How Often Do Windows Need Cleaning?

window cleaner busy cleaning a tall buildingA lot of homeowners aren’t sure how often their exterior windows really need to be cleaned. Cleaning exterior windows is a big job, especially on older homes or homes that have more than floor. So homeowners often put it off as long as possible. But exterior windows need to be cleaned regularly. Not only will regular cleaning extend the life of your windows it will also make sure that your home looks great throughout the year. According to local Toronto window / gutter cleaning company exterior windows should be cleaned at least twice a year. If you live in an area where there is a lot of dust or even pollen in the environment you will likely need to clean your windows three times a year in order to keep them clean and in good condition.

Before Winter

You should always get your windows professionally cleaned before the winter starts. A professional cleaning will get rid of any dirt or debris that has become caked on the windows during the autumn or rainy season. Professional cleaners also check windows for damage and look at the condition of the window frames and surrounding areas. So getting a professional cleaning done before the winter starts will give you the opportunity to fix any damage to the windows or window frames that might make the windows drafty or let in cold winter air. That will save you money on heating costs throughout the winter and will keep your family healthier throughout the winter.

After Winter

A professional window cleaning after the winter is over is recommended so that the windows can again be cleaned and assessed for damage. Winter storms, snow and ice can cause small chips and cracks in the windows. An experienced window cleaner will get your windows sparkling for spring and let you know if there was any winter damage to the windows that needs to be fixed. Fixing those problems early on can save you a lot of money because you won’t have to replace the window later. It’s always a good idea to have your windows cleaned after the winter is over.

In The Summer

Windows should also be cleaned in the summer. If you live in a hot climate the sun can do a lot of damage to the window frame and the area around the windows. Pollen also gets caked on the windows and needs to be removed for health reasons and to make your windows look shiny and clean instead of grimy.

Hiring a professional to handle your window cleaning needs is always a highly recommended course of action. You wouldn’t want to potentially harm yourself or damage your windows in the process of trying to make your home look great – a pro has the equipment and skills to make sure the job is done safely.

a couple of home owners hard at work painting their living room wall green

Painting Your Home, Three Secrets You Don’t Know

When it comes time to paint your home you’ll recognize that there is a lot to know, all it takes is a quick visit to your neighbourhood paint store many of which you can find on the web, or a few minutes searching the web to come across a significant number of professional painting forums to uncover some significant secrets and tricks of the trade. There are quite a number of painting secrets that pros know and DIY painters don’t know, in fact the biggest difference between a pro and DIY painter is the accumulation of these secrets and also a healthy dose of experience. Which leads us to our first secret.

Clean Lines With Standard Painters Tape

We’ve all tried to use painters tape with mixed success, often times the normal green painters tape only works if you are basically dry brushing on top of the tape, but did you know that there is a better way?

If you want normal painting tape to give you a sharp finish after you peel it off you should apply the tape, rub it with a rag, then apply a very dilute water and caulking solution to the edge? Once this dries and you paint over it the caulk and water solution will seal the edge of the tape allowing you to get a remarkably clean and straight line after the tape has been removed. Anyhow, so that’s just one secret about house painting you likely do not know about that’ll make your paint lines clean and straight.

painting a wall using a roller

Clean Before You Paint

Another potential secret is to make sure that you clean before you paint. This can be a problem especially when painting in cramped spots with a paint brush, which is common during a cut-in or some external painting jobs.

Rather than fully cleaning these hard to reach, hard to see spots, one trick is to carry an old paint brush or simply pick one up from the dollar store. Use the brush to dust the spots you’ll be painting before you apply the paint, sinc the brush is cheap and/or old don’t be afraid to clean the spot vigorously since you’ll want to have a nice surface before you apply your coat of paint.

Always bear in mind that fully preparing the surface before you paint is a good idea and that this technique should be applied sparingly, but it can save you quite a few trips up and down a ladder depending on where you put it to use.

Choose Your Primer Wisely

This is a quick and dirty secret. When spot priming your walls, for instance after patching holes, it’s always advisable to prime the surface before you do the finishing coat. It is recommended even on patching compounds that suggest you do not need to prime them, the reasons is that the surface of the patching compound is going to be much more porous compared to the surrounding substrate, and this will show up on your finished wall. But, what primer do you use? Always initially use the cheapest primer you can find for this task, sometimes the surrounding surface was not fully primed and using expensive primers can result in one patch of the wall that is properly sealed resulting in a final coat that has some spots which have a higher sheen than the surrounding wall.

And if you’re still concerned, here’s a video with some more information:

There you have it, three secrets most DIY painters will know nothing about, I hope that it helps you on your journey to a fantastic paint job this summer.

a backyard setup of copper steam still in the process of distilling hydrosols

Hydrosols, Aromatherapy, and Steam Distillation

I was introduced recently by a friend of mine to the world of hydrosols, I came across this one website that sells hydrosols and they have quite a plethora of information.  there is a very interesting phenomena whereby through the process of steam distilling certain plant materials a very fragrant and potent solution is created. This can be applied to many plants and is becoming somewhat of a popular thing, if my research is correct. I spent quite some time digging in the site and thought I’d put together a small guide here for anyone who might be interested in learning more themselves.

woman holding a jar containing freshly distilled hydrosol

What Is A Hydrosol?

One question I was immediately met with is what exactly a hydrosol is, and how it’s made. SO basically you take a bunch of plant material and remove all the bits that you don’t want, for instance the bark or stems. Usually what is used is the leaves or flowers, the most fragrant parts of the plant. These plant materials should be of a very high-quality to ensure a great finished product, but they are then distilled using steam to produce a watered down concentration of the oils from the plant material.

This can then be used in all sorts of manners, a few common examples include sprays, creams, lotions, fragrances, and even cleaning products. I’ve enjoyed using some for aromatherapy purposes, calming and soothing at times and especially after a stressful day.

