Choosing Bathroom Countertops

Vanity tops must play the dual role of being durable and capable of standing up to water, soap, cosmetics while serving as an ample work surface for morning rush hour in the bathroom. This is no place for delicate, porous (read: easy-to-stain) surfaces. At the same time, the vanity top can be a focal point and a connecting point, where wood cabinets below meet tile wall above, for instance. Continue reading

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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5 Trade-Offs to Consider When Remodeling Your Kitchen

It would be great to have an unlimited budget for a kitchen renovation. But the fact is most of us do not. And that’s OK. Compromises of one form or another are part of the process, even for the rare homeowner who enjoys a bottomless budget and expansive square footage.

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Common Mistakes When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Gearing up to remodel? Don’t start before reading our list of common kitchen mistakes.

  • Your kitchen is an island. Be sure to consider the way your kitchen’s look will gel with the rest of your home. An ultra-modern kitchen in a 19th-century farmhouse will stick out like a sore thumb. Keep architectural integrity in mind.

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Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertops

Tempting though it is to choose a countertop based on looks alone, a material’s durability, maintenance and, of course, cost are also important factors to consider when making a selection for a kitchen remodel.

Find a good fit

Homeowners have to assess the way they live before settling on a countertop surface. If they have three kids and they’re making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the countertops every day, they might not want to go with that white granite.

Countertop choices

The good news is if homeowners have their hearts set on a certain look, but the material just doesn’t match with their lifestyle, odds are there’s another material that does. Granite, the top choice in countertops, is available in a variety of shades such as blacks, whites, greens, corals and beiges, and no two pieces are exactly the same. Granite is available in two finishes. A polished finish results in a shiny look and often darkens the appearance of the stone, while honing is soft and matte. Costs for granite depend on many variables, including color, finish and origin of the stone.

Other natural stone materials, like marble, limestone and soapstone, are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. All stone countertops must be sealed periodically.

Engineered stone countertops come in a wider variety of colors than natural stone countertops, are more durable and are a cinch to maintain. They’re “just bulletproof,” Jeff says. However, engineered stone won’t save any money over granite: the two materials cost roughly the same.

Solid surface countertops have a lot of appeal. They come in countless colors, are seamless, resist stains and scratches can be buffed out. One word of caution, though: Hot pans can damage solid-surface countertops.

Concrete countertops, which can be completely customized with pigments, are gaining popularity. Concrete is available in several different finishes: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded to expose the sand aggregate) and pressed (a tool is used to reveal marble-like veining). Extreme or abrupt changes in temperature may cause concrete to warp or curl, damp sponges left on the counter can cause discoloration and acidic spills may etch the surface. To keep a concrete countertop looking its best, it’s advisable to seal them up to four times per year and wax with a paste every two to three months.

Wood countertops, like butcher block, instantly warm up a kitchen. They are easy to clean and any scratches can be sanded out. Water damages butcher block quite easily, though, so wood countertops must be oiled frequently to seal the surface.

Laminate is the most affordable countertop material on the market and comes in an array of colors and designs. Laminate can scorch if a hot pan touches the surface and has a reputation for scratching easily. However, the product has made strides in scratch-resistance in recent years, Jeff says.

On the edge

Square edges are standard on most countertops, but decorative edges like radius, bullnose, bevel, egg and ogee — while a bit more expensive — are another way to customize a kitchen. Availability of edges varies based on countertop materials.

Mix and match

Can’t decide on just one material? Then mix and match surfaces. Another option is to inset another material into a countertop for specific tasks. Butcher block is common for chopping as is marble for baking. Before making a decision on countertop material, see the surface in person, whether that means visiting a showroom or viewing samples in-home.

If you’re still debating, head over to PlumbTile, where our expert employees will be able to help you choose the perfect countertop for your home. Whether you are making the decision on price, look, or both, PlumbTIle will be able to make your house become a home.

Granite vs. Quartz

There are few design elements that spark heated debate and divide homeowners as much as granite and quartz. But is one really better than the other or is it merely a matter of aesthetics? To help break down the granite vs. quartz quandary, we came up with five categories to help show the differences between the two. At the end of this article, you can vote for which one you prefer. Before we get into all of that though, what exactly is granite and quartz?

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8 Things That Make Your House Look Dated

No one wants someone to come into their house and tell them that their bathroom or kitchen needs updating or worse that everything they have makes the home look dated. Trends come and go out of style quicker than a dog downs a dog treat. That doesn’t mean that because you have something one day and it goes out of style the next day that you should just get rid of everything and start over. Here is a list of 8 things that are currently out of style and can make your home look so 2010.

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Which New Colors of the Year Will Reign in 2018?

The 2018 Colors of the Year have been unveiled! Now, take a look at what shades leading industry brands are calling the stars of their fresh, new color palettes. Continue reading

The Pros and Cons of Open-Concept Floor Plans

If you’ve recently watched an episode of any home improvement show, you’ll know that the current trend among homebuyers is an open-concept floor plan. While this way of living has its major upsides, you may want to consider whether it is truly the right concept for you. Below are some pros and cons to an open floor plan. Check it out and see whether an open floor plan is a good contender for your home. Continue reading

Adding Laminate Floor

Laminate is the chameleon of the floor world. It can emulate hardwood, tile or stone, and it gives you those looks at a lower price. This durable, affordable floor surface resists stains, fading and moisture, and installation is a snap. It won’t develop character the way wood does and it can have a hollow sound when walked on, but its sturdiness makes it a favorite for many homeowners, especially those with kids and pets. Continue reading