Your Guide to Waterproof Flooring!

Most people love the idea of hardwood floors. They are one of the few parts of a home that can transcend any style and trend and are able to last for decades.

However, there are situations in which hardwood isn’t the best choice during a remodel or new build. A modestly budgeted renovation can mean that real hardwood flooring may have to be one of the products you nix from the list in order to stay within your price point.

You could also be a parent to toddlers, pets, or both, and that means a lot of wear-and-tear on not only floors but every surface of your house.

With the promise to supply quality products for every budget and lifestyle, Builders Surplus has a variety of waterproof flooring products, such as luxury vinyl flooring options that give you the look and feel of hardwood floors.

There are so many options to choose from and that can get overwhelming, so let’s break it down so you get to know all about laminate products.

Your Two Options: Luxury Vinyl (LVT or LVP) or Waterproof Laminate


History of the laminate flooring starts in Sweden in early 1920 and despite popular misconception, there are actually very few similarities between hardwood and Laminate.

Whereas the durability of wood floors will vary with the different types of wood, laminate floors are not made from any particular species.

Laminates are constructed using three principal layers: the decorative layer, the core, and the backing layer. These layers are compressed together using a high-pressure process.

The higher the pressure used, the more durable the laminate will be–and it will have a higher AC rating. AC, or also known as Abrasion Rating System, was created to give us a way of determining durability and recommended usage level of different laminate floors. The common term used to denote the durability level of luxury vinyl plank and tile flooring is the Abrasion Criteria or “AC” rating.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring:

In 1926 vinyl as a useful substance was invented by accident. In Akron, Ohio, Waldo Lonsbury Semon, a researcher, was trying to develop an adhesive to bond rubber to metal for The BF Goodrich Company.

Vinyl manufacturing was reintroduced after World War 11 ended, boasting some of its newly discovered properties, versatility and flame resistance. Vinyl flooring was shown to handle heavy foot traffic and to be relatively inexpensive, so it quickly took off in commercial spaces, then in residential homes’ high traffic area, and finally as a home flooring in general. It became a solid competitor!

The first Vinyl Planks were introduced in the ’70s and they grew in popularity. Today these planks have a deal sealer. Vinyl plank is now available as a 100% waterproof floor. Top to bottom, inside and out, now they are 100% waterproof and benefit from the same technologies that have made laminate flooring become so increasingly realistic looking.

The design options of LVT flooring make it a desirable material, but this flooring also has many properties that homeowners look for in their flooring. Extremely resistant to dents, moisture damage, heat and more, Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring is perfect for those who want durable floors. Additionally, there are many types of LVT that offer built-in soundproofing and don’t contain harmful chemicals that will affect the air quality in your home.

Laminate Waterproof Flooring

Most laminate flooring is NOT waterproof, some are just water resistant. However, there are some waterproof laminates. The ONLY waterproof element is the surface, so if water gets into the cracks or underneath, it will be ruined. It’s better than standard laminate, but still not as durable as Luxury Vinyl.

What is the difference in Laminate and Luxury Vinyl Flooring? For starters, They’remade from different materials. Laminate flooring is made of layers. The primary layer (the core) is made of high-density fiberboard that gives laminate flooring its rigidity and strength. LVT is made in layers as well; its primary component is PVC vinyl, which makes LVT dimensionally stable and flexible.

Laminate flooring can offer the appearance of real hardwood floors or slate but for about two-thirds the cost. Laminate flooring is an excellent choice–healthy for your family and environmentally friendly. It’s pretty durable and sometimes scratch resistant, it will not fade even after years of exposure to direct sunlight.

Surprisingly, some laminate waterproof flooring can be both chemical and burn resistant. Even the toughest stain you can safely remove with acetone, with no damage to the floor. And burning embers falling from an open fireplace will not leave any mark or discoloration.

The biggest downside to buying a waterproof laminate is the fact that only the surface is waterproof. Most major water accidents are in the cracks and under the boards.

Luxury Vinyl Plank – COREtec One and Plus

Luxury Vinyl Plank, also called Luxury Vinyl Tile, LVT or LVT, is becoming the flooring material of choice. Not only is it waterproof on the surface, but the ENTIRE plank is also 100% waterproof.

Achieving a beautiful wood look that requires little to no maintenance has never been easier than with COREtec One luxury vinyl plank flooring.

These planks are completely waterproof, highly durable, and resistant to dents, making them ideal for any room of the home.

A no-mess, glue-less installation, these luxury vinyl planks can be installed with minimal floor prep over existing hard surfaces and will help to hide subfloor imperfections.

With a 25 year residential warranty, you are sure to love your new flooring for many years to come.

COREtec Plus represents the next revolution in luxury vinyl flooring. This waterproof flooring is a great alternative to glue-down, solid locking, or laminate flooring. The patented construction of COREtec Plus features an innovative core structure, which is an extruded core made from recycled wood and bamboo dust, limestone, and virgin PVC.

Since COREtec Plus is 100% waterproof, the floors can be installed in wet areas and will never swell when exposed to water. Inert and dimensionally stable; it will not expand or contract under normal conditions.

And the best part? Each COREtec Plus plank has an attached cork underlayment for a quieter, warmer vinyl floor that is naturally resistant to odor-causing mold and mildew.

Featherweight Luxury Vinyl Tile

When you install Featherweight luxury vinyl flooring, you get luxury planks that are reusable, anti-slip underfoot, waterproof, and anti-static.

