Home And Garden

Top 10 Roofing Companies In The U.S.

While many companies offer roofing services throughout the U.S., if you’re looking for a new roof or roof repair, it is crucial to find a company that stands behind their work and provides affordable solutions to property owners. The top roofing companies in the U.S. are efficient and provide a quality end product for their clients, maintain a safe working environment for their employees, and ensure your property is safe by using proper materials and supplies during the job. Unfortunately, far too often, fly-by-night roofing companies use materials that are not suitable for the environment, creating potential issues for property owners. This listicle will cover the best roofing companies in the U.S. based on many factors, including Google reviews, website performance, feedback on the internet, and BBB ratings. With that being said, here we go!

JBS Roofing In Phoenix, AZ 

Jim Brown and Sons roofing takes a family approach to business and treats their customers accordingly. Located in Pheonix, AZ, they provide commercial and residential roofing services, rain gutter installation, rain gutter repair, and attic insulation. As a leader in the Phoenix roofing market, they have grown to serve the greater Phoenix-Metro area and are notorious for their skilled craftsmanship, communication, and follow-through. Their Google reviews tell the story of a proud family-owned roofing company in Phoenix.

Salazar Roofing In Oklahoma City, OK

Operating in Oklahoma, Colorado, Louisiana, and Florida, they are known for the honesty and quality of their work. According to many reviews, professionalism is maintained throughout the process. From choosing your replacement shingles, installation, and clean-up, they have a history of completing jobs on time and within budget. They are family-owned and take pride in their name. Salazar Roofing has been active since 1978.

Rainer Roofing In Seattle, WA

These guys have built a solid reputation as one of the nations leading roofing companies in Seattle, WA. Starting back in 2017, they have grown to be known as one of the best in the Great North West. Their Google reviews are a reflection of their hard work, honesty, and quality craft. They offer solutions for commercial and residential roofing projects in the greater Seattle area. They provide a free estimate, and they truly stand behind their work. In addition to the Limited Lifetime Warranty offered by the materials manufacturer, they also offer you a 5-year craftsmanship guarantee. They partner with the best products and materials companies in the U.S., making them a reputable roofing partner in the Seattle area.

Interstate Roofing In Portland, OR

Offering more than just commercial roofing services, they provide socially distanced estimates (for the time being) and roof inspections to determine the best way to care for your roof. They offer support for commercial as well as residential. Their team of roofing contractors in Portland provides gutter installation and maintenance and siding installation and repair. With its coastal weather patterns, homes and businesses in Portland need to rely on quality craftsmanship to survive the rains and coastal winds that blow through during the winter months. Interstate Roofing in Portland is the premier roofing contractor in Oregon and can be trusted to complete the job on time and within budget.

Firestone Building Products In Prescott, AR

Located in Prescott, AR, used a significant investment to improve their ability to meet customer needs and add employees to ensure each job is completed on time, with the quality needed, and with products that will last. They can be found installing new residential and commercial roofs in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and the EMEA. By creating a culture of reliability, they have built a reputation based on performance and warranties that don’t disappoint. Firestone is also blazing the trails with eco-friendly construction materials to minimize its carbon footprint.

Baker Roofing – South Eastern U.S.

Since 1915 this company has grown into one of the largest roofing contractors in the USA and expanded outside the country, providing both commercial and residential roofing. Along with installation and repair, they offer a maintenance program to ensure your roof lasts and your home is protected. From 1915 to now, Baker Roofing has gradually become one of the nation’s largest and most respected roofing contractors. They have a team of professionals big enough to complement the prestigious reputation that they have built. Baker Roofing is a true example of an American-Made business built on hard work, honesty, and pride. Baker Roofing Company now has over 20 locations across the Southeast and performs work all across the U.S.

Nations Roof In Mobile, AL 

Over 15 years old and founded by roofing executives, they bring years of experience to provide high-quality products and services with a focus on safety. They offer both regular roofing services as well as emergency services and sustainable development. Since their inception, they have grown into a national success story. They have built their name upon a solid reputation that exceeds expectations and delivers incredible value while also delivering quality workmanship. Their top-of-the-line team of roofing contractors are supported by an office full of customer service-oriented individuals that are there to help you out every step of the way.
They are the solution to your roofing problems is Raliegh.

CentiMark Corporation In Pittsburgh, PA

Based in Pittsburgh, PA, there are offices throughout the USA, Canada, and Mexico. This makes them one of the largest companies in the roofing industry for all of North America. This allows them to offer the best quality products and services for a wide variety of roofing systems. Bigger isn’t always better, however, as their reviews indicate. Aside from the one-off reviews, they have a solid reputation as a quality group of roofing contractors in Pittsburgh.

Tecta America Corporation In Illinois 

One of the leading roofing companies in the U.S. offers a range of services and high-quality products for any project or lifestyle, including sustainable options. Headquartered in Illinois, they have 85 locations nationwide and have roofing contractors on staff to handle any job of any size. So depending on your market and your needs, this could be the one-stop solution you were looking for.

Rhoden Roofing In Wichita, KS

Located in Wichita and servicing the surrounding area, they offer a free estimate before booking your project and focus on quality craftsmanship in all their work. As well as professional roofing services, they provide a warranty of their work and materials and have received a readers choice award for nine years in a row. In addition, they have raving reviews from customers who genuinely have enjoyed their experience and are happy with their new roof.

