Window Tinting for Your Home and Vehicle

Automotive and Home Window Tinting

While some companies specialize in residential and commercial window tinting, others specialize in automotive. Depending on your window tinting needs, you will have to look into specific factors when choosing the best company. Where you are located, your purpose for window film, and the type of window you that you are tinting will all affect your choice when finding an installation specialist.

Automotive Window Tinting

When it comes to applying window film to your vehicle, two strong priorities are glare reduction and temperature control. Finding the right color of film is equally important for privacy and security purposes; a darker applique can decrease the risk of theft. When someone cannot see the valuables in your car or are unable to tell whether or not someone is inside, they are less likely to poke around. Find a window tinting specialist who understands these priorities and can explain which films can cover the basics at an affordable price.

Another important factor to keep in mind for automotive window film is legality. Some states are stricter on the darkness of your vehicles’ windows than others. For instance, in Illinois, all windows must allow over 35% of light to enter through the pane. Also, non-reflective tint is only allowed on the upper six inches of the windshield. Make sure you ask about state laws before applying the film- ending up with something too dark can cost you a ticket.

Residential and Commercial Window Tinting

Tinting your home is a different story. There is so much more than glare reduction, temperature control, and privacy. Energy efficiency becomes a key element in green business, for instance. It takes far less energy to cool a room that is not influenced by the sun’s direct heat. Solar film can absorb or reflect the suns rays, keeping rooms cool and comfortable. As an added bonus, you can see a significant reduction in your cooling bills during the hotter months.

Companies such as Midwest Glass Tinters understand that visual appeal is important in your home as well. While some people enjoy the look of a darker window and glare-free view of outdoor scenery, others don’t like the shaded quality. Plenty of suburban homes use window tinting in Elgin IL and in surrounding areas of Chicago, and plenty of homeowners have found other solutions to the sun. In these areas of IL, sunlight may be desired in all but 3 months of the year when it is actually warm outside. Roller shades that block the sun allow business and homeowners to keep the sun out only as desired. You can leave these up for the majority of the year and choose to roll them down when you are using air conditioning.

Choosing the Best Carpet Cleaning Service

When it comes to finding the perfect carpet cleaner around Jacksonville, there are many things to take into account. Jacksonville FL has a fairly humid weather system due to the St. Johns River that runs right through it and when it comes to carpeting, moisture is not a good thing. Over time that moisture can be a breeding ground for certain types of bacteria and mold. This is not good if you have children constantly putting their face in the carpet or you family dog biting on his favorite bone. Everyone should have their carpets cleaned at least annually, if not every six months.

When looking for a great carpet cleaner you must get online and do some research on consumer reviews and go through some of the comments. You are mainly looking for companies that have many bad reviews as too avoid them. Good ones are good indicators for potential cleaners but many people don’t go out of their way to write great reviews about their carpet cleaning service. They will however be quick to post up a comment about a bad experience they had.carpet cleaner

Finding a cleaning service that offers chemical free, eco-friendly, green, kid friendly, and/or pet friendly processes is a must in my book as well. I don’t want to put my health in jeopardy when I’m doing this to have a healthier living space in the first place. Being the health and eco-friendly conscious consumer that I am, I don’t want to support a company that uses harmful solvents or chemicals that may hurt me or anyone in my home, community, or ecosystem. One popular method that has been trending across the area is the Carbonation© process which uses The Natural®, an eco-friendly solvent that is kid and pet friendly. This is the safest carpet cleaning method that uses tiny carbonated bubbles to help lift the stains right out of your rug. In combination with The Natural®, you can easily restore your carpets to looking like new. This process uses drastically less water than a steam cleaning company. This introduces shorter dry times and helps to fight mold and bacteria from the root.

Pricing is also a major factor. Be sure to shop around and compare prices. You will be surprised at the differences in cost when you put the time in to research. Also make sure to keep an eye out for promotional deals. They are everywhere!

Thanks folks! I hope this helps you find the perfect carpet cleaner around your parts of town!

5 Things to Look for When Choosing Your Cleaning Service

duct-cleaningWhen most people think of cleaning their home, they think of wiping the counters, washing the floor, cleaning the bathroom, and getting underneath the oven.  Most people don’t automatically think about their duct vents when going through their cleaning to-do list.  Just because it’s not top of mind, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important.  In fact, our home’s air ducts can be one of the filthiest areas of our homes and have a huge influence on air quality.  Dirty air ducts could be spreading bacteria and mildew throughout your home without you even knowing.

Now, I don’t mean for all of this to scare you.  Chances are, your home’s air quality is probably fine.  However, you should look into having your duct work cleaned every few years to ensure cleanliness.

