Hardwood vs. Tile: Which is Better for Your Kitchen?

well lit long kitchen wood floor tile walls

Remodeling your kitchen forces you to answer a lot of difficult questions: stainless steel or wood? Natural stone or reclaimed countertops? New appliances or old? But before you get too carried away, you should determine what material you’ll use for the foundation of your new kitchen – your flooring. There are plenty of benefits to using either hardwood or tile for your floors, but some major differences also set them apart.

Why Hardwood?

Softer and typically easier on your feet, homeowners who spend a lot of time cooking or entertaining in the kitchen may enjoy the softer surface. Hardwood flooring tends to be cheaper than tile, too, so it might be your best choice if your budget is tight.

It’s also fairly easy to clean, requiring nothing more than your standard floor cleaning solution to achieve a bright and healthy sheen.

Hardwood has a few downsides that you should consider before taking the plunge. First, hardwood requires regular maintenance and needs to be refinished on a regular basis to prevent dents and scratches. Hardwood isn’t waterproof, either, so the area around your sink and any spills should be manually and carefully dried to avoid discoloration and water spots.

Why Tile?

While it’s certainly an aesthetic preference, the variety and range of options you get with a tile floor is unmatched. The appearance and solid feeling that comes with a tile floor is the reason why so many homeowners choose the material over hardwood or linoleum when redoing their kitchens.

Tile is also scratch-resistant and waterproof, which provides a level of comfort that doesn’t come with hardwood flooring. Unreliable appliances won’t do any additional harm to your floors in the case of a leak.

Tile does require some extra elbow work to maintain its appearance and effectiveness. Some types of grout are more susceptible to wear and damage, especially in high-traffic areas of your floor. But with regular cleaning and a careful eye, major problems can be avoid and the lifespan of your grout can be extended for years to come.

Thinking about a kitchen remodel or new floor in your bathroom? Check out some of our previous work to get inspired and when you’re ready to discuss your project with a tile installation expert, contact Strictly Tile here.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Entryway This Summer

The last thing you want to do during the hot summer months is working indoors, but summertime is great for getting caught up on those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off since you first moved in. Many homeowners don’t consider the fact that their entryway is perhaps the most important element of your home because it must be both welcoming and functional – not an easy balance to achieve. Here are three ways to improve your entryway and add value to your home this summer:

1. Let the Light In

If you have a large approach with several overhead trees or other natural elements blocking the light, your entryway may be a dark and dingy place. Reworking your front door with surrounding windows or a glass door will invite natural light into your home and improve your home’s first impression as guests approach.

2. Make it Functional

Mirrors, casual seating, and elegant shoe racks or rugs add the functional elements of your entryway, but you can always go further by adding a bright window seat or reading nook built into the wall.

3. Add Some Elegance

Again, this is a visitor’s first impression of your home, so put your best foot forward. Textured paint, decorative lighting, and beautiful flooring are key elements to a memorable entryway or foyer. Artwork, furniture, and other decorations should flow with consistency and blend with the rest of the area, but the best way to truly make a great first impression in your entryway is to invest in a beautiful natural tile floor from Strictly Tile.

Our tile installation and remodeling experts have years of experience working in elegant and upscale homes. Whether you need a tile backsplash for your bathroom or kitchen, a fireplace surround, or tile floor, Strictly Tile can make it happen. Check out a gallery of our previous work or contact us today for a quote on your project.

How Eco-Friendly Tile Can Save You Big

brown square tiles

High-end tile manufacturers like Ann Sacks, Crossville, and Pratt & Larson are all finding the same thing in common: eco-friendly tiles are in demand. As homeowners shift their tendencies toward green and sustainable elements in every aspect of their homes, so are they looking at older parts of their home that may need an eco-friendly update.

When you’re considering having your bathroom or kitchen retiled, taking a look at eco-friendly tile materials like porcelain or ceramic can make a huge impact on the sustainability and quality of those rooms. Compared to glass, cork, or concrete tile, using ceramic or porcelain means you get tile made from natural, plentiful raw materials found near the factories or in a closed loop recycling process, meaning whatever is left over from the production cycle is reused to make new tile.