Searching For a Roofing Contractor

There you have it, our top 10 list of roofing contractors in the U.S. This was a fun list for us to generate, as we read through Google reviews and navigated websites to learn about these great roofing companies. Social media is also a great place to learn more about these companies. We have included social links for easy navigation. Best of luck to you as you search for a new roofing contractor near you.

garden with live plants

The 10 Most Invasive Garden Pests

  1. Aphids

Aphids are small, pear-shaped, soft-bodied, and have piercing, sucking mouthparts. You will see them in dense clusters on the underside of leaves and new growth. Aphids suck out the juices from your plants, and large populations cause substantial damage. Look for stunted shoots, yellow leaves, and a large quantity of honeydew. This substance is exudated by aphids and often turns black due to a mold fungus with a sooty appearance. However, the damage is not uniform, and the symptoms include dieback of leaves, curled foliage, and off-color spots on leaves. Eliminating root aphids, while keeping your plants healthy is the primary objective. Make sure you choose an organic solution when treating root aphids, and all other types of invasive species.

2. Broad Mites

Adult mites are microscopic at about 0.2 mm in length, broad, oval, and yellow-green or pale green. The backs of the females have a white stripe. Broad mites secrete substances and suck plant cells from plants. They prefer developing young plant tissue such as flower buds, young leaves, and growing tips. To identify the damage, look for young leaves with dark brown edges at the base, an exemplary network of brown stripes forming on the leaves, corky brown patches on the main stems, leaf stalks, and collapsed spots on the leaves.

3. Leafhoppers

Leafhoppers are tiny, ranging in size from three to 15 mm. Their wings are directly above their backs like a roof. Both hind legs have small spines. The majority are green, but there are various colors, including the brownish coloration of leafhoppers living in turf-grass. Nymphs are tiny with small wing buds. They attack home gardens, including roses, potatoes, grapes, and apples, to feed on the sap in the leaves. Look for white leaves with stippled spots. Larger populations leave dark excrement on plants.

4. Mealybugs

Mealybugs are unarmored, scaled insects covered in a powdery white wax coating with needle-like mouths. Many species have projections extending from their bodies with the appearance of legs. When on a plant, they look like tiny cotton spots and form clusters. Look for them on stems and the underside of leaves on most outdoor plants such as shrubs and bushes. They suck juices from plants, often attracting ants due to the excretion of a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew. Look for wilted, yellowing leaves.

5. Plant Scale

Plant scales are extremely small insects attaching themselves to host plants to feed. They come in different sizes, shapes, and colors but usually appear as little round, brown lumps on the stems and leaves of plants. They can have hard or soft scales covering the body of the insect. Scales can be oyster-shaped, oval, or round. Look for sooty mold or the sugary honeydew produced while feeding. One of the most visible signs is a blackish mold. Different species feed off a variety of plants. The most common are shrubs, fruit trees, and magnolias.

6. Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a type of fungal disease found in a wide range of plants. As a result, there are numerous species, each preferring different plants. The most frequently affected plants include pumpkins, melons, tomatoes, roses, peas, and beans. Once the fungus has spread, look for a mildew layer containing many spores on the top of the leaves. These spores are carried to other plants by the wind and slow down growth. If left untreated, expect a decrease in both quality and yield.

7. Spider Mites

Spider mites are a type of arachnid and are related to scorpions, ticks, and spiders instead of actual insects. The adults are only 1/50th of an inch in length and oval with a pale or reddish-brown coloration. They live on the underside of leaves in colonies and suck plant fluids by piercing leaf tissue. Look for leaves with light dots. Leaves often become yellow, dry out, and fall off. With large populations, webbing is present on the leaves. Spider mites prefer strawberries, beans, ornamental flowers, melons, eggplant, houseplants, and trees. With marijuana dispensaries opening up all over the U.S., we are also finding that spider mites are attracted to cannabis plants. If you are growing, and notice your plants are under attack, consider an organic solution for combating spider mites on weed.

8. Russet Mites

Russet mites can only be seen without a minimum magnification of 10X when in clusters. Through a lens, they appear as translucent, tapered cylinders in a wedge shape with a yellow tint and just two pairs of legs. These insects suck sap from plants beginning at the bottom and moving upward to continue feeding. Look for curled and yellowed lower leaves, discolored stems, and drooping leaves. Both flowering and green growth become less vigorous. Russet mites prefer blossoms, flowers, and flower resins.

9. Thrips

Thrips are tiny insects with fringed or vestigial wings and asymmetrical mouthparts. The adults are rarely more than one-quarter of an inch in length. The most common adult colors are brown, black, or yellow. In the larval stage, thrips are green or yellow. They attack flower buds, leaf buds, and leaves. Look for silvering on the lower surface of the leaf, leaf loss, and blackened or deformed leaves. Thrips generally feed on the underside of leaves and new growth. Feeding results in crinkled leaves with an upward curl, stunted plants, excessive branching, and delayed growth.

10. Whiteflies

Whiteflies are winged insects with soft bodies and triangular shapes. Look for clusters of whiteflies on the underside of leaves. They suck up plant juices with piercing mouthparts and leave sticky honeydew behind. Honeydew can result in the formation of fungal diseases on leaves, including sooty mold. When they feed heavily, look for extremely weak plants incapable of photosynthesis. Leaves will begin to wilt and turn yellow or pale resulting in stunted growth. Eventually, leaves will wither and fall of the plant. If larvae are present, there will be small white ovals on the underside of leaves.


With so many plant pests just waiting to terrorize your garden, it’s important that you take proper measures to keep them at bay and away from your plant life. Consider natural pesticide control from companies like Trifecta Natural, or similar products to treat your plant life. Using organic solutions to manage your crops will ensure that you are managing and harvesting healthy consumables for you and your buyers.