Here in Phoenix AZ, I have a go to company that I always use when I need any air duct cleaning, Cook Bros Cleaning. However, when it comes to air duct cleaning companies, there are many scammers out there that you should be on the lookout for.  Below are a few things to look out for when choosing your air duct cleaning company.

Full Service

Make sure the company you choose offers a full service cleaning package.  This means that they not only clean your duct work, but also offer a thorough cleaning of your heating and cooling unit.


It’s not what most people want to hear, but it’s the truth: You can’t get a quality air duct cleaning for less than $100.  A common gimmick scamming companies use is offering their service for $100 or less.  With this type of pricing, the most you can expect is a light vacuuming job.  A real whole-house service will typically run you somewhere in the ballpark of $500.


Any company that you’re considering for your job should be certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).  Any company without this certification should immediately throw up a red flag.

Ensure Cleanliness

You should expect the most out of your cleaning company.  Before you pay for the service, have them show you the state of ducts before any work is done.  Additionally, you should have the company show you the results afterwards as well, so you can verify the work that was done.

Get Reviews

One of the best ways to avoid any shady air duct cleaning companies is to simply check reviews online and get suggestions from friends, family, and colleagues.  Sites like Yelp and Google Plus will generally offer reviews for the companies serving your area.

Tint My Home

I have just moved to the lovely city of Colorado Springs a few months ago and all is well. I just had my home built from a design that I had made when I was back in college years ago. Finally, I have built the house that I have always wanted. It’s a large space designed with many windows to let in the suns sweet rays. However, after living in it for a few weeks I have been becoming rather annoyed with all the sunlight that was being let in. It may have been just a little too much sun than I had bargained for and I felt like my home could use the help of a little window tint. I had a friend that had some installed mansionat his house and I remember being very impressed with the difference. Just a slight amount of window film was used but it was just enough to aid from the sun glare while still allowing for a bright natural light and settling ambience.

I searched as far as Monument, Falcon and Peublo CO to find the best window tinting company out there. I was intent on making sure I had the finest quality 3m window film in my beautiful home so I searched far and wide. I ended up coming across some really nice folks at High Country Window Tint, right out of Colorado Springs, who said they could help me out. With over 20 years of experience it sounded like they have done it all from homes to cars to businesses.

I decided to go forward with their window tinting services. One of their technicians came out to my home and we spoke a little bit about their many options. Pushing forward, I decided to run with a light window tint that offered added safety and security from break-ins.  I could see the room changing as they installed each stretch of this wonderful film. I was very pleased with the final outcome. As they laid down the last strip I could instantly reap the benefits.

I believe this was money well spent. On top of the reduction of sun glare and control of temperature, I saw a decrease in my energy bills as well. If anyone is thinking about making some home improvements to their home then definitely keep in mind all the benefits that a great window tinting service like High Country can provide to you.

How a Good Rug Cleaning Saved Me My Security Deposit

Yay!! I just graduated college with my awesomely great business degree from George Mason University in Fairfax Va. Luckily I just scored a job working for a consulting firm that does business all across Northern Virginia in the Arlington, Alexandria, and Sterling VA area. I can now move out of this crappy college house and get myself a big boy pad. It’s about time! The only problem is that I have made a mess of this fully furnished apartment and I need a good carpet cleaning and furniture cleaning service that could help save me from having my security deposit stripped from me.  rug cleaning

I had initially tried to clean up all these stains myself but I was having no luck. I tried all the DIY cleaning solutions online and I still had no luck. I was then forced to resort to a professional rug cleaner that could help me with not only my carpet cleaning needs but also with my furniture and upholstery cleaning problems. I scoured the net and asked many of my friends. There were many out there so I decided to choose the one that held the best reviews. I went with Absolute Carpet Care not only from the great reviews but because they offered all the services I needed. I called them up and they guided me through all the different options they offered. They assured me that their technical knowledge was the best around and that they have years of experience, all the way back to 1987. I then set up an appointment for the following week. I was also excited about their promotion on their web page for a free carpet cleaning which covered one of my 200 square foot rooms.

The following week came and they were at my door at the time we had talked about. I gave them a tour of the house and showed them everything I needed to be touched up.  It was quite the mess so I wasn’t surprised that they said it would take a minimum of two hours to clean. I decided to go for a bike ride during their rug cleaning escapade so they could have a little space.

Two hours down the road and I was back to the homestead. I could not believe my eyes. It looked exactly like the moment I had moved into the place. Everything was so crisp and clean. I would not hesitate with these guys if you need a rug cleaning or upholstery cleaning around the NOVA area.

