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Tile Grout Colors: The Thin Line Between Good & Great

Tile grout can really ruin the perfect image of a kitchen or bath, whether it’s strikingly different from your tile or it’s just plain dirty, and it’s often because grout is treated as an afterthought. It’s not particularly pretty and you kind of need it when installing any kind of tile. Take out advice and consider colored grout to take your kitchen tile selection from good to great!
Tile Grout Colors: Grout Repair

Grout

A Quick Breakdown on Tile Grout:

Cement or Epoxy

Cement grout is the most common that you’ll run into and have installed in your home. Tile grout made form Epoxy is much more expensive and harder to find. However, epoxy grout does offer more resistance to water damage and staining.

Sanded versus Unsanded

Cement grout comes in sanded and unsanded versions. Sanded grout should be used when spacing between tiles would be 1/8″th of an inch or larger. The sand helps to prevent cracking or expansion/shrinkage of the grout between the tile pieces.

Sealing your Grout

You grout needs to be sealed. You can either use a penetrating sealer or opt for one that sits on the top, however the latter might get cloudy – especially when exposed to moisture.
Tile Grout Colors: Our Grout Color Selection

Mastic

Great Grout Colors!

There are plenty of colors to choose from when deciding which kind of grout would be best for your home and project. We carry North American Adhesives cement tile grout and it comes in over 30 colors!
Typically there are 3 ways to choose your grout color. All of them are generally up to you and your specific tastes as well as the overall vision you have for your kitchen or bathroom remodel.

Neutral

It’s neither here nor there. Whites, beiges, and grays are usually a safe bet when installing tile with grout, especially for homeowners who are intending to sell.

Contrasting

This typically lends a more funky, creative look to the space – and that doesn’t mean it can’t be elegant or beautiful. It’s different, that’s for sure. White subway tile is a really popular trend right now and homeowners are cashing in with black or dark grout when installing it! Other times you’ll see contrasting grout is with more decorative tile.

Matching

This is the best option, especially when your tile is really expensive and it’ll work especially well in a smaller bathroom! The matching tile and grout colors make the area look seamless which can make the room appear larger and more open.

Dark versus Light Grout

The debate between these two shades comes down to whether you believe that darker grout is better at hiding dirt than light colored grouts or if it just always looks dirty. That’s really up to you. But often times grout and tile maintenance does require a little more cleaning and upkeep.

No matter what color grout you choose to pair with your next tiling project you’ll be able to find the perfect match (or contrast) to what you’re looking for! It can be a little harder to keep clean, but in the end you’ll have a gorgeous floor or wall tile that compliments your perfect kitchen or bath!


Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!
Written By: Kat Flaherty

Wilsonart: Laminate Countertops With a High End Look

Laminate Countertops
Some homeowners don’t consider laminate countertops much of an upgrade when redoing their kitchen. At most, they probably think that it’s better than no countertops. But laminate isn’t all bad! In fact, you’re doing yourself a disservice on an affordable, and stylish option by not considering it!
Like all laminate countertops, Wilsonart makes theirs out of a combination of layers of decorative and craft papers that are fused with acrylic, wood fibers and other hardeners in a high pressure press machine. Unlike other brands of laminate countertops, Wilsonart’s holds all sorts of seals for sustainability compliance from several different organizations concerned with the health of us humans and the sustainability of our planet. They’re indoor air certified and a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, just to name a couple.
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Other than the fact that Wilsonart is clearly raising the bar on how laminate countertop quality and manufacturing processes are done, here are some other reasons that you should consider a laminate countertop during your next kitchen or bath renovation.

Quick & Lazy Cleanup

I would choose a laminate countertop for this reason alone. I hate cleaning – I mean, who honestly likes to clean? As long as you don’t use any abrasive cleaners on the surface then all you need is a damp rag and a little bit of soap. Wipe up any spots or spills and you’re done!

Minimal Maintenance

With granite, marble or butcher block countertops there can be quite a bit of maintenance. Butcher block needs to be re-oiled, and granite and marble need to be re-sealed. Laminate just needs a trivet to protect it from hot pans and a cutting board to prevent scratching. And unlike other solid surface countertops that chip, you’ve got to replace the whole thing; with laminate countertops if a piece chips off you can typically replace a much smaller area to fix it!
laminate countertops 2

More Options

Sure, granite and other solid surface countertops have a large color selection to choose from but the printing processes of old have come a long way! Today, laminate countertops can mimic stone, wood, or any other natural material. Not to mention that you can also choose from an array of funky colors and patterns, and that brown line that appears at the edge? Forget about it. Laminate countertops can look as solid as ever, even with specialty edges! Wilsonart, in particular takes everything a step further. With them you can custom design your own laminate countertops! Because it can be cut into just about any shape there’s no limit to what you can have created just for you and your kitchen!
marble-options

Price on Point

Laminate countertops are probably the least expensive option – you know, aside from having no countertops. The price for laminate can start at about $25 per square foot (including installation). Compare a $1,500 dollar price for laminate countertops to the $5000 dollar price of a marble countertop! That’s money I can spend elsewhere, on me, or the rest of my home.

