February 2017 (79 )
Choosing Countertops
Considering Granite and Quartz
Granite  is a very hard stone and 100 percent natural. It's mined from quarries all around the world, cut down to a manageable size, and then polished to a fine finish.
Quartz is not 100 percent natural. Instead, countertops are manufactured using 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins.
Granite comes in many different colors and patterns so there is an almost limitless selection to choose from and no two granite countertops are the same.
Quartz has the look of stone while also allowing homeowners to customize the design. While granite offers many options in terms of appearance, you may have to search for the right piece that matches your color scheme. With quartz, the selection process is much easier.
All granite is quarried and that uses a lot of energy. If you opt for a high-end slab from Italy, for example, there will be considerable transportation involved. Try using indigenous stone when possible or visit salvage shops for pieces that can be cut to fit your needs.
Since quartz is engineered, it can be more environmentally-friendly than granite if you use regionally manufactured stone and local fabricators. This cuts down on the distance the material needs to be transported.
Granite countertops should be cleaned daily with soap and water or a mild household cleaner. Some oils and acids can stain so do your homework first to avoid stains. To ensure the longevity of your investment, consider having your countertops resealed once a year. Like granite, you'll want to clean any spills on quartz countertops with soap and water or a household cleaner, but that's about it in terms of maintenance. The solid surface means that there is no need to have your countertops resealed.
Granite is a durable material that's resistant to heat and many other kitchen elements. Due to its porous nature though, there can be some staining if spilled liquids are left sitting and damage can be done if your counter receives a high impact blow.
Quartz is actually harder than granite and thus, more durable. In fact, quartz is nearly indestructible, and because it isn't porous like granite, it's easy to keep your countertops relatively bacteria-free. Be careful with cooking pans though: Quartz can be damaged by excessive heat, so use heating pads.

Your Questions - 
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Greg called in looking for answers regarding the musty smell in his clothes closets.

Painting a Brick Fireplace
Jim talks about types of paint and techniques to use when painting a brick fireplace.

Saving Energy & Money by 
R educing Air Leaks

Air that leaks through your home's envelope − the outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings − wastes a lot of energy and increases your utility costs. A well-sealed envelope, coupled with the right amount of insulation, can make a real difference on your utility bills.
Most homes in the United States don't have enough insulation and have significant air leaks. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home's envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year!
En ergy Star.gov has tips for h omeowners to reduce air leaks in the attic, crawl spaces; and at windows and doors.

Thanks for listening!

Jim Dutton

Video Now Available
Granite Countertops 101: 

Jim visits Stone Age Granite and gets the rundown on choosing your stone and having it installed.


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