Creating Mosaic Countertops

kitchen-roomCreating a real tile mosaic on almost any surface top is easy. The first step would be to look in a tile shop and see what is available. Then decide on a pattern you want.

There are many books, magazines and TV shows that give step by step instructions as well as design ideas. After deciding a pattern or design, sketch your pattern on the surface you are going to tile over. The first step is to prepare the surface making sure the tile will adhere. You do this by scoring the surface with a utility knife then coating the surface with a mixture of watered down white glue. Next you take tile cement, commonly known as thin set or mortar, and spread a thin coating over the surface. Place your tiles in the cement according to the pattern you drew. After the cement has set, (don’t be in too big of a hurry) fill the gaps between the tiles with tile grout. Most people think grout is available only in white but if you look in a hardware store you’ll find many different colors of grout available. You apply the grout by simply troweling it over all of the seams between the individual tiles. Then wipe away the excess with a sponge.

Have you ever been in a cafe, restaurant or a friend’s house for that fact, and admired the mosaic tile on the tabletops or walls? Well, it’s not that hard to bring that look into your own home. Where’s a good place to add a mosaic in your home? Kitchens and bathrooms are the obvious choices but end tables and patios have become favorites too. Consider embellishing a coffee table purchased from an unfinished furniture store. This is a great little week-end project. All you have to do is add a coat of paint and then make a small mosaic on the tabletop using some different size tiles or even broken tile pieces. This same technique works equally well for a larger area like this as it does for a small accent table.
Before starting this project, there are some things you should do first to be prepared.

Take some time researching what you want to do before you start laying tiles down. There are tons of books on ceramic tiles at your bookstore or library. A recommendation is to just thumb through them to get some inspiration for your design. Once you have a basic idea of what you want to do, it’s always a good idea to draw a sketch of your design.

Then you will want to place the actual tiles on the countertop, starting from the center and working outwards, to make sure your pleased with your design. Once you have everything in place, take a magic marker and mark the tiles’ location.
Before you cement the tiles in place, you have to prepare the tiles for the mosaic sections. How do you do that? This is where you can get some aggression out. Take a mix of tiles, wrap them in a towel and give them a whack. This is the simplest way to get the broken pieces of tile you’ll need for the mosaic. For the border mosaics you are going to need some smaller pieces of tile. For the smaller pieces you use a tile nibbler to break off pieces the size you need. To cement the tiles in place, use mortar that you can buy at any tile store or home improvement store. You just trowel the mortar on about 1/8th inch thick. Then use the edge of the trowel to score the mortar. Then just put your tiles in place. For the mosaic sections you use the same process. Take the different pieces of tile and arrange them however you like. Try and keep the spaces between the tiles to 1/8th of an inch.

How do you finish the project? You have to grout the tiles after the mortar has set up or dried. Remember, tile grout is available in many colors, not just white. Next smear the grout over the top of the tiles filling in the seams. To clean the tiles, wipe off any excess grout with a sponge. Let it dry overnight and you’re done so sit back and admire your work of art!

How To Choose New Kitchen Countertops When Kitchen Remodeling

Have you recently made the decision to remodel your kitchen?  If so, what would you like to have remodeled?  There are some homeowners who only choose to have a specific part of their kitchen remodeled, but then there are others who want everything changed.

Whether you want to only improve a small part of your kitchen or if you want a completely different kitchen, there is a good chance that you may be looking for a new kitchen countertop.  If so, have you decided on which type of countertop you would like?  Granite is usually the best choice for homeowners.

When it comes to choosing new kitchen countertops, for your kitchen remodeling project, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration.  One of the most important things to keep in mind is your kitchen cabinets.  Kitchen countertops are almost always placed on top of kitchen cabinets or cupboards.  If you are looking to remodel your cabinets as well, it may be a good idea to pick out all of your supplies and materials at the same time. This will help to ensure that your new kitchen countertop not only looks nice, but that it also compliments the kitchen cabinets that you will have installed.