Top 5 Best Ways To Unclog Your Drain

The 5 Best Ways To Unclog Your Drains On A Budget

kitchen sink clogged in Toronto

Drains clog, and it usually sucks when they do. There is never a good time to have your plumbing back up and cause a stink. Drains clog for many reasons, hair, foreign objects, grease, and natural causes like root systems. Yes, tree roots can grow into your pipes and cause them to clog up, especially if items are going down the drain and toilet that shouldn’t be. Most of the time drains can be unclogged with some elbow grease and a few household items. Other times you may need to call upon a local plumber to come and clean your pipes for you. If the clog is located deep enough in the pipeline then you may require an industrial snake to get deep enough to loosen up the debris and pull it out. There are great websites out there like Advanced Plumbing in Toronto that can be great resources for finding plumbing solutions, and finding plumbers if needed. If you don’t have a local plumber that you can call upon, then you can take these 5 simple tips for unclogging drains and do your best plumbers impression. Good luck!


  1. The Hanger

Depending on the depth of the clog, an old wire hanger stretched out should give you enough reach to get ahold of hair clogs and foreign debris that might be logged just out of reach of your fingers. A hanger can operate like a snake, once you run it down the pipe you can twist it so that it scrapes and collects the debris or objects that are causing the drain to clog. If you bend the end of the hanger like. Fish hook before feeding it down the drain pipe, you will increase your chances of catching something in there, especially hair. The hanger isn’t as effective in the toilet bowls as it is in sink and shower drains. I do remember a time though that I recovered a pair of eyeglasses from the toilet using a coat hanger.  

  1. Boiling Hot Water and Dish Soap

Boiling hot water is great for so many things and unclogging drains is one of them. You can try it first without dish soap, but I always just pour it in first and let it sit for a few minutes. Soap and hot water are great for loosening up grease and grime, it can also act as a lubricant and help lodged objects that are stuck slide through. I usually use something like Dawn dish soap, pour about a quarter to a half cup down the drain and let it seep into the nooks and crannies needed to get things to move. Next, take some boiling hot water and start slowly pouring it into the drain, add a little, wait a minute, add a little, wait, rinse and repeat. Again, this is not something that is going to be effective for unclogging the toilet, but is great for sink and shower drains.

  1. Drain Snake

This is more than just a household item, you are going to need to make a trip to the local Home Depot and drain snake operator in torontopurchase yourself one of these, and that is the only reason it is third to the first two. A drain snake has a much further reach than a hanger and is typically designed to twist and turn as it snakes through the pipe. Most snakes have a claw-like extension that claw and grab at hair and debris in the pipes as you fish them through. Some snakes are operated manually, while others are machine operated. I am a huge fan of snakes and have a few on hand at all times. Mine are all manually operated, one day I may upgrade to a motorized plumbing snake. Hopefully, I never clog a toilet so bad that I need a motorized snake to shake things up.

  1. Draino Max Gel

I’m a fan of all their products, I have unclogged some nasty backups in the shower before with Draino. This makes the list at 4 because it’s not a common household item, otherwise, it’s the first thing I reach for if I know the pipes are clogged from hair and debris. Draino Max Gel is not something you use if there is a foreign object lodged in the pipe, nor is it used much in toilets. Draino is great for kitchen sinks that have grease and debris clogging up the pipes, it’s also good for bathroom sinks, and the hair clogs that typically happen in them. Pouring a bottle of Draino down the pipe and letting it sit for 15 minutes is a great way to get an idea of what you are dealing with. Small time clogs that have hair or grease building up will almost always be resolved with some liquid Draino, if the bottle doesn’t clear the clog, time to get a snake or hire a plumber.

  1. Baking Soda and Salt

unclogging drain in torontoThese are ingredients most of us have in our homes, and while it would make sense to rank it above Draino because of availability, it just hasn’t been as effective for me with my clogs. This is an effective unclogging method for new clogs. Maybe you gave the dog a bath, or maybe someone in the house shaved in the sink, or maybe someone dumped some bacon grease down the kitchen sink and didn’t run hot water with it. There could be many reasons like these that a drain could clog, having an accessible resource like baking soda, salt, and hot water available to address these issues promptly is a great start and can also be used as a preventative measure. The concoction is also pretty harmless, so there isn’t concerns about skin contact.

Top 10 Ways To Prevent A Home Invasion

Top 10 Ways To Prevent A Home Invasion


  1. Surveillance Cameras

install security cameras

Home security cameras have proven to be valuable time and time again. You should install one in the front yard, one in the backyard, and a few inside the home. Packages are fairly cheap these days and getting your hands on an 8 camera surveillance system won’t break the bank. These cameras can record to a computer in the home, or stream to the cloud where the footage remains safe from harm. The last thing you want to do is capture a crook in the act, only to have them steal the computer that recorded them. Not everyone has the budget or technical ability to purchase and set up a home surveillance system, but you can always purchase “dummy cameras” as a deterrent for prowling criminals. These cameras can be set up around the exterior of the home, most take batteries and will display a red LED light indicating the device is powered and recording. This gives the look and feel that the home is under video surveillance and should keep any would be home invasion criminals thinking twice about entering the property. Local cable and network companies are also offering installation and monitoring services in addition to their phone, internet, and alarm packages. Sometimes it’s easier to just let someone else install and monitor the cameras for you.


