How to Utilize Grout Sealer on Porcelain Tile

While porcelain tiles are nonabsorbent and fairly stain resistant, the grout which encircles the tiles isn’t. Grout is a porous, cement based product which may absorb water, and therefore stains, even if not sealed from them. After grout has dried and cured for at least 72 hours after installation, it may be sealed using a clear, impregnating sealer which will help impede staining and give you more time to clean up spills. Seal your grout no matter how old it is to help prevent new stains from forming.

Sweep the floor to get rid of any dust or debris from the grout. If the grout is old, clean it well with a grout cleaner and scrub brush to remove any surface dirt which could be sealed into the grout. Let the grout dry completely.

Carefully paint the sealer onto the grout using a paintbrush. Be careful to only saturate the grout using the sealer, not the porcelain tiles. If some sealer does get on the porcelain, wipe it away immediately with a soft fabric.

Let the sealer penetrate the grout for about 10 minutes. If this is the first time you have sealed the grout, apply another coat of sealer at the moment. When the second coat has penetrated, wipe away the excess grout using a lint-free fabric. Continue buffing the grout along with the tiles until they feel dry and not tacky to the touch. The sealer will heal within 24 hours; avoid washing the tiles till that time has passed.

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Tips on Resealing a Deck

Your deck provides a dry and comfy location for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. With proper maintenance, a wood deck will endure for decades without cracking or deteriorating. Sealant plays a large part in shielding the deck from sunlight, moisture and mildew damage. Resealing your deck correctly will ensure that it looks its very best.

Stripping and Cleaning

To reseal a deck coated with a sealant product, you must get rid of any leftover sealant and thoroughly clean out the wood before applying a new coat. Chemical strippers and cleaners work much better than mechanical processes like sanding or usage of steel wool for eliminating both old sealant and grime because they won’t gouge the wood or leave metal residue that cause rust stripes. Should you use a pressure sprayer to remove tough dirt or leaf stains, then keep the water moving, and use a cleaner in precisely the exact same time to reduce damage to the wood.

Weather Conditions

The sealant will not dry correctly if temperatures are too low. Any temperate weeks when temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit work well for sealing your deck. Implementing a sealant in chilly weather slows down the drying process, allowing any debris or dust which falls on the deck to stick in the sealant. Rain and snow also ruin the sealing process and will require you to start over from scratch. Early fall is an excellent time for resealing in most areas, but you ought to hang a tarp to keep falling leaves off until the deck dries.

Reseal Early

When you see fractures or lightening on the surface of your deck, damage has already been done, and resealing will only stop additional harm. Reseal your deck onto a yearly basis unless you decide on a product using a multiple-year warranty. The highest-quality deck sealants do not last over a year in ponds with near constant rain. Test the deck by massaging it with water. If the water beads up and does not soak into the wood within a couple of minutes, your deck is still correctly sealed.

Pick the Right Product

Most deck sealing products use oils for a base because the wood of your deck absorbs oil easily. However, these oils also encourage mold and mildew growth by feeding them. Oil-based sealants do not protect the wood from UV (ultraviolet) harm which turns most forests gray after a couple of years. Clear sheeting deck sealers cost more and require you to clean out the deck well prior to application, but the extra benefits they offer outweigh those issues for homeowners who want to keep the pure colour of their deck.

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How Can Old Wood Be Prepared Before Painting?

Old wood might have layers of paint or varnish you will need to remove before you can paint. Should you leave these layers independently and simply paint them over, you will get uneven surfaces. Appropriate preparation before painting old wood makes it possible to achieve professional results from a do-it-yourself project.


Old wood might have areas where the paint has peeled off the surface. To prevent the loose paint from inducing new paint to flake, you need to use a hook scraper, putty knife or sanding instrument to remove the loose paint. When the old wood surface is coated with several layers of varnish and paint and you’d rather remove all of them, you can scrape the layers down to bare wood.