The union lock system clicks planks together and gives your floor a seam-free look. Click vinyl flooring makes for a fantastic DIY project and offers beauty that you will appreciate.

With several colors and designs to choose from, you will be happy with your new floor once the installation process is complete. Click vinyl floors will offer an affordable, warm touch to any area of your home.

Entryways and laundry areas are ideal for this Featherweight vinyl flooring. If you have kids who do not like to remove shoes or boots, this is a fantastic flooring choice for you!

Mohawk Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Mohawk Luxury Vinyl is a superb choice. With the extra comfort of knowing that luxury vinyl is waterproof, it gives you the extra confidence to install it in places where moisture can be an issue like a kitchen, bathroom, mudroom or utility room.

Luxury Vinyl is a very durable floor comes with a commercial grade wear layer. It is made out of 100% virgin luxury vinyl and reinforced with fiberglass for extra durability. Mohawk Luxury Vinyl is beautiful and affordable, and installation is a snap. Glue is not needed and you can walk on your floors right after installation. It’s ideal for residential and commercial spaces.

If you’re ready for your new luxury vinyl flooring, Builders Surplus has the top brands for the best prices. Click here to shop all of our Luxury Vinyl and come in store to pick some up today!

Want to learn more about Flooring from an experienced Pro?

Schedule your Free Tile or Flooring Consultation Today!

Flooring Comparison: Luxury Vinyl Vs. Laminate Flooring

Today, I’d like to do a flooring comparison on Luxury Vinyl, also called LVT or LVT, and Laminate. The thing is, people hear about different types of flooring but never really of their benefits, their features, the extra elements that make them a viable flooring solution. Sure, we speak of tile’s durability and carpet’s coziness, but what about the cost-effective laminate? Or the physics-defying luxury vinyl tile (LVT)? We’ll talk about these two lasts, diving into some similarities but also what makes them different. Let’s get to it.


Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring Comparison


flooring comparison

Click to shop Luxury Vinyl Flooring


Luxury Vinyl Tile is a beautifully engineered piece of flooring that combines both aesthetics with high functionality. And this is huge reason why LVT has become such a huge hit within households everywhere.

Do you remember when you used to be limited to where you could put certain parts of flooring i.e. bathrooms, any place where water is present? Well, this flooring type switched the game in that respect. But more on that later…


When doing a flooring comparison, you want to look at several things: Price, durability, style, and maintenance such as is it waterproof, etc. We’ll cover these below.


Price: This flooring type generally ranges from an all-time low of $1.79 to just short of $6. Our CoreTEC LVT is absolutely amazing, definitely a “more bang for your buck” kind of product. Check the link, peeps, you’ll see what I’m talking about. 


flooring comparison

Click here to shop Luxury Vinyl!


Waterproofness: If you did a double take at that word, I don’t blame you. I voiced this word out loud, and my boss was like, “Uhhh…yeah, not a word,” but after a simple Google search, I learned that it IS, in fact, a word. Just a little tidbit. Moving on.

This is where the high-functionality comes from in LVT, and also where one of the main differences come in during this flooring comparison. This flooring type is 100% WATERPROOF. Not water-resistant, merely repelling droplets..I mean zero-damage. None whatsoever.

I’ve explained it before, and I’ll do so again. You could pour a jug of water on LVT, leave for a vacation, come back, and the piece would be good as new. It’s that good.


flooring comparison

Click to shop LVT


You could technically put it in your bathroom. That was typically a BIG no-no, and you had to use a wood look tile if your design called for a wood style. The downside there, is that installing tile is much more expensive than installing LVT.

Durability: Another functionality characteristic, LVT doesn’t just Kung Fu the crap out of water, but also scratches. And dents. Plus, it’s strong.

So, the next time you decide to juggle a few cans of green beans, and then time kinda stands still as you watch one go amiss, propelling towards your new floors, remember this blog, remember this passage, don’t forget this sentence — it’s okay.


flooring comparison

Click to shop Luxury Vinyl Flooring


It’s going to take a little more than green beans and water to damage this flooring type. A hammer, sure. But I’m sure you’ll find other ways to blow off steam than taking a hand tool to your new floors. But that’s none of my business. *Sips tea*

Additional: I’d also just like to point out, or reiterate rather, that because LVT is water’s nemesis, this flooring is perfect for nearly any space. Bathrooms? Check. Kitchens? For sure. Basements? Have at it. Laundry room? An solid pick. It’s an excellent flooring type for any room in your household.


flooring comparison

Click to shop LVT flooring!


Side note: If you’re worried about sound, LVT often has sound muffling cork backing. I’m telling you, LVT virtually has no cons, besides the fact that it’s just not real wood. To learn a little more about LVT, make sure to check out this blog! 


Laminate Flooring Comparison

flooring comparison

Click here to shop laminate flooring!


When some people do a flooring comparison, they sometimes given laminate a bad rap for being cheap or too ordinary. Some laminate is more cheaply made than others, but there is a laminate style for everyone. There are definitely some positive sides to laminate.  First off…the funds. 

Price:  In our stores,  Laminate generally stays around $0.99 to $2.89/ sf. Now, in comparison to the other flooring types, you can see how people could regard this as cheaply made or why you here negative comments about the price. But to me, it’s the opposite.

Obviously, these prices are a bit cheaper than Luxury Vinyl Tile, but there’s a reason for it. In this flooring comparison, you’ll see the different benefits of each. If you’re looking for a nice-looking floor at a cheaper price, this is your best bet. But if you’re going for full functionality, the aforementioned will do the trick. 


flooring comparison

Click here for laminate flooring!