Should I Ditch My Vinyl Windows?

family replacement windows
I have just moved to the Central North Carolina area right outside of Raleigh and Durham. I love the area, mainly because of all the great golf courses, and have quickly found myself at home. My house is a small rancher style home with a huge back yard for my kids and my dogs to play in. I had originally bought it as a DIY fixer upper; however, my work has been building up so I have decided to get many of the bigger jobs done by the professionals. I have decided to do most of the landscaping, gardening, stone work and interior painting myself leaving the roofing, flooring and replacement windows for an experienced company. My windows were the originals built with the house 40 years ago and seem to be very drafty so I decided to start there first. I began taking notes on what style of window I currently had, how many there were, the dimensions, and questioned if I wanted a new style or to keep the old. I currently had 15 windows with many various dimensions. They were all vinyl windows which were either styled as a double hung, casement, or bay window. I had used Renewal by Andersen (RbA) replacement windows in my last spot and was very pleased so I decided to try them out again. Luckily for me there was an RbA that serviced all of Raleigh, Winston Salem, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Durham NC. I called them up and they took down all the necessary information, setting me up for a free quote the following afternoon.

The next day came and later that afternoon Tom, our RbA consultant, showed up at my door to take down some measurements. He went through our home and measured out all of our fixtures. We had discussed our options and came to a decision for staying away from replacing our vinyl windows for ones that were built with their patented Fibrex© material. We also decided to change all of our double hung windows to casement replacement windows and swap the old bay and bow to a newer one. I was really pleased with the affordable quote given and decided to rid myself of these old and ugly vinyl windows for newer ones. It took about a week to get out and finish the job but I couldn’t be happier. That is one less project that I have to worry about taking up time from my family and work.

Is a Granite Countertop Right for My Home?

I hkitchenave been living in my home in Northern VA now for about 5 years. I try to keep my house well-manicured and do everything I can to increase the value of my initial investment. One thought that has been lingering around in my head was how much I despised my laminate countertops. They were an ugly cream color that didn’t go well with the changes I’ve made to my home and there were burn marks all around the stove.  I have been debating whether to change it out or not and came across many options. There was the stainless steel option, the ceramic tile, the wood/butcher block, lava stone, soapstone, glass, bamboo, marble, granite, and many others.

I knew I had a large budget so I decided to put quality first when it comes to the right countertop material. Topping the list with high quality and durability was lava stone, marble, stainless steel, and granite. Stainless steel is super durable, it’s clean up is very easy, and its spill proof but I just didn’t think it would be the right fit for my home. Lava stone met the longevity standards that I wanted however I wasn’t too fond of the final product when the stone was glazed for coloring. I was really drawn into granite and marbles unique design and natural colors. Each of their costs were matched up fairly consistent depending on the grain and design of the stone and they both had the same maintenance, however a granite countertop is slightly more durable then marble. Granite is also more resistant to acidic foods and scratching than marble as well. So it was decided…..I’m gkitchen 2etting granite countertops!!

I searched everywhere across the Chantilly, Fairfax, and Alexandria area to find the best granite supplier and this is when I came across Granite Source NOVA online. They had the largest selection of granite around and were very professional. I was also pleased to find out that they were very reputable having locations across the whole greater Washington area.  I scheduled my measurement assessment online and immediately got $100 dollars off my entire bill. They came to my home and measured out the specifica tions of my kitchen counter tops. We then sat down and chose a color and grain which was followed by a very reasonable estimate. I decided to go ahead and accept their estimate and in no time I had the beautiful kitchen I wanted. The guys at Granite Source were awesome to work with and I would definitely work with them again!

Matching your Fencing to the Style of Your Home

Adding a fence is an excellent way to improve the design of your home as well as add value to it.  But before you jump into the process of installing fencing at your humble abode, you need to carefully think about what type is ideal for your home. Do you need privacy from nosey neighbors?  Security to keep out the bad guys?  Maybe a barrier to keep your pets and children from running off into the streets?   Below are a few suggestions on finding the right style for your home that I found through the guys at Fencing Unlimited.

Ranch Home?  Try Split Rail Fencing

Split rail fencing is a great way to give your home a rustic touch.  This style of fencing is a little rough split rail fence
around the edges and has a natural feel to it.  Its low profile and long lines mimic the design of ranch homes and a rough wood offers a complementary texture against a brick home. This style fence holds a strong history to it being fairly prevalent during the American civil war. They were traditionally constructed using American chestnut but now a days it’s fairly common to see cedar being used. You can still see historical examples all throughout central VA and Richmond VA on the many civil war battle grounds.