The old wood may have holes, gaps or deep scratches from the many years of use. You can hide these imperfections so they don’t show once you complete painting. Wood epoxy fills any depressions in exterior and interior timber to raise them to the degree of the rest of the surface. Employ as much timber epoxy as necessary to increase the depressions slightly higher than the remainder of the surface to permit for sanding.

Sanding and Cleaning

Sanding supplies a surface that is even enough to look great after painting and rough enough for new paint to adhere to it. Sand the old wood until the end seems dull. Sanding creates dust, which might make it hard for new paint to stick. Therefore, you should wash out the old wood surface with a mixture of 1 cup bleach, 1 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) and two gallons water. Allow the wood air-dry until you apply primer. Cleaning kills any mould and mildew in the old wood. Avoid using a power washer to minimize damage to the timber.


Before painting, apply primer into the old wood surface, while it is indoors or outside. Primer helps paint stick and enhances the coverage, which means that you can dramatically alter the color of the old wood if you would like to. Using alkyd primer also helps the wood last longer since it contains preservative resins. You need to permit the primer to dry thoroughly before applying paint to your old timber surface.

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What Causes a Gasoline Heater to Smoke?

Natural gas and propane are smokeless fuels, therefore whenever your gas heater is smoking, then it is because something else is burning. More often than not, the culprit is debris or dust that has gathered over the burner after the heater was idle for an extended period.

First Seasonal Use

It is typical for a gas heater to smoke when you start it for the first time in the season, and the smoke generally dissipates quickly as debris is incinerated. If you would like to protect against this, blow off the burners with compressed air before beginning the heater. You can also eliminate debris by brushing it off, but that may require some disassembly to get the burners.

New Heaters

When you purchase a new heater and then start it for the first time, you can observe an alarming amount of smoke to get the first few minutes of operation. This is due to the fact that the manufacturer coated the burner parts with a thin coat of oil to protect them from rust. The smoke is unavoidable and normal, and it goes off fast.

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What Factors Peace Lily Flowers to Turn Green?

Well-adapted to low-light environments, the peace lily (Spathiphyllum x “Clevelandii”) grows well inside or as an understory plant in exterior gardens. The plant has glossy, green leaves and white flowers. As the flowers age, they frequently take on a greenish tint. Peace lily is hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b through 11.


A peace lily seems to have big flowers composed of a single petal surrounding a cream-colored stalk. The real flowers, however, are tiny and are clustered along the erect stalk, which can be called the spadix. The petal-shaped covering is called a spathe and can be a modified leaf. This bloom kind is called an inflorescence. After the inflorescence is developing, the spathe stays tightly wrapped around the spadix. As the bloom matures, the spathe opens, exposing the flowers.

Spathe Color

After the inflorescence first rises, the spathe is green just like the remaining leaves. As it prepares to start, it turns from green to snowy white. Slowly, as the bloom ages, the spathe frequently takes on a greenish tip and gradually turns completely green. That color change is caused by chlorophyll. Plants absorb sunlight through the chlorophyll molecule in the photosynthesis process. Because the spathe is a type of leaf, it performs photosynthesis. As the chlorophyll molecule absorbs sunlight, the spathe turns green.

Flower Care

Peace lily flowers are long-lasting. When the flowers take on a green color, they continue to darken. Preserve the white-flowered aesthetic appeal of a peace lily plant by clipping off the flowers in the base near the ground line as they turn green. If the changing color doesn’t detract from the plant general attractiveness, only leave the flowers on the plant until the flowers begin to fade and then turn brown. A peace lily flowers most heavily in winter but creates some flowers during the year.

Plant Care

Well-adapted to the heat and low-light of most indoor environments, a peace lily is considered an exceptionally great houseplant. It tolerates a temperature range between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit but does best in a more moderate range of 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid overwatering the plant by allowing its soil to dry slightly between watering sessions. Peace lily benefits from a balanced, 20-20-20 fertilizer every 3 months. Keep the plant looking tidy by cutting dead leaves and flowers in the base near the soil line.

