Five Things You Wanted to Know About Fireplaces but Were Afraid to Ask

Five Things You Wanted to Know About Fireplaces but Were Afraid to Ask

Fireplaces are a classic fixture in many homes across the world. Even in hot, tropical parts of the world, it’s not uncommon to have an attractive, elegant fireplace in the living room or wherever your home’s social focal point is.

Once considered a prohibitively expensive thing for middle or lower class homes in America, modern materials and building techniques make a fireplace an affordable and lovely addition to even small, affordable homes.

But, you may have some apprehension or concerns when it comes to something like this, especially if you’ve never owned a fireplace before. Are they dangerous? How do you care for them? Are there reaching ramifications to having one? Today, we’re going to address five of the most common questions about fireplaces, and put your mind at ease.

Are They Safe?

This, understandably, is the biggest question most people have about fireplaces. Fire is dangerous, and is one of the most destructive forces in nature. Wild animals fear it for a reason, after all. So, is a fireplace safe? The short answer is, a fireplace is not in and of itself unsafe. It’s all about proper measures and precautions:

  • – If you have children, encourage them to maintain a safe distance from the fireplace (no closer than the hearth), and enforce rules regarding touching the doors or mesh, which can get quite warm.
  • – Contain embers by keeping the mesh or metal screen in place and closed while a fire is lit. Keep flammable materials well away from the heat source or direct path embers or sparks could traverse.
  • – Be sure that your fire extinguishers are in working order every time, before lighting a fire.
  • – Be sure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in working order every time you light a fire.

If you follow these simple rules and common sense practices, your fireplace will not be dangerous at all to use.

I Have a Gas Fireplace – Why Does It Smell?

Natural gas and propane, on their own, have no strong smell. As a result, if pure, unprocessed natural gas were to leak, you’d be unaware of its presence until it either poisoned you, or your house ignited in a cinematic fireball. As a result, gas providers mix in an additive with a distinct, unpleasant smell to it that makes you immediately aware of the gas’ presence.

If your fireplace has this smell, it means the gas valve is open.

Are They Efficient?

That depends on the fireplace, and your house. Wood-burning fireplaces are delightful, especially at Christmas time. But, for all their charm and timelessness, they’re a tremendously wasteful way to heat modern homes.

Hot air rises, which means most heat produced by a traditional wood-burning fireplace will escape through the chimney, the remainder only heating the nearby area. It won’t, in fact, heat the entirety of the room the fireplace is in, unless it’s a closed in, small, well-insulated room. Wood-burning fireplaces are meant for their charm, not their ability to heat your house.

Gas fireplaces, on the other hand, are much more efficient both in their fuel use and conveyance of heat. Many of them have vents that can push the heat outward, or don’t use a chimney at all, meaning the heat has nowhere to go but out into the room. While you may initially scoff at the idea, a lot of modern gas fireplace designs look, sound and feel like traditional wood fireplaces!

How Do I Use My Wood-Burning Fireplace?

Okay, you’re ready to use your wood-burning fireplace. How do you do this safely and properly? Five simple steps!

  1. – Inspect your chimney – make sure the chimney isn’t clogged. Do this yearly, and have a certified professional handle it.
  2. – Preparation – Clean the old ashes out (once cool), and make sure the damper is open.
  3. – Wood – You need wood. Gather up some seasoned wood that’s been dry for at least half a year, or a year if possible. It should have a hollow, “thunk” sound when knocked together. It will have a dark, cracked look on the ends, which tells you it’s perfect for burning. To ensure you have a long-lasting fire, lay out your wood evenly on the grates, with room for air to travel through it. Ball up paper under the grate, to start the fire from below – fire and heat rise, and need air.
  4. – Flue – Heat the air in the flue for good convection. Before lighting your fire, burn some paper up near the flue, with it open, until you see smoke escape up the chimney reliably.
  5. – Light the Fire – Light the paper under the grate. If the fire tries to go out, gently fan it or use bellows moderately.

Pretty easy, right?

How Often Should Chimneys Be Cleaned?

You should have your chimney inspected by a professional yearly. Build up can prevent air flow and even result in chimney fires. You want neither of these to happen! The professional will recommend a cleaning if necessary.

To learn more about fireplace safety, the many types available, and how to care for one, fill out our contact form or call us today!

Why You Should Consider Blue Granite For Your Kitchen

Blue can evoke all kinds of meanings, from variations on the color itself, to down in the dumps moods and off-color comedy, and the proverbial, “it’s my favorite color,” but actually Blue Granite is a whole other entity that can bring beauty and serenity to a space, like no other color can.

There are lots of reasons why you should consider Blue Granite for your kitchen, with one of them being the durability of granite. It’s a long lasting natural stone that is easily maintained, and it retains its luxurious and rich appearance indefinitely. It’s simply a quality stone and when you think of blue, and the various hues represented in granite pieces, you’ll understand how that color can transform a kitchen or any other area into a calm, cool and collected environment.

Blue Granite Choices

The latest in high quality blue granite includes choices such as Blue Pearl granite, Polar Blue granite and Blue Bahia granite.

Blue Pearl

This type of granite is predominately mined in Norway and can be more expensive than say blue pearl granite quarried in India. The brightest of blue pieces will be more costly while blue pearl slabs that may contain shades of gray, beige, and blue will be less intense in color and less expensive.

Blue Pearl is considered a more unconventional blue that contains hints of silver and pearl, which provide both a luminescent and metallic appearance to a blue pearl slab. White cabinetry and stainless steel fixtures and appliances will enhances blue pearl, but most any combination of cabinets and fixtures will integrate well with this color of granite.

Polar Blue

Polar Blue granite is characterized by more of a navy blue color that contains flecks of gray and a lighter blue color. Slabs can almost appear black when they are viewed from a distance. Polar blue can also contain a pearl-like luster that adds even further to the disbursement of color throughout the stone. Mineral deposits deep within the granite cause this effect. Though some would view Polar Blue as too dark, it is still is elegant and rich in a way that allows for arrangement with most any kitchen design and style.

Blue Bahia

Beautiful, blue Bahia is the lightest and most costly of the blue granite choices. It contains marbling effects within a slab that can run the gamut from navy and sky blue to added dabs of brown and white, plus it can take on a different appearance with lighting changes. It is highly sought after and has the same features and benefits of other granite, such as resistance to heat and a simple maintenance routine. Blue Bahia coordinates well with most any color scheme and is adaptable to a coastal, seaside, nautical or updated cottage themed kitchen.

Blue granite can change the entire look of a kitchen space, bathroom area or other interior or exterior area of a home and if you are looking for an upgrades to more neutral areas of your home, or want to follow a trend, consider what blue granite can do to improve the appearance of your kitchen. If you just have questions about blue granite, or want more extensive information, complete the online contact form and a representative will get back to you with the answers you need.

Granite vs. Quartz: Countertop Material Comparison

Granite vs. Quartz_ Countertop Material Comparison

It’s not that easy to determine what countertop material is better than another, particularly when you’re comparing granite and quartz, but there are differences to take into account. When personal taste and economics come into play, there will always be varying preferences. So, just what are the comparisons and contrasts between these two materials, and which one takes top billing?

Durability and Strength

Granite – Because of granite’s wholly crystalline composition (holocrystalline), this interconnecting type of structure allows for an extremely durable composition, which also makes granite both scratch and heat resistant. All of these features give granite durability as well as a long and useful life.