It’s kind of like when someone is called a lightweight when they’re out socially drinking with their friends, and the person in question fails to see negatory punchline. After all, if three beers gets the job done, who is saving more money in the long run — the lightweight or the pompous friends? Just a little food (libation) for thought.

Waterproofness: As far as complete, 100% water-eradicating measures, no. But, this flooring type is definitely moisture-resistant. Would I trust it in my bathroom, around the shower? No. Absolutely not. Whereas laminate’s opponent in this post completely repels water. Definitely a hard difference there. 


flooring comparison

Click here to shop laminate flooring!

Durability: The haters can say what they want about laminate, but as far as it’s strength, it’s pretty resilient. It is primarily scratch & dent resistant AND extremely long-lasting. There’s a reason, among others, why you may walk into a particularly older home, look down, and see laminate, virtually unharmed.


flooring comparison

Click here to shop Laminate Flooring!


Additional: It goes without saying that this is an extremely affordable option compared to the other options. Unlike regular hardwood floors, laminate is pretty pet-friendly and installation is quite simple, as well.

There you have it. The main flooring comparison between Luxury Vinyl and Laminate flooring. A quick recap: They’re both fairly inexpensive, durable and make for a beautiful floor. LVT has a bit more functionality, being completely waterproof BUT laminate is water-resistant. I hope this proves to be a decent reference the next time you’re in store and looking for flooring options. Until next time, everyone, stay safe!

Written By: Chris Chamberlain


Countertop Materials Compared

Hello, everyone! So, today I’d like to talk a little bit about countertop materials. There’s the always-cool Quartz, the greatness that is Granite, the lovely-though-inexpensive Laminate, and the beautiful Butcher Block. Each are lovely, but they definitely have different characteristics about them that set them apart. In this blog post, we’ll sort through those subtle differences and compare them!

Countertop Materials: Quartz

Ah, Quartz. This man-made engineered stone is formed by a combination of ground quartz, which is a natural hard mineral, and polymers and pigments. This mixture performs a very tough, very hard surface, and the visuals are beautiful:
Durability: EXTRA. DURABLE. Some of us are pretty tough in the kitchen, like yours truly, and accidents tend to happen more of than not. Quartz is very forgiving in that short of beating a blender to it a couple hundred times, you’ll be free of cracks, scratches or dents. It’s also extremely heat resistant.  This is the most durable of all countertop materials. It’s also antibacterial which is a huge bonus.

countertop materials

                                 Tritium                                                                Click for more details!

Looks: Quartz sports a very glossy sheen to its surface in most cases, which you’ll find extremely attractive. It can also be found in a matte finish. It’s rich, luxurious, and compliments any setting that it’s in.

countertop materials

                                   Toffee                                                                 Click for more details!

Colors: Because it’s manmade, there is every color under the sun available. Nearly every color that this countertop has to offer will amaze you. We carry some awesome colors like Cool Naranja (Bright Orange) or natural colors like Pacific, featured below.

countertop materials

                                   Pacific                                                                 Click for more details!

Price: At Builders Surplus, we carry the finest brands of countertops, including Silestone, Cambria and VICOSTONE. Right now, you can get this gorgeous countertop material for as low as $50-$120 per square foot, depending on the brand and color you choose.

countertop materials

                                 Kalahari                                                                Click for more details!


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Countertop Materials: Granite

Granite may possibly be my favorite countertop material, and one of the reasons is that you can use this surface like it IS an actual rock. It’s very durable and very beautiful. However, it does require a little extra maintenance as far as sealing goes. It’s a porous stone, so it can be stained if it’s not sealed properly.
Durability: Seriously, rock solid. It’s Superman strong. However, it’s not quite as durable as quartz. It’s pretty heat and scratch resistant, so that’s a huge plus.

countertop materials

countertop materials

Verde Butterfly                                                        Click for more details!

Looks: Granite shows the grains in the stone. They appear as specks or veins that blend in with the consistency of the entire slab, and because of this, there can be a variety of colors displayed in one countertop. I personally love this trait.

countertop materials

                                Juparana                                                         Click for more details!

Colors: Like I just mentioned, each slab is a little different with the grain and consistency. Granite is formed by igneous rock, so it also gives you that feel, that texture that’s really sought after in kitchen designs. In store, we carry the likes of Verde Butterfly or Black Crystal. However, we carry many more custom granite colors so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for!

countertop materials

                         Diamond Flower                                                   Click for more details!

Price: We have a plethora of beautiful pieces, all at a very nice price. For example, at Builders Surplus, you can get this countertop material FULLY INSTALLED starting at just $39.99 per square foot! Prices will vary depending on the color you choose.

countertop materials

Black Crystal                                                          Click for more details!


Countertop Materials: Laminate

Now, there are some that won’t bother with laminate because they deem it “too cheap,” but I can assure you that the material we carry is everything but. The attractiveness of Laminate is definitly there, but at an affordable price. But, what’s wrong for a paying little and receiving a lot, right? It’s like we said, “it is the perfect balance between budget and style.”
Durability: It goes without saying that Laminate isn’t nearly as durable as Quartz or Granite, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to crack if you set a soda can on top of it. They’re made from layers and layers of particleboard to create a complete, solid surface. It’s not very heat resistant, though, so beware.

countertop materials

                          Lapidus-Brown                                                       Click for more details!

