One of the most common questions our countertop shoppers ask is, "What's the difference between granite and quartz?" Both are beautiful, high-quality materials, but there are some differences that are helpful to know before deciding which is right for your home.
Perhaps the biggest difference between quartz and granite is that granite is a natural stone that is harvested from the earth, cut, and polished. Quartz is man-made from a process that combines ground quartz and polymer resins. Since quartz is man-made, it's usually going to be more expensive than granite because of the production process it undergoes, unless you choose a high-quality exotic granite. Quartz can be manufactured in a wide variety of monotone and variable shades; however it's no match for the unique colors, variants, and striations mother nature bestows upon granite.
While neither material requires a great deal of maintenance, there are some things of which to be aware. Both surfaces are easy to clean with soap and warm water or a mild household cleaner. Quartz is a solid, non-porous substance. Therefore, it does not harbor germs or bacteria, nor will it allow stains to seep in. Granite, on the other hand, is porous and must be sealed and resealed, usually every year. If not sealed properly, bacteria and stains can seep into granite, thus compromising its beauty.
Another thing to consider is that granite can tolerate heat, so there's no need for pot holders; however, granite can chip or crack if heavy impact occurs from large pots or other objects. Quartz can be damaged by heat, but the production process makes it harder and less susceptible than granite to impact damage. In addition, if you're planning countertops for an outdoor space, granite is a better choice than quartz because it won't fade from the sun's rays.
Now that you know the difference between granite and quartz, we hope this makes your shopping experience a little easier. As always, we're here for you to answer any questions and help you decide which is best for your home.
These days, the "new normal" is constantly changing as we navigate life amidst a global pandemic. Many of us have traded in our dress clothes and brief cases for sweats and house shoes. While working from home does have its advantages, it can also be filled with distractions. If you're carving out a home office space to give you some solace from the chaos, make sure you choose the right flooring.
Hardwood is a warm and inviting choice that never goes out of style. Engineered wood is your best bet. It's more durable and resistant to moisture/humidity changes than solid. While you should shop for products with an aluminum oxide finish to protect against scratches, it's a great idea to buy furniture protectors and desk chair pads to help minimize damage. Engineered hardwood is also available in a variety of colors ranging from blondes to ebonies and also comes in various plank widths and textures to suit any decor. Hardwood is also easy to keep clean with regular sweeping and damp mopping.
Looking for a beautiful, durable, and healthy choice for your work-from-home space? Tile is an excellent choice. It's hypoallergenic (doesn't harbor allergens), doesn't scratch, and is easy to clean with regular sweeping and mopping. Tile has so many beautiful designs and styles from which to choose. Want wood without the worry? Get wood-look tile! Want stone without the stress? Get stone-look tile. There are even vintage and decorative choices. The possibilities are endless. Whether your style is modern or classic, vintage or trendy, there's a tile for you.
Looking for a space that's a little more cozy? Then of course, you want carpet! You can choose a neutral shade that provides a calm canvas for your work area, or opt for a patterned carpet that exudes style and energy! Brands like Mohawk's SmartStrand are excellent choices because they repel stains and dirt; great if you've got kids and pets underfoot. Carpet's soft surface is also ideal for pacing during those important conference calls, and it's easy to clean with regular vacuuming.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
One of the hottest flooring categories today is Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP). LVP is a fantastic floor that is waterproof and comes in a wealth of wood and tile looks. It's an excellent home office choice, especially if you're prone to spilling your coffee when you're just not quite awake for that early Zoom meeting. LVP is very durable, but we do recommend having a pad under your office chair to minimize scratching.
Still not sure which choice is best for your home office? Give us a call! We'll be glad to come out for a free estimate, free samples, and design advice. Call today: 256-231-0008.
This time of year, we often find ourselves spending more time indoors and trying to stave off allergies, the flu, and of course, the common cold. Now many of us are confined to our homes to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic. While at home, cultivate your environment into a healthy place in which you and your family can thrive. Today we’re going to look at some ways to make your home a healthy haven.
Hard surface flooring products (hardwood, tile, vinyl, laminate, etc.) have long been the darlings of homeowners (and allergy sufferers) not just because they are beautiful but because they are easy to keep clean and free of allergens. Carpet has thus gotten a bad rap, but according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, studies with allergy and immunology physician Dr. Bruce Mitchell, prove that carpet IS a good choice for asthma and allergy sufferers when it’s properly cared for. Regularly cleaned carpet can essentially trap harmful allergens and microbes, hindering them from being released into the air.