Quartz – As quartz is more of a man made stone that means it consists up of over 90 percent natural quartz and about seven percent engineered resin material. This combination of materials makes quartz somewhat of a degree stronger that granite. Quartz is also resistant to scratches. In its long lasting strength, quartz should last many, many years.

Bacterial Resistance

When granite is sealed, bacteria is hindered from growing. As granite’s smooth surface is free of pores, surface bacteria, mold and other debris are unable to penetrate it, plus granite is naturally resistant to it. Sanitizing your granite countertops is simple with a regular, everyday routine that is thorough in eliminating not only mold and bacteria, but lingering smells.

Quartz is fabricated to not be porous. It is also a material resistant to bacteria. It is easy to clean with soap and tepid water. It seems that both sealed granite and quartz are easily maintained and sanitized.

Minimal Maintenance

As granite is resistant to stains and dirt, it is also durable and entails little maintenance. If repairs are necessary, which are rare, they can be completed fairly easily. Granite countertops do require sealing, at least once a year, in order for them to stay in tip-top shape.

Quartz is easy to maintain as well, as it is by nature resistant to bacteria. Unlike granite, quartz is literally maintenance-free as it does not require sealing and it is immune to everyday wear and tear. Over time, it will function and continue to appear in exceptional form for many years to come.

Diversity or Materials

Granite is a luxurious, unique and beautiful natural stone and is available in a number of different slab designs. It usually contains varying patterns that include flecks, specks, whorls, swirls and even veins. Colors also vary, such as blacks, grays and whites to oranges, reds and pinks. There are also browns, creams, golds, along with rich and royal blues and greens that provide elegance for most any countertop area.

As quartz is man-made and engineered, color enrichment is included in the fabrication process. Color and patterns are more uniform than granite and can usually be made to fit a choice of color schemes that integrate both color, texture and patterns. A homeowner can be part of the selection process when it comes to making a choice of color and pattern.


Generally speaking, granite is the more affordable of the two materials, as lesser quality granite is readily available at good prices. It can also be more of a custom product with a higher level features and prices, but it generally will be less expensive than quartz. Granite will continue to be a choice that many homeowners will prefer.

Quartz prices will depend on the companies that manufacture and distribute quartz. Quartz choices at mid-range levels are going to be a bit more expensive than their granite counterparts. Before deciding on quartz, or granite, particularly with pricing in mind, different factors need to be taken into consideration, such as overall costs for installation, any sealing costs and the full cost of the countertops, which will depend on the quality level chosen.

In looking at the comparisons given here for granite and quartz, it is evident that homeowners and other consumers need to determine what fits their budget, lifestyle needs and personal taste. If you are having trouble making that determination, complete the online contact form, and a representative will get back to you with the information you require to make a choice between granite or quartz. Odds are it won’t be that confusing or difficult.

Why You Should Fall In Love With Typhoon Bordeaux Granite

It’s easy to fall in love with any granite selection, as the natural beauty of stone entices almost anyone, but Typhoon Bordeaux Granite just might trigger love at first sight. The elegance and rich color designs of this particular granite can accomplish that through its color and patterning merits alone. If you are artistically inclined, you will be enthralled with this bold and imaginative granite and what it can do for any kitchen countertop area, or most any other space for that matter.

Names and Origin

Like other specialized granite selections, Typhoon Bordeaux Granite has been labeled by several other names. Golden Typhoon Bordeaux and Sunset Cream define the gold veining that runs through the stone, which is part of its composition. The coloration occurs after a long duration of time due to everyday weathering and oxidation. Typhoon Bordeaux is also connected to a granite family comprised of Monte Carlo Bordeaux, Sienna Bordeaux and River Bordeaux.

Years and years of water and air worked synergistically to generate oxidation that would ultimately contribute to the unique appearance of Typhoon Bordeaux. Its color tones and dynamic presentation of lines, veining, patches and other patterns are replicated in slab presentations that match one another. This kind of fabrication process is indicative of this type of granite.

Typhoon Bordeaux Granite originated in Brazil and is mined from bedrock there. It is a type of granite that is more difficult to find in the marketplace because of consumer demand and limited availability. In spite of difficulty procuring this stone, it is worth every effort to locate and use it to enrich a kitchen countertop area or a bathroom vanity.


The rich and striking color choices are what stimulate the love interest and attract homeowners to this type of granite. Deep and lush golds, and more neutral beige, creams, grays and whites give Typhoon Bordeaux its color base, while deep earth colored veins, patches, and splashes of color in deep browns, burgundies, reds, and even black provide the textural twists and turns that are whipped up in a stormy fashion with this type of granite.

Lighter colors, such as white, help to highlight, brighten and accentuate the swirls and veining in Typhoon Bordeaux Granite. White and lighter cream colored backgrounds uplift the darker veins, patches, ribbons and other patterns in the granite and create a luminous and polished look to the stone.

Finishing Typhoon Bordeaux Granite

To maintain the polished appearance of a Typhoon Bordeaux Granite, an epoxy resin finish is applied to the granite stone while it undergoes the polishing stage. Any pitting, blemishes, cracks and other cosmetic imperfections are filled and stabilized. Once the polishing and application process is completed, the stone will display noticeable contrasts in color changes and movement patterns, which are subtle variations that should be looked into before purchasing a completed slab.

Maintenance and Care

Another loving feature of Typhoon Bordeaux is its easy maintenance and care, which any homeowner loves to see in a countertop material. As a natural stone, Typhoon Bordeaux is resistant to scratches and will last indefinitely, and its everyday upkeep involves a few simple swipes with a cotton cloth, some tepid water and a small amount of dish detergent. Sealing will be required to maintain the beauty of this natural stone and increase its longevity and stability, which means at least scheduling a once a year sealing to ensure performance and long-life.

You should fall in love with all the remarkable features that Typhoon Bordeaux Granite offers, particularly if you want a kitchen area or other space to come alive with both color and motion. Amazing and breathtaking colors in this type of granite and the patterns created can entice anyone, but if you want further information as to how Typhoon Bordeaux is going to look and fit in with your lifestyle, complete the online contact form and an expert will get back to you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Giallo Ornamental Granite

As a natural stone, granite can take your breath away in its warmth and innate beauty. From a practical standpoint, granite is a material that has stood the test of time and has been utilized in the past, and the present, to enhance and enrich almost any home. Designers love it for its versatility, and builders and contractors like it for its solidness and durability, but like any material, it has its range of high-end to medium and lower range product lines. So, where does Giallo Ornamental Granite fit in that range, and what is it that everyone should know about Giallo granite?

Giallo Origins

Giallo, which is sometimes known as Giallo Santo Granite, as well as a number of other “Ornamental” names, is a natural stone mined in Brazil. It has become one of the most prominent styles of granite in use today, and it can be used on floors, in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas.

Colors and Textures

What many people might not realize about Giallo is that it is categorized as a white granite, and it is widely used by designers in small spaces to enlarge them and create a feeling of openness and spaciousness. A kitchen is particularly well-suited for Giallo as the light and reflection that is created from it provides a welcoming environment, plus it makes food preparation and eating more enjoyable. Whether a room needs more or less light, Giallo Ornamental Granite is able to compensate for any light deficiencies in most any area where it is used. This aspect of light is another element of Giallo that homeowners might not know about or realize.

Though Giallo granite is considered a white granite, it varies in its patterns, colors and textural aspects. Cream and gold-like shades and beige colors predominate, but the stone’s base is still white with other integrated elements within it that can produce textural aspects, such as flecks and specks of brown, gray or bronze that occur within a Giallo slab.

