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.
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.
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.
Rugs are often the icing on the cake of your space. They add so much style and personality to any room, not to mention they protect your floors! While classic Moroccan and Oriental rugs never go out of style, there are trends emerging in 2019 that not only take your design to the next level but offer function as well.
One thing you might never have considered before is layering—that is area rugs on top of carpet, or even rug upon rug! Before your discount this idea, hear us out. Let’s say you have a large, neutral area rug or even carpet in your space. What better way to spice it up than by throwing down some color and texture? Maybe you have an open concept house and want to delineate space? A rug is perfect for that.
Check out this article on how to layer rugs over carpet.
The Bohemian look is also big this year, consisting of warm, earthy colors mixed with bright hues. Think eclectic mixes of pattern, texture and design throughout your space. And, don’t forget fringe. The Bohemian is the free spirit!
As far as prints, geometric and chevron patterns continue to reign big. Shapes mixed with colors, or shapes in neutral patterns add depth. Chevron print can also be mixed with a myriad of design schemes from florals to stripes. Let’s not forget about animal prints. You can either go bold with a large area rug, or throw a faux cowhide or sheepskin rug down in a sitting nook.
Jute, jute, and more jute! Jute rugs are becoming wildly popular for any room of the home. They provide a textured look, are allergen friendly, and help disguise dirt. It’s a good idea, though, to have a rug pad underneath to keep it from shifting since the raw fibers might have a tendency to scratch the floor. Jute rugs come in a wide variety of sizes, and some even have chevron patterns, stripes, borders, and tassels to make it interesting.
Once you get that perfect rug, you’ve got to find the perfect location. While it goes without saying that most people love an area rug in the living room, let’s think outside the box. Rugs in the kitchen are a great way to add a comfortable place to stand at islands and sinks or set apart your breakfast nook from the rest of the space. Entryway rugs are excellent ways to not only add a welcoming touch, but also to catch dirt and debris from traveling father into the house. It’s a good idea to look for rugs that are easy-clean if you’re shopping for either of these areas.
Finally, we frequently have clients who have hard surface flooring throughout their home, but they still want carpet or at least a runner on the stairs. This is a great place to really shake things up by incorporating a patterned or colored carpet that plays off your décor theme. It’s also an excellent way to keep your stairs slip-resistant.
Whatever style rug you choose, remember: we can customize any piece of carpet into a bound rug, just for you! Come by and see our selection of designer carpets!
Today we’re talking with Southern Kitchen & Bath showroom manager, Lynay Armbrester, getting to know a little more about their business and customers, as well as current kitchen and bathroom trends. Southern Kitchen & Bath is the showroom for Southern Pipe and Supply, which for the last 30 years, has been helping people in the Anniston area outfit their kitchens and bathrooms with custom plumbing fixtures, tubs, toilets, and appliances. They have many items in stock but can pull from a large warehouse in Mississippi and special order from many major vendors such as Kohler, Delta, and Brizo. Southern Pipe is also the only dealer in the area of the high-end luxury Viking appliance brand.
What types of services and supplies do you offer?
We sell almost anything plumbing related—toilets, tubs, faucets, sinks. We do sell a few brands of appliances too.
Who is your typical customer?
We deal with a lot of builders and plumbers, but of course walk-in customers too. Typically, either a builder or plumber will send in their customers to pick out what they want—faucets, toilets, tubs, etc.
What do you see trending in bathroom and kitchen design?
Definitely free-standing tubs. Everybody wants one of those at least in their master bath. Finish wise, we’re seeing a lot of chrome, shiny finishes. Even gold is popular again, kind of getting more contemporary, away from old, traditional looks. People will put different finishes in every bathroom. As for showers, lots of people want rain heads. Custom showers in general are pretty popular, with people putting in multiple shower heads, hand-held showers, and body sprays.
For kitchens, mostly people are going towards farmhouse sinks and anything undermounted. People are going with solid surface countertops like granite and quartz. They also tend to put the same plumbing finish throughout a kitchen.
We’re also a big seller of Viking appliances, the only dealer in the area. Their ranges and appliances are really nice for people that like to cook a lot. Their ranges have higher BTU’s, so they cook things faster. They also give a nice industrial look to a residential home.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
When people come in here with an idea of what they want, I like to be able to help them put all of that into real life. I can help them choose everything that’s going to coordinate and match. I like being able to help people get what they want and see it come together.
The customers that bring in samples and pictures are really easy to work with because they already know what they want. It’s not a lot of staring at faucets, for instance, and trying to decide what color they want and what style they want. A lot of people, because of things like Houzz and Pinterest, they get on there and know what they want. The hard thing sometimes is though when they come in with a picture of something I’ve never seen before, and they want you to find it. For instance, I had a customer wanting a satin brass finish for her kitchen-sink, vegetable sink, pot filler, and butler pantry sink. She wants all those to match in a bridge-style faucet. I was able to find it, but we’re not sure if it fits in her budget.
What are the most important points for your customer to remember about their project?
Think about everything you’re putting in your house and make sure it’s something that’s going to last. If you plan on staying in the house any length of time, be sure you’re getting good quality products so that you’re not having to replace things.
If you’re getting ready to have Abbey Carpet remodel your bathroom or kitchen, don’t forget about your fixtures and appliances! Go see Lynay at Southern Bath & Kitchen at 800 Gurnee Ave., Anniston (256.237.5415), for the latest styles, highest quality products, and personalized service.
A new year is here, and it’s time to talk trends! From natural looks and textures to patterns and environmental consciousness, let's take a look at the top-emerging design trends in flooring for 2019.
