Three Ways to Bring Old Ceramic Bathroom Tiles Back to Life

Old ceramic bathroom tiles may be scratched, out of fashion, or has simply lost its luster. It may also have become boring to the eye after years of seeing the same old thing. There are some things you can do to improve this position. The first is just giving it a good cleaning. The second is refinishing it if your budget doesn’t permit replacement, and third is replacement.

Bathroom tiles can simply become dull through build-ups of environmental debris, smoke, or even mold. The simple wall cleaning you do occasionally might remove water spots or obvious dirt, but is not sufficient to remove from ceramic bathroom tiles the oils that smoke resolves into. The tiles may be clean, but the grout gets discolored easily. By giving your bathroom walls a spring cleaning, you can restore it to the brilliance it once had.

If you’ve been using household cleaners, that may be the reason your ceramic bathroom tiles are dull. Ceramic tile cleaners are available on the market and have been specifically formulated to clean tile. Some are formulated to also remove grout that has become embedded in the tile. You can also concoct your own tile cleaner, using one part water, one half part vinegar and one half part baking soda. Use either a pail or a spray bottle. A sponge is all you need. Wash thoroughly, rinse, and polish dry. If the grout is still dark in spots, scrub with a brush, rinse and then dry. If the discoloration still remains, dab with bleach and clean. Don’t expose yourself to bleach fumes.

If the cleaning hasn’t brought your ceramic bathroom tiles back to life, and money is tight, you might consider refinishing the bathroom, painting over the tiles. Tiles do not bond well with paint. You have to prepare the tile surface first. This means turning the smooth surface into a rough one. You can do it with sandpaper, but once you start, there’s no turning back. You’ll need to clean the tile with a cleaner that doesn’t leave chemicals on the tile, such as one with trisodium phosphate. Use a large-pored sponge for better scrubbing. Then, with 180 grit sandpaper, abrade the ceramic thoroughly. It will feel sandy to the touch when you’re done. Then paint on an acrylic latex primer, preferably with a roller. Smooth with a latex brush, then allow the primer time to dry. Once dry, apply the paint. A semi-gloss latex paint is probably best. After a couple of hours, add a second coat if it looks as though it requires it.

Your third option for correcting old or unattractive ceramic bathroom tiles is to remove the tiles and replace with new ones. The big job is getting the ceramic off the wall. You use a grout saw, with a handled, thick blade, to cut out the grout. Then, with a hammer and a chisel, you softly separate the tiles from the wall. Be sure to wear protection for your eyes. You can remove …

Kettlebell Training – An Interview With Steve Cotter

CO Hi Steve and thanks for agreeing to take part in this interview.

SC It’s my pleasure.

CO Could you start by telling me a bit about yourself and your sporting background?

SC Ok, my name is Steve & I’m a Capricorn, and I have an interesting life! I have a family, three children, and I live in San Diego, California. I’ve been involved in physical training for pretty much my whole life. I was athletic as a child and when I was 12 years old I moved to California from the East coast, and I became involved in traditional martial arts training, Chinese martial arts, and that became really the focus of my life from the age of 12 until the age of about 26. I was teaching professionally, many different people, youth programmes, tai chi programmes, older people, martial arts to adults, and that was really all day every day for a period of many years. After I’d been involved in the arts for 7 or 8 years I started get involved in the full contact and eventually full contact fighting competitions in the States, and had good success, myself and the school I was with. We went to national competitions and I personally won two U.S national titles in full contact kung fu fighting, the sport Kuoshu, which is a type of sport that’s like fighting in a ring without ropes. There was a movie years ago by Jean-Claude Van Dame called Bloodsport and they sort of were depicting this traditional sport which they call Lei tai fighting; lei tai is a platform. So that was my primary sporting background as far as formal training was concerned, mainly in martial arts and also the full contact fighting component of that. My martial arts training also included a lot of meditation and Qigong which is a deep breathing component. In addition I did some of the Chinese medicine, bone setting, massage, and things like that. I also learnt the use of certain herbal tinctures and liniments.

CO Cool. That sounds like an incredible foundation. So how did you get into kettlebell training?

