Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Choosing Flooring for Your Home

There are many things to take into consideration when choosing the appropriate flooring for your home. With so many choices available, here are some key points outlined at Home Style Choices to consider in making the right choice:

§     Consider the room. The function of the room, as well as the location of the room, is a huge factor in your decision. For example, the kitchen is the busiest room in the house and is also prone to food and liquid spills. As a result, you want to consider a floor that will stand up to heavy trafffic, grit, etc. and easy to clean. Some popular choices for a kitchen would be Linoleum Floors, Marmoleum Flooring, Vinyl Flooring, Hardwood Flooring, and Ceramic and Stone Tiles.

§      Consider your family and lifestyle. How you and your family live makes a difference in choosing a floor type. If you have children and/or pets, take this in consideration when making your decision. Children usually mean more wear and tear from running, banging and simply more traffic. Some of the laminate products might be better in this scenario than solid wood due to the favorable wear characteristics of laminate. This is also a good choice if you have pets as it is much easier to cleanup from pets that shed whereas carpeting might retain pet hair. Claws from cats and dogs can also scratch wood.
Keep in mind also that grout seams associated with tile can be frustrating or even difficult for family members with wheeled walkers or wheelchairs. The wheels could catch or "clunk" as they pass over the grout, especially wider grout lines.
§      Consider your health. People with allergies and/or respiratory issues should be aware that carpet and other floor materials can contain higher VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that might contribute to ill health effects. Carpeting can harbor allergens that are more easily cleaned up from hard surfaces. In these situations look for products that have lower VOC emissions. As an example, Armstrong® products that meet criteria for low-VOC emissions carry their FloorScore™ certification. The Carpet and Rug Institute identifies low VOC products with their Green Label designation.

§    Consider the care and maintenance you will be putting into the floor. Some materials have higher maintenance needs than others if you want them to last and maintain their appearance. No floor will last forever if the grit isn't swept on a regular basis and kept clean but some materials are better than others in this situation. You must decide on a suitable material or commit to the upkeep required to maintain more delicate surfaces in these situations.

§    Consider your budget. Do you want a high-end expensive surface or does your budget allow a more economical choice? You might be surprised to find alternatives to your choices for less money. For example, you can find a laminate which is a close match to real wood. Be sure to research for alternatives.

§      Look at samples. It is important to visit several showrooms that sell the types of flooring materials you are considering. Looking at pictures and reading about them is one thing but actually seeing them in person and standing on them can help solidify your decision on which product is right for you. This is particularly true with laminate floors, where you can really see if the appearance is close enough to the real thing or not.

It's only natural that we want our floors to look great as it can make an entire room stand out, however, be sure to keep in mind practical aspects when making your choice.
For more information on Flooring contact Kruse Home Improvement at 860-584-8784.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Top Choices in Kitchen Countertops

If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen but not sure what material should be used for the countertop, you may want to consider one of the choices below.

According to the Home Improvement Blog, the most popular materials used for countertops are granite, tile and marble. Although these natural materials are a little pricier than laminates, they are sure to be a good investment if they are maintained well. Other popular choices include quartz and solid surface countertops.

·         If you want a stylish kitchen with a beautiful appearance, Marble Countertops may be the best choice for you. Marble is elegant, but simple. If you choose to go with marble, keep in mind that it does require constant maintenance since it is a porous stone, which means that it is not resistant to staining. If you spill something on your marble countertop, you should wipe it off immediately. The surface is prone to scratching and is NOT heat resistant. Always use a pot holder or placemat to protect the finish of the countertop. Although marble is very costly and requires a lot of care, the properties of a marble countertop make it an attractive addition to any home and the expense of purchasing the countertop may be worth the length of time that it will last. 
·        Granite, the 2nd highest hardness rating after diamonds, is heat and scratch resistant and very durable. Granite Countertops are very elegant and beautiful. You can choose from a range of almost 3000 colors as well as polished and unpolished countertops. Polish gives a “formal” appearance and can be taken off. Unpolished countertops are more popular because they are more practical. Granite is also a porous stone, so you need to keep in mind that you may have to reseal your countertops every year (this is not costly and you can do it yourself). Although granite is very expensive, it is one of the hardest materials in the world and kitchen countertops that are made out of granite are built to last for a lifetime. 
·         Quartz countertops are an alternative to natural stone such as granite. Although quartz looks very similar to granite and the cost difference between the two is minimal, quartz is a harder material than granite, making it more difficult to chip or break. The material is nonporous, requiring much less maintenance than other countertop material. Although quartz is resistant to scratches and stains, it does NOT offer the heat resistance of natural stone. Be sure to always use a pot holder or placemat to protect the finish of the countertop. Chemicals that are highly acidic or alkaline can damage the surface of the countertop. Be sure to always use a proper cleaner.
·         Solid Surface Countertops are very durable and provide years of low maintenance beauty and service. With a wide variety of colors, patterns and finishes to choose from, solid surfaces are nonporous, easy to clean and do not require resealing. One of the advantages of having solid surface countertops is that minor scratches can be sanded or easily buffed away. The material is heated to create the solid slab, which is also why excessive heat is one of the few things that can damage the countertop. Be sure to not set a hot pan on your countertop.

·         If you decide to go with Tile Countertops, you’ll have a huge variety to choose from. They are easy to clean and come in a wide range of color, texture, patterns and finishes. Ceramic or porcelain tile should be used on countertops because they are more durable and less porous. Tile countertops are a less expensive choice if you are on a budget.
There is no such thing as a bad or a good material for a countertop. When trying to determine which countertop material is the best choice for you, keep in mind cost, durability and style. Be sure to always use a proper cleaner. For homemade cleaners visit