What Are Some Common Plants Used In Hydrosols?

There are quite a number of plants used in making hydrosols as they all possess different smells, and have different therapeutic effects associated with them. Some of the most common are:

  • Rose
  • Cucumber
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Balsam fir
  • Cedar leaf
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Pear
  • Lemongrass

Each of these plants have unique characteristics that they possess, some are claimed to have healing powers other promote relaxation due to their calming fragrances. These plants are often made into hydrosols and then mixed together to form products of sorts that address specific needs. For instance yoga mat cleaner, skin creams, and more. There are a great number of people that are concerned about using chemicals on their bodies and hydrosols are one very unique way to avoid harsh chemicals, though many should still be aware that plants themselves can be hazardous if used improperly. There is some stories of people having eye damage after using an ointment in their eye that contained the distillation of a specific plant. So make sure, if you do get into hydrosols, that you read up on exactly what you’re getting into before you hurt yourself.

 

 

intricate geometric shaped mural painted on exterior of building

Three Ideas For A Mural in Your Business

These days if you visit the businesses in the big city of Toronto you’ll see that they invest a lot of money into making their places look great. The competition in many metropolitan areas is very great and so its no surprise that restaurants, retailers, and even offices are painting elaborate things in their business to make sure they stand out in the minds of their customers and clients. A colleague of mine hired a company MuralForm to paint a custom wall mural recently and it looked great, so with this in mind here are a few great ideas for a mural in your business

Get A Logo Mural Painted

This is a no-brainer, having your logo painted in a huge massive scale on your business wall is a great idea if you are looking to impress your brand on those who happen upon your office space. If you speak with a painter they’ll likely be able to come up with some creative methods of rendering it on your wall, using specific painting tools and techniques they can paint a logo pretty much anywhere you want (yes even on the ceiling!).

cool mural of a city painted on the side of a building

Make Your Location Stand Out

Nothing is better than making your business easy to find, and having a mural painted on the side or front of you building is an excellent way of letting customers know your open for business. Now in some cities you’ll have to deal with some bylaws if you want to get a mural on the side of your building, some places do not allow self-promotional artwork without special permits. A creative painting that has to do with your services or products can be an alternative and consulting with a muralist is always advisable to discover the most ideal piece of art to showcase on your building. This idea is a fairly obvious one that many people might overlook.

wall mural custom painted inside of an office space

Paint An Elaborate Representation Of The Problem You Solve

This might be a bit more of an obscure idea, but it’s important to remember that all businesses serve the purpose of making peoples lives easier. If you sell bikes for instance, why not have a giant wall mural painted of people enjoying themselves riding the bikes you sell? This is not only a cool way to make your business stand out but also helps to show people what they can expect from your service. You could have a mural painted of food, vacations, successful businesses, people using tools, even people painting, the list goes on. Consult with a mural artist is a great step forward in this direction.

One reason I think more businesses don’t have had a mural painted inside or outside of their building is cost. I’ve done a bit of research and for some the cost may seem prohibitive, I think the return on your investment in terms of branding and marketing is quite well worth the effort if you are in a saturated market. At the very least you can work out a deal with your local mural company to see if they are willing to work with you in terms of rendering a simpler mural, reducing their workload and allowing you to still get a cool wall mural in the end.

 

leaves from trees in the oshawa valley

Tending To Trees In the Oshawa Area

I spoke with iTrim4U a local Oshawa arborist who took the time to explain the nuances of tree services while they were at my home. I did some further research and decided this would be a great first piece for my site. Many people believe they should have their trees maintained in the lukewarm summer season. This might be often when they have spent lots of time outside and come to realize that their trees don’t look as effective as they familiar with. However the autumn months are actually a great time of year to contact a tree professional and possess your tree services done. Here are just three reasons that many of us believe you need to call a tree expert into the fall for your tree care needs.

Finding Cost Effective Tree Service

It’s common to find contractors are even less expensive throughout the autumn months. Why does it cost less to have your tree trimmed or serviced into the autumn? Well the solution is quite obvious. Like we said above, tree experts could work faster into the fall, when leaves don’t get in the manner and clean-up times are significantly lessened, which means that less labour time means less expensive tree services. Demand for tree services is certainly not quite as high throughout the autumn so many tree surgeons offer deals also. High demand seasons like summer and spring generally mean higher rates for customers, concerned with price? Make sure you book your tree trimming appropriately.

Autumn tree trimming requires much less work than spring trimming. Spring time usually means cleaning up your yard and doing a lot of work all over home. Adding tree trimming into the growing list of tasks to perform are often another burden. Putting off your tree trimming into the fall is a great idea and helps to make your spring time much simpler. So when spring comes, you are able to focus on the gardening and yardwork you enjoy, as well as the warmer weather.

Colder Weather Can Save You Money

Tree service providers tend to be more available during the colder weather. Nearly everyone thinks about getting their trees trimmed and pruned in either the spring or summer, when their trees are filled with leaves and getting bigger than they want, but spring and summer aren’t the greatest times during the year for tree trimming. The trees are full of sap, for starters, which gums up tools and needs constant clean-up. Most of the leaves are an issue as well. Not merely do they take longer to wash up when most of the tasks are done, they get in the way of doing the task. Tree experts are also very busy within the spring and summer, so booking one at a time that works well for your needs can becomes a challenge. Often, tree trimming contractors have more time in the autumn can do their jobs faster, this means your work is completed faster.

Enhancing the health of the trees, without lightening your wallet extensively, is not difficult when you start booking your tree service into the autumn. The autumn months are far more convenient for your needs and your local tree expert alike. So instead of waiting for the spring, call you tree specialist today and make use of the advantages that only fall can bring.