Perhaps, the most important thing to keep in mind, when choosing your new kitchen countertops is the cost.  Laminate countertops are often considered the most affordable of all countertops. Despite being the most affordable, they are often considered plain. If you are looking to not only change your kitchen around, but improve the appearance of it, you may be looking for something better.  A large number of homeowners choose to make their new kitchen countertops out of wood materials or marble.

Although it is important to focus on the beauty and overall appearance of a countertop, it is also important to make sure that you can afford it.  If you are remodeling your entire kitchen, it may be a good idea to make a list of materials that you will need or wish to have, in addition to a budget.  If you mistakenly spend too much money on kitchen countertop materials, you may find it difficult to afford to remodel the rest of your kitchen.

While there is a chance that you may already know what type of new kitchen countertop you would like to have installed, there is also a chance that you may not.  If this is the case, you are advised to start shopping.  Whether you look for kitchen countertop materials online or in one of your local home improvement stores, there is a good chance that you will come across a wide selection of materials, all with different designs and styles.

Shopping or at least browsing is one of the best ways to get ideas.  In fact, doing your shopping and browsing at the place where you plan on buying your remodeling supplies from is a great way to get price estimates, which are essential when kitchen remodeling is being done a budget.

Once you have decided which type of materials you would like to use for your kitchen countertops, whether they be a traditional green laminate color or a beautiful marble color, you will need to decide how your kitchen countertop will be installed. If you desire, you can seek assistance from a professional kitchen remodeling expert or a general contractor; however, you may want to do your own countertop installation. With a set of directions, you will find that it is relative easy to install your own kitchen countertop, even if you do not have any home improvement experience.  Many kitchen countertop materials come with directions, but if not, you could easily purchase a how-to book for a relatively affordable price.

Ideas for Simple Kitchen Makeovers

Summer is finally here, and many of us are eager to get our home renovations underway.  With so many project options available to the average homeowner, it is often difficult to determine the most cost effective home improvements.  This is especially difficult for people that are trying to ready their homes for sale.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective home improvement projects is the kitchen makeover.  American families spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and those shopping for a new home place a lot of emphasis on kitchen design.  If you are keen on updating your kitchen, whether for your family or for a potential buyer, the following tips can help immensely.

There is no need to replace your kitchen cabinets, if they are constructed from real wood.  Most people love the idea of natural wood cabinets so instead of replacing them, why not consider updating them?  Changing the hardware is a simple way to give your kitchen cabinets an updated look.  There are countless styles and designs available, and most of them can be had at extremely fair prices.

Adding a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the appearance of your cabinets.  It is simple enough to remove the cabinet doors and repaint them.  Be sure to clean them properly beforehand.  A light sanding will also help ensure that the new paint adheres properly.  There are so many colors of paint to choose from.  Consider using one of the antique finishes that have become so popular in recent times.

A quality countertop is another viable option for upgrading the appearance of your kitchen.  A marble or granite countertop may seem like an expensive upgrade, but if you are selling your home this simple upgrade could close the deal for you.  If you are not in a position to consider marble or granite, ceramic tile is the next best choice.  The wonderful thing about using tile for a countertop is the freedom that you have with the design.  Mosaic tiles have never been so popular, so don’t forget to let your artistic side run wild.

Breathe Life Into Your Old Bathroom Vanity

If you can’t stand the look of your bathroom vanity and want to breathe some new life back into it, you should consider trying to spruce it up. Aside from what you may have heard, an old bathroom vanity cabinet can be overhauled with little to no money. While you could always invest in a new cabinet, you’d be amazed at the kind of satisfaction a small amount of elbow grease and time can bring about.

Probably the most lucrative option for those with an unsightly bathroom vanity cabinet is to paint it. Most bathroom vanities can be painted with standard paints available at home improvement stores. If you’re unsure as to what type of paint your project will require, it’s best to talk to an employee at your local home improvement store. The employee should be able to give you some insight into the materials you’ll need to execute your project.