Another positive attribute with the white background and more neutral color combinations running through Giallo granite is its uniform color balance that camouflages food debris, dust and even fingerprints.

Light and Dark Variants

Giallo is further distinguished by its lighter and darker versions. Giallo dark is composed of white bedrock that has flecks and specks that are a deep brown color that appear more black than brown. The lighter variety has more cream as a base with lighter brown specks. With both light and dark variants of Giallo granite, the slab is always going to reflect something different in both lighter and darker choices, so that is another reason to know and understand Giallo granite.


Veining is another more obscured aspect with Giallo granite, as the subtlety of veining sometimes escapes those looking for vein patterns in a beige and creamy base. Slight variations such as veining are going to be faint as are other slight distinctions with Giallo slab colors that contain gray honey, brown or golden hues.

All of the variations within the darker, lighter and traditional white granite are the result of mineral formation throughout Giallo granite slabs. That is why it is a must to ask for samples of lighter and darker versions of Giallo to determine what slab choices and elements within a slab are going to coordinate best with kitchen and bathroom areas along with the furnishings, flooring and lighting in those spaces.

Giallo Maintenance

Another important thing to know and note about Giallo Ornamental Granite is its resistance to stains and scratches and its ability to obscure food debris and fingerprints. Initial sealing, and subsequent yearly sealing, will help maintain Giallo granite, which inhibits absorption of moisture. Everyday cleaning is going to be fairly easy. All it takes to keep the countertop clean is a simple swipe of a cloth across its surface along with a little warm water and a watered down mild dish detergent. A final swipe with a dry white cloth should complete the process.

The beauty, refinement and warmth of Giallo coupled with its toughness, strength, durability and limited upkeep should be enough to convince any homeowner, designer and builder to utilize Giallo. If you want to know even more about this beautiful Ornamental granite, simply complete the online contact form and an expert will get back to you with the information you need. Giallo just might be one of the best granite selections you could possibly own.

Here’s What No One Tells You About Super White Quartzite

Here's What No One Tells You About Super White Quartzite

More natural looking stone countertops are definitely the trend today and Super White Quartzite is no exception, as designers and homeowners are enthralled with its fashionable and refined look. They also like the idea that this natural stone is durable as well as easy to maintain.

Different Names

Besides its beauty, sophistication and ease of care, what is it about Super White Quartzite that makes it the type of stone that it is, and what is it that goes unsaid about this stone? It has a number of different names, such as Super White Marble, American Marble, dolomite, or Super White Granite. It may appear like marble and have the toughness of granite, but Super White falls in neither category.


In opposition to Super White Quartzite, quartz is a man-made, engineered rock, and granite is an igneous felsic rock that is rich in feldspar and silicon, while marble is also a metaphoric rock, but is not as hard as Super White.

Super White Characteristics

Super White is considered a natural stone and is classified as dolomitic (clear mineral that consists of calcium and magnesium), which makes it a hard, metamorphic rock that has been formed through intense heat caused by lava or molten rock (magma). It is made up of quartz and metamorphosed limestone. White quartzite was at one time pure quartz sandstone, the sandstone was transformed to quartzite by heat and pressure.

As a non-foliated rock, Super White’s structure is based on the forced entrance of igneous elements that bring a high temperature along with a fairly low pressure to the formation of the stone, which is balanced out in every direction within the stone. This action causes any primary minerals within the rock to recrystallize and become larger, which makes the rock solidly packed and decidedly dense.

Colors and Texture

In its pure form, quartzite is usually white or gray in color and can also occur in shades of pink and red because of infusion of iron oxide. There are other colors from yellow to green to blue, and even orange, which occur because of impurities from other minerals. Quartzite’s hardness is unprecedented as it measures 8-10 on a Mohs hardness scale, which means it is tough and hard enough to cut glass.

Super White’s texture is often composed of small penetrating veins that can be light or dark in color with varying shades of beige to gray. When it is pure, Super White can be as white as marble, but the impurities in the stone provide the intricate patterns and spirals that occur.

In making comparison with other natural and man-made stones, it is easy to see why Super White Quartzite can be mistaken for marble, quartz and even granite, but there are distinguishing differences in the mineral makeup of quartzite and that is what consumers and homeowners are missing. Its hardness, durability, and beauty alone should be enough for anyone to realize Super White’s true value for use in so many varying applications. If you are still unsure as to what makes quartzite different and want to know more, complete the online contact form, and a specialist will get back to you with the information you need.

Which Types of Wood Look Best with Espresso Stain?

Which Types of Wood Look Best with Espresso Stain?

Staining wood is usually pretty cut and dried, and you would think that any type of wood could take a stain whether light or dark in color, but problems can arise when you are thinking of staining your wood cabinets in a darker stain, like espresso. You will want to make a specific wood cabinet choice and stain that will provide a good outcome.

Wood Processing Overview from Tree to Wood

With wood being an inconsistent type of material, its contents were once obviously part of a tree that lived in line with how much water it took in as well as the number of nutrients it was able to absorb, along with its exposure to different kinds of environmental conditions, plant diseases and damaging insects. That tree had to fight those forces that came against it in order to survive.

During its growing and survival process, the grains within the tree were developing and changing on a seasonal and yearly basis. The tree was also subject to malformations and bending through wind and other situations that probably modified it during its final growing and living stages, which determined its final outcome and eventual removal for use as a wood product.

Once a tree has been harvested and submitted to the various processes of milling, curing and drying, the wood species itself will exhibit different features and characteristics that will determine the effects of any type of stain used on it, particularly for a cabinet or other type of furniture piece. So, exactly what are the precise factors that determine how different types of wood will accept a stain?

Reaction of Wood Species to Different Stains


Even though wood goes through a drying process and its inner moisture or humidity levels are at an acceptable level (six to eight percent), that level can fluctuate in relation to storage and moisture levels in different areas and regions. A wood with less moisture is going to absorb stain more quickly, while one that is less dry will absorb less stain and be lighter in color.

Wood Absorbency or Porosity

Since wood has pores, and the larger those pores are in relation to a particular type of wood, the more the piece of wood will take a darker stain and absorb it; whereas, a wood type with smaller and more constricted pores will take less stain.


Actual wood color of a specific species will also make a difference in acceptance of a stain. Woods that are light in color will absorb a stain more quickly as well as take it in faster. In contrast, a darker wood will take in less of a stain.

Types of Wood for Dark Stains

There are three types of wood that are more accepting of darker stains. They include:

Cherry – Though cherry wood is dark to begin with, it does contain a grain that is less noticeable, which makes it a good candidate for a stain like espresso. A dark stain will somewhat dull the original shiny appearance of cherry, but it will give a deeper color and texture that is conducive to more modern kitchen cabinet designs.

Hard Maple – This type of maple is the top choice for boosting the appearance of an espresso stain. Hard maple has the perfect color and textural aspects that can absorb an espresso stain at the right level, which results in a rich and deep brown appearance. Since the maple is a lighter wood, it is more conducive to accommodating a darker stain like espresso.

Red Oak – This wood species is comparable to cherry in its more glowing finish, and it is also affected by a darker stain. Red oak does exhibit a noticeable grain that provides a consistency that is enhanced with a darker stain such as espresso. There is, of course, a red coloration with this type of oak which will bring about more of a brown espresso along with red tinges.

