Monthly Archives: January 2017

3 Signs of a Good Bankruptcy Attorney

Financial misfortune is part of life due to various reasons – sickness, bad judgment, overall economic instability. Often we are threatened to lose our home due to foreclosure as a result of failure to pay the mortgage installments on time. In such cases, one of the best solutions to your problem will be to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that you can avoid the most negative repercussions on your financial status. But in order to be successful in this hard undertaking you need a good and reliable bankruptcy attorney who has the necessary skills and desire to help you. It’s better to choose a local attorney since they will be absolutely familiar with the exact procedure followed in your region, and if you are living in the USA it is an absolute must. The best option is to contact someone, who you are familiar with or who was recommended to you by a trusted friend or colleague but in any case you can look for these 3 signs that are a guarantee of a good professional in the field of bankruptcy.

 

Extensive experience in the field

The first and most important sign of a good bankruptcy attorney is their experience in the field. When you find the name of a person you believe is your future legal representative you can look for them in the respective country association of lawyers to check first and foremost that they are actually professionals registered there and then to see their experience, you can also google them but bear in mind that heaters tend to post more comments round the web so don’t take all the bad (and good for that matter) information at face value. On the website of the legal company of the particular attorney you have chosen, you will usually be able to find a short bio of the person, which will also give you a hint of their knowledge. A good sign is if the person has some experience both in practice or as a study, in any other related field such as accountancy for example.

 

Reasonable number of cases per year

Do not be seduced by the common pitfall of hiring an attorney you saw on TV boosting to have solved more than 1,000 cases per year. This will only mean that most of the cases are transferred to the assistants or junior colleagues to deal with and only the most well-paying get the attention of the star lawyer. If you want a real person attitude and an attorney who will listen to you and give you proper advice, you need a professional who deals with about 150-180 cases per year. In this example less actually means more – more attention to your individual problem. You should be able to book a consultation and spend a good 3 or 4 hours talking to your bankruptcy attorney and discussing the options and possible outcomes.

 

Free consultations

Most of the best professionals offer free initial consultations, especially on issues such as filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or what are the other options for fighting foreclosure. A good sign is also the availability of free advice and comprehensive information that you can find on the site of the particular attorney. It may be in the form of informative posts or free online brochures and books that you might download. This clearly shows that the person in front of you is there to help and not simply take your money.

 

These were just a few simple tips that will help you recognize a good professional if the time has come for you to a file a bankruptcy. Choose the right attorney and you will be able to overcome this temporary difficulty and return to your normal routine.

How to Take Proper Care of Your Natural Stone Tiles – 5 Simple Tips

Natural stone tiles have become quite popular in recent years and are no longer the priority of the wealthy. It is quite common now to have a white marble kitchen top, grey granite floor tiles or antique travertine bathroom walls. Natural stone is a symbol of longevity and durability, however it is also a gentle material that deserves proper care and maintenance in order to reward you with its excellent qualities. The good news is that it is not difficult to clean your natural stone tiles especially if you follow these 5 simple tips given below.

 

Get to know your stone

In order to be able to take proper care of your natural stone you should know a few details about its origin and qualities. The stones can be divided into two main categories depending on their composition – siliceous and calcareous. The first group are sedimentary rocks that consist mainly of silicon dioxide (SiO2) in the form of quartz or quartz-like particles and silica. These stones are quite popular and include granite, sandstone, quartzite, slate, bluestone and brownstone that are used both as interior and exterior tiles. Siliceous stones are more durable and are resistant to acidic fluids, hence granite is one of the preferred stones for countertop since some juice or vinegar spills won’t ruin it. Calcareous stones, on the other hand, are more delicate and sensitive. They are composed of calcium carbonate that is found in shells or pearls and to this group belong the well-known marble, onyx, limestone and travertine. Another important feature of natural stone is their porosity, i.e. the ability to absorb water. The more porous the stone is the more prone it is to stain and to freeze in harsh conditions if used outside.  according to this quality the stones that are usually used rank as follows: sandstone is the most porous, travertine, limestone and slate follow it, marble is next and granite is the least porous of all.

 

Choose the appropriate finish

There is not only a variety of natural stone tiles  to choose from but also an array of different finishes and surfaces that enhance one or another quality of the stone. Some of the most popular finishes are polished, honed, tumbled, and antiqued.