Down side to Laminate Countertops?

There isn’t much. Laminate doesn’t do as well as raising your ROI (return on investment) in your home, so if you’re selling it might not be for you. As well it can dull and discolor from direct heat (remember when I said to use a trivet?), or abrasive and harsh chemical cleaners. It also scratches easily (I also said something about using a cutting board). No product is perfect but following some simple precautions should keep your laminate countertops looking beautiful for years to come!
SHopnow
Laminate gets a bad wrap for being on the cheap end of the spectrum, whether it be flooring or especially countertops. The thing is, that’s just not the case anymore! Laminate countertops have come a long way in the past several years! They might not be the most popular but with a low price point and thousands of options to choose from that are becoming more and more realistic every day, there is no reason why you shouldn’t at least give it a nod and a wink!
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Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!
Written By: Kat Flaherty

Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide

Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide: FeaturedA
Copper Sinks – when you say copper sinks you might think of an old brown and green bowl sitting on a vanity in the old west before there was plumbing; however, copper sinks today are much different than they were way back when, they are a beautiful statement piece to any kitchen design or bathroom remodel. They’re link shiny red-brown chameleons – constantly changing and always stunning to look at and watch change over time. There are many reasons why you might want to add a copper sink to your kitchen design or bathroom remodel; it could be their unique and diverse style or their ability to be antimicrobial. Whatever the reason for your consideration of a copper sink, there is no denying that it will be the talking point of your guests around the dining room table.

Properties of Copper Sinks

Copper sinks are as unique as they come, in both style and function. When seeking copper sinks you should look for sinks that are 99% pure copper, preferably with that remaining 1% being zinc, which will add to it’s strength. Do be warned that when ordering copper sinks from China, India, or the Middle East as lead can be used as a filler because it has similar workability to copper and is inexpensive. Lead is also harmful to humans – so be cautious when ordering outside of the United States.
Copper is an extremely soft metal which means that it can be shaped and hammered into different designs to turn an average bowl into a stunning masterpiece!

Copper Sinks: Mount & Style

Like any other sink, copper sinks also come in a variety of styles and mounts. They can be unadorned or extremely elaborate – it all just depends on what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to spend. Sink mounts refer to how the sink is installed and will look on the countertop, while style generally refers to the finish of the product.

Decorative, Farmhouse

Decorative sinks tend to be more ornate and have intricate designs either hammered or stamped into the metal. They are extremely elegant and with the reactive and changing nature of copper sinks they will always look a little different the next copper sink! Farmhouse, is the kind of mount, and is not unique to copper sinks. Farmhouse mounted sink are also called an apron mount where the front of the sink is exposed or overhangs from the the cabinets below it. Farmhouse is a great look and feel to go for with more country, or traditional style kitchens. Now, just because these two are listed together doesn’t mean that’s how all copper sinks are. You can most certainly get a decorative sink with a different mount or just a plain farmhouse mount with no decoration.
Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide: Decorative Farmhouse

Hammered, Drop In

Hammered sinks are less ornate than more decorative style sinks, however they’re more unique than plain or brushed finish copper sinks. Hammered sinks give a faceted look to a shiny sink that has little patina to it, like you’re washing dishes in an amber bowl. When your sink has a more patina’d look to it, it makes the bowl appear more rustic and handmade – craftsmanship like. Drop In sinks are more common because their weight is what largely keeps them in place on the counter top, and thus are really easy to install.
Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide: Hammered Drop In

Brushed, Under Mount

A copper sink – with little else to it will be eye catching, so if you’re wanting something more simple than what else can be seen on here then looking towards a brushed finish is a simple and understated, yet still elegant solution. Under mount sinks are beautiful because the countertop sits directly above them, giving the space a more modern and seamless look.