If you are interested in using a darker stain like espresso on your kitchen cabinets but are still unsure what type of wood you want to use with it, complete the online contact form and an expert in darker stains will get back to you with the best choices available to you. You can find the right stain to enrich your cabinets and the appearance of your kitchen.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Popular Countertop Materials?

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Popular Countertop Materials?

Any homeowner would like their countertops to last forever and there are material choices available that are more lasting than others. Depending on lifestyle needs, personal taste and budgeting priorities, choosing a longer lasting countertop material doesn’t have to be a hard decision. With the selections available today, there are materials with proven longevity.

Surveys for Longevity

Several surveys have been completed concerning the longevity of various countertop materials, and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) have found through their studies and research that life expectancy of any countertop material depends on its durability and maintenance.

So, if you have limited time for countertop upkeep and want a maintenance free kind of countertop, it might be wise to take a look at some longevity findings and characteristics of different countertop materials. Keep in mind what purpose you want your kitchen countertops to serve, along with a budget plan. Whether you are planning on selling your home, remodeling it for yourself, or just desiring an updated look, the following life expectancy figures should be of help.

Life Expectancy of Popular Countertop Materials

  • Concrete – 50 Years
  • Cultured Marble – 20 Years
  • Natural Stone – 100 Years
  • Laminate – 20-30 Years
  • Resin – 10 Years
  • Tile – 100 Years
  • Wood – 100 Years

Natural Stone

In looking at natural stone countertop choices, like granite, marble, and quartz, the ratings for longevity are a lifetime to 100 plus years. They are more expensive than other countertop choices, and poor maintenance and wear can create issues. Granite and marble are heat and crack resistant, but they are porous, which means they are susceptible to food and oil stains as well as bacteria build up from food and dirty cleaning cloths and sponges. Both granite and marble require sealing and polishing on a regular basis to maintain their longevity. Most stone surfaces can be brought back to life through professional refinishing. Quartz countertop materials are usually hardened through resin binders that help with wear, bacteria, abrasives and food and drink acids.


Tile countertops are also given a lifetime to 100 plus years longevity rating, and tile use covers almost any countertop taste from modern to traditional to classic and with the any selections, there is an infusion of creativity with colors, shapes and designs. Tile costs can be moderate to minimal depending on the type of tile used. Whether stone, ceramic, or porcelain, savings can be attained through do-it-yourself installations. Porcelain tiles will be more resilient than ceramic, while anything stone will be even more durable. With stone’s porosity, sealing and polishing will be necessary and if grout is utilized, sealing will also be essential.


Concrete countertops are given a 50-year longevity rating. They can be expensive because of utilization of molds and varying color mixes. Designs and color used within the concrete, such as mosaics, metal works, small rocks and specialized color designs can all add to its expense. The toughness of a concrete surface is easy to clean, but abrasive cleaners are a no-no. Concrete can be repaired, but any glasses, dishes or any other breakables will likely not survive interaction with concrete.


Laminate countertop designs are given a rating of 20 to 30 years. They are easy to maintain and their costs are moderate to low, and their versatility is endless, as they can often mimic stone and other high-end looks. Laminate countertops are available in wood grains, solids, textures, metallics, fibers, patterns and almost any other design. They are resistant to stains and can be easily maintained with soft sponges, mild soap and any non-acidic cleaners. If damage does occur, laminate countertops can be repaired for cracks or burn marks.


Like tile, wood countertops are assigned a lifetime to 100 years plus longevity rating. Wood can be high to moderate in total costs, which depends on the type of wood and cut used. Wood always adds warmth to a kitchen area, and countertop spaces can be easily refinished or stained for both a natural and rich look. Wood countertops do adapt well to knife and other utensil use , which makes wood a good choice for islands and chopping areas. They do, however require fast cleanup and maintenance to avoid stains from oil, grease, liquids and foods that can be quickly penetrate wood surfaces. Use of non-abrasive cleaners is recommended , particularly for any wood area that has a glossy finish.


The Resin materials that are used in solid surface acrylic countertops are longevity rated at 10 years. They are moderate in price, and the durable resins that are used in the fabrication of these countertops are resistant to stains and bacteria, but not to heat. They are easily maintained and can be repaired when needed. Resin countertops can be found in various colors, textures and patterns that are able to accommodate different edging as well.

Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is a stone replica and has a life expectancy of 20 years. It is a lower cost material that is made of a combination of crushed marble fragments and polyester resins. It has a gel coating that is resistant to mold and mildew, but not heat resistant. Cultured marble is susceptible to scratches, which can be sanded and smoothed, but this material is not the best for kitchen countertops. Any chips or cracks that occur in cultured marble cannot be repaired. In addition to a marble look, it can also be found with a granite appearance.

Countertops are a large part of what makes a kitchen usable and attractive, and they are also a large cost factor in a new kitchen, kitchen remodel or update. With the number of material choices available, a cost effective, durable and lasting countertop choice should be a homeowner’s priority. If you are unsure what way to go with a countertop material, complete the online contact form and a countertop expert will get back to you with the information you need to make an informed choice.

What You Need To Know About Countertop Seams

What You Need To Know About Countertop Seams

Planning a stone countertop installation is a lot more involved than homeowners often think. It’s not just a process of slamming a slab of stone in place and the countertop is complete. There is more to it, which involves creating seams in critical places. Determining where seams are needed is important for anyone thinking about a stone countertop installation. With that thought, the question comes to mind, does my stone countertop need to have a seam?

When Seams are Necessary

When natural stone is used for kitchen countertops there are going to be surface areas that will require a joining together at different junctures. Most stone slabs such as granite, marble and other natural stone materials are usually around 10 feet long and will require at least one seam. Any other required seams made will affect the price of the countertop installation. When homeowners see a slab, oftentimes they think the whole piece can be used without any separation. Maybe a slab that is meant for a bathroom area could be utilized in a seamless manner, but a kitchen countertop is another matter.

Seam Creation

Creating seams with kitchen countertops is a necessary part of the installation process, so what you do need to know about countertop seams involves the following:

  1. To begin with, you want an experienced fabricator who is able to do the work in a professional manner as well as minimize the appearance of seams. Don’t settle on a low bid price as you may receive inferior workmanship along with a visible seam or seams. Always ask for photos or other evidence of past work completed by the fabricator to ensure that you are getting the best of the best.
  2. Seam placement depends on the arrangement of the cabinets, sink and any other area that requires a necessary break for effective operation and cleaning purposes. Working with the fabricator is important in dealing with where seams will be placed. No seam should be within a certain number of inches from any of the countertop edges.
  3. Once a fabricator has advised you and identified the area or areas that require seaming, the stone pieces will be conjoined and filled with an epoxy resin that will be tinted or matched in color to the stone. If a stone choice is multi-colored, a clear resin will be used.
  4. Any seams that are created should meet a 1/16 of an inch standard, and that process usually involves the use of a specialized, mechanized technique that will join the pieces together to make the closure as precise and compact as possible. Once the epoxy has been applied, any overflow will be removed and the closure will be flattened and made flush with the countertop. An invisible look is the desired effect and if the fabrication has been done correctly, the seam will be unnoticeable or completely invisible. A good fabricator should b able to make the stone look like it is one piece.

Countertop seams don’t have to be a mystery and, yes, most kitchen countertops that involve natural stone material use will require seams to make slab pieces come together in the right formation. If you are considering kitchen countertop installation, and want additional information on proper seam fabrication, complete the online contact form and a countertop expert will get back to you with the information you need to take the worry out of what makes a seam a seam.

