Archive for Kitchen Home Improvement

Exterior Wood Shutters

By Daniel Roshard

Many times during the long process of planning and executing a home improvement task the exterior of the house is neglected, this happens mainly due to the reason that most people think that they will be unable to perform home improvement tasks, and also because these seem like major tasks in terms of budget and work.

The truth is that a lot of these tasks are indeed demanding, but you need to separate the costly and energy consuming work from the work that will make a significant change in the exterior of the house and that will probably make you feel very satisfied with your work and investment for a long time.

Wood shutters are a wonderful thing for houses, they create a uniform look for the houses windows, the good thing about wood shutters is that they really help cover up a lot of the houses windows flaws, like making small windows appear larger and create a theme that connects all the houses windows, so if you have a small window that disturbs you or if you have a very large window that seems to be to big in contrast with the other windows, wood shutters will solve that.

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The wood shutter is also a very practice shutter to have, you can protect it as with all other wood products, with different colors and sprays, there is such a huge wood color and protection products market that you will be sure to find the right product for you, and if used properly these products can make sure that you use the wood shutters for a long time.

The easiness of wood painting will allow you to change the house look from time to time, in a relatively easy task of painting it a different color, you can also skip the cleaning process and just decide that you will paint your wood shutters every 4 months, it will not save you money but it will make your house look great all year long.

The cost of wood shutters is directly linked to the windows you have at your house, if you have a lot of windows you will need to place shutters on all of them, and if you have unusual window sizes in you house you will probably need to order custom made window shutters, although some experts keep a large verity of sizes, most regular home improvement shops have a limited selection of window sizes. This may prove to be a budget problem, but than again, if your windows are out of proportion this is probably one thing you would like to solve and the costs of wood shutters is still much lower than the cost of replacing your windows.

One more thing to consider is the type of wood that the shutter is made of, you should try and find the material that is best for your house environment and area climate, cedar is usually recommend by default, the cedar wood is very strong and durable, making it a perfect fit for an exterior shutter, bare in mind that you will still need to get all of the wood protection and maintenance product to take care of it.

About the Author: Daniel Roshard is a interior designer fascinated by garden and outdoor architecture, he studies integration of house appliances to the outdoors and gardens. Daniel is writing reviews and tips on Shutters for


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How To Clean Dirty Grout On Your Ceramic Floor

By Alyssa Davis

If you have a ceramic floor, you likely are concerned with keeping your grout clean. Dirty grout is not only unsightly, but it can make your entire room look unkempt. Dirty grout can be caused by mildew, mold, dirt, or food spills, but keeping your grout clean doesn’t have to be challenging. A big key to maintaining the grout when you have a ceramic floor is to use an appropriate sealant, which we will discuss later. In the meantime, the tips that follow will help you to get your ceramic floor into tip-top shape.

Optimal Way to Clean Grout – try the gentlest solution first

If you have dirty grout, trying the gentlest solution first is a wise idea. A good cleaner for grout can be made with a fifty/fifty blend of water and vinegar. Vinegar contains mild acidic properties that can loosen stains in grout. You might also make a paste of water and baking soda that can be used to clean granite, marble, and slate floors because you don’t want to use any cleaner that is acid based around these materials.

Apply the solution of fifty/fifty water and vinegar to a small area of grout, scrubbing with a natural bristle brush in a circular fashion. The circular motion will protect the grout. Do not utilize a toothbrush for scrubbing grout as it is too soft. As the grout becomes clean, rinse it with water and rip off any residue.

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For the grout on a kitchen counter, mix up a solution of fifty/fifty bleach and water to dissolve away organic food stains – but only if the grout is uncolored. Bleaching can cause fading in colored grout. Always remember to wear appropriate protection on your hands when working with any chemical, including bleach, and to keep the area well-ventilated while working.

If the stain remains, use a steam cleaner to steam it out. Steam is an eco-friendly cleaning method that will dislodge a lot of dirt that traditional cleaning will not. If the stain remains after steam cleaning, you can use commercial grout and tile cleaner. One really good one is ZAP! Professional Restorer.

Keeping Your Grout Clean – a three-step approach

Once you have the grout clean, make sure you rinse the cleaning solution away completely. I recommend a three-step approach. First, rinse with warm water, wiping away any apparent cleaner. Rinse again with fresh water. Wipe all moisture away with a clean dry rag using as many rags as necessary to leave the tile dry.

Follow up your efforts with a premium grout sealer; choose one that is resistant to oil, acid, and water and that inhibits the growth of bacteria and mildew. This will keep you from repeating all of the hard work and scrubbing on down the road when the grout becomes dirty again. You’ll find that an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure when it comes to the grout in your ceramic floors.

About the Author: Alyssa Davis, is a design specialist and writer at, and she offers many suggestions and unique ideas for designing with

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