home. Also be sure to read our 10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions.
If you are interested in getting free quotes on floor installation, click here.
The reality of flooring costs and what you can afford may be miles apart. Take into consideration the cost of laminate and hardwood flooring to determine what is best for you.
Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood flooring is made of harvested trees; pricing depends on how exotic the trees are. In general, hardwood is considerably higher to buy and to install.
Laminate: PROS – Laminate wood flooring is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures. The image of hardwood is then placed over the composite wood, covering it to form the laminate. Not only are the materials themselves cheaper, but laminate wood installation cost is, on average, 50 percent less than hardwood installation.
Assess the traffic load and wear and tear on flooring in your home. A durable surface will make maintenance easier and will look great for years to come.
Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood is susceptible to scratching, can get damaged from excessive moisture and will show wear, especially in heavily trafficked areas. PROS – Hardwood is the real deal; it is gorgeous and, depending on the type of wood, can add considerable value to your home.
Laminate: PROS – Since laminate is made from pressed wood, it is more durable and resists scratches, moisture and wear and tear. Laminate flooring is also easier to clean. CONS – Even though laminate is more durable, it is not as visually appealing. Lower qualities of laminate may have artificial-looking woodgrain textures.
Flooring is one component of your home that will have to be repaired at some point. From minor accidents to excessive wear and tear, laminate and hardwood have advantages and disadvantages.
Hardwood: PROS – Hardwood can be repaired by sanding imperfections and refinishing. This gives it the edge over laminate, in that it will last for years.
Laminate: CONS – Laminate flooring doesn’t repair easily. If you buy flooring that comes in individual pieces and snaps together, you may be able to replace individual boards — although, depending on sunlight and age, the new piece may not match properly.
Your home will benefit from the look of wood flooring; deciding whether to use hardwood or laminate is up to you. Review the pros and cons, and be realistic about your lifestyle; if you have pets, young kids or high traffic, that may influence your decision.
If you have a lot of sunlight in your home, hardwood can fade because it is a natural product, while laminate wood flooring has UV protection integrated into the surface. Consider all the factors — and enjoy how the warmth of wood will improve your home’s aesthetic, appeal and value.
Learn about bath types, choosing a layout, budgeting, space planning .
It’s a spa getaway, a calming retreat, a small slice of serenity where you can shut out the world and exhale. We’re not talking about an exotic resort, here. The bathroom—that room with a toilet, bathtub, sink and shower—is an ideal space to create a happy place you can visit a few times each day without ever leaving your home.
In fact, the bathroom might be the only room in the house where you safely can lock yourself inside for a half-hour to escape the noise of life, stress of the day, and potentially the hubbub that’s happening right outside that door (ahem, parents of small children).
That said, “bathroom” seems a misnomer for a space where such quality time can be spent. And beyond the master bath, there are functional family bathrooms—the full bath—and convenient three-quarter bath layouts with toilet-sink-shower amenities. The tiniest space of all, the powder room, or half bathroom, can be a pint-sized showcase of your personal style. And you can really play up the drama in a guest bath.
When it comes to the bathroom, there’s a whole lot going on in a relatively small space. “Bathrooms are becoming so much more than a room that takes care of a function,” says Brian Johnson, principal, Collaborative Design Architects, Billings, Mt. “I compare it to how a TV room has evolved into a home theater with surround sound.”
Amazing Bathroom Renovations
Despite its importance, the bathroom is still often the smallest space in a home. “But the bathroom is the second most vital and expensive part of the house,” Johnson says, noting that the kitchen is the largest investment. Johnson says most of his clients spend between $290 to $750 per square foot, and the cost of remodeling goes up from there depending on the appliances, fixtures and finishes you choose. Splurging for a flat-screen television that hides behind a two-way mirror? You’ll pay for the luxury, but it could make your morning rush-hour in the bath feel less harried. Coffee makers, fireplaces and furniture are also finding their way into master baths. There are seemingly no limits
WHAT TO CONSIDER ?
Consider how many times each day you enter the bathroom and use the amenities in this space. What time of day do you spend more time there, and what activities take place (aside from the obvious)? Do you retreat to a master bath to soak in a tub and read a magazine? Or, do you shower and run in a family bathroom, and share a vanity space with a spouse while you’re getting ready for work?
Whether your kitchen is past due for a makeover or you’re only dreaming about what could be, start with our Kitchen Planning Guide.
Your kitchen should reflect your lifestyle. Start by thinking about how you use your kitchen and what you need and want on a daily basis.
SECTION 2: SETTING BUDGETS
SECTION 3: CHOOSING MATERIALS
Counter top Materials
- This are some questions you have to make yourself before remodeling your Kitchen.