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Problems With Cut Gerberas

Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) offer eye-catching and vibrant cut blooms for indoor display. Healthy, well cared for flowers may last a week or even longer in a vase. Stress and bacteria can affect the blossom time for any cut flower, and in addition, there are problems that mainly cause issues with Gerbera daisies. Recognition of these issues and working to prevent them prolongs the life of the flower arrangement.


Bacteria growing in the water poses the largest issue for Gerbera daisies. Thoroughly cleaning the vase before putting the flowers in it helps prevent bacteria from pulling the flowers. Wash the vase using a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water before inserting water for the daisies. Mixing a cut flower preservative to the water further inhibits bacterial growth. Leaves and fallen petals from the water supply material that feeds bacteria; eliminate plant material from the water promptly and change the water every two days or if it becomes discolored.


Cut flowers count on water uptake during their stems for the moisture they should stay in blossom. If the base of the stem heals over or becomes blocked, then the Gerbera cannot receive the water it requires and it will become dehydrated, which causes it to wilt and die prematurely. Reducing the bottom inch off the stem at a 45-degree angle before putting it in the vase ensures it takes in water. Cut the stem while holding it under the water so no air bubble gets in and decreases water uptake. If the flower begins to wilt, consider recutting the stem. Sometimes the stem becomes blocked and a brand new cut enables the flowers to shake back up.

Temperature Problems

Heat causes cut flowers to wilt and die more quickly. When demonstrating Gerbera daisies, set them in a place that receives bright but indirect sunlight. Temperatures close 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the afternoon stop wilt and death from heat. When possible, shop the arrangement in a cooler place at night. A storage temperature just above 32 degrees prolongs the life of the flowers, but even slightly cooler temperatures at night provide some benefit.


Gerbera daisies can suffer from conking, a condition that causes the stem to become weak and fold in half. Cold storage at night helps minimize conking problems. Ongoing dehydration and bacterial growth in the water also can help keep Gerbera flowers erect. Use a pin to prick the stem just beneath the flower head. This little hole can enable the stem take in water and stop it from weakening. If the stems do suffer conking, add them into a transparent drinking straw. The straw retains the stem erect for display.

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What Is the Average Lifespan of a Flowering Pear Tree?

The flowering pear tree (Pyrus calleryana) is an ornamental tree that may be grown from the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Frequently referred to as the Bradford pear and Callery pear, it is used widely for its spring flowers and vibrant fall foliage displays. Although inherent problems frequently affect this tree’s lifespan, it is still highly regarded for its ornamental appeal.

Growth Rate and Lifespan

Flowering pear has a rapid growth rate, frequently achieving 12- to 15-foot height rises during an 8- to 10-year interval. Ultimately it may grow to a height of 30 to 40 feet and approximately one-third as wide. Flowering pear has a relatively short lifespan of 15 to 25 decades, many flowering pear trees reside only 15 to 20 years because of inherent issues.


Although flowering pear tolerates many soil types, air pollution and drought conditions, certain genetic traits frequently shorten its short lifespan. Because of a very tight division juncture or fork angle, many flowering pear trees tend to split apart with age, with reduced branches continually falling apart. Another consideration is that the tree’s susceptibility to this bacterial disease fireblight. It causes branch die-back and frequently affects the tree’s overall growth and longevity.

Cultural Conditions for Success

Flowering pear is readily adaptable to many cultural conditions, such as soil type, drought and heat, and urban stresses like air pollution. Planting the tree in a website that receives full sun increases its flowering and guarantees brilliant autumn foliage colors. The tree’s success rate increases when it is implanted in an area sheltered from prevailing winds and snow loads. Properly pruning the tree from its youth also can promote strong branch spacing.

Improved Cultivars

Many flowering pear varieties have advanced characteristics that could boost their lifespans. Cultivars like “Aristocrat,” “Chanticleer” and “Cleveland Select” show stronger branching structures and less tendency to split apart than some other cultivars. The cultivar “Chanticleer” also shows much superior resistance to fireblight than most other cultivars. Proper tree selection and placement could boost a flowering pear’s longevity.

