Tag Archives: Tips

Quartz Countertop Tips

Tips About Quartz

It seems like everywhere you look these days, there are more and more options available when it comes to choosing a material for kitchen countertops. In fact, the choices of material are staggering! Just look at the variety of opitions:

  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Limestone
  • Soapstone
  • Concrete
  • Onyx
  • Quartzite
  • Solid Surface
  • Quartz
  • Sintered Stone
  • Porcelain

And even though that is not an exhaustive list, it does show that there are many materials that can be used for stone countertops. So, what are the pros for choosing quartz? And what should you know if you are going to add them to your kitchen yourself? In this post, we will take a brief look at some specifics regarding quartz and we’ll share a link to where you can get an overview of what to consider if you are planning an install.

A Plethora of Quartz Brands

Go into any home improvement store and you will see more than just a few choices of quartz. The brands line the aisles. And if you want to explore even more options, you can browse the Internet for brand of quartz. If you were to take me up on that, you would see one or more from the following list of quartz brands:

  • ADD
  • EQUS
  • GEOS
  • LIDO
  • ROXX

Even though there are so many brands of quartz available, they are made the same way for the most part. If you go to each of the websites from that list, you will see that many of them will have the following information about their particular brand of quartz surface.

Quartz Coutnertop
Image courtesy of Lustro Italiano

How Quartz is Made

Quartz is made by combining various substances into a composite material. Bonding resins, pigment, and stone dust is combined into a material that is then called ‘quartz’. The reason this finished product can be called quartz is because many of the brands use 93% (by weight; not volume) quartz and around 7% (by weight) bonding resin. As a result, you will see that companies will call their material “natural stone” even though it is engineered by scientists and is different form the natural stone called quartzite. This is because in reality, by mass, the material is really primarily natural.

Quartz Characteristics

Just as the process is similar for the various brands of quartz, the selling points are similar too. The sales information usually goes something like this:

One of the main benefits of quartz surfaces is its non-porous surface. Because quartz is non-porous, it is very easy to maintain and care for. For most cleaning all you will need is warm water with some mild soap.

If you do need to remove a stain from your quartz surface use one of our recommended cleaners. Never use harsh chemicals on your quartz surface. liquids such as bleach, ammonia, and solvents can cause damage to the surface.

Depending on which brand of quartz you look at, they will recommend specific brands of cleaning products. These brands of cleaners will vary. But they are usually not the only cleaning products that can be used on quartz surfaces. If you follow the guidelines spelled out in the care and maintenance information, you will be able to find care products that are designed for quartz by brands other than the ones mentioned in the sales information.

Warranty Information

In this area, you will find some variance. Each brand of quartz will have its own warranty length and the requirements will be different as well. There are even some that void the warranty if you do not register your surface within 30 days of the install. For this reason, It is imperative that you read the warranty information thoroughly and follow it to a T.

Installing Quartz Surfaces

If you are a DIY, you might be interested in what kinds of things to keep in mind when you begin to embark on a do-it-yourself install. There are a few things that seem like common sense, once they are mentioned, but could be easily overlooked. Rather than writing out all the steps for installing quartz, I thought I would simply point you in the direction of a page that takes you through how to install quartz countertops.

The bottom line is this: if you are looking to install quartz countertops yourself, be sure you know a bit about the material and what its characteristics are. And if you aren’t installing them yourself, remember, you will still need to know a bit about the material in order to take proper care of it. So take a bit of time to learn some of the basics about quartz. If you do, you will be arming yourself with the knowledge that will equip you for years of living with your beautiful, carefully selected kitchen countertops.

Improve Your Kitchen

Need To Improve Your Kitchen? Here’s Some Advice!

For many of us, our home represents our greatest financial asset. Although many people believe that home repair is something that only trained professionals are capable of doing, that is often far from the case. Many home repair jobs can easily be done by the average person, with just a little guidance.

Beautiful Kitchen

Inexpensive Kitchen Upgrades

Many tenants who are renting an apartment or home feel limited because landlords do not allow tenants to paint the walls in a different color or take off the wallpaper. A great way to get around this limitation is by purchasing fabric (unfitted flat bed sheets work well) and tacking them in a pleasing design on the wall. This will not harm the unwanted wall covering and adds a touch of personality to your home. Furthermore, it won’t displease the landlord.

Often times kitchens have a window or perhaps a door. You can apply weather stripping to doors and windows to conserve energy in your home for a relatively low cost. This is an inexpensive material that can be purchased at a home improvement store. It seals out exterior cold and hot air to stabilize inner temperatures so that your heater and cooling systems do not need to work as hard. You will quickly notice the reduction in drafts felt on chilly days.