- How many people live in the home?
- Who cooks?
- What is the cook’s height? Is he/she right- or left-handed?
- Who typically prepares meals? How are they prepared?
- How many people in the house prepare meals at one time?
- What type of cooking happens in your kitchen? (Gourmet, baking, microwave, easy weeknight meals, etc.)
- How do you shop for groceries, and what do you store in your pantry?
- What are your kitchen traffic patterns?
- How and where do you dine?
- How do you entertain?
- What do you like to do after meals? Will you remain in the kitchen to watch television, talk, relax, etc.?
- What does each person in the family do in the kitchen each day?
In a typical day, from wake-up until lights out…
- When do you go to the kitchen?
- What do you do there?
- What appliances do you use all the time?
- What do you remove from cabinets?
- What do you rarely use?
- What is easy to reach?
- What is di cult to reach?
The emotional and physical devastation left behind from Hurricane Harvey will take months — and potentially years — to recover from. Residents across the Texas coast have seen immeasurable damage to their homes, businesses, and spirits. As you and your family or business prepare for restoration, consider these helpful tips and get back and running in no time.
- Get in touch with your home insurance, and figure out what is and isn’t covered.
- Sign up with FEMA, and see if you qualify for emergency relief.
- Get some insight from friends and neighbors who are in similar situations.
- Determine real time contractor pricing.
- Adjust your claim so you can figure out what your settlement amount will be.
- Prevent another financial disaster by properly planning your cash flow so your project won’t run out of money before it is finished.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin, and don’t try to take on more than you can handle. Ask for help when it’s needed.
- Be patient. A rushed job isn’t a productive one. Waiting for the right contractor, the right time and the right plan will pay off.
- When it comes to your vision and your budget, be realistic. Making smart decisions will benefit you and your family later down the line.
QUESTIONS to ask your contractor:
- Where are you located?
- Are you currently doing work in the area? If so, can I speak with them for a reference?
- Do you have liability insurance and workers’ compensation?
- Can you ask your insurance company to make me a certificate holder so that I can have proof of insurance?
- Who will be the supervisor, and how present will they be in this project?
RED FLAGS to watch out for:
- A contractor who asks for money down
- A contractor who insists on only charging for the labor
- Out-of-town license plates and cell phone numbers
- No local address
- No local references
- Door knockers
- A “YES” man who claims they can do it all.
- Handwritten proposals
PROPOSALS should include:
- Start and end dates
- Itemized project price
- Payment schedule
- List of services INCLUDED and EXCLUDED
- A procedure for changes
- Final payment and closeout procedure
A kitchen is a room that tends to see a great deal of use. When you are trying to entertain guests or prepare a meal for your family, the kitchen plays a big part in the process. This also means that the kitchen is likely to see a lot of wear and tear. To make sure that your kitchen always looks the way that you want it to, it can be helpful to turn to the right experts. SOLID STONE MANUFACTURING in Houston, TX, can help you to see some amazing results.
Christmas is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for coming together with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages… But mostly, Christmas is for love. It was this love for which Jesus came to this world and sacrificed his life.
Thus Christmas is a celebration of love and mirth symbolized by the Nativity, the Santa, the caribou, the poinsettia and the evergreens. All that bring home the spirit of love and life. And this is the spirit that makes Christmas so popular throughout the world.
Though originated by the Roman Catholics who commemorate the December 25th as the day of birth of Christ Child, it has gradually come to be celebrated by the non-Catholics as well. As far as the United States goes, the celebration of X’mas is comparatively of recent origin. Much of the world was already well into Christmas celebrations by the time the United States began to wake up. In the first half of the 19th century the Sunday schools in America held Christmas celebrations. And the celebration of Christmas in America owes its origin to these schools. Alabama was the first state to grant legal recognition to X-mas in 1836. The DC did it in 1870. By 1893 all the states and territories had made similar acknowledgements.
So be it the United States or in other parts of the world Christmas is celebrated as the commemoration of the birth of Christ Child — very likely the holiest event ever to take place anywhere on the Earth, and an entirely worthy occasion to celebrate. But don’t we often wonder if we’ve got these things about it right? And why is the difference of opinion (however immaterial) regarding the date of birth? Is it even on the right date?
We bring to you a story of the Birth of Christ Child along and offer you a short tour across the world to know the way Christmas is celebrated in different parts. But before doing this please don’t forget to brush up some historical trivia regarding Jesus’ birth. Click here to know the answers to some simple yet vulnerable questions.