SC Well, in 1996 I went from teaching martial arts full time to having a change of heart and deciding that wasn’t what I was going to do for the rest of my life, I didn’t want that to be my business and profession any longer; I had seen that sometimes people would change when they became involved in the business and would lose love for the art and I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I decided I wanted to continue to teach martial arts out of passion but make my money in a different way. So I became interested at that point in going to college full time, so to answer your question about kettlebells, after I’d been a full time college student for about three years I noticed that my conditioning was starting to deteriorate and I went from being a …

Top 5 Tile Flooring Tips

Tile flooring has emerged as an integral part of home décor in modern households. Tiles flaunting various shades and intriguing patterns add glamor and glitz to households. They enhance the aesthetic beauty of household, but before investing a good amount of fortune on tile flooring, you must make yourself aware of various types and styles of tiles available. This knowledge will help you choose something worthy of your apartment or home.

You also have to keep in mind that people need different tiles for different rooms. The selection of tiles depends not solely on the aesthetics of your room or budget but also on factors like corrosion, home climate etc. The product can end up being of multiple types, such as mosaic tile, ceramic tiles, stone tile flooring etc.

Factors That Influence Tile Selection

• First and foremost you must have a clear idea as to how many floor tiles you will need to cover your household and draw up a budget plan accordingly. Remember many variants are exquisitely beautiful but enormously costly. Do your homework on tile-variants from the Internet or consult interior décor magazines to have an idea about your upcoming investment.

• While selecting tiles do not fall for cheap, fancy material of poor quality because seldom are these products durable. Instead, choose tiles that are scratch-proof, mite resistant and long lasting.

• Durability of tiles is mainly dependent on the products usage and maintenance. So buy something that can be maintained easily. Also note that people mainly prefer water-proof tile for their bathrooms and kitchen areas.

• Different tiles are needed for different rooms. For instance stone and marble tiles are great for bathroom and kitchen. This is because these tiles are tough and will survive even under the prevalence of moisture.

• Ceramic tiles are great for living rooms and bedrooms. Eye popping variants of these are available in the market place. While shopping, make sure that they go well with your interiors. Tiles made of assorted shapes are also very much in vogue, and placed esthetically, they can certainly add to the charm of your household.

Some Attributes to Look For in Kitchen Tiles

If you are interested in decorating your kitchen with tiles, you need to be careful while choosing. These tiles will be exposed to dirt and grease that can make the tiles greasy. So you can go for washable tiles or dirt-resistant products. These specially made kitchen tiles can be washed quite easily. Particularly engineered ones can end rough kitchen conditions.

Quality tile flooring involves skilled masonry work and only a good mason knows how to put tiles perfectly on floors. This is why you must search for a professional and a skilled tile floor contractor. For home interior or exterior decoration, planning ahead well is mandatory. If you are not adept in judging the pros and cons of a flooring project, you should always consult with an expert before investing in your project. Other than turning to the Internet for …

Learn About Different Types of Cushion Covers to Decorate Your Home

By using the impeccable cushion covers you can actually bring life to your dining room, bedroom or any other place where you have used these fine-looking, decorative or embroidered creative piece of work. With these rattling covers you can actually create a different feel and ambiance as these have various patterns, fabric or styles. For an example you can pick the whole range of contemporary or traditional cushion covers if your whole home decor theme is that.

From natural to bright color and the one having amazing patterns, styles, you will find the all types. So to buy the one that fits into your home decor let’s first of all have a look at the broad categories. Broadly these can be categorized by material, style, pattern and usage. Further these categories have various types. So let’s discuss them one by one.

By Material

Material used is basically the fabric from which these are made. Almost all the fabrics are used to make these but buy the one that solve your purpose of using them. Say if you are looking for something very durable and long lasting then go for the polyester or cotton cushion covers. Whereas silk cushion covers and the one made from velvet, chenille are used as luxury and beautify the living or drawing room. Taffeta is a very lustrous fabric that has natural smoothness. If embroidered or given applique work it looks very elegant. Suede cushion covers are made from soft leather. These are bit expensive. The materials from which these can be made are

  • Cotton
  • Polyester
  • Silk
  • Chenille
  • Taffeta
  • Suede
  • Velvet

By Usage

Owing to ubiquitous quality these can be used and found everywhere. Be it your bed, dining chair, sofa, outdoor furniture or living room couch, there is no restriction or set rule on where to use it and where not. So you will find different sizes and shapes to match your need.

By Pattern

You will find all the amazing and dazzling patterns. Embroidered cushion covers are generally handmade and on pure cotton, silk or any other fabric. Bead work on embroidery is also very popular. Printed cushion covers are very attractive whereas if you are finding something very simple and elegant then nothing better than plain dyed or baltik cushion covers.

