Tag: durability

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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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.

Cleaning Ceramic Floors

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. Read More