Natural, textured looks are in! Wood or wood-look flooring (like vinyl, tile, or waterproof flooring) with imperfections and variations lends a rustic, nature-inspired vibe to any room. Look for products with hand scraped and distressed features that add character and originality. Think about taking wood where it’s never been before. With today’s options in waterproof flooring and wood-look tile, you can get the wood look you’ve always wanted, even in your bathroom! This collection from Mannington is beautiful!
We’re seeing the continued rise of grays, along with light wood washes, ashes, and blondes. Opting for a lighter shade of flooring lends a clean palette for any design and brings an airy essence to any space. For a rustic theme, look for a flooring with more of the textures we mentioned like hand-scraped planks and wire brushing. If you’re looking for a more modern design, go with planks that are smooth and less distressed. Explore this look with Mohawk’s RevWood Collection.
Tile obviously lends itself well to patterns and design, and this year’s trends do not disappoint: geometrics, stenciled designs, mosaics, squares, herringbone—the possibilities are endless. Even wood flooring is getting in on the act with layouts ranging from a diagonal pattern to herringbone and chevron motifs. We love this design from Marazzi.
Patterns, shapes, and texture are also big for carpet, which continues to carry favor with consumers. In addition to being a top choice for warmth and comfort, carpet is now a top choice for personalization. Animal prints, stripes, geometrics, and variations in pile lengths and fibers allow homeowners to customize their space to their heart’s content. Take a look at this one from Stanton.
Today’s consumers aren’t just concerned about all of these aesthetic features. They’re also choosing to be environmentally responsible with their flooring choices, and flooring manufacturers know this. In shopping for wood floors, look for those made from sustainable or recyclable materials, bamboo, cork, reclaimed or engineered wood, and certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). You can also find many brands of carpet now being made from not only sustainable and recyclable materials, but they’re also being manufactured with environmentally responsible practices. Check out DreamWeaver’s PureColor or Mannington’s hardwood policy as excellent examples of environmental responsibility.
So, are you ready to re-do your home this year? You can find all these trends and so much more in our showroom. Give us a call for a free estimate! 256.231.0008.
It’s never ending. It lurks in corners and mocks you. It multiplies overnight and haunts your dreams. It’s the dreaded “L word”: LAUNDRY!! Though some of you may bask in the scent of freshly laundered sheets and take pleasure in neatly pressed shirts, I would venture to say the majority of us would rather spend our afternoon baby sitting howler monkeys than devote another minute to washing and folding. What to do? Well, since the task is pretty much unavoidable, let’s look at some ways to make it a bit more bearable and beautiful.
For starters, let’s examine the laundry room itself. Is your space dull, dingy, and completely utilitarian? Research shows that whether it’s employees, students, children, or animals, they thrive in stimulating and creative environments. Cue the laundry room makeover! Here are seven steps for revamping your laundry room.
1. Paint it. Start with a fresh coat of paint, or even a fun wallpaper! Choose something bright and cheery that really appeals to your sense of style. You spend a lot of time here. Might as well make it your own!
2. Floor it. Here’s another chance to get stylish! Go with a bold, decorative tile or vinyl, or even a wood or brick look. Flooring should be both beautiful and functional. Make sure it’s waterproof and easy to clean. Adding a cute rug adds a touch of flare!
3. Store it. Storage, storage storage! Don’t let those mounds of clothes overtake you anymore. Invest in or DIY a laundry basket storage area to keep both clean and dirty clothes separated and ready to wash and fold. Also consider cabinets, shelves, and baskets to house all your detergents, softeners, and stain removers.
4. Hang it. A drying rack and hooks are essential to any laundry room for hanging your line-dry items as well as storing hangers. There’s nothing worse than trying to untangle hangers carelessly tossed into a laundry basket! Take a look at these!
5. Press it. So, if you haven’t caught on to wrinkle-free fabric, or if you’re just a bit OCD, you’ll need an ironing board. Carve out a niche near an outlet to store your ironing board so it’s handy and ready to go. No more lugging it into your bedroom or kitchen.
6. Fold it. If you have space, a countertop or table is a wonderful addition for folding laundry and keeping it off the couch. It you have front-loading units, a countertop installed across the top is super convenient. If you have a free-standing sink, consider incorporating a vanity/extended countertop not just for folding but for help with scrubbing those extra-tough jobs.
7. Tile it. Last but not least, if you have the space, install a tile backsplash or even tile a whole wall or two! It really finishes off the look.
For more ideas, examples, and DIY projects for improving your laundry room, visit our Pinterest Board!
Baby, it’s getting cold outside! Fall is settling in, and winter is on the way. Make sure you stay warm and toasty inside your home by focusing on three key elements: flooring, drafts, and thermostats.
Carpet is an obvious choice for warmer, insulated flooring, with hardwood, laminate, and vinyl all beating out tile in the warmth category. If carpet’s not your thing, here are a couple things you can do to warm up whatever you have underfoot.
Do you find yourself asking, “Where’s that breeze coming from?” Then, you probably need to check doors and windows for drafts. Make sure your insulation and weather stripping are intact. About a quarter of your home’s heat can be lost through the roof if not properly insulated. For drafty doors, look for something like this fleece draft guard to block the air flow. Curtains or window coverings are also good for keeping drafts out, but when open, they can let in sunlight which instantly warms up any room. Also make sure to reverse your ceiling fan direction to clockwise so that it pushes cold air up and warm air down.
Speaking of warming up, investing in a programmable thermostat allows you to be comfortable in your home and also save on your energy bill! Once you get that heat blowing, make sure vents and radiators are open and not obstructed by furniture or objects. Always make sure to change your furnace filters to keep your system running an optimum performance.
Check out this article for a suggested programmable thermostat schedule as well as other tips on keeping your home warm during the colder months.