If Painting the Kitchen Is Allowed

Another upgrade for the kitchen is to simply add a fresh coat of paint. Painting the interior walls of your home can be a great way to freshen up your decor. Painting is inexpensive and allows for much creativity, based on your color choices. It’s also easy to change, should you decide to go in a different direction. To add a quick and effective punch to any room just grab a can of paint and go!

Before you commit to a new paint color for your kitchen though, spend some time driving around and looking at homes that you like the look and color scheme of. Paint chips are too hard to imagine, so seeing it in person in another kitchen can help you make a better decision.

Improve Your Kitchen Cabinets

When you are designing your kitchen, think hard about whether you want an open or closed kitchen floor plan. If you like to be able to talk with your family, watch television and generally know what’s going on in the rest of the house while cooking, you may want an open kitchen plan. However, you may prefer the kitchen clutter to stay hidden. If that is true  a kitchen with a door that can be closed might be appealing.

Upgrading or Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

Give a quick update to your kitchen by wiping down the cabinets and either adding or changing the cabinet hardware. Giving your kitchen cabinets a new set of knobs or handles can really enhance the look of your kitchen without costing a lot of money. With so many styles of knobs and handles available, you can change the character of your kitchen quickly and easily.

If your kitchen cabinets are looking a little bland. you can add new cabinet knobs to create a new living environment that sparkles. Kitchen knobs are relatively expensive. Knobs come in a variety of colors, giving you the ability to personalize your kitchen in a very cute way. Additionally, there is plenty of information to help you choose the right style of hardware for your kitchen cabinets. Create a happy home today with new kitchen knobs.

Adding New Cabinets

Before you order you new kitchen cabinets, draw a plan of your kitchen that shows the location of all plumbing, outlets, appliances, windows, and all other obstacles. This will ensure your new cabinets are a perfect fit. Many retailers will develop a design plan for you free of charge if you purchase your cabinets from them.

If you are putting new cabinetry in your kitchen, pull out a level. Begin at the highest point of the kitchen and make a benchmark
line where those cabinets will be placed. This will ensure they are level during installation.

You will need to purchase shims prior to installing any new kitchen cabinets. They are used to keep all of the cabinets level and straight. They are especially helpful if the kitchen floor is not completely level or the wall is bowed. Shims go up to about 3/8 of an inch to completely flat.

Be certain that a cabinet is affixed firmly and securely to the wall stud. Find the wall studs before you start installing the cabinets so you know where the screws need to be placed. An inexpensive stud finder from the local hardware store helps to make this process easy.

Your home is one of your most valuable financial assets, and it is the place where you spend a majority of your time. So the next time you spot something that could use a little maintenance, you owe it to yourself, and to your wallet, to try your hand at fixing up your home!

Travertine Repair

Are you looking for the secret of how to fill holes in travertine? if so, you might be surprised to learn that it is not so difficult to accomplish when you know what to do and which product to use. In this demonstration, a tile professional shows exactly how to correct holes in travertine flooring. The product can also be used to fix cracks and chips in this beautiful natural stone.

How to Fill Holes In Travertine

Filling Holes in travertine is easy if you know what to use and how to use it. This video demonstrates what professional tile restoration companies use to repair travertine floors. The process is easy enough that home owners can fill holes in travertine tile in just a few minutes. By following the procedure shown in this video,  those unsightly “pocks” in a travertine tile gone in no time.

Tenax Travertine Filler

In the video the tile professional uses a travertine filler produced by Tenax and available at Lustro Italiano to correct the issue. For small jobs and to have on hand, you can have whichever color of travertine filler you need for your tile color. The Tenax brand comes in four colors and is available from Lustro Italiano as follows:

Tenax coloring paste adds color to travertine filler to match stone that falls outside of the normal color range. So, if you have some “blemishes” in your travertine tiles, products like the one mentioned here could be a great solution.

Kitchen Remodel Considerations

Kitchen Remodel Tips

If you have looked into having your kitchen remodeled or renovating this all important room yourself, you may have realized that there are a number of things to keep in mind regarding the project. Even if you hire a professional to do the work, it certainly helps to be aware of what the project entails. This post will discuss two important aspects of a kitchen remodel that homeowners should keep in mind; Where to find ideas, and how to mange the cost associated with a kitchen remodel.

Getting Ideas For Your Kitchen Remodel

One of the biggest things to keep in mind for your kitchen remodel is where to get great ideas. There are a number of effective resources available for remodel ideas.

Pinterest has tons of images that you can browse to get inspiration. Viewing expressive photos of a finished presentation can help you visualize specific colors together. From flooring to cabinets, if you want to see the finished product before you ever begin the job, Pinterest might be a great place to begin.
Gray Kitchen Remodel
Another great resource for getting ideas is Houzz. This Houzz community is made up of professionals that work in industries related to home improvement, interior design, and remodeling. Houzz professionals are often times very willing to give reliable advice to homeowners looking for some encouraging guidance. The pros on Houzz can really help you avoid making mistakes that might be common to many people that first start out doing renovations or remodels.