Looks: The cool thing about Laminate is that they can be made to imitate other, more elaborate countertop materials, specifically granite, wood or even stainless steel. Pretty neat if you ask me. They won’t have the glossy finish that most of the natural stone will have, but it will still have a nice gleam to it.

countertop materials

                                Jamocha                                                             Click for more details!

Colors: Once again, we have a variety of colors. We carry several options in stock and then we also have a plethora of colors available for custom order. You can definitly get any look you’re searching for in one way or another.  I’ll say this, though, this countertop material definitely tends to have a more of a solid color base than other materials, simply because of its genetic makeup.

countertop materials

                             Constantine                                                          Click for more details!

Price: Definitely an affordable piece of countertop. Perfect for fitting in to any type of budget, the price point tends to be a defining feature. Especially when it comes to full remodels. This countertop material typically ranges from $10-$20 per square foot.

Countertop Materials: Butcher Block

Of the list, this is my second favorite. This countertop material is available as a custom order option, and boy let me tell ya, it’s awesome. Ever watch those cooking shows where a chef is just slicing-and-dicing on what looks like the biggest cutting board you’ve ever seen in your life? Welcome to the Butcher Block, a cook’s pride and joy.

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Durability: Now, it is wood, so keep that in mind. Unless you like the look of a used cutting board, and some do, you should still consider using a cutting board to prepare your meals. But still, it’s tough and the longevity is pretty impressive, but you have to take care of it.
Looks: It’s wood, you know what I mean? It’s that classic, timeless appearance that literally fits with any style. But it definitely compliments the traditional, rustic, and country-village looks, giving off that warm, soothing feeling.

countertop materials

Colors: Wood is porous, so if you order this countertop material in an unfinished style, you can always stain it to the color of your liking before applying a sealer. However, most butcher block countertops will already come with a stain and sealer on them. They may required to be resealed over the years. Note: You’re going to want apply a sealer on this. You don’t want Tuesday’s spaghetti sauce to be a defining feature.
Price: Like I mentioned before, this is available as a custom order product, but typically these countertops tend to range from $50-100 per square foot. It’s definitely worth the price in my opinion.
Well, there you have it! A comparison of the top countertop materials and their pros and cons. However, if you have any other questions related to countertop materials, don’t hesitate to let us know. As a leading countertop material provider in Louisville and Cincinnati, we’re always here to help!

Why we chose laminate flooring for our home

I chose laminate flooring for my home, and I’m so happy with my decision. Choosing new flooring or your home is a choice that doesn’t come without serious consideration. After all, it’s a main focal point of your home. It’s going to be something that you look at and feel every single day. It also comes with a decent price tag, so you want to make sure you make the most informed decision, and one that works best for you and your family. As a retailer that sells many different types of flooring, I had a lot of options to weigh. But ultimately, laminate flooring won. Here is why I made the choice that I did, and why I haven’t regretted it for a minute!

Why Laminate Flooring Was The Choice For Me

Scratch Resistance:

I am a proud dog mom, and a lover of heels. I also move furniture around to fit my mood, whenever it may strike. So, I needed a flooring option that wouldn’t be ripped to shreds by some canine claws among other things. While hardwood doesn’t hold us so well against them, laminate solved this problem! While some are scratch resistant in an industrial setting as well as a residential setting, a simple residential scratch resistance was enough for my needs. Luckily, that was easy to find!

Laminate Flooring vs Hardwood Scraches

Hardwood Scratches

Water Resistance:

As I mentioned above, I love my pups. BUT, the occasionally have an accident. This can be devastating for real hardwood floors, and a real pain for carpet. Hardwood can be water damaged in a matter of hours if left unattended, which can happen if you happen to be away when the accident occurs.

hardwood flooring pet stains, vs laminate flooring

Pet stains on hardwood flooring

Not only that, but spills or leaks can cause the same chaos. Pulling up hardwood to replace it due to water damage is costly, and no fun at all. Our laminate is water resistant, so it was a great choice for us! While it can still be damaged if let sit too long (the face is water resistant but in between the joints is not), it gave us peace of mind knowing that if we weren’t there to clean up the issue right away, we wouldst be out of pocket or out of our minds with anger.
Water damaged hardwood

Dirt and Bacteria:

While carpet technology has come a long way in the last several years, having pets or kids can make carpet a pretty dirty place. We have a dog who gets immense joy from rolling in the dirt, and then coming inside and rolling around on the floor. Image the build up of dirt after a week or two? Not to mention the dog hair. With another long haired dog, it is a constant battle to keep up with it, and vacuums don’t always get everything. I like to be able to SEE exactly what is on my floor, so that I can clean it up. With carpet, its often a guessing game. Did I get it all? Or is it still dirty. Smells can also linger in carpet that just can’t in hardwood floors.


Stain Resistance:

While I don’t have kids just yet, I am expecting my first. On top of that, my husband and I have our fair share of clumsy moments. Stains are a reality. Wine and spaghetti sauce on carpet are never idea (and don’t forget about the pet stains I mentioned before). Not only is the clean up time consuming, it never seems to be 100%. Having to stare at the remnants of a failed cleaning every day would be enough to drive me mad! I preferred the easy clean up of laminate to that of carpet. To make areas more cozy, I’ll just get a rug! I can switch them out if they ever get too damaged or I want a change.
Carpet stains vs laminate flooring


Ok, lets be honest. We live in a world where price is an issue to be considered, at least for the majority of us. We always want to know that we are getting the best possible product for the best possible price. I am a young person in my first home. I am on a pretty strict budget. A high end hardwood wasn’t an option, even though I wasn’t sure that was the best choice for me in the end anyway. LVT is another great option, with all of the benefits of laminate flooring, but the colors that I liked were more than I was able to spend, so I made a compromise. So laminate flooring made sense to me from the beginning, because I was able to get everything I needed, at a price I could actually afford.
So there you have it. My top 5 reasons that I chose laminate flooring over hardwood floors and carpet. Do you love your laminate or wish you had chosen something else? Are you still trying to figure out which flooring is best for you? Let us know in the comments!

Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are the leading provider of Ledge Stone, wall tile and backsplash tile in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. 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: Allie Bloyd


Granite Countertop Obsession: How it Started & Why

As a granite countertop provider, we’ve seen first hand the granite countertop obsession. While we’re in no way complaining, it is interesting to know how this obsession came to be, and why. Home remodeling trends don’t often happen overnight, but they do feel like they pop out of nowhere. We can all attest to the fact that on HGTV, the only REAL resource for home renovation information (did you catch my sarcastic tone?), every one of their house hunters in any of their top TV shows, give or take a few, will ALWAYS beg for granite countertops in their new purchase.
Why is this? There are so many great materials for kitchen countertops, like quartz, marble, laminate, stainless steel, butcher block, concrete, and the once hugely popular tile. Granite isn’t the cheapest. It isn’t the easiest to maintain. It isn’t always the prettiest if you ask me. And it’s also not the most durable. So how did this American Granite Countertop Obsession happen, and why?

The Beginning of the Granite Countertop Obsession

Granite Countertops really made their debut in the mid 1980’s. The color options were very limited, it was still widely unknown, and it was extremely expensive. It was not considered a top of the line countertop material at the time. Yet here we are, 30+ years later, and the granite countertop obsession is still in full force. How did it grow so fast to be such a luxury standard in home renovation and construction?

Granite countertop obsession

New Kitchen

Granite Globalization

When granite first started to rear it’s head, it was a very local or regional business. You would need to find a local source, within a few states of you, to source this product. It was extremely heavy and there were only a few craftsman that had experience cutting it well for residential and commercial applications. Extracting granite from the earth was hard and risky work. Quarries could be terrible conditions to work in. But where there is demand for a product or service, there are people who want to make a living providing it.
Quarrying granite in the United States was difficult, time consuming, and not the best perfected craft at the time. However, there was a demand beginning to rise in the United States due to articles in the Los Angeles Times among other things. Wherever you have demand, you have other countries who want to get in on the action. And in this case, they could offer it for a much better price. They also had a larger labor force willing to dig out and refine the granite.
Granite is found all over the world. Italy started off as a big player, but eventually, Brazil and India and China became the leaders in the industry. There was, and still is, an excess of granite found in these countries, so they were trying to get rid of as much of it as they could for the best prices possible. New colors from different areas of the world began to emerge and the trend continued to develop.
Granite countertop obsession - Granite Mining

Shipping Advances Advance The Granite Countertop Obsession

Granite countertops jumped on the container shipping train. Container shipping was able to lower the cost greatly for builders and consumers, making it a much more attainable material for your regular home owner, instead of just for the upper echelon of society. Before it began being shipped in containers, the prices of transport were much higher because they were being shipped individually and the costs were more in line with local prices.
Granite countertop obsession - granite cutting

Skilled Cutters Come From Computers

In the past when a shop received a slab of granite, it needed to be cut by hand to the perfect dimensions and shaven perfectly to give the best finish and edge. In the wonderful world of technology, we have computers that cut your granite slabs precisely, and CAD programs that help the cutting equipment conquer even the most intricate designs. This helps out greatly when you’re talking about holes for your sink and faucet, that could take a lot of time by hand.  The increased efficiency in cutting has also lowered the costs of granite compared to when it was first interdicted into the market.
Computerized granite cutting

The Housing Boom Blows Up Granite Countertop Obsession

When the housing boom of the early 2000’s was taking place, granite was just along for the ride. New construction was at a high, and with the new developments in color, technology and the more affordable costs of granite, it became a material that every builder was putting into their new buildings. This made the public think that a “new” building needed granite, that this was the material of the future. While the public often looks to new construction trends as the best new trends in home renovation and building materials, those who were renovating older homes also thought that granite is what they should choose.
Granite is a great material for countertops, but few people understand the reasons that started the granite countertop obsession in the united states. Hopefully this has been enlightening for you! Do you love granite or do you prefer other materials in your home? Let us know in the comments below!

Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are the leading provider of granite countertops, quartz countertops and laminate countertops in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. 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: Allie Bloyd

DIY Flooring Installation – Laminate or LVT

Some people think about doing their own DIY Flooring Installation and cringe. They have this image in their head that it will be incredibly difficult, incredibly time consuming and something that only a professional can swing. But that’s just not the case. At Builders Surplus, we know a lot about flooring, having laminate flooring, LVT flooring and hardwood flooring in stock daily! While it does take some time if you have a big space, you can easily knock it out with one or two people in one day or a few if you’re not working on it non stop. I will break this down as simply as possible and will use my own personal experience with installing click together laminate flooring. Just like everything else, there are slightly different ways to do things when it comes to home improvement projects, so if you’ve had different experiences, share them in the comments below!