The whole world goes into the celebration mood during the mid winters. Long back even before the arrival of Jesus, Europeans started celebrating the light in the gloomiest days of winter. During the winter solstice, many of the Europeans began to celebrate because the tough time of winter was behind them and they felt it was the period of prolonged hours of sunlight.
Norse celebrated Yule from December 21 in Scandinavia. To celebrate the magic of sunlight, fathers and sons used logs and set them on fire. People around enjoyed these 12 days until the logs were not burned out completely. It was their belief that each fire spark represented a new pig or calf that would be born in the coming year.
Mesopotamians used to celebrate 12 days long New Year festival before 4000 years. This festival was called Zagmuth. The Mesopotamians, believers of multiple deities, started the celebration to honor their chief deity, Marduk. They used to believe that Marduk fought against the monsters of chaos at the onset of each winter season. It was believed that this was the festival where from the 12 days long Christmas had originated.
Most of the European countries thought that the end of December was an appropriate and ideal time for celebrations. It was a high time to celebrate because there were no cattle left for feeding as most of the cattle were already slaughtered. Celebration could continue with fresh meat and it was the only time of the winter when they had that opportunity. The fermented wine and beer during this time were the additional spice for the celebration.
During mid winter German people honored the time-honored Pagan God Oden. People of Germany were afraid of the nocturnal sky flights. They used to think that the Almighty had created that to observe and monitor his people of this world. They had also thought that the Almighty had the power to decide who would live and who would perish. Many of them decided to stay inside due to his presence.
Places like Saturnalia, Rome where the winter was not that strong and unkind like countries located in the northern tip celebrated holidays in honor of the God of agriculture, Saturn. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice was a special period when residents had bountiful food items and drinks to celebrate with. The month long celebration had the charm to convert slaves to even masters. Peasants used to control the city. To celebrate the time with fun and frolic all the schools and business organizations had decided to close their shutters.
Juvenalia, the feast honoring the Children of Rome, celebrated during winter solstice, was a prime carnival for Roman people as well. On December 25, the upper class of Rome used to celebrate the birthday of the infant God of the unconquerable sun, Mithra who was born of a rock. It was the most sanctified day of the entire year for few Romans. Easter, the main holiday, was celebrated in the early years of Christianity. However, Christmas or the birth of Jesus was not celebrated.
Romans started to exchange gifts and visit the homes of their friends and relatives during the festivity. It was believed that the ritual of exchanging greeting and gifts during Christmas had come from Rome.
The name comes from the Greek word onyx which means nail of a finger or claw. Legend says that one day while Venus was sleeping Eros/Cupid cut her fingernails and left the clippings scattered on the ground. Because no part of a heavenly body can die, the gods turned them into stone which later became known as onyx.
It is a member of the chalcedony family which also includes carnelian, agate, bloodstone, etc. Occuring naturally in a variety of colors, black onyx is polished to enhance appearance, a member of the quartz family.
Originally, almost all colors of chalcedony from white to dark brown and black were called onyx (SiO2 with impurities). Today when we think of onyx we often preface the word with black to distinguish it from other varieties of onyx that come in white, reddish brown, brown and banded. A variety of onyx that is reddish brown with white and lighter reddish bands is known as sardonyx.
Physical Properties of Onyx
Onyx is a form of chalcedony, part of the quartz group. Like the other stones in the chalcedony family, onyx has a smooth, waxy luster. Onyx can be found in a wide range of colors, often layered.
Specific Gravity : 2.58 – 2.64
Refractive Index : 1.55 – 1.54
Hardness : 6.5 – 7.0 on Moh’s scale
Chemical Properties of Onyx
Formula : SiO2
Elements : Si and O
Uses of Onyx
Black Onyx is often used as a backdrop in jewelry, such as cameos. It is also used as cabochons and as a building material.
Enhancements of Onyx
Black and colored onyx is always dyed. Onyz is easily dyed, so beware of the more “unnatural” looking colors, such as bright blue, etc. Onyx with red and white bands is sometimes referred to as “Sardonyx”. Onyx is the black variety of agate. However some parts are more or less translucent. This is why it is often heated to accentuate the intensity of its color.
Ocurrances of Onyx
Mexico Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Puebla
Arizona Ash Fork, Mayer, Prescott
Algeria Ain Tekbalet
• Stone Tiles
• Stone Slabs
• Stone Tiles
• Stone Steps
• Stone Cobbles
• Stone Circles
• Stepping Stones
• Stone Treads & Risers
• Stone Copings
• Stone Roofing Tiles
• Stone Bricks
• Stone Strips
• Stone Blocks
• Tumbled Stone
• River Bed Pebbles
• Stone Circles
• Stone Cobbles
• Stone Steps
• Stepping Stones