Home Improvement Designs: Kitchen Countertops That Every Home Needs

If the kitchen is the heart of a home, then the countertop is its essence. The countertop not only serves as the place where food is prepared, it can also be a sound investment as it can last longer and for those who intend to sell their home in the future, a well-kept kitchen attracts plenty of potential buyers.

Choosing the perfect material for the kitchen can be tricky and daunting for first time buyers. Once upon a time, the selections were limited; nowadays however, one has hundreds of materials, patterns, textures and even designs to choose from. Whether one is remodeling or building their new home, below are the top kitchen materials that one should consider.

Granite

Granite is very popular and has graced many high-end kitchens because of its sturdiness, heat and scratch resistance features. As the stone is quarried from different parts of the world, the designs, colors and features of each stone is unique. As the stone is made up from mixed mineral deposits and molten magma, original granite tends to be rough and textured and depending on the abundance of the minerals embedded creates its unique coloring. Below are some of the different granites available in the market today.

Arandis is a type of stone quarried from Namibia and its main characteristic is its gold coloring with veins

Bianco Romano is natural stone that comes from Brazil. The white granite is popular not only for countertops but also for stairs or vanity tops. Aside from the Bianco Romano, Brazil is also known for the Café Imperiale which is popular because of its long-lasting features.

Blue Eyes is a natural stone prized for its high scratch resistance and sanitary features as well as weather resistance. The stone is not only highly demanded for countertops but also a prized material for exterior cladding. The stone is imported from Canada.

Granite stones are popular for kitchens that experience heavy traffic as it stands very well with heavy use. That said, granite countertops need re-sealing as the stone is naturally porous which makes staining a possibility. Some would require a yearly re-sealing; however, the latest models would only require re-sealing once every ten years or so.

Marble

Marble is another natural stone material that is sought after because of its timeless beauty and elegance. Although this type of stone requires care and regular maintenance, regular care will allow it to age naturally. Its porosity would require home owners to use high-grade sealant to protect the surface as acid or base products can stain the stone. That said, high quality marble when treated properly enables them to be more durable and stain resistant. Below are examples of marble stones available in the market today.

Emperador Light is a brown marble that comes from Spain. Another is the Gris Pulpis, which is a slightly darker brown that also comes from the country.

Jerusalem Gold. The distinctive coloring of the marble resembles that of many stones that grace temples and palaces used during the Middle Ages hence the name of the stone.

Bianco Carrara. These stones are perfect examples of the “veins” patterns that marble stones are known for. From white to grey, these stones are said to have been from the Jurassic period. Small cavities called “tarolli” naturally occurred on these slabs of stones.

Marbles are ideal for people who spend less traffic in their kitchen area and are more interested in it for its aesthetic value. That said, lighter colored stones are ideal as scratches are less apparent with lighter stones than darker ones. Having it honed and sealed before installation and regular maintenance will also help the stone to age naturally.

Quartz

Quartz is an engineered stone thus is stronger and more durable than granite and marble. Not only are the stones durable, they are also heat and scratch resistant making them the perfect countertop. That said, it is slightly more expensive than granite making many homeowners having second thoughts using this material. Its durability however, makes it a sound investment.

Another feature of the stone is that it is made not only of quartz but also of other materials such as resin, polymers and pigments allowing for limitless colors and hues. As quartz is non-porous, cross contamination caused by molds and bacteria is highly unlikely. Coarse to finely ground materials also affect its final appearance. What benefits homeowners the most is that it is easy to clean and does not require any re-sealing or treatment.

Quality Home Improvement Ideas for Budget Bathroom Remodeling

When homeowners want to start a home improvement project around the home, whether it’s in the kitchen or it’s a major bit of bathroom renovation, they tend to get sticker shock once the research begins. Budget remodeling is key, but that’s doesn’t mean you have to settle on the cheapest goods, materials and labor. It just means smart home improvement. You can use some tried and true home improvement tips to shave money off the cost of your next remodel that will still turn a simple bathroom into something truly unique.

Of course the best way to eliminate budget problems is to plan appropriately. Nothing will blow your home improvement budget faster than going at it without a plan. A general contractor will help you plan accordingly but if you’re doing it alone you definitely need to take the time to develop a game plan for your bathroom renovation and remodeling. Get the big problems drawn up first, figure out your dislikes and target those things that you’d love to update. Here are some great tips to update your bathroom without breaking the bank:

Home Improvement Design Challenge One – Ditching the same tired color scheme

Updating the colors in your bathroom is easy, and there’s really no cheaper way to go about giving your bathroom a new look during the home improvement process. Too many bathrooms are a drab white or come with contrasting “safe” colors that contractors use in the building process. The problem with stark white or contrasting blacks & whites is that they don’t often match the personality of the homeowner. Use softer tones, earth-tones and other simple palette choices to quickly transform your bathroom into a room you’ll find most comfortable.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Two – Shrinking the Vanity

The vanity is the focal point for most bathrooms. It’s not uncommon to have a lot of counter space in master bathrooms with plenty of storage. A small vanity is common in smaller bathrooms. If you can get away with it, don’t replace this with another big cabinet system. Instead, purchase a pedestal sink and open up the floor plan. The style and extra space will definitely enhance the comfort of the room.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Three – Originality in the Flooring

This is where a lot of homeowners try to save money by installing cheaper material like a vinyl floor or cheap replica tile. Instead of getting cheap on the material, do something a bit more unique. If you decide to splurge in one area, this is where you should do it. You want your floor to be durable and last, while also standing up against the moisture. A great idea (and easy to install) is a pebble floor using smooth natural stones or larger glass beads.

Bringing Your Bathroom Remodel Together

If you’re concerned with how budget remodeling will look in your bathroom, remember that decorating and some additional improvements can really accent the remodeling you do in the rest of the bathroom. Custom moulding isn’t expensive, especially in a small bathroom space and it can really flesh out your color in the paint. Likewise, linen shower curtains can help the reach of your linen curtains. It doesn’t take much to create a beautiful new bathroom and you can still get a custom, luxury look even on a budget.