Tools You’ll Need:

Tapping Block
Rubber Mallets
Knee Pads (Trust me, you want these)
Hammer (Baseboards)
Pliers (Taking out staples)
Chisel (Baseboards)
Shop Vac
Duct Tape
Table or chop saw
Eye Wear (When using electric saw)
Tape Measure
Utility Knife
Crow Bar

DIY Flooring Installation Steps

Step 1: Remove baseboards and old flooring

Use a hammer and chisel tool to remove your baseboards one by one. If you plan on reusing, be very careful. Also, try to damage your drywall as little as possible. Some damage might be done, but it will be covered by new baseboards, so it’s not the end of the world. Rip up any old linoleum, carpet, or laminate flooring and dispose of it.

Step 2: Clean up and level out

Having a clean space to work with when doing a DIY flooring installation is critical. You need to make sure that all traces of the former floor are gone and that your subfloor is clear of ANY nails or staples. This is one of the most time consuming parts of the process in my opinion. I work in sections, making sure that I have run over every square inch and that all is clear. Then, take a shopvac or something similar and clean up any dirt or debris that your demo has left.

Step 3: Lay underlayment

Underlayment is a very important part of laminate or LVT flooring installation. This is a moisture barrier that is necessary in keeping your floors, subfloors and flooring joists in great shape. Some LVT, like COREtec Plus, comes with a built in cork backing, another type of underlayment, already attached to the back. If you have chosen a flooring like that, you don’t need to do this step. To shop COREtec, Click here! For everyone else, you’ll need to lay your underlayment over the entire surface and duct tape it together and to the edge of the floor. Leave about an inch around the edges.

Step 4: Lay your first row

Laying your first row of laminate is extremely important. You want everything to flow smoothly, especially in a large space. You don’t want to have to change directions at any time. Because of this, find a place in the furthermost left corner and work your way to the right and forward. For me, My front door, dining room and part of my kitchen are recessed back a little bit from the wall. You need your first row to flow completely from left of the space to the right to make sure that all of your flooring lines up properly. Because of this, we started as shown below. We added several rows going down, and then worked our way back towards the wall.
DIY Flooring Installation Step 4
You want to start your first piece up against the wall. You can put a spacer, or a cut piece of flooring standing vertically right between your first piece and the wall to get started. You’re going to just click and lock the flooring on the long end all the way down. You’ll have to make a cut at the very end, which we’ll show you how to do in the next step. With your second row, you’ll want to cut your first piece about half the size of your regular piece of flooring to get the stacked pattern. You may want someone to stand on your first row of flooring while you work on the next few rows (If you have to start like I did and you don’t have a wall that it’s already butted against) so that it doesn’t shift because you’ll be using your tapping block and mallet to knock the pieces flat on the long ends. Click and lock the flooring in place as best as possible, but then if it’s not 100% flat and locked in, take your tapping block and put it on the edge of the flooring. Tap it down downwards and towards the crack that you’re trying to get flat. Be careful so that you don’t chip off any part of the locking mechanism. This is important in the flooring working properly in the next row.
DIY Flooring installation step 4-2

Step 5: Making Cuts

Making cuts is a lot easier than it looks, but make sure you do it right to get the best, cleanest cut and don’t cause a lot of waste. First, you’ll need to flip the flooring board upside down. This is because when you make your cut, the flat cut end needs to be up against the wall, You don’t want to cut off your click and lock mechanism at the end. If you do, it will have no way to lock into place. Mark it with a sharpie or pen. Next, take your triangle and get a perfectly straight cut. Next, take it to your saw and CAREFULLY cut it. If you are not comfortable using a saw, they do have non electric laminate choppers that you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot. Make sure you have a little bit of space because you will most likely need to tap your last piece into place. I didn’t take a photo of this but there is an illustration below showing the motion. You can do this on pieces other than the end piece if needed, but majority of the time I don’t find it necessary.

Step 6: Notching Out around doorways, cabinets, and other obstacles

Every home is different, and every space has different obstacles to overcome. There is not always a 1 size fits all answer. In the video below, you’ll see how to do an easy notch out. Some notching will be more difficult, and it may be trial and error, but the main thing to understand is that you want to measure twice, cut once, as the saying goes.

This piece below was in our hallway, and was by far our most complicated cut. It took us a few tried, but we still got it. We will be adding new baseboards and quarter round, so you won’t see the cracks.
Notching Out

Step 7: Keep going, keep flowing

Keep the flow going, if you have a hallway like I do, you keep the lines going all the way down. I went into two bedrooms to the right, but I just kept the pattern going.
For the most part, you aren’t going to have much waste. Even if you cut the wrong end of a board, or you cut the board too short, just use it in a place that the space is smaller, or at the beginning of the next row. When I cut the wrong end, I would place those boards next to the wall that the board would fit, so I always reused those boards. What you see below is all the waste that I had from almost 1700 square feet.
Waste in DIY Flooring Installation

Step 8: Baseboards

Finally, you’ll put on your baseboards and/or quarter round. Remove the spacers around the border and install baseboards and quarter round covering the plastic moisture barrier on the wall and the gap between the wall and the flooring. Set nail heads slightly below the surface of the molding and fill with wood putty. Use touch up paint to cover the wood putty.
That’s about it, folks! It’s really not as hard as it seems to do a DIY flooring installation.

Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are the leading provider of Ledge Stone, wall tile and backsplash tile in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. 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: Allie Bloyd

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.
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!

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!
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

Granite Edges: The Finishing Touch

There are many things that go into purchasing a new granite countertop, such as deciding on the color and choosing between the different granite edges.

When you first sit down with one of our kitchen designers, the first step will be to take measurements of your kitchen, or work off of the measurements that you provide.

If you are completely gutting the kitchen, you will have the flexibility to virtually choose exactly what you want for your space.