  • Embroidered
  • Printed
  • Plain dyed
  • Flocked
  • Baltik

By Styles

Jacquard has intricate patterns that look very cool when used on sofa or couch. Designs are raised and woven in the fabric itself. In twill type you will have parallel raised lines or diagonal lines. Whereas Dobby has geometric designs, floral prints that are weaved into fabric. To make these various fabrics are used. the most common styles are

  • Jacquard
  • Twill
  • Dobby
  • Designer
  • Fancy
  • Hand Made

Hope now you will find right kind of cushion cover to complete your home decor.…

How to Start a House Cleaning Business on a Tight Budget

"If you use Emotion and Love to drive your sales and your business, you will create Loyalty Beyond Reason. And I promise you, you will build relationships and enjoy a business that exceeds beyond your wildest expectations"

First of all, before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you. You will need to be in good physical condition. Cleaning is very hard strenuous work. You will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.

If you are planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least six months of savings. Or keep your full time job and start out part time.

Research all the aspects of the cleaning service business. From customer service to advertising, taxes, employees, insurance and bonding, what to charge and how to clean a home professionally. Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally is totally different. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time. When a client pays for your services they expect to come home and find their home spotless.

Getting those first clients takes time, persistence and patience. You will not get a hundred clients overnight.

Obtaining Those First Clients The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Most clients want to know how long you have been in business and want references. The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly reviewed all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quit capable of cleaning them Home to their specifications. Be confident. I can not stress this enough. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.

References: To get a few good references when starting out, ask some friends or family members if you can clean their home for free or at a discounted rate. The sound of working for free may not be appealing but it will be worth it to get some good testimonials.

When cleaning those first homes, go for quality, not how fast you can clean the home. Cleaning efficiently takes a long time, but you will get to the point where you can do a thorough cleaning in a short time. After cleaning make sure you go back and double check all rooms to make sure you did not miss anything. Impress those first clients and word of mouth will spread soon.

Advertising Your company image is everything. Before you start advertising, decide what image you want to portray on your advertising material. Your image is very important. Be consistent with all your advertising. If you have a logo be sure to use it on all your advertising materials. I think it is best to …

How Much Do Builders Make on a House?

After all is said and done, how much does your builder walk away with?

Do you wonder how a builder decides what to charge for a new home? You know that you pay for the lumber, carpet, fixtures and all the details, but how is the final price determined?

Buying a home requires a lot of money. The cost is based on many different factors, including the construction, land and the marketing and administrative costs for the builder. And of course, the net profit.

Does it sound any easier to understand?

Most builders will charge in a similar way. The construction of the house will account for approximately 50% of the base price of the home.

There are several costs within the construction factor. There are direct costs, which are the sticks and bricks. These are all of the materials that go into the home, from the lumber to concrete and windows to carpet.

The work is usually mostly provided by subcontractors hired by the builder.

Then there are construction labor costs. These are the costs associated with work performed by the builder’s employees. These go along with the indirect costs, which are usually performed by the builder’s employees. They include the correction work that is done to fix any mistakes by subcontractors.

You will also be charged the construction interest on the home. To finance the purchase of the lot and the cost of construction before you pay the builder, the builder takes out a bank loan. The cost of the loan, including all interest and fees, will be figured into the base price you pay.

The actual cost of the lot can be between 25% and 40% of the base price. With the cost of land constantly going up, especially near metro areas, the lot portion has increased over the years. Added to your land costs are any off-site improvements, such as water and sewer lines, street developments, curbing and paving and driveways and sidewalks.

Many builders offer a discount on the base price, often by paying for points at settlement, to encourage first-time buyers. A discounted home will often have construction costs that equal 50%, lot costs of 30%, a discount of 3% and a 17% gross profit.

Out of the gross profit, the builder deducts administrative costs, marketing costs and taxes.

If you choose options, you could add 10% to 30% to the base price.

Surprisingly, builders walk away with less profit than you would expect. Net profits on the sale of a home often ranges from 2% to 6%. In general, the larger the home, the higher the net.

You can easily find out the net profits for builders that are publicly traded companies. You simply have to read their annual reports.

When you are contemplating the building of a home, sometimes you should shop around a bit. Compare the costs for similar homes offered by different builders. Ask the builder how much of the cost is construction. They may or may not tell you. …

Green Roof Pros and Cons

A green roof is known by several names such as eco-roof or living roof. They have been built on buildings for centuries. Many countries in the world have green roof subsidies or programs that encourage eco-roofs. Scandinavia has long had farm house buildings that have sod covered roofs. Some cities in the US are known for their living roofs such as Chicago’s City Hall building.