  1. Dog

pitbull for home protection

I have pretty much always had a dog, and I’m not sure I will ever be without one. There are too many amazing reasons to make mans best friend a permanent part of the family home life. The dogs I have had are not little lap dogs, although those can be very effective at making enough noise to make a criminal walk away, they won’t be enough to stop a determined criminal from invading your home. Big dogs are worth their weight in gold, and I have witnessed first hand the power they have when it comes to the protection they have over their family. They will absolutely throw themselves in harm’s way to protect you and your children. Without a doubt the best guard dog I have owned was a Red Nose Pitbull. I know Pits get a bad rap, but they are the biggest loving family dogs I have ever been around. They are like any other living creature, if you subject them to abuse and fighting then they become a product of their environment. If you raise one as a puppy to love and nurture family and other dogs they are the best in the world. I understand that not everyone wants to buy a dog, maybe they are allergic, don’t have the yard, or just can’t afford to feed one. I would still recommend that you buy a large food bowl and even a dog bed and leave it near the back door. You can even set it up inside near a window so that it is visible to criminals peeping through your windows. Don’t forget a “Beware Of Dog Sign” on the gate of your yard. I have two dogs, in the evenings I bring one in the house and leave the other in the backyard. This gives me a set of eyes and ears on any front entrance while protecting the exterior of the backyard and any entry points there. Both dogs here everything out front and will bark simultaneously if they here any foot traffic in front of the home. This is definitely a deterrent for anyone considering a home invasion!   


  1. Motion Lighting System

motion lighting front yard

Motion lights should be considered by any homeowner looking to protect their land and their families. Motion lighting systems work for you at all hours of the night will surely make a home invasion specialist think twice about entering your property. Motion lights can also tip off a sleeping dog, neighbors dog, or a dog that might be hard of hearing. Depending on where the light is located in conjunction with your bedroom window, it may even alert you to a possible home invasion. These lighting systems can also be synched up to your home surveillance systems and can trigger alarms and cameras. Cameras can be set to record whenever the motion light is activated. These lighting systems are not only great for protecting you from home invasions, they are also great for protecting you in general. Every time you come and go in the evenings, take out the trash, get the paper in the mornings, or go for an evening walk your motion lighting system will light the way for you. This will give you added security and provide you with a well-lit path as you travel to and from your home.


  1. Alarm System

installing alarm warnings

Without a doubt, I am a huge fan of these. Alarms can work around the clock for you and provide you the security you need when you are home and when you are away. Having an alarm sign or sticker in the front yard to indicate the home is monitored by an alarm system is a definite bonus. No criminal wants to deal with that. Alarm systems can be set when you are gone, and when you are home. They can be customized to only go off when a door opens, or if there is motion inside the home. Windows can be equipped with alarm sensors, as well as all the doors in the home including the garage doors. Alarm panels should be placed where criminals can’t see if they are armed or disarmed. A secondary alarm panel should be installed in the master bedroom for easy access to enable or disable the alarm system. Many systems have “dummy codes” that can be programmed to disable the alarm system and notify the police at the same time. This is valuable if a home invasion begins before you enter your home. If the criminal is waiting out front for you to return, engages you before you open the front door, then demands you disable the alarm, you can disable the alarm with a code that will also notify the local police at the same time. Make sure you have this feature setup and available for your safety.


  1. Door Brace

break in prevention

There are many home invasions that happen when criminals decide to kick in the door of the home. This could be a front entry, side garage door, or rear entry. You can reinforce the door jamb with metal door braces that will prevent them from being kicked in. You can also add a door brace to the top of the door and the bottom of the door. Metal reinforced brackets that have been anchored into the foundation or into ceiling struts and provide enough reinforcement to prevent a brute force break-in. Your doors themselves can also be upgraded to a heavier duty door that can withstand the force of a violent intruder.


  1. Quality Locks

extra strong deadbolt

Upgrade the door latches and deadbolts on your door to something that can’t be picked, kicked, or smashed in. Often times with the higher quality, heavy duty deadbolt systems, they will also come with improved metal sleeves for the locking mechanism to slide into. These will also hold up better to brute force and provide real reinforcement when it matters most. Multiple locks will provide that much more security if you feel you are vulnerable to a home invasion or live in an area that would warrant that type of security then, by all means, add extra locks.


  1. Security Screen / Window Bars

heavy metal screen doors

Security screen doors are a great first line of defense at the entry points. These heavy metal screen doors are mounted on heavy metal frames that can be extremely difficult to break through. If there was a home invasion attempt and a criminal was trying to pry through a security screen door it would give you ample time to set the alarm off, call the police, and grab a home defense weapon. There isn’t a criminal on the planet that wants to deal with security screens, these people are too lazy to work for the things they want, so they steal your property instead. They are typically not that willing to go through the hard work it would take to get through a security door. Lazy people like lazy options and a security screen door is not that. Bars on the windows are not attractive, but they provide ample security if you live in an area that is subject to criminal activity. 


  1. Home Defense Weapon

home defense weapon

I am a big believer in HD weaponry. You never know what violent criminal might show up at your front door looking to take what you worked hard to earn, and possibly taking your life doing it. Home Defense weapons are typically referred to the primary firearm or weapon you would use to protect your home and family from a violent intruder. I have hidden easy access safes located throughout my home that have firearms in them that can be accessed in under 5 seconds. This means if for some reason I am totally caught off guard while in the laundry room washing a load of laundry, I can still access a weapon that is capable of protecting me and my family. Many of these easy access safe units have combination codes on them, while others can be programmed to accept a fingerprint. I highly recommend equipping these firearms with tased pointers and mini mag lights. If you were to draw one and shine that down your hallway, there is a good chance that it would cause the invader to retreat without a shot being fired. There is something very intimidating about a laser light and mag light being shined in your face, even criminals are scared of that. The other thing to consider is the caliber of the HD. I am a fan of heavy rounds that will provide maximum protection. If the home invasion is taking place while the criminal is high on crystal meth, a 9mm round may not be enough to stop him initially. Using a heavy round like a .40 or .45 will provide enough force to knock a criminal under the influence back and hopefully down for the count. Having a handgun is very convenient but not always ideal when it comes to aiming the weapon in a critical situation. Fear, anxiety, and adrenaline can all impact your ability to aim properly and become effective with your shot. Therefore, I highly recommend shotguns for primary HD purposes. This is the HD weapon you grab when you have time to run from the kitchen to your bedroom. Depending on what you are comfortable shooting, this could be a 12 Gage or a 20 Gage shotgun. There are a few HD shotguns on the market right now that are absolute beasts. You can alternate your loads between birdshot and slugs to give you more versatility when engaging. Birdshot is going to spread and cover a massive area, almost guaranteeing that you will hit your target with something, you can follow that shot with a slug if needed to eliminate the threat of it still exists. Bird shot may slow down the criminal, but it will be the slug that stops him. You can check out the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590 Shockwave as legal options for home defense. Both of these come with pistol grips and can easily be handled in tight quarters.