Regardless of the type of flooring you choose, vacuuming and dusting are key components to improving air quality in your home. A vacuum with a HEPA filter is ideal for allergy sufferers, and make sure to replace vacuum bags or empty the cannister when they’re two-thirds full. For dusting, using a dry cloth often stirs up dust and dander. Use a damp cloth or one treated with a dusting product to wipe surfaces clean. Pay special attention to furniture, knick-knacks, books, home office equipment, etc., all of which are great harbingers of dust.
Improve indoor air quality with air purifiers and houseplants! We all know that plants take in carbon dioxide and give back oxygen. Did you know that many plants also absorb harmful pollutants and gases? Check out this article on 8 Houseplants that Clean and Promote Air Quality. Houseplants also bring an element of the outdoors in, which is great when weather or other factors prevent you from enjoying a bit of fresh air.
Next, make sure to check your bathroom for mold and mildew. Shower curtains should be washed or replaced regularly to prevent and remove mildew buildup. Also, check your wallpaper (if you have it). Wallpaper can foster the growth of mold if a bathroom isn’t properly ventilated with an exhaust fan. Install a fan, and consider replacing wallpaper with mold-resistant paint or tile. Invest in a good mildew remover or tile cleaner, or make your own if you’re sensitive to chemicals. Many great household cleaners can be made from vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Check out some homemade cleaning recipes HERE.
For the kitchen, the same cleaning rules apply. Wipe down surfaces to remove grease, dust, and mildew. An often-overlooked item that can go bad fast is the trash can. Make sure to wipe it down regularly to remove stains and buildup and prevent mold growth. Use an antibacterial cleaner to properly sanitize all surfaces.
If you have pets, all these cleaning tips are going to help with keeping hair and dander at bay, but there are a couple of extra points to consider. Bathe your pets once a week, and keep them off furniture and out of bedrooms.
Speaking of bedrooms, wash any linens you’ve had in storage before using them, and don’t forget that dust collects on curtains! They should be washed too. If allergies are a big problem for you, you might even consider hypo-allergenic bedding.
Putting these tips into practice as regular habits will help keep your home and family healthy year-round.
We’re really proud of the team we have at Abbey Carpet. Not only are they hard workers on the sales floor, many of them have a lot going on “off the field.” For instance, Scott Myers joined the Abbey team in July of 2019. When he’s not selling and managing contract sales and projects, he and his wife Kathy are rescuing animals with the organization The Feral Dogs of Avondale Mill and Friends of Sylacauga Animal Shelter.
It all started about five years ago when Scott and Kathy noticed several dogs running around the old Avondale textile mill in Sylacauga, AL. They started feeding them and trying to capture them to get them to a rescue. As fate would have it, one day they ran into Carolyn Morse who was doing the same thing, and Feral Dogs of Avondale Mill was born.
“That’s how it all started,” said Scott. “With just the two of them, me, and Carolyn’s husband tagging along, grabbing animals. We were out grabbing dogs and cats every day. I’ve always been an animal person, but it seemed like that day we were driving by the old mill and saw those dogs, it really grew from there.” In just the first year and half they rescued over 250 dogs, vetted them, and sent them to shelters for adoption.
The organization has grown to include a vast network of volunteers and shelters. Feral Dogs became such a big task that they joined forces with Sylacauga Animal Shelter and became a no-kill shelter. Volunteers often rescue animals and keep them in their own homes until space at the shelter becomes available. All animals are given medical attention, nursed back to health, and often placed with foster homes before staff connect with shelters across the country that have people waiting and ready to adopt. Scott estimates that at least a hundred dogs a month fly out in planes, as far north as New York and as far west as Texas.
“We really try to get them out of the state,” said Scott. “There are so many dogs that are not taken care of and thrown out on the street. A lot of them are dumped out as puppies. Alabama kind of gets a bad rap. Most of the shelters they’re sent to have a waiting list to adopt dogs. Usually by the time a dog gets to the shelter, they know it’s coming, it’s been advertised, and they’re adopted right away.”
All animals taken in are obviously homeless. They’re malnourished, covered in fleas and ticks, often have mange, or are even pregnant or have puppies with them. Scott and Kathy recently rescued three beagle puppies on Highway 21. The pups were in bad shape and tested positive for heartworms. “They spent a little over a month in my backyard getting healthy, and then they went to an animal rescue in New Hampshire,” Scott said.
Scott loves a good rescue story. His favorite is one of the first dogs they rescued from the mill. “It took us about eight months to catch this dog. We had already gotten the parents. We finally ended up chasing him under a house and then had to crawl under and get him. We hung onto him for about eight months before he went to a rescue shelter. We’ve since gotten pictures of him sprawled out on a couch. His name is Hunter.
Another time, we rescued a puppy who was just eating garbage in Sylacauga. Several months later we got a picture from the people that adopted her, and she was on her way to being a championship dog in obstacle course racing. She was really good at.”