Basically a green roof is a roof that has vegetation and a growing medium. It will cost more than a standard asphalt shingle roofing application. Rooftop garden costs also depend on the type of green roof installed. There are several differences among green roofs and some applications that may or may not be defined as a green roof such as a container garden green roof.

The additional costs depend on the substructure of the initial building. They may require additional support as a green roof will weigh more than a traditional asphalt roof. However a roof that already has clay or concrete roofing material may be strong enough to support a heavier roof. The additional cost per square foot has many variables so an accurate cost really cannot be estimated. It could vary by eight to over twenty five dollars per square foot.

Some drawbacks to rooftop gardens are that they cost more to install. Maintenance can also be costly for the more intensive varieties. Some require access for maintenance so that has to be provided which adds to the costs. Of course the weather comes into play. A project in Palm Springs will have different maintenance issues than one in Minnesota that has to endure cold temperatures. An eco-roof is exposed to the seasons just like the garden or lawn, so it won’t stay a stunning shade of green throughout the whole year.

The advantages are much stronger strong. One thing that has been proven is a green roof does reduce heating and cooling costs. They make great insulation. They attract insects and other forms of animals. They help control any water runoff. They also clean up the water that does fall to the ground. They may reduce replacement roofing costs as the green growth protects from the harmful damage of the sun. Of course if covered with sun, they may make the roof very heavy.

There are several different types of living roof. The two basic types are an extensive green roof which does not require as much maintenance. It may need yearly weeding but it is designed to be virtually self sustaining with minimum maintenance.

The second one is an intensive, meaning that it requires more labor and expense to install and maintain. It may weigh more than the extensive roof as it requires a thicker growing medium. They require irrigation, feeding and other maintenance. They are more park like.

If one chooses to build an eco-roof as a new structure or remodeling an existing structure roof you will probably need a building permit in most cities. Some cities encourage roof gardens, …

Completing a Bathroom Remodel? Learn How to Measure For Tile

How to measure for tile when completing a bathroom remodel

Imagine this, you are thinking of remodeling a bathroom and already have an established budget. You are at a tile shop and see a tile sample you like. The price of the tile is $5.00 a square foot. How do you know if this $5.00 a square foot tile is within your budget? In addition to the tile, how much should I budget for the grout and sealer?

In a recent article I provided information on the different types of tiles that are available for your bathroom remodel. Now it is time to learn how to measure for your tiling project and calculate the cost for your tiles and related tiling supplies.

There are different types of tile you will need to tile your bathroom:

  • Field Tile
  • Trim Tile

Field tile is the main body of tile for your remodeling project. For example, if you are tiling your shower, the field tile is the tile on the walls of your shower. The field tile covers the largest area of your tiling project. A common size for field tile is 12 inches by 12 inches. Field tile is sold by square footage, so you need to take the area for the field tile and calculate the square footage.

Trim tile is divided into two categories:

  • Accent trim tile (to be set in with the field tile)
  • Border trim tile (to finish off the field tile)

How to Measure

Let’s go through an example to help you go through the tile measuring process. In this example, we are going to install tile for a bathtub with a shower surround.

For a bathtub with a shower surround, you will need tile for the three walls. The tile will be installed to a height of 6 feet (6′) above the tub deck.

The first wall is 5 feet wide. The two end walls are each 3 feet wide. To determine the tile square footage, you need to measure the width of each of the three walls and multiply it by the height of your shower surround.

Let’s start measuring the first wall:

  • 5′ wide (60 inches) by 6′ feet tall. 5 X 6 = 30 square feet.

Then you need to measure both end walls:

  • 3′ feet deep (36″) X 6′ tall. 3 X 6 = 18 Square feet.
  • 3′ feet deep (36″) X 6′ tall. 3 X 6 = 18 Square feet.

Then, you need to add the measurements of all three walls together:

  • 66 square feet of field tile is needed for the shower surround.

I recommend to my clients to account for a 20% waste factor when setting tile. Keep in mind the tile could be discontinued, the tile could be on back order for numerous weeks, or many other problems could arise if you run short of tile when remodeling your bathroom. An additional 20% of tile for 66 square feet equals an additional 13.2 square feet of tile. I …

Useful Tips And Ideas For Landscaping Along The Fence Line

Having a beautiful, manicured, and healthy lawn means not just working on certain areas of your yard. Your outdoor space will look more appealing and organized if every area looks designed, tidy, and nothing is barren or disregarded.