  1. Safe Room

above ground storm shelter

Ever seen that movie Panic Room with Jodie Foster? That is a very scary reality and could happen to anyone. Most of us don’t have the real estate or money to invest in a Panic Room like the one featured in that movie, but that doesn’t mean that there are not options available to you. There are above ground and below ground storm shelters that are literally bulletproof that can be used as panic rooms in the event, there is a home invasion. Usually, in areas where tornadoes are active, these shelters are installed in the garage where they can be accessed from the interior during an emergency. They can be installed above ground, bolted to the foundation in the garage, and accessed from a heavy duty door with an internal locking mechanism. The below ground shelter is also typically installed in the garage but is common to be found outdoors also if the land allows for it. If you can access your outdoor shelter during a home invasion then you might as well run to a neighbors house if you are not being chased. The problem with these shelters is typically that the location of them may be difficult to reach during an invasion. My garage is located at the other end of the home, and all entry points are between my master bedroom and the garage. A safe room in my garage wouldn’t be as valuable as it would be in the home of someone whose master bedroom sits across from the garage door. The above ground storm shelters can also double as walk-in safes when they aren’t being used as a panic room. They are typically large enough to store survival supplies, guns, money, and other valuables. Depending on the size of the shelter, they can typically hold 4-6 people.


  1. Learn A Self Defense System

learn self defense

Sometimes a home invasion is a perfectly planned crime. They have cased your home for weeks, possibly even months and know when the vulnerable times to strike are. If they are not looking to harm you or your family, hopefully, they strike when nobody is home. If they have other intentions besides theft, like killing someone, rape, or kidnapping, they may decide to strike while you are home. In an ideal situation, all of your preventative efforts will buy you enough time to respond accordingly. This could be grabbing your HD weapon, getting your dogs indoors, calling the police, or locking yourself inside your storm shelter. But what if the timing was absolutely perfect? What if the alarm was disabled, the dog was pooping in the back corner of the yard, a gun was not accessible before the criminal reached you, and they were not deterred by the lights and cameras? What if? What then? There was a home invasion that happened out on the East Coast a few years back where a Doctor’s wife and daughters were raped and killed and he survived the ordeal. The criminals were caught, but the family was dead and the home was basically burned down as the criminals set fire to it. My thinking is that if they have made it into my home with me there, they are willing to kill me to get what they want, otherwise they would have waited until the home was empty. In this scenario, this very scary scenario, I believe you need to have a game plan in place that you can execute before they execute you. I am a fan of combat sports, always have been. Anyone that stays in shape is going to be better off than an overweight middle aged man or woman. Young people should learn martial arts, parents should enroll their kids in some form of combat training. Karate, Kick Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, Kung Fu, anything that involves combative survival training that an individual could use in a time of crisis is going to drastically increase your chances of survival. Men and women of law enforcement and military all train in this for a reason, it works! Learning how to disarm a criminal with a knife or hand gun, how to escape a choke hold or fight from your back light they do in jiu-jitsu will give you and your family an advantage that most criminals don’t anticipate encountering. Going up against a well trained martial artist can be a shock to anyone that has ever encountered one. This training will get you into the shape of your life and equip you with life-saving combat skills that you may need one day on the streets or during a home invasion.


Sometimes terrible things happen to amazing people, and criminals can strike at any time. By preparing your home and family for a home invasion your odds of dying at the hands of an intruder decrease substantially. These preventative measures listed in this article are simply suggestions to help you avoid that scenario and should not be considered as absolute. By taking action before the crisis occurs, you can potentially defer a criminal from acting on bad intentions. These 10 steps listed above should be considered by everyone with a home and family. In an ideal situation, you should lock you and your family in a room or storm shelter and call 911. Let the police handle the dangerous criminals for you, keep your family safe and protected. However, if that is not an option then use whatever force is necessary to stop the threat.


Top 10 Kitchen Countertop Surfaces

Our Top 10 List of Natural and Fabricated Kitchen Countertop Materials

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Between the appliances, backsplashes, lighting fixtures, cabinets, and countertops you can definitely find yourself overwhelmed by the options available to you. While we are not experts on appliances and cabinetry, we do have some insider opinions on countertops. From granite counters to concrete counters, there is something for every home and every budget. Here are our top 10 kitchen countertop materials that our interior design contacts have shared with us as the best surface materials for any kitchen.

#1 Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are highly sought out by homeowners around the country, they have complex color schemes, intricate designs, and natural beauty. Granite counters add a look of sophistication to any kitchen and often times become the focal point of the dining area. Granite is not cheap, but it is nearly indestructible and the investment could literally last a lifetime. Price ranges differ drastically depending on the style of stone and where it was imported from. Because of its popularity and availability, the price of Granite has actually come down in recent years.

granite kitchen counters

You can shop for granite at your local natural stone showroom, or call a countertop installation contractor for pricing. It is often times cheaper to go through a contractor that buys granite slabs in bulk and is able to cut it down for you as opposed to buying a slab yourself and trying to cut and install it. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about granite countertops and the installation process here at https://granitekarma.com/.