What Are Dovetail Drawers?

What Are Dovetail Drawers?

Drawers, well, just seem like drawers, but when it comes to specialization there are drawers that can make putting things in them a whole lot easier, and dovetail drawers can do that. So, what are dovetail drawers, and what are their advantages versus an ordinary, everyday drawer?

Dovetail Drawers

A dovetail drawer is designed and structured in a particular way. The actual drawer compartment is solid wood and the joints that secure the sides of the drawer are called dovetail joints because they look like puzzle pieces or blocks of wood. They have been joined at right angles at the outside corners of the drawer. They are also referred to as locking joints as they are wedge-shaped and cut into the wood in a channel like fashion. They interlock with one another on both sides of the drawer, which creates a box like effect. The wedge pieces are identified as tails or pins as they create a strong joint which is impervious to force.

Benefits of Dovetail Drawers

The benefits of dovetail drawers are literally in their joint construction, as they provide increased storage space as well as an overall stronger drawer. There is limited to no breakage with dovetail drawers. Even if the actual drawer area itself is broken or damaged, the joints almost always remain intact. The actual surface of the joint is large enough to accommodate additional glue, and the glue itself has greater strengthening capacity than the wood, which further strengthens the joint.

Strength, storage and superior craftsmanship are the beneficial aspects of dovetail drawers. The detailed and seamless precision that goes into the creation of a dovetail drawer brings it to a level of luxury that is associated with the highest of standards in craftsmanship. The smooth operation and looks of dovetail drawers delegate them to a position above other drawer designs and styles.

Benefits of Dovetail Drawers

Types of Dovetail Drawers

English Dovetail

An English dovetail drawer design offers a larger capacity of storage area on almost any type of furniture, because the joint is positioned at the exact edge of the wood. This placement allows for the added space within the drawer. The English dovetail design is more consistently found in finer furniture as it presents a more attractive and finished look, and is simply stronger.

French Dovetail

A French dovetail drawer greatly differs from the English design, as it is geared towards specialty furniture items, particularly those pieces with curved style drawers and more delicate pieces. French dovetail joints have a different construction technique that involves the side of the drawer being placed in a more upward position, with an elongated groove at the front of the drawer. Rather than the tight construction of a number of wood blocks or wedges, the French dovetail consists of channels that are cut in boards and the drawer or drawers fit in these channels. The design is not as sturdy as an English dovetail, as the drawer’s stability rests on the narrow edges of wood that go into the channel. In addition, when the joints are constructed this way, they have to come in quite a ways in from the corners of the wood, which causes the drawers to be narrower and lacking in depth.

Sliding Dovetail

A sliding dovetail joint is simply another definition of most any dovetail joint, as there are two pieces of wood fabricated in such a way as to have equivalent sections that slide or come together. So any dovetail drawer is going to have sliding dovetail joints. For example, the French dovetail is considered a sliding joint as it does slide together to make a drawer connection.

Dovetail drawers definitely have their advantages, but if you are unsure exactly how these drawers are fabricated or how they operate, or are undecided as to what type of drawer you need in a furniture selection, complete the online contact form and a representative will get back to you with answers you need regarding dovetail drawers. If you are looking for strength, storage and craftsmanship qualities, dovetail design selections are a way of realizing all three.

What Are The Best Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Materials?

What Are The Best Outdoor Kitchen Countertop Materials_

It seems that almost everyone wants an outdoor kitchen or prep area that can become a kind of second kitchen. The rush is on for exterior areas that accommodate the cooking and serving of food in a different setting, but with the push for outdoor kitchens comes the question as to what are the best materials for kitchen countertops that are able to fit in with an outdoor environment?

Selection Challenges

When selecting an outdoor countertop material, there are challenges with finding what is and isn’t fitting for an exterior area. Take a look at those materials that are considered the best outdoor kitchen countertop materials currently available and in use. Before making a choice, consider that the surface of the material should be one that can adapt to both cooking, cleaning and eating as well as one that is more easily maintained and has proven durability and longevity.

Stone Tiles and Slabs

Stone is almost always fitting for outdoor countertop use, but sealing it with an acrylic medium is a necessary step in preparing it for outdoor use. If stone is your choice, speak with a tile specialist as to which particular stone tiles are durable, resistant to stains and strong enough to handle repeated use. In addition, stone in a smooth slab form (about three inches in thickness) doesn’t require added under layers. The walls of the counter will be of support, and they are shaped during fabrication. Limestone is a good example.


Granite is strong, durable and long-lasting and doesn’t require added surface bolstering, but its overall weight does require professional installation. Granite is a fierce competitor for outside use as it is easy to use and maintain, plus it is available in an array of color choices, shades and patterns that easily coordinate with almost any outdoor patio, barbecue and deck area as well as with exterior furnishings, accessories, plantings and landscaping. Granite is all weather compatible and is resistant to discoloration, etching and loss of luster. Sealing isn’t entirely necessary, particularly if the granite is dense, but sealing will protect from dirt, grime and dust accumulation and acidic food and drink stains, which can eventually lead to more permanent marks. Whether a granite countertop is on the interior or exterior of a home, it does require maintenance and sealing, and regular cleaning will definitely extend the life of an exterior granite countertop.

Ceramic Tile

Tile that is glazed has become popular for outdoor countertop use, as it is durable and fairly easy to maintain. It is less expensive than slab type materials, such as granite, and it is available in a host of colors and sizes that can be nicely finished with edging and corner pieces. There is the drawback of grout getting dirty and staining along with the possibilities of chips, cracks and breaks, but with regular upkeep, ceramic tile can be maintained as well as made to last.


Brick is not usually thought of as a countertop material, but it has certainly been the foundation for many a barbecue pit. Brick that is used for countertops will be of a smooth yet hard variety and of a size that will easily accommodate most any countertop design. Sealing brick with an acrylic sealant gives it a workable surface and reduces porosity plus makes it resistant to stains. Though rougher and not as easy to maintain, brick brings a rustic look that draws attention to a more rustic outdoor setting.


Concrete has gained considerable popularity in use for both indoor and outdoor countertop use. Added texture and unusual color combinations can provide both an industrial and rustic touch to countertops. Concrete is a durable material, yet it can show scratches and nicks, but it is heavy enough that it does not require under layers. Fabrication is usually done with molds, and its installation necessitates the use of professionals to complete the process. Concrete, particularly pieces with ingrained and more vibrant colors have a tendency to fade from sun exposure, so overhead coverage is recommended.

Materials to Avoid


Though quartz is competitive with granite, its composition of coloring and resins can cause its surface to yellow and age from exposure to the sun and varying weather conditions.


Corian is another material that is not suitable for outdoor use. It is a plastic composite material that does not do well with variations in heat and distribution of heat.

If you are contemplating the use of outdoor kitchen countertop materials but aren’t sure which one is the best selection for your exterior area, complete the online contact form and a countertop expert will get back to you with the information you need to determine what the best materials are for your outdoor countertop.

Should I upgrade My Countertops Before I sell My Home?

When you decide to put your home on the market, there are many decisions you must make. You have to start clearing out the clutter you have accumulated over the years, stage rooms to make them appealing to buyers and be prepared for last minute calls from realtors who want to show the home to potential buyers. What you may not realize is that there are a few upgrades and renovations that can create better curb appeal which could lead to a higher offer. Although you want to fix any damage or replace things that are not working, upgrading your countertops is one of the best ways to improve the resale value of your home.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

It is true that your yard needs to be landscaped to attract buyers and it doesn’t hurt to add a few coats of paint or replace worn flooring to appeal to buyers. However, the two rooms that buyers pay the most attention to are the bathrooms and kitchen. Homebuyers want these rooms to be up-to-date yet trendy. If the rooms look outdated, buyers will either not be interested or may come back with a much lower offer than you are willing to take.