Scott and his wife Kathy have six dogs and five cats themselves, every one of them with some sort of problem that would likely keep them from getting adopted. Their beagle, for instance, was a rescue and requires twice-daily seizure medication. They found their cat, Mew, abandoned as a kitten in a barn, and they bottle fed her for two months. She’s been with them a year and a half now.
“The biggest way for people to cut down on these problems is to spay and neuter,” said Scott. Animal shelters buy bulk spay and neuter certificates that can then be purchased for just $25. The animals are transported to a veterinarian in Birmingham, stay overnight, and then are brought back in the morning. We grab stray cats all the time. Cats aren’t a big commodity, but we’ll take them in, get them spayed and neutered, and then let them go. At least the population is coming down.”
If you’d like to help The Feral Dogs of Avondale Mill and Friends of Sylacauga Animal Shelter, they’re always in need of sponsors. Once animals are ready to be shipped for adoption, they usually go out 10-15 at a time. A sponsorship of $25 per animal is all that’s needed to help cover gas, food, and transportation. For more information or to volunteer, contact The Feral Dogs of Avondale Mill and Friends of Sylacauga Animal Shelter on Facebook and friendsofsas.org.
The dawn of cooler weather doesn’t mean you have to quit enjoying your outdoor space. Barring any snow, rain, or freezing temps, there are plenty of ways to spend some cozy quality time outside with family and friends. A great way to do that is by building an outdoor kitchen or entertainment area.
A partially-enclosed outdoor kitchen can be utilized almost any time of year. Plan your design to include a space for a grill and maybe even an oven and sink (if you’re adventurous) with plenty of counter space. Combine the area with room for a fireplace, fire pit, outdoor heaters, or chimineas to generate warmth. Radiant floor heating like the Schluter Ditra Heat System is also a fantastic way to keep your space toasty! Design your seating area around your heat source and include plenty of comfy cushions and throw blankets.
An overhead shelter like a covered arbor, awning, or porch extension is also ideal for protecting you and your guests from the elements. Make it even cozier with a lighting source like string lights or lanterns, and consider installing a TV for tailgate parties during football season. Top it all off with cold-resistant shrubs, plants, and perennials to help the space appear warmer and inviting.
Take a look at our slide show for inspiration for your outdoor space, then give us a call when you’re ready for all your stone, tile, and granite needs! 256.231.008..
The word “waterproof” is one hot topic in the flooring world today. Along with that label comes the acronyms LVT (luxury vinyl tile), WPC (wood plastic composite), and SPC (stone polymer core). This leads customers to ask a lot of questions: What does that mean? What's it made of? Is it wood or plastic? Is it waterproof? Let's take some of the mystery out of these flooring categories.
Good: Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
LVT is a vinyl-based plank flooring that mimics the look of stone and wood and consists of several layers. The top layer consists of a finish that protects from light scratching and shoe scuffs. Next is a clear film that protects against rips and tears. Then comes the design layer--this is your stone or wood print. Under all that is a flexible PVC core and then the backing. The PVC core makes LVT waterproof, but there are a couple of drawbacks. Because of its thinner, flexible nature, LVT can often reveal any imperfections in a subfloor. LVT is also more susceptible to dents or damage from heavy objects like furniture. For installation, LVT can be glued down or “floated” with a click-together locking system over an existing hard surface floor or subfloor.
Better: Wood-Plastic Composite (WPC)
WPC is also a vinyl-based flooring that mimics stone and wood. Like vinyl, WPC consists of a protective wear layer, decorative layer, vinyl layer, and core. The core is made of a wood-plastic polymer, making it stronger and denser than LVT, and also waterproof. The stronger core found in WPC makes it more rigid and less susceptible to dents and damage. Another advantage of this type core is that it conforms less to a subfloor, making it softer under-foot while concealing subfloor imperfections. WPC is usually installed as a click-together locking system and can also easily be laid over an existing hard surface or subfloor.
Best: Stone Plastic Composite (SPC)
SPC definitely comes out on top for durability in the waterproof flooring category. The core is literally made of a stone (usually limestone) and plastic composite. This hardy core makes it highly impervious to dents and damage and hides imperfections in subfloors. SPC also consists of a wear layer, style layer, core, and some products come with an attached backing. Like its LVT and WPC cousins, SPC is waterproof and comes in a variety of wood and tile looks. It too can be installed with a click-together locking system over existing hard surfaces.
Whether you choose LVT, WPC, or SPC, they’re all easy to clean and relatively easy to install if you’re a do-it-yourselfer. They all come in a wide variety of realistic tile and wood looks to suit any décor. Our flooring professionals can help you decide which one is right for you.
We're collecting school supplies at Abbey, now through August 13! We will match any donations brought in and then deliver them to all the school board offices in our county.