#2 Wood Block Countertops

While this countertop may not be as popular as the others on this list, we have become fans of these versatile countertops and continue to see more of them in homes and in vacation properties. The wood block countertops have their pros and cons, as with a cutting board they can warp if not treated properly, hot pans will leave burn marks, knives will cut into them, and they can stain from wines and fruits. So why did wood block countertops make the top of our top 10 list? There is an appeal to them that we don’t see in any other countertops on the market. They give a home a very warm feeling that could be compared to country living. While they may not be ideal for every home, these countertops definitely have their place in the world.

butcher block counters

Wood countertops come in a variety of woods and colors and can be treated and stained to the eyes desire. The biggest benefit of wood countertops is that they can be re-sanded and sealed when the surface or finish become worn and blemished. The biggest issue we have with the wooden surface is that it stains and scuffs easily. Any deep scratches need to be re-sealed to prevent liquids from penetrating the surface. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about wood block countertops and the installation process here at https://allikriste.com/butcher-block-countertops-tampa.html.

#3 Stainless Steel Countertops

It might be my background in the culinary industry that has me placing stainless steel so high on the list here. There are many things I like about the countertop surface and many things I don’t. The industrial look it brings to a kitchen offers a very modern look and pairs great with stainless steel appliances. The countertops are easy to clean and are virtually bulletproof. They are a little pricey but would be fairly easy to replace if needed. The problem I do have with them is like with any stainless steel surface they scratch and scuff very easy. Scratches are noticeable and buffing them out is not an option that I am aware of. They don’t stain easily and do not need to be sealed or treated to maintain them.

stainless steel counters

Stainless steel countertops are also a great option for outdoor BBQ pits. The surfaces are extremely durable in an outdoor or industrial environment and can be cleaned with just about any chemical on the market. These countertops made our top 10 list because of durability, affordability, industrial appeal, and ease of replacement. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about steel countertops and the installation process here at https://www.riversidesheetmetal.net/counter-tops/stainless-steel/.

#4 Solid Surface Countertops

These countertops are awesome for many reasons, they are affordable, easy to repair, and they come in all sorts of color and pattern options. These fabricated solid surfaces can be easily customized and installed to fit your floor plan. They are very resistant to staining and can hold up to most chemical cleaning solutions. The installation process is pretty quick, measurements are made one day and the following week they are fabricated and ready for install.

solid surface counters

Solid surface countertops can become damaged from hot pots or pans. They are not something to cut on as I have seen good kitchen knives leave permanent markings on the surface. They are becoming more popular because the prices can range from affordable to very expensive. The broad range of patterns and color options also make them attractive options for designers looking for color flakes that don’t show up in natural stone and wood countertop surfaces. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about solid surface countertops and the installation process here at http://www.macadamfloors.com/solid-surface-slab/.

#5 Soapstone Countertops

These solid surface countertops are typically dark in color and the surface feels smooth to the touch. You will see these in older homes as countertop surfaces but also installed in the sinks. They are pretty resistant to staining, have great rich color options, are smooth to the touch, and are durable enough to last a long time in your kitchen.

kitchen counter made from soapstone.

These soapstone countertops require regular maintenance, they need to be oiled often with mineral oil and can suffer from cracking over time. The color of the soapstone has been known to darken after years of exposure to the elements of the kitchen. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about soapstone countertops and the installation process here at https://doradosoapstone.com/.

#6 Laminate Countertops

While not my favorite countertop by a longshot, I gave it the number 6 position in our top 10 countertop materials list because of affordability and options. I wouldn’t install laminate countertops in my home, I had them as a kid and never cared for them. They are cheap to make and come in just about every color you can imagine. The surfaces are easy to clean and stand up to most chemical cleaning solutions and everyday activity.

laminate counters

What I don’t like about these surfaces has to do with the front edges and repair options. The front edges always seemed to peel back and honestly gave it a cheap appearance. Something you find at a table in an old fast food franchise. The edging can be pricey, but in comparison to some of the other countertop options, it’s still a cheaper option. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about laminate countertops and the installation process here at https://www.tshopinc.com/denver-laminate-countertops/.

#7 Concrete Countertops

These are cool and offer an industrial look and feel that can’t be beaten. The pricing can be beaten though and that’s a big reason why it made number 7 on our list. If you have a very custom countertop surface that needs to be shaped to the existing architecture and other natural or fabricated surfaces can’t be cut to the dimensions needed, concrete stone countertops offer you the flexibility to pour and shape to any custom design you have.

concrete poured to form countertop

This can be a pricey option that may detour most people from investing in the stone surface. Because of the cost of labor, these prices exceed most of the cheaper options available. They are resistant to hot pans, knife blades, don’t scuff easily, extremely durable, and have a very industrial look and feel to them. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about concrete countertops and the installation process here at https://www.customcretewerks.com/.

#8 Ceramic Tile Countertops

Not a huge fan of ceramic had a kitchen sink that was ceramic and it chipped often. I hear the same goes for the countertop surfaces. It’s a pretty affordable option and fits most home kitchen designs. Installation is fairly simple and can be done by the DIY homeowner. The tiles are easy to clean and hold up to most kitchen wear and tear.

ceramic tile counters

This is a decent option for most homeowners looking for an affordable solution for their kitchen counters. Things to consider with tile countertops are the grout lines. Anytime you have grout lines on a surface that is designed to prepare food you have the potential for staining and bacteria growth. The grout lines can absorb liquids and become resting spots for germs and mold. Purchasing custom tiles can increase the cost of the tile. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about ceramic tile countertops and the installation process here at https://www.thetileguywy.com/.