After layout, the next step is to decide on the granite color. This is definitely one of the most fun decisions to make. We offer 20 colors in our custom granite line, and 8 colors in our prefabricated granite.

Lastly, you will choose the finishing touch for your countertops; your granite edge profile. The edge is the shape created and the end of the slab that you will come into contact with on a daily basis.

There are a wide variety of edges to choose from, but our Louisville and Newport, Kentucky stores offer a total of 9 different edges. We will discuss the Basic Edge Profiles, Premium Granite Edges, and Unique Granite Edge Profiles. 

Basic Granite Edges:

The four edges shown above & below are some of the most common & are virtually always included at no additional cost, no matter what fabricator you’re using. These are offered free with our custom granite selection.

  • The straight edge is the most basic, with a hard chiseled edge.
  • Beveled edges tend to be more popular in kitchens with traditional décor.
  • The 1/4 and 1/2 bevel is a nice variation on the original bevel that highlights the thickness of the countertop. It allows you to have the decorative edge while still showing the depth of the 3cm stone.

Our granite is 3cm thick, which is the standard width. Anything smaller would be at risk of breaking, and thicker would potentially be overkill and quite costly.


The above example is that of a straight edge, sometimes called the “pencil” edge. This is the most basic edge that you can choose, however, with the right granite, it still looks phenomenal!


The beveled granite edge is quite popular. It adds a touch of geometric flair to any countertop. It is not overly ornate, but does add some visual interest.

1/4 and 1/2 BEVEL EDGE

The 1/2 and 1/4 bevel are very common as well. The bevel is less dramatic and is a more subtle touch to your granite edge. The profile is sleek, without being too chiseled. I see this very often in bathroom granite vanity tops. These both have a shorter pitch, which is the flat edge on the top, and a longer rise, which is the bottom edge pointing down. This is a very sophisticated profile that will work well with all styles from traditional to contemporary.


The eased granite edge is another popular choice. The slight curve adds movement and tames the sharp edges that some dislike. This profile can be seen in many kitchens, old and new. It is simplicity at it’s finest. With the right granite, you simply want to highlight the beauty of the stone, which the eased edge does perfectly.


The 1/4 Radius edge is a variation on the eased edge. Instead of offering the secondary curve on the bottom, it chooses to only arch at the top. It provides all of the benefits and simplicity of the eased edge. The 1/4 Radius edge is a perfect blend of the Eased edge and the Straight edge..


The half bullnose edge adds a greater curve to the room than the 1/4 Radius or the Eased Edge. Of the basic granite edges, this profile shows off the thickness and sturdiness of the slab.


In the 1/4 Round T&B, or Top & Bottom, the profile looks exactly as it sounds. There is a slight curve on the top and bottom of the edge, creating a slightly round, slightly pitched edge that is a favorite among many.

Premium Granite Edges:


The Ogee Edge is one of the most widely known and well loved of all of the premium edges. This granite profile is elegant, decorative, and makes a statement. This granite profile looks perfect with traditional styles and adds fair to rustic decor as well. It can be used in contemporary spaces, but it is not something that you see often. Modern looks tend to opt for the sharper or more straight edges.

This ornate profile adds drama and excitement to your space. Although this granite edge is a premium profile, it is included at no cost in our prefabricated granite, making the value that much higher for our clients.


The Full Round Edge, Also called the Bullnose, is a completely rounded profile. This look works best with traditional, transitional, or the rustic/farmhouse style. Again, curves and contemporary don’t always make the best pair. We offer this edge in many of our prefabricated granite as well, meaning that you are getting low price & high quality and design, which is something that you can rarely find in today’s world.


The Deep Ogee is a variation of the Ogee. It is not one that you see too often, but it definitely makes a statement when it does pop up. The deep swooping edge just screams elegance and high design.


The Inverted Bevel is another one of the premium granite edges you might be interested in. This edge looks very similar to the Knife edge, which we have not listed due to the fact that is is very rare and is not asked for often. However, the uniqueness of this edge can really make your countertops stand out from the rest. In this edge, the steep pitch is going upward instead of downward.

Unique Granite Edges:


Rough or natural granite edges are really something special. This look will work with any style and really highlights the natural beauty and uniqueness of the stone. This is one of my favorite edges of all!


The rope edge is an incredible profile that you don’t see very often. This edge takes real skill to fabricate and a unique home to put it in. A nautical feel is a perfect fit for this type of edge, but it can work well in traditional or even rustic style homes.


The Triple Waterfall edge is slightly more common than the two listed above, but is still considered unique. The three tiers make for a stunning focal point and add interest to your countertops. This ornate style screams elegance and high end quality.

Laminate Countertop Edge Profiles:

Laminate countertop edges are completely different in terms of name, as those that we discuss when dealing with granite or any other solid surface countertop. They names can be quite confusing, actually. The combinations that can be achieved with laminate countertops are endless. They can be just as unique and ornate as those of their solid stone counterparts.

If you have any questions regarding granite edges, laminate edges, granite or granite installation, the team at Builders Surplus is ready and willing to help. We strive for excellence in everything that we do and believe that paying attention to detail is what ultimately sets us apart from our competition. Thank you for reading!