If painting’s not something you’re looking forward to, you should consider replacing the hardware on your vanity. Swapping out your bathroom vanity cabinet’s old hardware, with new and shiny hardware can bring about astonishing results. It really doesn’t take much to revitalize a room’s focal point.

If neither the above options appeal to you, you have the option of replacing your bathroom vanity’s countertop. The countertop is one of the bolder elements of a countertop and can thus work to enhance its appearance or utterly annihilate it. If your vanity’s current countertop is simply no longer cutting it, you should seriously consider replacing it. Those that are willing to spend more money should consider purchasing real stone countertops. If the budget’s a bit tight, you can also go with a laminate countertop. Both will get the job done – just at varying prices.

Giving your vanity a new look isn’t as hard as it initially appears. If you’re willing to dedicate a little time and patience, the possibilities for revitalizing an old vanity are endless.

7 Materials For Creating The Perfect Kitchen Countertop

The kitchen countertop has to be able to take a lot of abuse including the heat of pots, cutting and knives and abrasive cleansers. The ideal countertop should be able to stand up to heat and the sharp edge of a knife.

Let us take a look at 7 of the most popular kitchen countertop materials being used today:

Granite – A natural stone, granite is a popular choice for it’s classic beauty and durability. Granite is the hardest and densest of the natural stones. It can create a kitchen countertop that is extremely scratch resistant and can keep its luster longer than most materials. granite slabs are the most expensive of all kitchen countertop surfaces, although it is still considered a very practical material in that it is virtually indestructible.

Marble – Another natural stone, marble is considered to be the height of elegance and will last longer than most kitchens. It is however, is very expensive and requires some care: acidic foods such as orange juice will etch the finished surface of a marble kitchen countertop.

Slate – Because of it richness and beauty slate is usually used in interior applications such as kitchen countertops, bathroom sinks or fireplace surrounds. It can be used in either modern or traditional kitchens as well as in combination with marble. Slate is durable, strong, and can withstand hard use. It is less expensive than marble

Concrete – This is one of the biggest trends in kitchen countertops today. It is a good look for clean, industrial and contemporary kitchen designs. Available in pre formed sections or poured and formed on-site. Concrete is a good material for unusually shaped counters. Concrete kitchen countertopsare expensive, require a sealant and must be treated with care. The countertop can crack if the concrete should contract. Concrete can be stained any color. The most popular color is a natural gray tone. The top layer can be finished as desired.

Corian – A solid surface material that first became popular in the 1990’s It is highly recommended by kitchen countertop experts. It is a totally manmade product and is not porous. As a solid surface it can easily be repaired if scratched or burned.

Stainless Steel – Advantages include very hygienic, easy to clean, has ability to stand up to exteme wear and heat. Stainless steel can provide a great look for an ultra modern kitchen. Some disadvantages with stainless is that it can be noisy and that scratches can develop.

Tile – Tile surfaces can be tough, hard-wearing, takes hot pans, heat and stain resistant as well as beautiful. There are many types of tiles including ceramic, porcelain, quarry, glass, natural stone and mosiac. Available in many colors, sizes and textures. It has good design flexibility. Tile can often be used for trim or backsplashes. The downside of tile is that the grouts can be easily stained. Also the tiles can become chipped or cracked.

Advantages of Kitchen Granite Countertops

kitchen-cabinet-refacingKitchen granite countertops are created by nature and fashioned by man are a beautiful, durable and cost effective choice for kitchens and baths. The term granite comes from the Latin root word granum, which means “grain.”

Granite is often imported from Europe, Africa, Brazil and other regions of the world rich in natural stone. Granite is an attractive natural stone that will add color and warmth to your kitchen. Granite is an extremely hard material that will not blister, scratch or crack.
The hardness of granite is rivaled only be the hardness of diamonds. In fact diamonds are used to cut and polish granite.