Granite and Quartz

Advertising a home with new granite or quartz countertops can lead to a quicker sale, according to some experts. Although today’s Formica countertops are much more durable than they were in the past, they will not last as long as stone counters. It is true that stone countertops are trending right now, but it is a trend that is expected to last for decades.

Bathroom Updates

It is relatively easy to update your bathroom with just some paint and elbow grease. Scrubbing your bathroom from top to bottom can make it look fresher and a new coat of paint will give it a quick update. Stone countertops, whether you choose marble, quartz or granite, can add sophistication and elegance to the room. Marble flooring can help you create a bathroom that feels more like a spa, something that potential buyers may find hard to resist.

Kitchen Updates

Kitchen updates may need to be a little more extensive than bathroom updates simply because there are more elements to your kitchen than your bathroom. Replacing your old counters with granite or quartz is one of the best ways to update your kitchen and increase the resale value of your home. Both stones resist bacteria which makes them a safe location to prepare food. This makes them appealing to buyers while also giving your kitchen a rich, luxurious look.

If you are considering stone in your kitchen or bath, give us a call today or fill out the simple form online. Our customer service staff can help guide you through the process and give you the kitchen or bathroom you want.

Sandstone Countertops: What You Need To Know

Sandstone Countertops: What You Need To Know

It seems that a resurgence of sandstone as a countertop material has become an adventurous new look for countertops today, even though it has been used in different capacities in years past, a renewed interest has surfaced and that seems to be due to the natural look of this type of stone as well as its earthy, vibrant and updated color and design combinations, its closeness to nature and its environmentally friendly footprint.

So, given its niche in the world of countertop choices, what does a homeowner need to know about sandstone countertops? An overview of what sandstone is, how it compares to other stone materials, how it should be maintained and how often it should be sealed are all necessary need-to-know factors with sandstone countertops.

What Type of Rock Is Sandstone?

Sandstone is a common sedimentary rock that can be found in basins where sediment accumulates. It is composed of existing rocks, small grains of mineral fragments and previously living organic materials. It forms from the buildup of these materials on the surface of the earth.

In addition, it contains binding or cementing materials that hold the small grains together, and it may also contain a base of particles that consist of clay or silt that take up the areas between the grains of sand. It is used for both manufacturing and construction related materials. Sandstone can also act as an aquifer or reservoir.

Sandstone VS. Granite Countertops

In comparison to granite, sandstone is extremely porous while granite is seemingly non-porous. Sandstone will easily absorb liquids, and it is susceptible to water marks, staining, crumbling and eroding, particularly when contact is made with oil, acidic food or drink, or improper cleaning materials. Granite is not nearly as susceptible to damage through typical everyday use. It is hardy, durable, long lasting and resistant to heat and scratches. It is easier to clean than sandstone, but even with its non-porous nature, it still requires routine maintenance with spills and possible stains.

Though installation is more routine with granite slabs, sandstone installation should be completed through a qualified professional that is familiar with the proper sealing procedures with sandstone. Granite is usually sealed before it is installed and does not require continual resealing. Granite patterns, colors and textures vary while sandstone selections are available in rich, natural earth tones and colors that are striking in their depth and appearance.

How to Maintain Sandstone Countertops

Sandstone countertops require regular ongoing maintenance and tender loving care in the form of quick action, which means getting to any spills immediately. Liquids, such as hard water, juices, wine, oil and any acidic food or drink should not be allowed to remain on a countertop for more than a couple of minutes.

The counters should be cleaned with a mild soap and limited amounts of water, and the area wiped with a clean, dry towel. Any kind of commercial or over the counter cleaning product should be tested on an inconspicuous area before using it on newly installed countertops, as they could be damaging.

How Often Should You Seal Sandstone Countertops?

Sandstone countertops should be resealed on a regular basis and an initial sealing should be completed at the time of installation. Sealants are made to last between three to seven years, but consulting with a sandstone expert about a durable and lasting sealant is an important first step before any sealing or resealing occurs.

If you need to know more about sandstone countertops and whether they are the right choice for you and your home, give us a call and a sandstone expert will get back to you with the answers you need to help you make an informed decision.

How to Choose the Best Bar Stools for Your Kitchen Island

It would seem that choosing bar stools for a kitchen island would be an easy process, but there are considerations to be made when selecting just the right ones.

Island and Bar Stool Logistics

You have to think about the size and height of the island first to determine how many stools are needed as well as what type of stools are a good fit, from both a physical and decorative aspect.

Many of today’s bar stools can be adjusted to fit with various table and island heights, so determining the right stool and height can be a more simplified process when the adjustable option is used.

Multi-functional Structure

With an island being a multi-functional kitchen structure, bar stool placement has to be another consideration. In most cases, kitchen islands are more than just a fixture for additional seating, as they are used as areas for preparing food, storing various kitchen utensils, small appliances and tableware, along with kitchen and table linens, and other items that relate to baking and food preparation. Bar stools may only be able to be used on one particular side or area of an island when the island is used for food preparation and storage access.

Standard Heights

Bar stools are manufactured in standard heights that go along with the type of counter or tabletop to be used. Whatever the tabletop height is of your kitchen island, simply measure its height and that will help you determine the size stool to use. Most typical islands that are used for seating and eating are 42 inches. For example, say your island height measures between 41 and 43 inches. With those measurements, a corresponding bar stool would fall in the 28-33 inch range.

Bar Stool Numbers and Spacing

Determining bar stool placement and the number of stools to be used in an island area are decided by the amount of spacing that is left between each stool. Spacing should allow for comfort and maneuverability. With island seating, at least 6 inches should be left between bar stools when the stool is 16-18 inches in width. If the stools are wider than 18 inches, then 8-10 inches should be left between each stool. You also want to consider knee space allotment with bar stool seating, which should be at least 12 inches. Most kitchens with 42 inch islands, which include overhangs or extended ends can usually accommodate 3-5 stools, perhaps more.

Bar Stool Styles and Materials

Just as important as sizing, spacing, and bar stool numbers are bar stool styles, materials and decorative color schemes. Bar stool styles are usually grouped as backless, low back, full back, swivel, armed and, don’t forget, self-adjusting.

It is somewhat easy to find bar stools that will coordinate with just about any kitchen design and color scheme, and they are made in various materials from wood to plastic to metal. Depending on the type of use a bar stool is going to endure, you want both comfort and easy care. If you have messy eaters or small children, you want to consider coverings, cushions, or plain surfaces that can be easily maintained without a lot of time and effort.

When you do choose an upholstered look, coordinate the fabric with your kitchen colors or select materials in earth or neutral tones that will harmonize with most any kitchen layout and color combination. Also, think about using a fabric that has been fabric guarded for stain proofing.

Choosing the best bar stools for your kitchen island should be an enjoyable and creative experience, but if you are having trouble selecting just the right ones, complete the online contact form and a specialist will get back to you with the information you need to find comfortable bar stools that will complement your island and your kitchen for years to come.

What is the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year?

Pantone has always had its eye on color and being the color experts that they are, they have chosen yet another “Color of the Year” winner in “Ultra Violet,“ a purple hue that Pantone believes represents and resonates not only daring originality and visionary thought but an uplifting of spirit.