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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 countertops, bathroom countertops, building materials, and home improvement materials. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from laminate countertops to top of the line Quartz Countertops. 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: Allie Bloyd 


Wood vs Laminate Flooring & Other Styles

Many people ask us to compare Wood vs Laminate flooring. What are the differences and benefits of laminate, hardwood, or vinyl flooring. What areas of your home, climate, or style works best with each? Well, we’re here to help eliminate the confusion!

wood vs laminate flooringLaminate

In the wood vs laminate flooring race, laminate pulls ahead in many areas. The main benefits of laminate over other types of home flooring, and the reason it is so popular, is affordability, ease of installation and low maintenance. Laminate is less expensive because it’s largely synthetic flooring that’s easily mass produced using low cost materials. It’s easy to install because most laminate uses click and lock assembly which means no nails or glue and you can float it over most existing sub floors. And finally it’s easy to clean and care for because of the thick and clear wear layer that covers the surface of the flooring.

Can you lay laminate all through your home? Well, laminate is a great mid-priced flooring option but there are times when a more expensive hardwood floor or a cheaper vinyl floor could be a better match for your home. Wood vs laminate flooring can be summed up pretty simply in two words… price and style! We think laminate floors look great, there are some exceptional products available, but laminate just doesn’t look the same as solid or engineered hardwood. It’s a fact. In a dining room or master bedroom where style is your main concern you might want to consider spending a little more on a quality hardwood floor. Laminate wood flooring is perfect in a functional setting where practicality is your priority. In a child’s playroom, in the family den or parts of the house where you have dogs running around laminate flooring just makes sense.

It’s attractive, quickly cleaned and hard wearing too. in these situations solid wood flooring seems rather impractical and expensive. Also remember that solid hardwood can stain and can be vulnerable to strong sunlight. If stains and extreme weather conditions are a part of your day to day life then laminate flooring is the smart choice. When it comes to the pros and cons of laminate flooring there are plenty of reasons to choose laminate over hardwood, but its fair to say they are of a practical rather than aesthetic nature. Laminate flooring does a great job of imitating more expensive surfaces like wood, tile and stone and it also has a good long life span, so why would you ever consider vinyl flooring over laminate? For starters, laminate does not mix well with water. They contain a core layer of dense fiberboard and despite the plastic top wear layer and further protective melamine resin layer, laminate flooring will react to standing water and strong humidity in the same way as wood flooring.

So, laminate in the kitchen is okay as long as you keep spills to a minimum and clean up immediately, but you should think twice about laminate in a laundry room, basement or bathroom that regularly experiences standing water. In these instances vinyl flooring would be a much smarter choice.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Invented in the 1930’s, vinyl flooring first made an impact on the architectural world in the years following World War Two. By the 1950’swood vs laminate flooring it was a major competitor against other resilient options, and had all but usurped linoleum’s position as a low cost water resistant flooring option.

The colors and pattern options that are available with vinyl flooring are nearly endless. Solid and composite vinyl can be combined to create a number of unique, random patterns. Printed vinyl is even more versatile, allowing you to recreate the look of natural stone, hardwood, or any other material you can think of.

You can even mix and match material facades to make it look like you’ve combined different elements in your floor. Vinyl flooring is relatively easy to care for. You have to make sure that grit and dirt are kept swept free to maintain the surface of the floor. Then you can use a damp mop and an approved vinyl floor cleaner to remove stains. 

A well installed vinyl floor is almost impervious to water penetration, making this the perfect material for use in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or other high moisture space in the home. Vinyl does not get cold in the winter, and is generally soft beneath your feet. Some vinyl sheets and tiles have a padded layer that can make walking on these floors even more pleasurable. At the low range vinyl can cost as little as fifty cents per square foot. However higher end premium vinyl materials can cost as much as ten dollars a square foot.

The difference in price is determined by the quality of the tile, and the design options found in the surface. Vinyl is generally considered to be a highly durable material that, if properly installed and maintained, can last upwards of ten to twenty years. However the quality of the material that you purchase, and the way it was manufactured, will determine how well your floor lasts over time. Vinyl tiles and vinyl plank flooring is relatively easy to install. However you have to ensure that you have a completely dry, level subfloor to work with. It is possible to do this project yourself, but you may want to have a professional prepare the subfloor for you. While vinyl flooring is low maintenance and highly durable, there are also a number of drawbacks that are associated with this material. Of these, its ecological impact on the personal and world environment may be some of the most disconcerting.

Hardwood Floors

wood vs laminate flooring There are many advantages of real or engineered hardwood. Hardwood flooring gives a rich look to your home interior. While it is slightly more expensive than laminate or vinyl, it actually improves over a period of time due to aging. Hardwood flooring is known to last for a lifetime and has a very long shelf life. Given their organic origin and non-electromagnetic nature, they tend to attract less dust. Hence they do not attract allergens, or molds that cause allergies which tend to travel with dust. It is recommended to use by doctors all over the world. 

They are extremely hard and are less prone to damage by objects as well. It is seen as a warm addition to your decor and is also comfortable for small babies to play on, as well as practical for pet owners. Hair and dust are easily removed from the surface. While their are many benefits, there are also some disadvantages. The hardwood floors require regular polishing every 3-4 years to maintain its finish especially if it is high traffic area. The cost of polishing, l abor, and polyurethane coating are an extra expense to think about. They also require regular maintenance to prevent termite attack if your house is located in an area which is prone to termites. 

Hardwood flooring will be damaged in the event of any water seepage so having them in a basement with occasional water leaks, or a laundry or bathroom, might not be the best idea. You can regularly mop with a wet cloth, but make sure that there is no dripping water. One other set back is that it is much more susceptible to scratching from heavy traffic, high heels or pet nails. As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to every type of flooring, but choosing the right one for your home and budget is the most important thing, and hopefully this article makes that a little bit easier.