Over the last 10 years kitchen granite countertops have become popular with homeowners, after first being popular with designers for decades. Granite is available in hundreds of colors, from various shades of white to browns, reds, greens, blues, and black. The most popular tones are brown and beige.

As well as being hard kitchen granite countertops can take hot items, like pots and pans, and is very stain resistant to hot grease and oil if it is sealed with a silicone-based impregnator. It can easily be cleaned and cut for a basin. Granite has a cool polished surface that makes it an excellent surface for rolling out pastry dough. The polished finish of granite will not wear off.

Kitchen granite countertops are unique because no two pieces of granite are exactly the same, therefore granite provides an interesting design element and adds certain richness and texture to your kitchen not found in other surfaces. Kitchen granite countertops can create a brilliance and elegance that is only found in nature. Granite adds a personality and character to kitchen countertops that is unsurpassed. Kitchen granite countertops have a natural beauty that is capable of complementing any tone of wood or style of cabinets.

It doesn’t matter if you are planning a new home or remodeling an existing kitchen, with granite kitchen countertops you can be sure that you will add to value of your home.

Kitchen remodelers and home builders have experienced a boom in the demand for kitchen granite countertops. Although it can be more expensive to put in granite countertops, they remain the odds on favorite choice for more upscale homes, since they keep their value better than most home improvements

The investment you make in kitchen granite countertops should pay you back at least three times what you invested. If you are selling your home you will find that home buyers wanting kitchen granite countertops will be willing to pay more for your home than if you have ceramic tile or plastic laminate.

Planning out your kitchen granite countertop first involves selecting the right granite color. You should concentrate on the most popular colors. Even though granite tones are usually neutral, you may find that a certain color goes well for your kitchen design.

If you are replacing the old countertop material in your kitchen with granite, carefully diagram all the measurements for the granite installer. If installing new wholesale kitchen cabinets is part of your kitchen remodel ask the granite fabricator what they recommend for cabinetry.

Since you are using such a superior product as granite, you should think about the right type of sink to go with your new kitchen granite countertop. You should definitely consider going with an undermount stainless steel sink, as opposed to an overmount sink that would be difficult to clean around.

In addition to getting the right kind of sink installed, it is also important to select the just the right faucet to go with the sink. A stainless steel faucet would go well with the looks of a rich kitchen granite countertop.

The next important area is upgrading your cabinet hardware. The handles and knobs should also be of high quality in order to provide good accent to the overall look of the kitchen. Even if you are not replacing the cabinetry having high quality hardware with make those cabinets and the whole kitchen
stand out.

So in planning your kitchen remodeling, just remember that kitchen granite countertops will make a provide a world-class addition and increase the re-sale value of your home.

Ceramic Tile Kitchen Countertops

Ceramic tiles for kitchen countertops have become a must have in home buyers’ kitchens.

Whether you prefer glazed, porcelain, quarry or mosaic, these tiles are versatile and come in an array of designs, colors and shapes. A design savvy look, country flair, artistic interest or upscale appearance can enhance your kitchen countertops surface that’s low maintenance but high in style. Tile countertops are also a great idea for completing your kitchen renovation since tiles are not only durable but are heat resistance.

Be creative and always design your kitchen tile layout the way you like it. One interesting way to do it is to tile your backslpash. Be sure to put colorful, unique and single designs tiles in between plain fields tiles. You can do multiples of the same design tiles or each can have a different design or color. To make your kitchen come alive, use beautiful kitchen tile with attractive colors or designs. Your kitchen tile can standout or contrast, but you always want them to blend in with what you’ve got going on the cabinets and the floor. You do not want to get dizzy walking into your kitchen from all the “business.”

Murals also are a nice addition for your backsplash or you can add picture, marbles or things you collect for added interest. You do not want to get dizzy walking into your kitchen from all the “busyness.”

