Mini Blog- Countertops

The options for countertops have grown exponentially in recent years with the help of technology and creativity. There is so much more than the laminate and granite of years past, including quartz, concrete, wood, solid surface, stainless steel, or even a combination, as well as, many more. Each option has its own benefits, as well as, its own disadvantages. The trick is finding the right option to suit the needs of the client and the design style. One option may work for one space, while another may not. In some cases, the client may want multiple countertop materials and the challenge is combining them in a way that looks purposeful and cohesive.

As with many other things in the design world, the options seem endless. The key is to steadily narrow down the options that are available. The easiest way to start is by looking at the budget for the project. This could narrow down the possibilities fairly quickly if the countertop budget is low. If the budget is larger then maybe the lower end options are ruled out. The next thing to consider is durability. How much is the space used? Does the countertop need to be durable? Lastly, the look of the countertops and how they will relate to the overall design of the space.

Laminate countertops are one of the most cost effective options because they are made of layers of plastic that have been bonded to particle board. This allows them to be made in a variety of colors and patterns. They are also more easily installed. The downside is that they are less durable and will have to be replaced more frequently. Granite is a natural stone, which means that it is porous and requires sealing. Poor maintenance of this stone will lead to staining and bacteria growth. This material is more durable than laminate because it is scratch and heat resistant, however it could chip or crack over time.

Quartz is different from granite because it is an engineered stone. It is made of 93% quartz composite and 7% binder, which makes it scratch resistant, stain resistant, and extremely durable. There is also a great variety of colors and finishes thanks to today’s technology. The downside is that they aren’t as heat resistant as granite and some of the other options and they tend to be more expensive. Concrete countertops are often formed on site or in a shop and are custom. This makes them just about as strong and as expensive as quartz, but they require the same maintenance that granite does to keep them free of staining. However, they will not chip or scratch.

Wood, or butcher block has always been a very popular choice when it comes to countertops. They are ideal for those who love to prepare food and bake. They can be sanded and refinished after years of wear, which makes them very eco-friendly and require less replacement. They do need to be sealed to avoid bacteria, and water damage. Stainless steel countertops are one of the most durable, and easy to keep clean, but unfortunately they are also one of the most expensive. They also create a sterile feeling in a space that is normally supposed to feel warm and inviting.

Last, but not least, would be solid surface. These countertops are about mid-range on the price spectrum. They are a very strong material that is seamless and non-porous. They also require much less maintenance than granite and concrete. However, they are not scratch and heat resistant like the quartz is, which could lead to more wear and tear over time.

There are still more options for countertops out there than the ones mentioned here. These just happen to be the ones that are most commonly used. Some other examples are tile, resin, marble, recycled glass, and even lava countertops. Just like with these options each one has their own benefits and weaknesses, which is why it is important to know the differences when specifying a countertop for a kitchen or bathroom application.

January Home Inspiration- Starting a Renovation

Starting a Renovation

If you are thinking that you would like to start this year off with that home renovation that you have been putting off, then you are most certainly not alone! Most people decide to look into home renovations in the first few months of the year. Its important to have realistic expectations on when you would like to start the project, how much you would like to spend, and the overall scope of the project.

In the home improvement world, it is all too common for someone to get overwhelmed or not know where to start. Hopefully, this blog will help those who aren’t aware of where they should start.

Photo Credit: http://zakadecor.com/31-stunning-farmhouse-kitchen-design-ideas-to-bring-modern-look/

Gathering Inspiration

The first step is to gather ideas and inspiration for the space in question. Some homeowners will have a thousand ideas with no real direction of where they would like to go. They might also have ideas that may not fit into their ideal budget. Tearing walls out and re-designing the entire floor plan might seem probable on HGTV, but it is going to cost more than what most people plan on spending.

On the other hand homeowners may have looked a bit, but when it comes to actual decision making are completely unsure of what it is that they want. The main goal when looking for ideas is to look for a general style that way no one gets bogged down in specific details they are trying to replicate!

Photo Credit: https://moodecor.co/672-110-beautiful-modern-farmhouse-living-room-decor-ideas/73-beautiful-modern-farmhouse-living-room-decor-ideas/#main

Research Professionals

In today’s world, anyone says that they can do anything and in most instances this is not the case. If you want the job done right and in a timely manner then you should hire a professional that knows what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong I am all for a good DIY project, but know there are limits to what a person can do and do well. If you are following a YouTube video on plumbing or electrical work then chances are you should have called a professional.

Do this early on in the process because then you are not wasting anyone’s time, yours or the contractors. First, be sure to meet with more than one company to find the right fit. Second, always look at reviews, photos of past work, and ask to see that they are licensed and insured. Also try to find a contractor that will take care of mostly everything because you do not want to be your own general contractor.

Photo Credit: https://cristincooper.com/one-room-challenge-master-bedroom-reveal/

Timeline

Once you have found the right professionals to work with you can more accurately set your timeline based on their schedule and product availability. Every contractor is different with how they work and schedule jobs. Some contractors like to focus on one job until it is complete before moving on, which means a shorter timeline for the homeowner. Others like to skip from job to job, which is what leads to a longer timeline.

If a contractor is scheduling you for a few months out, do not worry. This is because of a few things. The first one being that they are high in demand, which is a good sign because it means they do good work. The second is because they know it will take some time for you to make your selections and to get everything they need to the job in order to start.

Photo Credit: https://www.domino.com/content/converted-basement-redesign/

Material Selection

The next step is to decide what your space is going to look like. You have to make concrete decisions that are going to make this space what it is for years to come! That can be a lot of pressure to handle for people if this is their first renovation project. If your contractor does not have an interior designer on their staff then I would highly suggest hiring one for this portion of the project. They will be able to guide you in the decision making process. This will help things go much more smoothly.

If there is no designer and you decide to make these calls without the help of a professional then go with your gut. Make one concrete decision then all of the others will fall into place. Trust in yourself and what you like, if you keep gravitating towards a specific color, tile, or countertop then there is a reason for it!

Photo Credit: http://www.homebunch.com/beautiful-homes-of-instagram-29/

After all of this is complete you are well on your way to completing the project. I won’t say it will be smooth sailing from here because things always tend to pop up in renovations and remodeling, but you have most of the work out of the way. Trust in the professionals that you have hired and yourself and your space will be beautiful! Are you starting a home improvement project? Was this helpful? If so, let us know!