It’s almost that time again! In a few short weeks, the kids will be headed back to school. Is your home ready to handle the influx of backpacks, supplies, instruments, and sports equipment? When it comes to getting ready to go back to school, the name of the game is Organization:
1. Clean out and organize closets and drawers. No one likes to sift through piled up clothes and try to guess if they’re clean, dirty, or if they even fit anymore. Donate old clothes and shoes to charity, put up hooks for belts and hats, buy a shoe rack, and designate drawers for each type of clothing item. Getting dressed goes so much smoother when everything has its place and is easily accessible.
2. Clean out and organize the bathroom. Bathroom sharing can be quite a headache on school mornings. Disorganization, expired products, and empty bottles certainly don’t help. Categorize your products in drawers or on shelves. Maybe even have a basket for each member of the family’s personal toiletries. Invest in a good shower caddy or shelves. Bite the bullet and fold and put away towels and washcloths in their proper place so they’re ready for use.
3. Create a homework area or work station. Whether your child prefers to study quietly at a desk in their room or in the middle of the action at the kitchen table, having an organized workstation is essential for homework success. Along with a sturdy table or desk, have a set of shelves equipped with baskets or bins for organizing school supplies. Add a cork board with pushpins for important reminders. Don’t forget to have good lighting and a comfortable chair.
4. Create a breakfast/lunch/snack station. Grab-n-go foods are an integral part of the school year, especially if you’re preparing lunches at home. Set aside a section of your kitchen island or cabinets that has all your kids’ breakfast and snack foods easily accessible. Prepare lunches the night before and make space in the fridge for lunch boxes. Have a designated place close by where lunchboxes are stored.
5. Create a mudroom or drop zone. There’s nothing worse than cast-off backpacks and shoes all over the house. Whether you have a designated mudroom or simply an entryway, you can outfit it for back to school success with a few simple modifications. Hooks are essential for backpacks, bags, and jackets. If you have the room, add a combo shelf/bench/cubby unit for storing shoes, sports equipment, and instruments. If space is limited, try a console table with baskets underneath for storage. Also invest in a good rug to protect your floors from scratches and dirt.
Follow these tips to help keep chaos and stress at bay and make the school year smoother for everyone in your household.
At Abbey carpet, we enjoy giving back to the community. This year during National Police Week (May 12-17, 2019), we served breakfast each day to our area law enforcement officers and also had a drawing to win an iPad. We had a such a great time taking goofy photos and hosting so many wonderful people. It was our privilege to get to know and serve the men and women who serve our city!
Is 2019 the year you finally give in and remodel your kitchen? Well, not to worry! We’ve got the latest design trends to help you find a new look for your space.
Let’s talk appliances and fixtures first. Appliances are evolving into functional statement pieces that look like works of art. Vintage elements are combined with mixed metals and colors for a modern feel. We’re not just talking ranges. Range hoods, refrigerators, and dishwashers are holding their own with sleek design and unexpected features like bold colors or non-traditional materials like wood. In addition, faucets and other fixtures no longer have to match appliances or even each other. Mix it up with brass, chrome, polished or brushed metals, nickel, pewter, whatever look you desire. The goal is not to look messy but eclectically modern.
Usually when we talk finishes, we have to mention cabinet hardware, but this year trends are leaning towards streamlined drawers and cabinet with cut-outs rather than handles. Dark or colored cabinets are pushing out white this year and are joining with free-standing islands and massive wall cabinets for storage. Speaking of storage, how about some deep storage drawers for those big pots and pans, rather than experiencing an avalanche every time you open a cabinet? Couldn’t we all use beautiful, spacious floor-to-ceiling cabinets for all our dishes and cooking supplies?
Of course, we can’t talk cabinets without mentioning countertops. Trends are moving toward stone countertops with an industrial or minimalist feel; think concrete, quartz or terrazzo. There is also a trend towards using wood countertops to offer a warm, natural feel in a space. People are shopping for specialty sinks, made from the likes of copper and granite, and some look for covers to allow for more counter space as needed.
What about tile? Statement floors and backsplashes are what will really set your kitchen apart. Take your backsplash all the way to the ceiling with bold colors, patterns, shapes, and designs. Mirrored or Moroccan tiles, glass, fish scales, or even graphic prints are huge this year. You can still go for classic subway, but try it in a different size, not just 3x6, or maybe even a color other than white. Vintage tiles that hearken back to a simpler time are also popular, whether on the floor or wall. Also look for different finishes like weathered, acid-washed, or tumbled.
Everyone’s style is different. While we like to stay abreast of current trends, we also know that you want a home that reflects you, not what a magazine or blog tells you to like. In our showroom, we have something for everyone. Let us help you find what you need to make your kitchen reflect your style. Visit shopabbey.com.