  • The polished finish gives the surface gloss and shine and makes it reflective similar to a mirror. It is often used for marble, granite and travertine but can be applied to other stones as well. The advantage of this finish is that it enhances the color of the stone but also makes the surface quite slippery, so it is not recommendable for floors.
  • The honed finish makes the stone look smooth and matted, while preserving its color. The surface has a lighter shade and is not so shine and reflective. The finishing can be applied to almost all stones and is very suitable for tiles that have to withstand high wear and tear, such as floors.
  • The tumbled finish of a stone makes it look aged and as if walked on for years. It is an ideal finish if you want to give your home the unique atmosphere of the ancient times. You can have marble or travertine tiles with this finishing and use them both for walls and floors in the kitchen or bathroom
  • The antiqued finish is also very popular type of surface since in addition to giving the stone a worn look it also stimulates its further aging and makes it more durable. It is a popular finish for a variety of stones, including limestone, marble, granite and travertine.

You can consult the natural stone tiles manufacturer for the best finishing of your stone in accordance with its purpose.

 

Always seal your stone

The most important advice you should follow is to always seal your natural stone tiles, no matter what type of stone you use or what its finish is. The sealer protects the stone from scratching and stains and enhances its life span. Always choose a sealer that is recommended for your specific stone tiles.

Take daily care

The proper regular care of natural stone tiles is of extreme importance. Both countertops and floors covered with such tiles can be cleaned with mild dishwasher detergent or soap stone and warm water. All food or liquid spills should be swiped immediately to prevent the stone from staining. In order to protect the kitchen tops always use mats under hot surfaces and avoid cutting directly on them as you can scratch them. As for the floors it is good to always vacuum bigger debris and sand particles before mopping and washing them. You can also place doormats or area rugs to protect place that are subject to high traffic.

Remove stains properly

No matter how good we take care of our natural stone tiles they will get an occasional stain or two. If you use the right techniques to clean them, there is nothing to worry about. First you need to identify if the stain is organic (from tea, coffee, food, etc.), oil, rust or other and then proceed accordingly. Organic stains can be cleaned using 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia. Oil stains are better cleaned with a poultice with acetone, ammonia or mild household detergent, while rust is best treated with a commercial rust remover.

Observe these 5 recommendations and the natural stone tiles that you have will serve you very long time, while looking as good as when first installed.

Energy efficient home

Home Energy Tips For the Smart Homeowner

Everyone wants to save money on their home energy bills.  Better yet, wouldn’t it be even better to save money and reduce your impact on the environment?

Younger generations are placing a bigger and bigger emphasis on environmental concerns than older generations, which is great.  We have limited resources on this planet and need to make sure we take care of our planet and leave resources and a healthy planet for generations to come.

When it comes to our home, there are lots of little things we can do that can add up to big savings to your checkbook as well as minimizing the impact on our environment.

Below are some tips for saving money and the planet when it comes to your home.

 

Use Clean Energy For Your Fireplace

Instead of using wood or coal fireplaces, which produce carbon monoxide and other toxins into the atmosphere, consider using cleaner energy sources like natural gas or better yet, go electric.  Electric fireplaces have come a long way in terms of looks and energy efficiency.  My friend Jeanne over at Stylish Fireplaces in Toronto (now in Vaughan) says that younger people are moving more and more towards electric fireplaces due to their versatility and energy efficiency.

 

Use Solar Energy

Solar energy roof panels is still an emerging market but many homeowners are making the switch thanks to federal and state-level subsidies available.  While the upfront costs can be high (20K+), subsidies can offset that costs and often within 10 years your investment will start producing a positive ROI for you as well as a greatly reduced impact on the environment.

 

Energy Efficient HVAC System

If you have an old HVAC system or one that runs poorly, maybe by poor installation or m=workmanship, then you have a chance to save a bundle with a new HVAC system.  If your system is under 10 years old, a good cleaning and regular maintenance plan may be all that’s needed.  If you have an older system, replacing all or parts of the system may be in order.  We had old fibre based ductwork in our house which was falling apart and leaking all over the place, we had Lloyd HVAC install new ductwork in our home and saw an immediate 20% savings on our energy bill, which works out to over $600 a year on our bill.

 

Tankless Water Heater

A hot water tank can use up to 20% of your monthly energy bill, continually heating water that is just sitting in your tank, even if you are gone all day at work or on vacation.  A tankless water heater produces hot water on demand and only heats it when you want to use it.  A tankless water heater can add up to big savings for you over the course of the year.

 

Insulate your attic

Do you have your attic insulated or is it old and not efficient anymore?  In the summer, attic insulation will help keep the heat shining on your roof from getting into your home and causing your HVAC system to work overtime.  In the winter, it will help you keep warm air in the attic and stop it from escaping from the house.  A bonus would be to get an attic fan, which will help get heat out of your home during the summer months.

 

So here are just a few tips to save money on your energy bill at home.  Have any tips of your own?  Let us know in the comments below!