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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Your bedroom is where you go to find comfort after a long, hard day, so it deserves a little TLC. You’ve probably been scared off from completing bedroom renovations for multiple reasons, money being at the top of the list. However, when it comes to making your bedroom a cozy oasis, it doesn’t need to coast a fortune to add major comfort. Below are our 10 budget-friendly tips to turn your bedroom into a cozy, relaxing area. Continue reading
Let’s be honest – white floors are pure and simple wonderful designing. They look absolutely gorgeous in photos, but very few people have them in real life. Read on to see what it’s like to have white floors, how to care for them and whether or not it’s crazy to consider white floors for your home. Continue reading
If you have allergies you struggle every year with allergies, but did you know that you can harbor allergens in your home? For some people allergies are terrible all year long and we wonder why, here are a few ways to defeat allergies! By learning how to control the dust, mold, pollen and other contaminants that are making you sneeze and what causes them will make you better prepared all year long. Below are some common mistakes that you may be making that is causing you and your family to be unhealthy. Continue reading
When describing your bathroom, “spa-like” and “personal sanctuary” may not be the first words to come out of your mouth. The bathroom of your dreams may be a full remodel away, but by taking cues from spas and saunas, you can decorate your way to make it a more relaxing space. Grab a Turkish towel and some eucalyptus-it’s time to teach your bathroom how to chill out! Continue reading
When you’re thinking about remodeling (or even building a new home), your flooring becomes a huge part of the overall design. However, in today’s day and age, pets have become a huge part of people’s families, which may cause some stress when it comes to thinking about flooring options. The four legged pals that are part of the family will cause wear and tear to the floor, and it will only build up over time. If you can find pet-friendly flooring, it will not only last longer (even with your furry friends running all over it), but it will tie your whole home together. Continue reading
With its durability and visual appeal, it’s no wonder ceramic tile is the material of choice. There are ways to maintain it, and keep it looking its best.
Like everything, consistency is key. Taking a broom or vacuum to the ceramic tile weekly is important simply because any sand or dirt particles can take away the amazing shine that was attractive to begin with. Follow this routine by passing a mop using a solution created from detergent and hot water. Sponge mops are not ideal when cleaning a ceramic tile floor. This type of mop shoves the dirt left behind into the grout and darkens its color. Be sure to constantly change out the water being used to mop so as not to leave a dirty film over the tile. Should film end up on the floor, it can be removed by a soft all-purpose cleaner. Avoid extremely harsh chemical based products. Wherever possible, use homemade products to clean the surface. Continue reading