The Cost of Remodeling Your Kitchen

Another factor to consider when remodeling your kitchen is cost. The price tag can vary when it comes to remodeling a kitchen. The amount of money you end up paying for the renovation will largely depend on the scope of the work, the items you plan to update or upgrade, and whether you are the one doing the work.

The amount you spend on your kitchen remodel can depend on a number of decisions you make. For example, your choice of material alone can impact the overall cost. Your decision of whether you will do the demolition yourself can also play a role in the size of the bill. One way to keep the cost down during a kitchen remodel is to keep the existing flooring. This yield a savings in both material and labor.

While it may not reduce the price of your kitchen remodel, you might elect to perform your updates in stages. Choosing this method may not reduce the cost, but it will spread the cost out over more time. To many homeowners, a few smaller bills over the course of a few years is more appealing than one huge bill immediately. One family planned their kitchen remodel in the following way:

Example 3 Year Plan

  • First Year: New Appliances
  • Second Year: New Flooring
  • Third Year: New Counter Tops

Together the above upgrades could have presented a cost of over $10,000. But when spread out over a three year period, the expenses were more manageable. Choosing to remodel in stages though depends on the condition of your kitchen and how long you can wait for the upgrades.

As we have seen, there are ways to customize your kitchen remodel. There is no one right answer or one single way of updating or renovating a kitchen. If you know where you can find inspiring ideas and you know how you can manage the cost of your project, you can tailor your kitchen remodel to your liking.

Images Courtesy of Nancy Hugo:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nancyhugo/2437147517/in/album-72157605271854387/?id= n
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nancyhugo/418224880/in/photostream/?id= n

Under the follwoign license:

How to Refinish Wood

Wood Furniture Refinishing

Maybe you are looking to buy some second hand tables, chairs, or other wooden kitchen furniture to refinish.

Glasses On Dining Room Table

Perhaps, you are getting into the antique business and you want to improve the appearance of a piece you got at an auction for a steal. Or, maybe you are just tired of the looks of one of your personal kitchen items like a table or a hutch. If so, knowing how to strip, sand, and stain (a.k.a. refinishing) wood is good knowledge to have. This post will cover those three steps and include tips along the way.

Remove the Old Finish From the Piece

Choosing a quality stripper to use for removing the old finish is a good idea. You want your job to be as easy as possible and when the stripper does most of the work, that works toward your goal. You need to choose the right applicator for your project. Being able to apply the stripper easily and evenly will help you remove it with the least amount of effort.

After giving the stripper some time to do its job, begin scraping the old finish from the furniture piece with a putty knife or other flat, stiff tool. Going with the grain makes the most sense here since your do not want to mar the surface. Once you’ve gotten the old finish off, it is time to complete this step by cleaning the surface.

The residual stripper that has remained on the furniture needs to be removed. So, after it has dried, use mineral spirits to clean the item fro any stripper that may be left on the item. This will prepare the surface for the application of the new finish. Once you have cleaned the stripper off the item, it is time to move on to the next step.

Sanding the Wood In Preparation For the New Finish

Sanding is the second step (or phase) in the refinishing process. You can sand the piece with sandpaper by hand, however a palm sander will make the process go faster. You may be familiar with the proper sanding technique, but if not you can Google how to sand wood for a smooth finish. I will briefly highlight how the process works. You sand the whole item with sand paper with a low grit and then repeat the sanding with a higher grit sandpaper. Each time your change to a higher grit, the surface will be smoother. You can continue sanding until you are satisfied with the smoothness of the finish.

Wipe down the entire to remove any dust that is left from the sanding. Starting with a dust free surface will compliment the next step, adding the new finish.

Applying the New Finish

The finishing process for a piece of furniture that you have removed the old finish from consists of two parts. 1) Applying stain, and 2) Adding clear coat to the piece.

Putting the stain on the furniture is fairly straight forward. You simply, wipe it on with an old but clean cloth. Wiping with the grain is recommended to avoid streaking. You can put as many coats of stain on the item as you want. Just be sure to let each coat dry before adding the next.

After you have applied the stain evenly to your new “old” kitchen furniture and you are happy with the color, you are ready to continue. Spray on the clear coat to seal up the surface of the piece. As with all the other application steps, apply the clear coat evenly to the furniture. Doing so will result in a nice, even finish that will add a sheen and protect the stain that you have applied.

Once the clear coat is dried, you are ready to begin using your new furniture in your kitchen. You did it! Now, sit back and look at the results of your hard work while you sip a hot beverage of your choosing.