Hammered Under Mount

Hammered Finish Under Mount Sinks

Finished, Vessel

There are different kinds of finishes, the kind that I am referencing here are copper sinks that have something other than a wax or sealant to finish them, such as glass or acrylic. The bonus to this is that the copper will stay in all it’s original, shiny, beautiful, glory – if you can’t stand slight inconsistencies or change in your sink finish then this is the way to go! A vessel mount sink appears to be a simple bowl sitting atop your vanity or countertop. These are decorative of themselves and make great statement pieces without needing any kind of finish! Vessel sinks come in many different shapes and styles. If you want a unique looking sink that goes beyond just copper, vessel sinks are as unique and as out there as you can get!
Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide: Unique Vessel

Pros & Cons of Copper Sinks

Everything in this world has its ups and downs. When it comes to sinks it just depends on what you want, and how much you can spend. If antimicrobial properties are important to you then you’re only bet is copper.

Pros:

  • They’re beautiful: It’s that simple. Copper sinks are some of the most beautiful and unique! The fact that they’re made from one sheet with no seams also makes them like works of art. They can be hammered and shaped to almost any dimension. Copper sinks do form a patina as they’re exposed to water and air, so if you love the original color you can have it coated to preserve it’s beauty. If you like their reactivity, the ever changing color and patina of copper sinks are just a bonus to their beauty. This goes beyond copper sinks being beautiful, they literally have countless combinations of finish and style. Some look like regular sinks and others look like works of art!
  • They’re antimicrobial: This unique property of copper sinks makes them favorable for kitchens, while bacteria can live on many sinks surfaces for weeks at a time, bacteria on copper sinks can only last a matter of hours. However, the EPA states that you shouldn’t coat (paint, lacquer, varnish, wax, etc.) your copper sinks if you wish to keep the antimicrobial nature if the metal.
  • Copper is 100% recyclable: Copper retains 95% of it’s original value when being sold after recycling. In fact, it’s likely that the copper sink that you’re getting is already made from previously recycled copper.
  • They’re durable: Depending on the gauge (thickness) of copper that your sink comes in will definitely affect its durability, the thicker the copper the less likely to dent it will be. Copper sinks are resistant to corrosion and rust, making it an ideal choice for a sink material.

Cons:

  • They’re highly reactive: If you want your copper sinks to maintain their color you’ll need to coat them – which will rid of you of the antimicrobial properties of the metal as well. Acidic foods and drinks, abrasive cleaners, and extremely hot or cold cookware can change the color of your sink, darkening it and leaving odd colored spots. Granted, as the patina darkens everything will become more uniform as time progresses. However, unless they’re sealed periodically it is extremely hard to maintain a copper sinks original shine.
  • They’re expensive: More than just being an expensive choice for a sink, they’re also expensive to repair. Copper is a very soft and malleable metal, so it can be easily dented and warped, meaning that you’ll likely need to repair it more often than other sink materials. Keep in mind that thinner gauge copper sinks will dent more easily than thicker gauge copper sinks.
  • They need more maintenance: To keep it’s shine and finish in tact for as long as possible you should dry the sink with a soft towel after every use and you should be careful with what products you use to clean it as some more acidic cleaners can discolor your sink. Warm water and gentle soap is usually all it takes.

Copper Sinks: The Essential Starter Guide: Reactive
When all is said and done choosing the right sink for you is up to you, however, we hope, that in considering copper sinks for your next kitchen design or bathroom remodel that we’ve provided you with the necessary information to decide if a copper sink is right for your home and family! They’re stunning and unique pieces with equally unique properties that make them ideal in any kitchen! Now that you know something about copper sinks, if you think that you’re ready to shop around you can view our copper sink selection on our website!
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Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!
Written By: Kat Flaherty

Bathroom Style: 7 Styles For Your Next Remodel

Bathroom Style: 7 Styles For Your Next Remodel
We all know by now that a bathroom renovation is one of the first projects that new home owners dive into and that resellers know will give them a better return on investment. So, no matter the reason why you want to remodel your bathroom it’s a good idea to consider the bathroom style, whether it’s just to appeal to you or to potential home buyers.
The first thing you should know is that there are 7 main Bathroom Styles each with their own sub-styles. Every style has it’s flairs and it’s potential fallbacks, and not all of them will appeal to everyone. If you’re remodeling your bathroom for yourself then there’s not much to worry about. However, if you are designing to resell your home then you might want to be more cautious with picking a style that suits your taste instead of what might be trending or what might be timeless. With that, it’s also important to know that what’s trending now might not be in six months.