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How to Connect Sprinklers to the House

Installing a sprinkler system includes integrating it using the water to your home. A cost-effective way to do this is by installing a backflow prevention valve, also referred to as an anti-siphon sprinkler valve, in a hose spigot connection. The valve installs where the spigot was eliminated along with a PVC pipe riser from the sprinkler line attaches at the underside of the valve. The very first step is measuring pipe connection seams and obtaining the appropriate valve. Generally, the average do-it-yourself fan can put in the sprinkler valve and connect it into the sprinklers in around an hour.

Measurements and Parts

Switch off the main source valve for water into the home. Open the spigot where the valve will install and permit residual water in the home lines to drain.

Fit a flexible wrench onto the body of the spigot and unscrew the spigot from the pipe fitting in the side of the home.

Measure the diameter of the male nozzle which was twisted to the home connection. Many spigots are designed for 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch pipe. Assess the diameter of the PVC sprinkler pipe riser. Larger sprinkler systems utilize 3/4-inch PVC and more compact systems can use 1/2-inch PVC.

Obtain an anti-siphon sprinkler valve dependent on the sizes of the home connection and PVC riser. If the connection and riser aren’t like diameter, then obtain a 1/2-to-3/4-inch threaded male-female PVC reducer. Incorporate a 6-inch pipe nipple, a 2-inch nipple along with a 90-degree PVC elbow exactly the identical diameter as the home connection. A small roll of vinyl contractor’s tape is all that is needed to seal the few connections when installing the valve.

Pipe Nipples

Wrap vinyl contractor’s tape around both ends of the 2-inch PVC nipple. Screw one end into the vent below the flow-control manage on the sprinkler valve. If a reducer is needed, wrap the 3/4-inch male threads on the reducer with tape, then screw that end into the port and tighten it using adjustable pliers, then bend the 2-inch nipple to the female end of the reducer.

Expand a 90-degree PVC connector onto the open end of the 2-inch nipple. Hold the valve with a single hand. Tighten the elbow clockwise with adjustable pliers, and continue to rotate it clockwise to fully tighten the opposite and also the nipple in the reducer or valve.

Wrap vinyl contractor’s tape around both ends of the 6-inch PVC nipple. Screw one end into the open port on the 90-degree elbow and tighten the nipple using the pliers. Expand the other end to the home connection where the spigot was eliminated. Tighten the nipple clockwise and stop if the sprinkler valve is positioned upright using the open port to get the sprinkler line facing straight down.

Sprinkler Line Structure

Wrap plumber’s tape around the threaded end of a PVC slip-to-thread connector. Expand the finish into the sprinkler-line port in the underside of the valve. Tighten the connector clockwise using the pliers.

Rank the PVC sprinkler riser contrary to the outer side of the valve and mark the riser where it aligns with the top end of the slip-to-thread connector. If necessary, remove soil around the foundation of the riser using a garden spade to position the riser contrary to the valve. Using PVC pipe cutters, cut off the riser where it aligns at the top end of the connector.

Apply PVC cement around the top rim of the riser. Fit the finish fully into the slip-port in the underside of the valve. Fill in any soil that has been removed near the riser and tamp it by foot.

Close off the sprinkler valve utilizing the ball-valve lever above the riser connection. Turn on the main water source to the home. Turn on the sprinkler valve and sprinklers and consent to the directions to correct the flow control setting on the sprinkler valve.

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Depth & Spacing to Plant Peas

Grown from pods or green seeds, snow peas, garden peas and snap peas are cold-hardy annuals that thrive in loose, rich soil. Peas also demand a sturdy climbing structure and therefore are ready for harvest in just 54 to 70 days after planting, depending on the range. For the highest quality, eat or freeze your peas quickly after harvesting.

Soil and Site

Peas will grow in many different soil types, even though some are more effective than others. For instance, inadequate aeration and bad drainage related to heavier clay soils may result in stem and root decay. If planting in sandy soil, pay close attention to the pea’s growth and water more often. Sandy soil is also warmer, and may result in a previous harvest. For optimum growth, the Sonoma County Master Gardeners recommends amending loose soil with compost prior to planting.


