(Family Features) The onset and arrival of colder temperatures means that it’s time once again to brace yourself – and your home – for everything that winter weather threatens to throw at you. From cool, drafty air wafting into your house to friends and family bringing snow and sand inside with them, it’s important to remember the preparation to go through before winter strikes.
In order to help keep your home warm, cozy and clean throughout the winter months, follow these seven tips to get started:
Check the Roof
With warm days dwindling, it’s never too early to look over your roof for damaged shingles or other various problems. Because winter brings along cold weather and plenty of precipitation, cracks in the roof can cause major issues down the road. If heights and ladders aren’t your thing, try using binoculars from ground level to check things out.
Clean the Gutters
After the trees shake loose of their leaves throughout the fall, it’s always imperative to keep the gutters clean of debris. If your gutters fill up with leaves and other junk, the runoff from rain and snow has nowhere to go except in unwanted crevices in your roof.
Seal Leaks Around Windows and Doors
Caulk is a cheap, simple solution to one of winter’s most annoying little habits – sending cold drafts into your house. Look closely as you check around windows and doors for small cracks then carefully seal up the problem.
Install Door Sweeps
Another way to keep warm air in and cool air out is to use door sweeps on the bottom of all exterior doors. A door sweep is a simple device that can be attached to the door frame to help seal the space between the bottom of the door and the floor.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
While some ceiling fans require flipping blades, most new fans simply have a reverse feature to make the blades spin clockwise. This easy fix can help pull room air upward and cause warm air – which has risen to the ceiling – to be forced back downward.
Keep Out Sand and Snow
Rather than sweeping and vacuuming your entryway every evening, place rugs and storage bins close to your front door, garage and any other entrance to the home so that you and your guests don’t track sand and snow into the house when inclement weather hits.
Stock Up on Winter Gear
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know exactly what each winter will bring. Rather than trying to fight the elements on a snowy day to find salt for your sidewalk or a new shovel to clear the driveway, stock up on these items and other winter essentials long before Mother Nature strikes.
Winter can be a pain, especially for homeowners, but staying on top of your preparation and being ready for cold weather’s reach can help make snow season easier to handle. For more tips to get your home ready for winter, visit elivingtoday.com.
Simple Steps to Maintain Natural Stone
Natural stone adds elegance and style to any home. With a nearly endless array of colors, textures and designs, it’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind look for your kitchen or bath. However, without proper care, that carefully selected natural stone may quickly start to show wear and tear.
Not only does natural stone lend a beautifully sophisticated aesthetic, it’s generally regarded as a practical choice because it’s more durable than many other materials. However, granite, marble, travertine and other natural-stone and quartz surfaces do require proper care and attention to maintain that luxurious finish. Keep your natural stone in top condition with these tips from the experts at Granite Gold.
Clean often. Even if your surface appears clean, the safest bet is to clean it after every meal preparation. The most miniscule particle could have a detrimental effect on your natural stone. Avoid common cleaners and abrasives. They can break down the protective seal and you could be faced with costly repair or replacement. Also, give special attention to the scrubbing pad you use; many are too abrasive for expensive stone counters and leave unsightly scratches.
Seal frequently. Frequently sealing granite countertops and all other natural stone surfaces maintains maximum surface protection, penetrating stone surfaces to provide superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil buildup.
If you’re not sure whether it’s time to reseal, it’s easy to test. Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface and let it sit for 30 minutes. Be sure to do this in several locations, since the integrity of the seal could vary from one area to another. If the water beads, then the stone remains sealed. However, if the stone is penetrated – signified by a dark mark or ring created by the water – it is time to reseal.
Polish regularly. Polishing stone provides two great benefits. First, polishing after cleaning will bring out the stone’s natural beauty. Second, it will reinforce the protective seal and provide ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints. One time-saving but effective solution after sealing is Granite Gold Clean & Shine, which provides the cleaning power of the line’s Daily Cleaner and the luster from the Polish in one easy-to-use formula.
You can find the products nationwide at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond; check the product locator at GraniteGold.com.