#9 Engineered Stone Countertops

Engineered stone countertops offer all the beauty of natural stone with man-made benefits. They are scratch resistant, have a nonporous surface, and are fairly easy to maintain. They do not need to be sealed like the natural stone surfaces do. They come in many colors and are very attractive alternatives to natural stone surfaces.

engineered stone

While these countertops are easier to maintain because they do not need to be sealed and cared for like the natural stone surfaces do, they come at a price point that may not be appealing to most homeowners. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about engineered stone countertops and the installation process here at https://multistoneinc.com/engineered-stone/.

#10 Marble Countertops

Marble doesn’t deserve to be at the bottom of any top 10 list. These are some of the most sought-after natural stone surfaces in the world and it just made number 10 on my list of countertops surfaces. My reasoning behind this has less to do with the quality of the surface and more to do with the price and awareness. First, it’s expensive. Second, everyone knows about marble countertops, if they wanted to purchase marble they wouldn’t be here looking for alternate solutions for their kitchen. So why put it at the top of a list for people searching for countertop options?

marble counters

Marble is beautiful and highly regarded as the most precious of the natural stone surfaces. It’s expensive, requires constant maintenance, and it becomes stained easily. If it were not for the price and the maintenance required to keep the surface protected it would have made top 5 on this list. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about marble countertops and the installation process here at https://majesticmarbletile.com/.

Keep bugs off your kitchen counters with these pest control tips.

15 Pest Control Tips For Your Home

Our Top 15 Pest Control Tips For Your Home

pest controlWhen it comes to pest control there are hundreds of over the counter options, local pest control companies, and everyday cleanups that can be performed to not only prevent infestations but to terminate them. While we try to as economical as possible, and environmentally friendly as we can, sometimes it can take a nuclear war to properly terminate hard to kill pets like Cockroaches. This is our highly anticipated list of pest control options for homeowners. By taking baby steps, cleaning up, and consistently caring for your property you can rest assured that your insect and rodent problems will be a thing of the past. If you neglect the property, then like anything else it will suffer. These 15 pest control tips when followed through on provide homeowners an amazing foundation to work from. If the problem is already out of control, you may want to refer to a pest control company that has the staff, equipment, chemicals, and knowledge needed to eliminate nesting and infestation problems that already exist. If your problem is in the beginning stages, or you were wanting to prevent a problem from evolving in the first place. These 15 tips were shared with us by Phoenix pest control company Green Home Pest and are meant to be foundational guidelines that can be followed by all homeowners across the country. 

Before diving into these 15 tips, you need to understand that these are general suggestions and applications that may not necessarily be applicable to your specific problem. Take these tips as the resources they were meant to be and apply them where you see fit. Many suggestions here are basic cleaning solutions that most homeowners may already be doing, while other methods will require chemicals and treatment tools to properly apply the chemicals to the property.

Insects and rodents are pretty simple creatures, when they intrude on a property it is typically for food and shelter. Understanding this basic need makes it easier to prevent them from entering your property or taking up residence in your yard. We know that if they are searching for food and it is not available that they will move on. If they are searching for shelter and there is not a way to enter the home, they will move on. Rodents can find shelter in sheds, junk, and miscellaneous items in the yard. If you keep your property free of this clutter they will move on to the next property where they will continue their search for food and shelter. Use these 50 pest control tips to keep your property clean and pest free.

  1. Sweep And Mop

This may sound silly, but if you look at it from the ground level it makes complete sense. Insects and rodents are attracted to crumb trails and sugary spills. sweep food from floor oftenBy keeping your property free of food and sugary substances you can avoid attracting ants and cockroaches who are constantly on the ground level searching for a treat. Ants and cockroaches can find their way into a home through the tiniest cracks and crevasses. These are often times the hardest insects to get rid of, but you can avoid them altogether by keeping the floors free of food and garbage. The applies to the exterior of the home also. Keeping the ground clear around your trash cans and the back patio where you may gather and grill is extremely important. Food scraps attract rodents and insects. Birds can also become a problem as they scavenge your property for scraps, bird poop can get extremely messy and cleaning it up is no fun, so prevent the problem from happening with cleanliness, to begin with.

  1. Seal Everything

Another one that may seem obvious, but not everyone acts on. Check your doors and windows to make sure the weather stripping isn’t dried out and cracking. It may go unnoticed in doors and windows that are rarely used but it can make a huge difference. Stripping the garage doors and outside facing doors can keep the smallest critters out of your home where they belong. Check walls and door frames for cracking and splits that can be penetrated. Dryer vents and chimney stacks can be blocked off with steel mesh to prevent larger rodents from entering through those openings and nesting.

  1. Diversify Your Plant Portfolio

If all you have in your yard is grass and rocks you may be vulnerable to infestations from specific species. What happens is there may be an attraction to a certain grass or plant that occupies the majority of your yard. There are a few problems here. An abundance of a single plant life that attracts one type of bug can lead to an infestation. The other problem is that there may not be any natural predators drawn to your yard to combat these insects. By diversifying your plant portfolio, you will be naturally attracting all sorts of insects that will gather and keep things balanced naturally. Many insects feed on others, finding out which plants attract the predators of your pests will allow you to plant in a way that prepares the yard for a natural form of pest control.

  1. Cedar Oil

Cedar oil is a great natural insect repellent that can be used in the yard without concerns of poisoning your pets. Cedar oil is a safe organic option that will not only repel bugs, but it will also coat any eggs that are attached to your plants and prevent them from hatching. Using a bug spray application tool, you can mix some cedar oil with a little bit of water and spray throughout your yard. It’s great to use on the lawn, on flowers, and in shrubs. Cedar oil is cheap enough that you can spray daily and not break the bank. You can find cedar oil online or at any local pet supply store or feed store.