Plant your peas in single or double rows spaced at least 12 to 18 inches apart. Spacing the pea seeds to four inches apart allows for decent growth. Because of pea’s notoriously bad germination rates, which is around 60 to 80 percent, University of California-Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems recommends sowing at least 12 to 15 pea seeds per square foot.


Plant your pea seeds at a depth of 1 inch. Prepare the holes ahead of time and set the pea seeds in before refilling with the surrounding soil. The Sonoma County Master Gardeners recommends sowing peas anytime between late November and late February, and also to enjoy a longer growing season, distribute your planting every two weeks.


The appropriate time to harvest your peas depends upon the variety. For instance, wait to pick garden peas until the forks appear around and swollen. Experiment by picking a few garden pea pods each and every one to two days and opening up them. If the peas inside feel company, they’re ready for your kitchen table. The Sonoma County Master Gardeners recommends unloading snap and snow peas earlier, or prior to the forks are fully matured and the peas inside feel smaller. In the event of snow peas, wait five to seven days following flowering before harvesting the pods.

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Wood Chips to Mulch Strawberry Plants

Wood chips offer an inexpensive source of mulch for a strawberry bed or for a single strawberry plant. They resist compaction and don’t blow away in the wind like leaf or straw mulch. Wood chips have a dark colour and natural appearance that complements the green leaves, white flowers and bright red berries of growing strawberry plants. Many communities provide free wood chips by the truckload or individual bags as part of their city masonry program.

Types of Wood Mulch

Commercial bark mulches are byproducts of milled fir, Douglas fir, pine, redwood and spruce trees. Wood chips mulches are made from different kinds of hardwood and soft wood species. Bark mulches are offered in three particle sizes: chunks, granules and shredded bark. Chunk bark most frequently becomes decorative mulch around tree beds or trees. In addition, it prevents water loss and weed development. Wood chips eliminate colour with time, but bark chips don’t. Bark granules and wood shavings protect the dirt around strawberry plants, vegetables, and perennial and yearly flower beds. Freshly milled wood chips or bark shreds might have toxic residue. Toxins leach from stockpiled wood chips by heavy watering or disappear through aeration. Bagged bark chip products have usually been allowed to weather for long periods to remove toxins.

Strawberry Culture

Strawberries prosper in slightly acidic soil pH of 5.8 to 6.2. Soil pH measures the relative acidity and alkalinity of the soil, which influences the way that plants absorb nutrients. Strawberry plants won’t thrive in dirt outside the recommended pH range. Douglas and other fir tree mulches increase soil acidity, so it’s necessary that you understand the soil pH level prior to applying wood chip mulches. Home garden centres sell test kits. Mature compost balances soil pH. According to the Washington State University County Extension composting program, adding mature compost to soil buffers it, “bringing pH levels to the best range for mineral availability.”


New strawberries are planted in early spring for summer harvest in a hole 7 inches broad and deep enough to accommodate the plant’s root system. After dirt covers its origins and half of the crown, shaved wood chip mulch is placed loosely around every plant without undermining the crown or stems. Sensors should be placed 12 to 18 inches apart to leave room for runners to develop new plants. Mulch is added periodically throughout the growing season when it becomes sparse. Wood chip or shredded bark mulch reduces soil temperature by 8 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit during heat spells. Mulched dirt also protects tender roots from temperature extremes.

Strawberry Bed Renovation

Shredded wood chip mulch helps renovate a strawberry stain following harvest. Strawberry plants produce fruit for three to five decades or more when dirt and plants are well-maintained. Start by pulling up weeds that have grown through the mulch. Mow above the strawberry bed to remove the leaves but maintain the crown of the plant. Fertilize with mature compost or all-purpose synthetic fertilizer to encourage fresh green growth. Pull up plants growing 10 to 12 inches in a middle crown plant to allow new runners to develop next year. Irrigate the strawberry bed, and reapply shredded wood chip mulch to a depth of two to three inches across every plant.

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