The Styles:

Traditional Bathroom Style

Traditional bathroom styles are the safe way to go if you’re remodeling to resell, it’s not too out there and it’s easy to add ones own touch. This can also be called the classic bathroom style. This style also tends to overlap in other categories as many of the designs are timeless rather than trendy. The style of traditional bathrooms comes from the 20th century crafts movement, historical, and mission style trends. Other traditional sub-styles that you will typically find are Farmhouse, Craftsman, and Mid-century trends. Farmhouse styles tend to lend themselves towards a more rustic style. Mid-century style bathrooms have a more modern appeal to them, it’s a very toned down but upscaled scandinavian look; and Craftsman bathrooms have an eclectic playfulness without being overwhelming bizzare. Choosing a traditional bathroom can be a pretty daunting task as a lot of it’s sub-styles encompass other trends.
Bathroom Style - Traditional

Rustic Bathroom Style

Rustic style anything is popular right now. This style might also tie in with country, industrial, and shabby-chic styles. While this style of bathroom decor is trending it might be easier to sell because of it’s popularity. Rustic design can be pinned by it’s use of reclaimed wood, textured surfaces and neutral / natural tones. It’s kind of like bringing that old barn you used to play in on your grandparents farm into your home. The use of industrial rustic will give the bathroom a more modern look using more metals and concrete.
Bathroom Style - Rustic
You can check out a previous blog we wrote all about this years rustic trend, here.

Modern Bathroom Style

Modern or Contemporary bathrooms are becoming the timeless style of this century. Some other styles that are associated with this movement are industrial –  which has sleek and polished metals and glass – and a lesser known design style called Scandinavian. Scandinavian bathrooms are categorized by it’s use of crisp, clean, angular lines, geometrical shapes and curves, neutral tones and spacial function.

Bathroom Style - Modern Scandinavian

A Modern Scandinavian bathroom style is categorized by it’s use of geometric shapes and lines.

Transitional Bathroom Style

Transitional bathrooms are another safe bet when reselling your home because they’re a fantastic compromise between the classic and modern styles. Bathrooms like these are modern takes on timeless trends, so there isn’t much to say other than it’s a great way to go. It’s all about balance.
Bathroom Style - Transitional

Romantic Bathroom Style

This is the bathroom style that makes you feel like a greek goddess taking a dip in a wide tub surrounded by marble accents, or a european princess relaxing in her clawfoot tub after the ball. Romantic baths are high in beauty and texture. Brocade or graphic wallpaper with complex patterns are popular, as are freestanding clawfoot tubs. Victorian style trends also fall under the romantic category because they use similar elements, although you’ll probably want to opt for some antique wood furniture pieces to complete the room. Bathrooms like these are the epitome of candlelight relaxation.

Eclectic Bathroom Style

Eclectic bathrooms are my personal favorite because I love expressing myself and I also love seeing someone reflected in their space. Eclectic baths are definitely better suited for the remodeler that is doing it all for themselves. They’re playful bathrooms that throw whatever appeals to you in the mix to come out a stylish space that reflects you. So go wild, mix and match styles, an eclectic bathroom is your playground to do with what you will. At this point you’re only restriction is going to be your budget – and maybe that has a bit of wiggle room as well.

As you can see Eclectic styles are so varied that there are some that are simple and quirky, then there are others that just go over the top! I think it’s a beautiful thing to see someones personality come out in a space!

Regional Bathroom Style

Have you ever been inspired by another country or scene that you were just awestruck and wouldn’t mind living there? Sure you have, everyone always wishes that they were someplace else. Regional bathrooms are your home away (but still inside) your home. You’ll find plenty of examples of Tuscan, Italian inspiration, Moroccan tile, Asian, or beach themed escapes. There are so many different regional inspirations you’ll just need to choose your favorite. This is probably another style that is better suited for someone who just wants to make the space their own. However, styling a bathroom to reflect the local region might be a good selling point, it really depends on where you are.

Bathroom Style - Regional, Moroccan

Yves Saint Laurent Moroccan Bath.


 
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Perfect accent tile for Moroccan or beach bathroom.


 
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There are so many bathroom styles to choose from that it can be either a fun or a daunting task to choose which one you’d want to pick for you bathroom remodeling project. Take this bathroom design quiz from Houzz to see what style you are! I got eclectic, and they couldn’t be more right! I hope that this has helped to clarify where your style may be leading you and your home and what could be the best step to take in making your bathroom as beautiful as it can be!
 
Builders Surplus is a full service remodeling company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, which comes as a free service to our clients. We sell building supplies ranging from unused surplus, to first quality in stock, to high end custom order and everything in between. We also provide measurement and full installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers we would encourage you to do so. Happy Remodeling!
Written By: Kat Flaherty