Color is the Pantone Institute’s forte and their color of the year choice, and other selections prior to that, have generated impact and influence on color alternatives and interior decorating trends on a yearly basis and beyond.

Pantone’s Selection Influence

Pantone’s 2017 choice of “Greenery” inspired the ascent of new color levels through the association with nature and the burgeoning growth and green abundance of the outdoors. Greenery’s influence was expanded through other natural choices in yellows and other light and vibrant colors that were later seen in both homes and fashion houses. It only stands to reason that Ultra Violet would likely have the same effect and influence as other Pantone selections have. Like Greenery, Ultra Violet has the ability to influence and transform through its boldness, elegance and enriching qualities.

Perfect or not so Perfect Color

Color critics are exclaiming that purple can be a troublesome color, as there are those who obsess over it while others would like to avoid it. So, as divisive as it can be, utilizing it in a home decorating scheme may not make it the number one color of choice with more traditional consumers, but Pantone feels differently and believes their 2018 current favorite could be a transformative one.

According to Pantone color experts, the use of Ultra Violet can recharge a room in a number of different ways, and since purple hues relate varying meanings and degrees of expression, their use can be integrated into almost any design scheme.

Purple Variances

Lighter purple hues can relate romance, delicacy and nostalgia, while darker hues have a tendency to bring out less positive aspects, yet bright purple can enrich, as it suggests royalty and elegance. Depending on a room’s size, its design scheme and the mood to be conveyed, the use of most any purple hue can stimulate interest in a space as well as add a touch of class or polish to an area.

A deeper purple wall can easily be toned down through one simple accent wall as well as accessories and textural aspects provided through paintings, photographs, architectural wall pieces, flooring and other items that balance out the color. Plus the color itself can call attention to the nuances and subtleties of any standing furnishings in a room.

Ultra Violet is meant to make a statement. It can suggest a tradition, or bring boldness or sheer elegance to a space. With so many uses and nuances that purple hues offer, a modern living area, inn, hotel suite or commercial space can become centers of attraction that create warmth, strength and welcoming to homeowners, travelers and business owners.

Pantone’s Stream of Colors

Pantone will continue to excite with new colors across the spectrum and will announce yearly color winners on schedule as well as add additional colors in playful and cheerful palettes designed to please the child in everyone.

Their colors create excitement, and the Institute’s release of a color centered book, The Complete Color Harmony (Pantone edition) is one that reaffirms Pantone’s commitment to provide the revolutionary colors that so many lovers of color want to experience in their homes, businesses and travel retreats.

If Pantone’s color of the year is of interest to you, or other color selections come to mind, complete the online contact form and a color expert will get back to you with the information you need to discover what will work in your space and coordinate with your home design and decor. Who knows, Ultra Violet just might be part of your color destiny.

Does Your Kitchen And Bath Need To Match?

Does Your Kitchen And Bath Need To Match?

When you decide it is time to remodel your home, your kitchen and baths are the two rooms that can bring you the most return on your investment, sometimes as much as 100 percent. You may be considering choosing similar cabinetry and countertops, possibly to reduce your costs or because you are considering having your kitchen and bathrooms match. These tips can help you decide if a matching kitchen and bath are right for you.

Size of the Room

One of the most important things to consider when deciding whether to choose the same cabinetry in your kitchen and bath is the size of the rooms. Dark cabinets may look beautiful in a large kitchen, but if your bathroom is small, dark cabinetry may make the room look smaller. However, if both your kitchen and bathroom are large, dark cabinets can give your home a cohesive look.

Lighting Factors

Although you want both your kitchen and bathroom to have layers of light, you need to create different areas of light in the two rooms. Your kitchen will need task lighting in certain areas to help you see to prepare food. Although you will want task lighting in the bathroom for some tasks, like applying makeup, it will not be the same as what you need for kitchen tasks. Be sure to include layers of ambient and general lighting in both rooms.

Countertop Options

The best option for countertops in both the kitchen and bath is natural stone. Today, you have many options that will provide you with counters that are stain and bacteria resistant that work well in both the kitchen and bathroom. Granite is one of the most popular and can really create an elegant look to either room. In addition, if you choose the same style and color for both rooms, you could reduce your costs.

Flooring Options

Choosing the same flooring for both your kitchen and bath could provide you with additional savings. Using the same flooring allows you to buy in bulk which can lower the cost. Because the risk of water and liquid spills are similar in both kitchens and baths, the same style of flooring works in both areas. Although tile flooring works well in both areas, however, large tiles in a small room could make the room look smaller. If you have a small bathroom but want the same style and color tile as your kitchen, choose a type with both large and small tiles, using the smaller tile in the bathroom and the larger in the kitchen.

Color Options

If you choose to use the same cabinetry, countertops and flooring in both rooms, it is not difficult to choose the same color palette. Even if you decide to change one of the elements of the room, you can still stick with similar colors to give your home a cohesive look. Keep in mind that dark colors can make a room look smaller while very light colors will make a large room appear somewhat empty. When choosing your colors, keep the size of the room in mind as well as the features you will include in each room.

If you are considering a home remodel, our friendly, helpful staff can help guide you through the entire project, helping you choose the perfect features for your kitchen or bath. Learn more by filling out the simple form on our website.

How To Finish Tile Edges The Right Way

How To Finish Tile Edges The Right Way

Remodeling a room or building a new home can be exciting as you choose your light fixtures, flooring and countertops. If you are considering tile for as part of your project, you have probably found that there are many options available, from natural stone to mosaic to glass. There is no question that tile in a room creates a stunning, bold look, but there are many questions you need to answer beyond what type of tile you plan to use.

One of the biggest challenges is what options to choose to finish the raw edges of tile counters, walls and floors. It is important to choose the right edging to be sure that the tile is installed properly and that the finished project has the look you want. These tile edge trim ideas can help you choose the perfect edge for your room.

Coordinating Moldings

Many stone options also offer molding as tile edging options that coordinate with the counter, flooring or walls. They are often thin and decorative so that you can transition between different types of tile or where the tile meets drywall. If the tile does not have matching moldings, you may be able to find one that complements it from another style or one that adds contrast for an additional pop of color and design.

Metal Edging

One of the benefits of metal edging is that it can be used both inside and outside. It gives the natural stone a clean, contemporary look as it transitions from one surface to another. You can find metal edging that matches your fixtures, such as brushed nickel to match your faucets. This gives your room a more cohesive feel as the metal edging ties in with other metals in the room.

DIY Bullnose Edging

Bullnose edging is one of the most popular tile edging options, but not all styles come with that option. If you are up for the task, you can create your own bullnose edge. Although it can be challenging, the results will be stunning. Prior to installing the tile, grind, sand and polish the edge to make it more rounded. This will only work if your tile is natural stone or porcelain that is solid throughout. Practice on scraps or in areas that will not be seen until you get the process mastered. If you are using mosaics, tumbled stone or porcelain, you may be able to create a bullnose look if you apply a thin bead of caulking to the edge after installation and grouting.

Choosing tile for a room is fun and exciting, but there are many questions that must be answered. One of the most difficult is coming up with tile edge trim ideas. Contact our friendly customer service staff if you have questions about stone counters, floors or walls. We can provide you with the perfect tile edging ideas for your project. You can reach us by phone or complete the simple form online.