Simple Two-Story?  Try Picket Fencingpicket

For your basic, two-story home, opt for fence installation with picket fencing.  These fences can be as tall as you desire and their long, lean profile mimics that of the home.  This is a classic fence design that works well with a wide variety homes and allows your home to remain in clear view, perfect for those who live in subdivisions.  This style was first popularized during the colonial days of the American Revolutionary War.

Long Lasting and Low Maintenance?  Try Vinyl Fencing

Finally, if you’re looking for a fence with many benefits then you should definitely make sure not to overlook the Vinyl option. The vinyl breakthrough has been around since the 1980’s bringing strength and durability to everyone that chooses to use it.  Compared to wood it’s strength is fivefold. There are no toxic chemicals used to treat it like wood does. You will also find that there are many color optionslong white fence
and the cost is usually cheaper than wood or other metals. This is actually the same type of fencing that I had purchased from the folks at Fencing Unlimited back in 2005 and it’s still holding strong. It’s battled all the weather elements that Richmond provides us and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I would say that I would continue to do business with them again but it looks like my fence has a long life to live. However, if you were thinking about new fencing somewhere in the near future then definitely give them a call!

The Benefits of Granite Countertops

wooden cabinets

Thinking about redoing your kitchen or bath?  If so, one of the harder decisions you must make is determining what material you would like for your countertops.  Many home owners are tempted to go cheap in order to keep the cost of their remodel down.  However, if you are taking the plunge, you should go all the way and opt for a natural stone.

And out of the natural stones available to you, granite countertops have by far become the most popular option. Here are a few reasons for this:

Value Retention

Unlike synthetic countertops, granite retains its value over time.  As it is incredibly durable, there is little that will cause it to depreciate in value.  Also important is that it adds to the overall value of your home.  Should you decide to sell, it is features such as granite countertops that could make the difference and make the sale.

They also don’t have to cost nearly as much as most people think. Most companies have a “request quote” option so you can get a local estimate easily enough. When in doubt, try a local store of a national chain such as Home Depot.


Setting it apart from other natural stone, granite is not porous.  This means that nothing can penetrate the stone.  While other types of countertops might hold onto smells and nasty germs, granite will maintain its integrity and keep your home healthier.  And cleaning it is much easier.  While there are granite specific cleaners on the market, simple soap and water will go just as far.

 Heat Resistance

Granite countertops are true stars in the kitchen.  As they are heat resistant, you do not need to worry about placing your baking dishes, pots, and pans directly onto it.  This makes it especially attractive for use in kitchen islands as it makes serving food easier—simply go from stove top to counter top without worry.  Cooking for family and guests will become a bit easier when there is one less thing to worry about.


There are plenty of other reasons for going with granite for your countertops. Here’s a link to one of the better FAQ resources I’ve seen. It’s by a major retailer in Richmond called Granite Source.

Learn from My Heating Mistakes!

It happened again. I can’t believe it. My furnace just shut down last week and it dropped to 12 degrees that same night! I am sooo over this this ridiculous winter! I moved from Boston to Baltimore to get away from the white stuff! Oh well, at least we don’t get as much snow down here. Anyway, back to my furnace woes…

Having lived in the Central Maryland area for only a few months, it really bugs me that I’ve had an HVAC repair tech out here twice already for the same problem. I’d finally had it, so I did a little research and found a new company called Arundel Cooling and Heating. They came out just once and fixed the problem within minutes. As it turns out, it was a short than kept happening because a previous repair guy (not to mention any names) had taken a wire and wrapped tape around an exposed portion instead of replacing it. It worked most of the time, but would occasionally hit the side of the metal cabinet and cause a ground fault.

Had I needed a new system, I just found out that the Government sometimes offers specials, rebates and grants for homeowners who wish to save energy with their HVAC systems. Check out this link

Why get into so much detail? Because it might be able to help you out of a future jam. It turns out that less reputable contractors and so-called experts do this stuff all the time. Here are some of the main things to watch out for:

Are they billing by the hour or by the job? This is important. If someone is billing by the job, and has a big backlog to take care of, you want to be certain they have a stellar reputation for honesty. This is because it’s they have more to gain by getting out as quickly and cheaply as possible. On the other hand, an hourly job (plus the cost of parts) is usually going to do everything possible – and then some.

Above all else, use reputable contractors for all tasks, whether they are hourly or by the job. Arundel did an amazing job for me, and it cost about the same as the guy who first used the tape shortcut (as you can imagine – it was a cost per job deal).

Another quick tip is to always check online reviews. If the company you want to use, to fix your furnace for example, has a five star rating on Google+, Yelp or Angie’s List – they are probably a good fit and worth trying out.

I hope this helps. I wish someone had given me this advice, years ago. Good luck!