Window Cleaning Tips and Tools From a Window Cleaner Number 11, Part 1

When doing a big residential window cleaning job, there is a certain order of operations that I follow. When I say a big job, I mean just that, a 5,000 to 20,000 square foot home. We sometimes call these homes multimillion dollar homes.

The point is they are big and everything in the home is usually worth a lot of money. Take it from me- You don’t want to have to replace items because of someone breaking something. Usually the bigger jobs do need to be well supervised. You need to be ready to be able to take your time and allow your crew plenty of time. Otherwise, something could get damaged of broken.

Using de-ionized water fed poles will help eliminate some time and work for the outside of the home. The only down side to water fed poles is they cannot be used in the inside of the home. Screens can sometimes be taken off from the inside of the home, but in some cases they come off from the outside and this means they will have to be accessed by ladders.

If the home has tinting on the windows, the tinting must be inspected for bubbles. You have to inspect for bubbles in the tinting because these areas are damaged and the tinting can be pulled away from the window during the process of cleaning, causing further damage to the tinting. These types of windows have to be cleaned by hand with a micro fiber cloth. For more information on window cleaning of large square footage homes, read Window Cleaning Tips and Tools from a Window Cleaner#11 Part #2.

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Moving to your new home or apartment is a big day, with lots of packing to prepare. You may even need short term storage but Mark the Mover can fill all your moving needs with nimble local moving trucks and expert crews. Make your big day smooth, for mover Atlanta with the very best service inside the perimeter and really in Atlanta the company with the very best customer service where they answer the phone right here in Atlanta not some out of state call center also Virginia Highland, Morningside Midtown west
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The Value of Concrete Countertops

Customization Increases Aesthetic Appeal and Real Estate Investment for Homeowners

From top-dollar homes in the San Francisco Bay Area to sprawling mountain homes in the Colorado Rockies, discriminating homeowners are demanding custom designs and finishes in their kitchens. In particular, they are looking to express their individuality and distinct design preferences with the fast-growing design material of choice — concrete.

In fact, concrete countertops have become somewhat of a
status symbol for kitchens, rivaling granite and other high-
end countertop surface options. Consumer Reports Magazine
(August 2004) ranked concrete highest for its “customization” and “exclusivity” among high-end kitchen countertops.

As a custom product, the amount of time and craftsmanship required to produce concrete countertops places them as the most labor-intensive and priciest among leading countertop materials.
However, concrete countertops are becoming more accessible for those on a modest budget. The latest do-it-yourself (DIY) trend to captivate homeowners and builders is building your own concrete countertop. This phenomenon has gained popularity largely due to Cheng’s best-selling book Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath (Taunton Press, 2002). According to Cheng, there is little monetary investment in making concrete countertops, yet the creative gains of working with concrete are plentiful.

THE SHOWSTOPPER

Increasingly, homeowners are moving away from the monotonous, manufactured look of traditional countertop surfaces and choosing concrete for its earthy, timeless appeal. Plus, the options for personalizing concrete countertops are endless: one can color, polish, stamp and stain concrete or imbed personal objects like stones, seashells and fossils into the countertop’s surface, adding sentiment and character. Functional features such as drain boards, soap dishes, and trivets can also be incorporated to suit the homeowners’ own needs and lifestyle.

Concrete is slowly becoming demystified as characteristically cold and industrial. In contrary, this age-old material is warm and surprisingly tactile; people cannot help but touch their smooth, polished surfaces. Real estate agent Joy Rasmussen, who has recently sold her mountain home — a short-term investment property in Steamboat Springs, CO — recounts her visitors’ experiences with concrete: “When I had open houses, visitors gravitated to the concrete countertops — many people around here have never seen them”.

Joy’s 2,265 sq. ft. mountain home was custom build by her husband, Ken Otterman, along with KJ Otterman, president of Classic Special Custom Homes. They built pour-in-place concrete counters for the home’s kitchen and three bathrooms by using Concrete Countertops as their guide. The sand-colored concrete countertops were polished smooth, then paired with natural slate of varying colors — like charcoal, rust and gold tones — that forms the backsplashes in the kitchen and baths. As a design accent, small rectangular slate tiles were added to
the rim of the bathroom sinks, which provided a unique detail to the custom vanities.

When Joy and Ken decided to sell their house, their investment in concrete countertops proved its value. “We were able to list the house $20,000 over market value, and had no problems selling it,” comments Joy, while discussing the long list of upgrades throughout their house, including knotty pine solid doors, natural slate wall accents and hardwood floors. “The concrete countertops were easily the most unique and impressive of all the finishes. I believe they were a huge part in

adding value to the home. Around here, all you see in homes are granite countertops –and I really think homebuyers are getting quite numb with granite.”

“Concrete countertops are a unique offering to homebuyers who see the same finishes used in house after house they visit,” explains Joy, offering her observation as a seasoned realtor. “Having concrete countertops almost gives you bragging rights — you have something different from your neighbors.”

BREAKING THE MOLD

Another advantage of concrete is its adaptability in either modern or traditional settings, especially when coupled with other materials like varied metals, wood or stone. “Concrete adds so many [possibilities] to stone, and the combination with slate, which is hugely popular here, gives the mountain homes an overall warm, natural touch,” says Joy.

Joy and Ken have since built a much larger home (4,000 sq. ft.) that offers expansive views of the Steamboat Ski Resort and is meant to serve as a long-term investment for the couple. They’ve also expanded their list of custom finishes, including hand-troweled walls, elegant oil-rubbed bronze hardware, knotty pine doors that arch at the top, cabinets in a natural, knotty alder, and their favorite — concrete kitchen countertops.

Unlike in their previous home, KJ and his specialty crew poured charcoal-colored countertops using the pre-cast method in the unfinished basement of the new home. Before pouring the concrete, they sprinkled an array of semi-precious stones in the mold including Leopardskin, Moonstone, Mother-of-Pearl and Turquoise. After the surface was ground and lightly polished, the finished result was an impressive blend of colors, “By far, the Mother-of-Pearl was the most incredible,” says Joy.

The L-shaped concrete countertop has a rough, rustic stone appearance, complementing its rugged country surroundings. An integral drain board and trivets provides function and added interest to the concrete countertop. Natural slate backsplashes, distinct wall accents, and a butcher block countertop at the kitchen island all resonate with the traditional warmth and earthiness of the concrete countertops.

Joy and Ken’s respective backgrounds in real estate and custom homebuilding, and as investment homebuyers, have helped them realize that concrete countertops can add tremendous aesthetic and financial value to a home. Concrete’s customization and “show-stopping” appeal is like no other countertop surface. Cheng is a proponent of emotional aesthetics and building homes that capture these emotions, as in the case of Joy and Ken Otterman. Cheng concludes: “People really want differentiation, something personal, something custom – and concrete can do that for them.”

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