  1. Hire Professionals To Treat Termites

I don’t think it’s worth the risk to try and do it yourself. If you find signs that termites have invaded your property, hire a professional immediately to treat the property and prevent the infestation from causing permanent damage to your trees and home. Many times when a homeowner notices termites have infested their home it is too late, preventative pest control is highly advised for these destructive little creatures. Other insects are a nuisance, but these can cause terrible damage to the framework of your home. If you even think for a moment that you might have termites, spend the money to have the problem treated properly.

  1. Clean Up The Clutter

Clutter in the garage, clutter in the yard, clutter in the home. Pests like to nest and find shelter among the clutter. It’s convenient to stack boxes in the garage, old bins on the side of the house, yard equipment, and random unused junk around the home. These concentrated pockets of junk provide great dwelling places for rodents and insects. Larger forms of clutter like cars and trailers can provide shelter and become breeding grounds for rats and wild cats.

  1. Keep Your Grass And Plants Cut

cut back overgrown bushes and treesOvergrown trees and grass provide hiding spots and feeding grounds for many pests in your yards. Overgrown grass can hide cockroaches, fleas, ticks, and rodents can hide in the overgrown brush. Trees that overhang can cause all sorts of problems. Trees overhanging the home can invite roof rats and termites can use these overhanging branches as bridges to your property. Trim your trees, cut your grass, and dispose of the clippings properly. Don’t stack tree branches and yard debris, they become nests and resting places for insects and rodents.

  1. Solar Pest Control Is An Option

Solar energy is an option for anyone with existing solar panels. You can power vibrating stakes in the ground with solar power to deter them. This is an effective method for anything that burrows underground like ants, moles, groundhogs, and rodents that burrow like that. Snakes and scorpions can also go underground to find shelter. Solar stakes are a great option to prevent ground dwellers from nesting and they don’t pose an electrical threat to the yard. If your home is solar powered you can benefit from this eco friendly pest control option. 


  1. Don’t Overfeed Your Plants

Plant foods nourish annual and perennial plant life. Overfeeding these yard plants can also provide an abundance of food for insects that are drawn to the plant food. Limiting the amount of plant food you apply to the plants in your yard will also reduce the chances of the plants from overgrowing. Overgrown plants and bushes will invite an abundance of insects that thrive off the plant. Don’t overfeed.

  1. Pack With Plastics When Traveling

If you travel often, or even on occasion you should use plastics to seal your clothes and belongings within your bags and suitcase. Staying in hotels can expose you to unwelcoming guests like bed bugs, fleas, and mites. By sealing your belongings in plastic bags you can limit the possibility of invasive pests from catching a ride home in your luggage. Pack with plastics to keep pests out.

  1. Cap Off Your Chimney

For those of you fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home, you will benefit from capping the chimney off. The chimney is the single largest opening to your home and it can be an easy entry point for many flying pests and roof roaming rodents. Birds, bats, squirrels, roof rats, raccoons, possums, and insects can all enter the home through the chimney. This might not be an issue during the winter when the fireplace is blazing, but in the summer when it’s not in use it can become a tunnel into your home. Cap off your chimney to keep the unwanted company out of your home.

cap off the chimney with mesh

  1. Keep Flies And Mosquitos Out

Flies are drawn to smell if you keep your garbage cans empty and food off the counters you can limit the attraction they may have to your interior. Fruit flies are drawn to fermented fruits and vinegar. If you keep your fruits in the refrigerator until they are ready to eat you can limit the attraction and starve the breeding grounds fruit flies seek out. Mosquitos can creep in through cracked windows, torn screens, and open doors. Keep windows and doors without screens closed during the summer months. Fix torn screens and install screen doors where possible. Install a bug zapper outside of main entry points to zap wondering flies and mosquitoes. Mosquitos can transfer viruses that can be hazardous to ones health. Make sure you eliminate them when you can.

Top 5 Mosquito repellants On The Market

Picaridin Insect Repellent

Repel Scented Family

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

Natrapel 8 Hour Repellent

Deep Woods OFF!

  1. Embrace The Ladybug

Ladybugs bring a lot of value to the yard. They eat aphids and can help fruit plants like tomatoes survive the aphid infestation during the growth stages. If there aren’t a natural population of ladybugs in your garden you can order them online or pick them up at a local gardening shop. Once released into your garden they will help you combat other infestations that are more damaging to your garden.


  1. Declutter Your Gutter

Gutters are a must for homeowners in stated that experience heavy rainfall. There are gutter screens that can protect the gutters from fallen debris, for gutters that don’t have protective screens you will need to clean them out regularly to prevent clogged gutters. Clogged gutters will prevent water from draining and can harbor mosquito colonies and become a single cause of mosquito infestations. As the rainy season passes and the gutters continue to contain dirt, pine needles, and leaves they will become breeding grounds for spiders and other creepy crawlers. The brown recluse spider can be found hiding in these conditions. Keep your gutters clean, prevent standing water, and keep them free of debris that will house unwanted insects.

  1. Glue Traps

I have mixed feelings about glue traps. For rodents like mice and rats, I prefer traditional spring loaded, neck breaking traps. Limit the suffering of the rodent by making its death immediate. For those of you battling roaches, crickets, ants, and other insects that roam your floors consider glue traps. Glue traps and sticky paper can be lined along the baseboards to prevent the creepy crawlers from roaming the rooms in your home. If you have children keep the traps hidden in a place where they can’t be tampered with.

These 15 tips for pest control should give homeowners the information they need to limit the opportunities pests have to invade their yards and homes. These are simple steps that can be highly effective if done properly and consistently. If you are a homeowner and your problems are beyond control, and the infestations require professional attention then consider hiring a professional pest control company in your area. Do your due diligence, read reviews, ask questions, and get to know your local pest control experts before hiring them.