As such, if you want to have the perfect lawn, you also have to work on beautifying some areas that you normally wouldn’t pay attention to such as the fence line. Many property owners think that their fence would be enough as an additional enhancing outdoor feature. But with the right plants and some landscaping tips, you can have an even lovelier fence line.

Below are some landscaping tips and ideas you can consider for improving your fence line:

• Before starting to plant along fence the line, make sure you remove any brush and debris on the area. This means removing weeds growing along the privacy fence. You can use a weed trimmer to cut down weeds and grass next to the fence.

• Aside from planting ornamental plants, the area along the fence is the ideal location to grow long, narrow vegetable garden beds. The edible garden will decorate and improve the look of the area while making the space functional to produce your own food.

• If you want to cover some of the wooden fence’s parts (especially the old, rotten ones) plant vines, like bougainvillea or trumpet vine along the base of the fence. These vines will naturally grow up the fence to add color to your fence and at the same time, soften the look of the wood.

• If you want to grow plants along the fence line, grow tall ornamental grasses, such as cape thatching reed or muhly grass, along the area. When they grow, they will fill out to cover a large area of the fence while adding movement and texture to your outdoor space.

• To have blooming flowers near your fence, plant ornamental grasses with flowering perennials such as poppies or hydrangeas. You can also consider growing flowering herbs like chives and lavender since they work great for different types of border gardens.

• You can also consider planting pots. Place large, decorative pots along the fence line. Make sure you pace the pots evenly along the privacy structure. To add color and boost visual interest to the area, grow a variety of plants in one pot.

• Lastly, to improve the look of your fence and outdoor space, you can also hang decorative garden fixtures such as metal lanterns as accent pieces. However, make sure you choose only lightweight garden decorations that won’t cause the fence to sag or lean and screw the pieces into the wood securely.…

What Material Is Best for A Bathroom Sink?

Sink materials

Most pedestal and wall-hung sinks are made from vitreous china, and the same qualities that make this material a good choice for toilets work well for sinks too: a durable, abrasion-resistant, easy-to-clean surface that maintains its luster year after year.Choose vitreous-china sinks-particularly pedestal sinks-with care, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the brand, because any ceramic manufacturing process produces a high number of seconds that may have defects ranging from minor blemishes or depressions in the surface to hairline cracking and out-of-plumb or warped mating surfaces. This can mean drop-in self-rimming sinks that don’t sit flat (particularly larger ones) and two-piece pedestals that just don’t quite go together correctly.

Enameled cast iron has most of vitreous china’s good qualities, and it is much less prone to cracking. Cast iron is strong, rigid, and quiet when water is running into it, although it can chip if mishandled during shipping or if a hammer gets dropped on it during installation. Cast-iron sinks are very heavy, which may not make that much of a difference with smaller vanity bowls, but can make handling larger sinks hard on the back.

Enameled steel is similar to enameled cast iron but considerably lighter and less expensive. It is much more likely to chip than enameled cast iron because its porcelain coating is thinner and the steel is more flexible. Water running into it makes more noise, too, and cools down more rapidly because the thin steel walls tend to dissipate heat pretty quickly. Formerly a low-budget alternative to porcelain and cast iron, enameled steel seems to be rapidly losing ground to synthetic materials that are competitively priced and that perform just as well, if not better. I’ve removed a few of these sinks in remodels, but I haven’t put any new ones back in lately.

Cultured marble is one of those synthetic materials, and it’s been around for a long time. Cultured marble, like cultured onyx and cultured granite, is technically a cast polymer, created by mixing crushed minerals like marble, onyx, or limestone with a polyester resin. This mixture is then poured into a mold and cured at room temperature. Like fiberglass, the surface is usually then gel-coated with the actual sink color and pattern, so some cast-polymer sinks are prone to scratching and damage. One problem often associated with cast-polymer sinks is “crazing,” or cracks and blisters in the gel coat. This typically occurs around the drain opening and is caused by the thermal shock of alternating hot and cold water, by abrasion from cleaning, and/or by a gel coat that is too thin or thick. Much of the do-it-yourself and lower-end sink market has been dominated by these sinks, in part because they’re relatively inexpensive and look good on the shelf. Some of the newer and more expensive cast polymers have a higher percentage of materials like quartz, which is very hard, and aren’t gel-coated. These cast polymers are much more heat and impact resistant and are sandable, making damage easier to …