It seems though more and more home buyers are demanding granite kitchen counter tops.

Granite provides a beauty and warmth and it is ideal for aesthetic appeal in home design. Granite and its popularity are a little pricey with prices starting at 60.00 a foot installed. Although they are very popular, solid granite countertops may not be for everyone. A homeowner may not be willing to pay the price because of limitations on resale value. In situations like these you can always go to the granite tile countertops as an alternate means. The granite tile countertops are designed from the same desirable stone as the solid granite with all the desirable elements remaining the same. Granite tile countertops can withstand putting hot pots/pans on the counter. They also serve as an excellent surface for handling dough and confectionery. Granite tile countertops have such a natural beauty that compliments almost any style cabinetry. Granite tiles are very versatile and offer a wide range of ideas and options for installations. If you are not wanting to install granite tiles all over your kitchen consider doing just your island top for a focal point and conversation piece. These will make the tiles pop against the design choices you have made in your kitchen.

Granite tiles provide a great choice for the homeowners who are trying to do kitchen remodeling on a budget and can easily be done as a week-end project. The practicality choice of granite tile countertops can be set into any other material including laminated counter tops or solid wood. Clever design plans allow the homeowner to present their own style and taste without great expense.

The granite countertop appeal can not be compared to any other.

A short installation guide of solid wood countertops and kitchen islands

Solid wood countertops are natural products made of wood from trees approximately 120 years old. Wood is a living material and the more moisture receives, the more the wood countertop will expand. The wood we used in solid wood worktops has been previously kiln dried to a humidity level of 6%, and it is therefore important that the worktop is not exposed to a constantly high level of humidity. Normally the humidity level in kitchens is approximately 50-70%.

The solid wood top must be attached to the cabinet box using only wood screws and washers. It is not recommended at all to glue the top on the cabinet box; the top and the box expand and contract at different rates, therefore cracks might eventually appear, most probably on the cabinets’ surface.

The proper way of installing a solid wood top is using metal fixings along the cabinet box (see our web page).
The metal fixings must be uniformly distributed throughout the length of the top, spaced at a 1′ – 1.5′ distance from each other. Across the width, the top is usually fixed to each metal support with three screws, one in the middle, one toward the front edge and one toward the rear edge. The supports must be perfectly leveled; otherwise tensions can develop in the wood, leading to warping, cupping, or cracks.
We recommend pre-drilling the screw holes into the wood countertop, in order to avoid cracks and splits. For the same reason, it is a good idea not to over tighten the screws. The finishing will considerably diminish the extent of such movements, but will not eliminate them altogether. Due to the panel’s laminated structure, the lengthwise movements are insignificant, so the installer should pay attention to the movements occurring across the panel’s width. In order to prevent the development of inner tensions, the holes in the metal fixings should be elongated in the direction of the movements (see our web page ).

When exposed to normal humidity levels – i.e. 50-60% – the worktop’s width will expand by 1/12”-1/24”, but when exposed to a level of 80-90%, this measurement may expand by up to 1/2″ or even more for some species. Therefore, when the rear edge of the counter top is installed against a wall, the wall might restrict the top’s natural movements, leading to undesired tensions in the wood. To avoid this, you can allow a 1/4”-1/2” joint between the wall and the countertop edge and caulk it with a thin bid of acid-free silicone.
Additionally, you can firmly fix the rear edge to the metal supports underneath and thus, allow the natural movements to occur at the expense of the opposite edge.
In this case, the holes in the metal fixings corresponding to the rear edge will be no larger than the screws diameter, while the holes corresponding to the middle section and the front edge will be elongated.

For additional information regarding the installation of wood countertops, bar tops, kitchen cabinets or kitchen islands, contact Kitchen Cabs Direct.

Need Assistance! Phone (201) 655-2240 Line Showroom: 269 PARKER AVENUE CLIFTON, NJ 07011