Ceramic Tile Flooring – The Healthy Choice

Believe it or not, carpeting is one of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution.  One of the common health problems in a house is allergies, and carpets are practically a perfect environment for dust mites, molds and mildew.

Not only that, but the modern wall-to wall carpeting in today’s houses are made of synthetic fibers dyed and treated with chemicals (fungicides, soil repellants and pesticides, anyone?) and bonded to synthetic backing with chemical glues. All of these materials release hundreds of Volatile Organic Compounds as they age, in a process called outgassing. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be mutagens, irritants and carcinogens. Not the ideal thing to have in your home, to say the least.

Carpet also attracts and retains all that you and your family members track in to the house from the ground outside- dirt, lead dust found in flaking house exterior paint, insects, bacteria, lawn and garden chemicals and other unhealthy debris.  Not to mention food crumbs, hair and dead skin particles.

Getting a wall-to-wall carpet 100% clean is nearly impossible (ever rented one of those steam-cleaners to clean your carpet and cleaned the same area over and over, each time seeing more dirt come out?) and trying to clean causes its own problems. Vacuuming stirs up airborne dust and mold spores. Shampooing can leave a damp carpet encouraging more mold growth and even the shampoo may have irritating or even toxic chemicals added.

At the other end of the floor covering health spectrum is ceramic tile. It is made from natural clay materials fired in a kiln. A tile sealed with non-leaded glaze is impervious to mold and bacteria and is well tolerated by chemically sensitive people.

Ceramic tile is bonded to the base flooring using low-toxicity thin set mortar, and can be grouted with home-made, additive-free grout. 2 parts dry, clean sand mixed with 1 part Portland cement can be prepared and added to water to form a slow, damp curing grout.

Although a ceramic tile floor can be expensive up front, due to the labor-intensive installation, they are very durable and long-lasting if properly maintained, and can be considered as comparatively affordable in the long run.

Should You Use Carpet Or Tile?

Keeping a home clean will always be a challenge. There is the dust to clean, furniture to clean, and the floor to vacuum. All of this can add up to hours of wasted time. But what if you could trim the time you spent cleaning your home by up to half? Think that notion is a bit farfetched? With tile flooring, it’s not. Many homeowners are quickly discovering that tile flooring is the ideal alternative to carpet floors. Tile, unlike carpet, doesn’t cling to hair, dirt, and other deposits left by family members or guests. This can make maintenance a breeze and provide you with plenty piece of mind, considering that you won’t have to worry about people coming in and out with shoes in your home. Below we will be exploring some of the additional perks tile flooring has to offer over carpet flooring.

Allergies can be a troublesome problem when one has a carpeted home. Pollutants including pollen and dust make home in carpet fibers, where they can begin to wreak havoc on your allergies. Tile doesn’t bond to pollutants like carpet does. This, in return can keep your allergies from acting up.

By going the tile route, homeowners can save a significant amount of money. Although tile might initially cost more, it will save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Tile, unlike carpeting, doesn’t require constant vacuuming or steam cleaning. On a further note, tile doesn’t need to be replaced every several years. It can last forever given that it’s properly maintained.

Although tile does have a large number of perks, it does have its disadvantages. For one, family members might be uncomfortable walking barefoot over the cold surface. This can be remedied by having a tile heating system installed. Tile also has a tendency to make stains more apparent. Thus, whenever you encounter a fresh stain, be sure to quickly clean it.

Tile is a very ideal alternative to carpet flooring. In terms of maintenance, health, and finances, tile couldn’t make any more sense.

Bathroom Remodeling Tips

If you’re building or remodeling your home, the bathroom is one space you can’t afford to overlook. Bearing in mind how much time you spend in this room, you absolutely want that space to be at ease, useful and good-looking as possible. This article will give you some bathroom remodeling tips on design fundamentals that go into a bathroom decor.

After your bathroom remodeling has been finished by a quality bathroom renovation contractor, here are some quick tips to give your bath a distinctive look. Add a simple detail, such as a picture rail or shelf along one wall, to display framed prints or small figurines.

Fill antique bowls or shaving mugs with pretty toiletries, such as soaps or bath salts. If you have room, consider adding a piece of outdoor furniture like a woven chair or table. Add accent lighting to your bathroom remodeling, like a low-voltage strip of lights around the top edge of the wall tile.

Draw attention to the ceiling with ornamental wood beams. Line an entire wall with mirrored cabinets. They will make the room look considerably more open. Instead of paint, try a colored stain to revitalize wood cabinets. Mix and match colors by using a light-colored stain for the backdrop and then apply a brighter color to some of the drawers. Add bright flowers or flowering plants to the room.

Look for unusual vessels, such as wall vases, old watering cans or window boxes to hold your favorite plants. Attach a beveled mirror to the wall over the sink and frame it with tiles. You can use a selection of mix-and-match tiles or try some colorful styles.

How to Use Concrete in a Traditional Kitchen

Concrete’s use in kitchens and bathrooms may still be considered relatively “modern” design-wise by some homeowners. But while concrete can be used to create a modern or minimal look, it’s also perfectly adaptable to a more traditional setting – where it was so extensively used in the first place.

Concrete can act as a substitute for more traditional materials. Rather than just using concrete to explicitly re-create something from the past, you can also combine it with other elements to suggest a timeless quality. In my work, I always strive to strike a balance between innovation and emotion, between spare contemporary and warm traditional. Adding mosaic tile along the front edge of a concrete surface, inlaying bits of tile along a backsplash, or even embedding a fossil in a countertop all connect us to the past.

Let’s take a turn-of-century “Craftsman” style kitchen for a hypothetical example. The cabinets would most likely be frame-and-panel with flush inlay doorframes. There would be wood wainscoting in the dining area and perhaps tile around a single porcelain sink. The lighting fixtures might have beveled glass or echoes of Tiffany lamps. What concrete application would be appropriate in this situation?

I would look into one or more of the following ideas in combination:

  • Choose an earth tone color or natural gray. No bright colors.
  • Keep the front face, or thickness, of the countertop at a minimum of 2-1/2″ up to 5″.
  • Inset “panels” into the front face of the countertop to reflect the cabinet doors. These panels would be no deeper than 3/8″ and would measure approximately 1/3″ to the height of the front face, or
  • Recess the appropriately sized or proportioned ceramic tiles with some embossing on them into the face of the countertop or into a cast backsplash.
  • Allow the recess to be at least 1/4″ in depth.
  • Mosaic tiles in groups of four separated by 1/8″-1/4″ spacing could be placed on the countertop surface as inlaid “trivets” next to the stove burners. (In the mold, they would be placed face down on the bottom of the form.)
  • Line the drain board into the sink with tile or marble.

Now I wouldn’t want to use all of the above accents – just enough to carry a complementary flavor to the Craftsman look and feel. The concrete itself is earthy enough to carry that load. It’s up to you as a homeowner or designer to add the touch that personalizes and enhances the piece. In some cases, for instance, the overwrought “traditional English manor” kitchen, usually full of elaborate detailing, can use a touch of restraint – the concrete counter with a simple ogee edge detail and a complementary white porcelain farm sink might just be perfect.

As they say, it’s all in the details.

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.

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.

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