What Is A Punch List and Why It’s Important

What Is A Punch List and Why It's Important

There is no such thing as a “perfect” renovation project. No matter how talented a contractor is or how organized a homeowner is, things can go wrong. For this reason, many contractors use a list to be sure any issues that arise are completed and that they are completed correctly. Your contractor may have talked about using one and you may have thought to yourself “what is a punch list.” This can help guide you through what the list does and why it is important.

What is a Punch List?

A punch list is a final checklist of the work you have hired a contractor to do. The list should include everything you wanted completed and it should not be marked off until the work is completed to your satisfaction. If your contractor does not provide you with the list, you can create one of your own, but most contractors will provide one for you.

What is a Punch ListWhat is Included?

What will be on the list depends on the scope of your project. The list is not to determine if something was completed by a certain deadline, but whether the work was done to your satisfaction. If your contractor hired a plumber to install a new sink in your bathroom, the list should not simply indicate that the sink is there, but also that the sink does not leak and that the faucets are operational. The list should also include any items that need to be repaired, like missing knobs or parts that have not been delivered.

Punch List Apps and Templates

There are many contractor punch list templates available online that you can use to customize a list for your needs. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can even download punch list apps that will make it even easier for you to confirm that the project is completed. It is important to either use a punch list app or a template because it ensures that the contractor will deliver their best work. That does not mean you should not still regularly communicate with the contractor and you should not use the list as a way to “catch” your contractor doing things wrong. Instead, it is a method of checks and balances for both of you to make sure work is done to your satisfaction.

Use the list when you do a final review or walk-through with the contractor, checking to be sure each item is complete. If there are any flaws or final tasks that have not been done, point them out and ask for them to be completed or repaired. If you are looking for a contractor who has a history of completing work to customer standards, give us a call today or fill out the form on our website.

5 Simple Fireplace Makeovers For 2017

There is no question that a fireplace draws attention in your home. If your fireplace seems to be lackluster or need some updating, there are things you can do to improve its look. In fact, a fireplace makeover is much easier and less expensive than other types of home remodels or repairs. Take a look at our fireplace design ideas, these five tips can help you update your fireplace without emptying your wallet.

Tile Accents

If your fireplace has a surround inside the mantle, common for propane fireplaces, you can replace the plain surround with tile. There are glass and ceramic tiles in many different styles, shapes and designs that you can use to update your fireplace for very little cost. In some cases, the entire surround could cost around $100, including grout and the tile. Designers suggest using two-sided sticky paper to attach the tiles in order to make the project go smoothly. The entire process can be completed in just a few hours.

Tile Accents

Brick Fireplace Paint

There are many who believe painting natural brick is blasphemy, but if your fireplace was built using plain builder bricks, painting them could give your fireplace new life. White is one of the best options for painting fireplace bricks as it makes the glowing fire stand out. You can customize the look even more by finishing the bricks with chalk paint to create a subtle contrast. The only expense is a few cans of paint.

Apply Whitewash

Whitewash may bring to mind stories of the Old West or fences painted by Huckleberry Finn. Whitewash has been used for centuries for both exteriors and interiors. It is a mixture of slaked lime and chalk which cures through a reaction with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to create calcite, giving it its white appearance. Applying whitewash to natural stone is an excellent way to update your fireplace. An updated version of whitewash is created using chalk paint which, when applied with sponges, creates a natural look on stone used for fireplaces.

Stone Your Mantle

Stone Your Mantle – Stone Fireplace Designs

Remove the traditional mantle from your fireplace and create an entire wall of lightweight imitation stone. A floor-to-ceiling wall of stone surrounding your fireplace draws the eye upward and gives your room character. Add a floating mantle above the fireplace for an additional natural look. Lightweight stone can be found at local home improvement stores at reasonable prices so this update to your fireplace may look much more expensive than it actually was.

Porcelain Frame

If your fireplace is surrounded by heavy brick, consider removing the brick and replacing it with porcelain tile. The look will be more modern and light, opening up your room and making it feel more spacious. Although massive brick hearths are attention-grabbing, they may grab attention for the wrong reason, giving you room a dated, dark appearance. Add a floating mantle to the tile and your fireplace looks clean, sleek and modern.

If you are in need of a fireplace makeover, our helpful customer service staff can lead you in the right direction. Call them today or fill out the simple form online to learn more.

Your Checklist For End Of Summer Cleaning

Your Checklist For End Of Summer Cleaning

Summer is coming to an end, children are heading back to school and the days are getting shorter. However, the days are still long enough and warm enough for you to tackle a few end of summer cleaning projects that can help improve the look of your home. By completing the projects now, you can tackle any issues that may arise while the weather is still warm, despite the fact you would rather lie in the hammock with a cold lemonade.

Window Blinds

There is no question that window blinds are ignored because they are annoying to clean, so include them as part of your end of summer cleaning. The task is not difficult, but it can be time-consuming. Unfortunately, failing to clean blinds allows dust to buildup, dulling the surface. Eventually, the dust will block the light making it difficult for you to clean other things in the room. If your blinds are metal or vinyl, moisten a cloth with warm water mixed with dish soap and wipe each slat individually. If your blinds are wooden, do not use water. Simply wipe them with a dry cloth. Vertical blinds can be removed, laid flat and wiped down.

You Do Windows

As your windows are exposed to the sun, the quality of the glass will deteriorate. Because glass is porous, it expands with the heat of the day and contracts when it cools at night. It is daily dust and grime that gets below the surface of the glass that make them look cloudy. Wash windows and screens with dish soap or white vinegar mixed with water, then use a squeegee to remove excess water. If possible, consider hiring a professional to get your windows sparkling clean.

Scrub Your Cabinets

If your cabinets are fairly clean, a simple mixture of water and dish soap will clean them. However, if they are particularly grimy, which is not uncommon if you have children, use commercial-grade cleaners that contain orange oil for the doors and handles. Remove items from inside the cabinet and give the shelves a thorough cleaning as well. Allow the doors and drawers to remain open for an hour or two to be sure they dry completely before replacing items.

Clothes and Dish Washers

Washing machines are a major source of mold and mildew. If you have a front-loading washer, spray the rubber gasket on the front with white vinegar before wiping with a damp cloth. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser and run on the hottest temperature and at the highest setting. Add a half-cup of baking soda to the drum and run a second cycle. Wipe the inside and outside of the machine to dry. For top-loading washers, fill the washer to the highest level on the hottest water setting. Add a quart of white vinegar or bleach and a cup of baking soda. Remove any parts you can, like fabric softener or bleach cups and wash them. Wipe down under the lid and inside any crevices. For your dishwasher, take out the filter and scrub with a baking soda and water paste. Run the machine on the hottest setting after adding a cup of white vinegar.

Refrigerator, Freezer and Oven

Check expiration dates in your refrigerator and freezer, discarding anything that is outdated. Wipe down all interior surfaces with two tablespoons of baking soda mixed with hot water. Vacuum the coil and grill. Wipe down the exterior surface remembering to wipe in the direction of the grain for stainless steel. If your oven is self-cleaning, set it and let it clean. Most self-cleaning ovens recommend removing the oven racks, so be sure to give them a thorough cleaning. Let them soak for 30 minutes in a tub of soapy water before scrubbing with a steel-bristle brush.

These are just a few chores you can complete as part of your end of summer cleaning. Don’t forget to give your barbecue grill a thorough cleaning before you put it away for the winter as well. If you are considering updating your home this year, contact us today to see what options we have available to you. Visit us online or give us a call to set up an appointment if you are in the market for a home remodel.