Floor Tiles 101

Not all tile materials are created equal. Each type has pros and cons that need to be considered when planning a tiling project. Here are some popular types and their benefits and drawbacks:

Marble

Real marble tiles have a beautiful, unique look like no other surface, with all their whirling patterns and shade variations. But the same patterns that make marble beautiful can be a real headache to match from tile to tile. To ensure that patterns match, the Marble Institute of America recommends having your contractor lay out the tiles over the entire surface before installing so you can approve the result. All your tiles should come from the same original batch. Continue reading

Composite Decking

For an increasing number of us, a deck is as valuable as any other part of our homes. The number of decks built on homes in North America reached over 4.3 million units in 2004, and the construction of decks on homes has grown at roughly 5 percent per year since 2000, according to a study by Principia Partners.

But when it comes to maintenance, decks built with traditional pressure-treated pine or cedar can be a real pain. They must routinely be cleaned, stained and painted — a time-consuming and expensive process.

Recently, composite decking has grown in popularity. Over the past four years, the number of North American suppliers of composite decking has grown from 15 to more than 30 companies. Because builders and homeowners are beginning to see the benefits of composite decking, this alternative to wood-based decking now represents 10 percent of the decking market, up from 4 percent in 2000.

Composite decking is made from recycled hard wood fibers and recycled polyethylene fibers from items like grocery bags, milk jugs and PVC vinyl. The wood fibers protect the decking from UV damage and add stability. The plastic fibers help prevent rot and splitting, which are common in lumber-based decks. What’s more, composite decking never has to be stained or painted, so homeowners don’t need to invest additional time and expense to maintain its appearance.

Composite decking is often sold as an entire system, including the deck boards, attachment clips, trim and handrail material. The decking material is typically attached to a standard preservative-treated wood sub-frame. Many composite deck systems are designed to allow easy installation for do-it-yourselfers using standard carpentry tools. Composite decking can be drilled and cut just like lumber.

With more homeowners and builders choosing composite decking, manufacturers are offering improved decking products that have more realistic colors and versatile design patterns.

While the initial cost of composite decking is greater than that of traditional lumber, the investment pays for itself in long life and low maintenance.

Have you been dreaming about a new deck, but wanted to be eco-friendly? Now is your chance with composite decking. Still have questions? For more information about composite decking, visit the PATH website or head over to PlumbTile for all your remodel needs. Decks are an important part of a home. Our expert employees will answer any and all questions you may have when it comes to composite decking. Complete your home by adding that deck you’ve always dreamed of.

Utilities in an Outdoor Kitchen

So you’ve found the perfect site and designed an efficient layout with plenty of storage, now you need to lay the groundwork to make the outdoor kitchen work. It’s time to address your utilities, power, water and gas. This is where it really pays to bring in the professionals, and you’ll probably have to in order to get the inspections necessary for your building permits. Continue reading

Garage Insulation Basics

Insulation is a big part of making your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Consider all aspects of insulating your home — not just the exterior walls, but also the Interior walls for the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, garage doors and the ceiling, particularly if you plan to add a heating and/or cooling system. And don’t forget to take flooring into account. For example, while an epoxy coating will add a protective layer to the floor, it won’t necessarily add insulating values. Continue reading

Tips for a Kid-Friendly Bathroom

A children’s bathroom isn’t all fun and whimsy—though you certainly can take a light-hearted approach to the décor you choose. A lot happens in the family bathroom: bathing, washing, brushing teeth, playing in the tub. It’s a multi-purpose space that must include plenty of storage, easy-care surfaces, durable fixtures and accommodations for the little people.

It’s easy to get focused on designing a bathroom for little kids, and then in a couple of years, they’re eight inches taller. You can have fun with the design, but think about the fact that your kids will grow up fast, and you might not get back to the bathroom to renovate it when they’re older. Continue reading

Convert Your Tub Space to a Shower — The Fixture Shopping Phase

Before you shop for shower fixtures, it’s important to understand the basics of shower controls. What options are there? What will fit your space and budget best?

There are three basic systems for controlling the water temperature and flow rates:

  • Simple single levers or knobs that control both water temperature and flow
  • Combination temperature controls, which can include two or even three extra fixtures
  • A separate thermostatic control valve (temperature only) and flow valve (volume only)

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Organize Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

Imagine a clutter-free space dedicated to luxuriously restful slumber — a room where everything from the flooring to the scent in the air to the sheets is carefully chosen to enhance feelings of relaxation, peace and (yawn…) sleep. You’ve got the blackout shades, now here are 10 little things, from bedtime rituals to smart storage solutions, to help turn your bedroom into the sleek and cozy ultimate sleep cave.

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Bathroom Surfaces: Ceramic Tile Pros and Cons

Often praised for its durability and variety, ceramic tile is a popular choice for bathroom finishes. If you’re drawn to color and texture, this material can deliver on both fronts. But the sheer variety of ceramic tiles is endless, which can make finding just the right tile very difficult.

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Epoxy vs. Cement Grout — What’s the Difference?

Epoxy grout has become more and more popular among tile contractors and builders. I find new benefits every time I use this product. Unlike cement grout, which is made from a cementitious powder mix, epoxy grout is made from epoxy resins and a filler powder. The grout is extremely durable and almost completely stain-proof. Regular grout isn’t waterproof, so unlike epoxy grout, it can absorb water when it’s wet and stain easily. If you’re tired of scrubbing the gunk off of your grout, epoxy grout could be your solution.

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