When eco-friendly tile is properly and professionally installed, it can have a dramatically longer lifespan compared to synthetic tile. With regular maintenance and care, your ceramic tile could last as long as 50 years, limiting the need for replacement, new installation, and production of more material on a more frequent basis.

Ceramic tile can also have a great impact on your indoor air quality. Since ceramic doesn’t absorb or produce pollutants, it can be easily treated to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and other bacteria that can be harmful to your health. With proper grouting and setting processes, you’ll find yourself breathing easier in your bathroom or kitchen for years.

At Strictly Tile, we’re always looking for ways to create homes that are more sustainable and friendly to the environment. When it’s time to replace your tile or remodel your bathroom or kitchen, give us a call and we’ll share our ideas on how to make your home beautiful and eco-friendly for years to come.

The Benefits of Tile Fireplace Surrounds

There’s nothing that ties a home together like a beautiful hearth and a warm, welcoming fireplace. At Strictly Tile, working on fireplace surrounds is one of our specialities and favorite projects.

Whether your home calls for a modern, sleek new fireplace surround or a classic look, the team at Strictly Tile has experience and expertise you can trust to bring a beautiful, professional touch to your fireplace.

A fireplace is the heart of your home. If your fireplace is a little run-down or worn, you’ve probably forgotten just how attractive a decorative fire could be to friends and family. In just a few days of work and a little investment, your fireplace can once again be the central location for quiet reading, an evening drink, or date night.

The days of brick fireplace surrounds are gone. The benefits of using tile to cover and decorate your fireplace are clear. Unlike typical tile, fireplace tile is much more durable and can withstand heat much better than traditional tile. It’s also much easier to clean than brick, so putting tile in front of the fireplace makes sense for any errant ash or sparks that might fly out. It’s also much easier to match an existing home decor style than with brick, given the many different materials and colors available with tile.

For more information on our tile fireplace surrounds, visit this page or give Strictly Tile a call today to discuss your next tile project.

5 Bathroom Improvements That Will Add Value to Your Home

glass shower large bathtub

Whether it’s a complete remodel or just a few tweaks to your arrangement, reworking your bathroom is a great way to liven up your home and increase its value at the same time. Knowing where to start and the best improvements to make are a little tougher. The team at Strictly Tile has worked on some of the most beautiful bathroom remodels in the city of Seattle and we’ve got a few tips for ways to improve your bathroom.

5. New Fixtures

Updating your faucets is a quick and substantial way of upgrading your bathroom and adding to its value. Considering completing the visual revision with a new showerhead, lighting, and electrical covers.

4. Fresh Paint

A fresh coat of paint can liven up any room – your bathroom is no different! If you have poor ventilation in your bathroom, you may want to invest in a waterproof paint to prevent mold growth until you can install a new vent or window.

3. Add Glass

A glass shower or tub enclosure is a great way to draw light into the room and create a centerpiece for your bathroom. A new mirror or medicine cabinet can add to that upgrade.

2. New Sink or Toilets

Going with something along the lines of a tankless toilet or basin sink are very modern solutions to a dated bathroom. The newer and sleeker you go with your upgrades, the more the room will scream “value” to a potential buyer.

1. New Tile

Homeowners want to know that the integrity of their surfaces is as good as it can be. A complete regrouting can add life to existing tile, but new and beautiful tile surfaces will add substantial value to your bathroom and your home.

Contact Strictly Tile today to discuss your bathroom or kitchen remodel plans. If your tile just needs an update, we can work wonders with our grout rehab process. Give us a call today!

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All About Grout – 4 Specialty Grout Services

placing setting tile floor

If you’re not in the tile business or a capable handyman, you might not know the difference between our four specialty grout services. While some are pretty self-explanatory, we thought it’d help clear up any potential confusion by explaining how each process of our Grout Therapy philosophy affects your tile surface.


This is the best way to make your tile look new again. A complete replacement of the grout between your tiles, this will ensure the appearance and performance of your tile surface for the longest period of time. We scrape out the old grout and completely clean the tile surface and space between to make sure all remnants of the old grout is gone. It’s not a terribly complicated process, but one that does require grunt work and a lot of patience.

Cleaning Grout

Tile’s really easy to clean. The grout between the tiles? Not so much. Grout cleaning can be done yourself, but the more important service we can offer is our expert eye and opinion on the condition of your grout. It probably won’t be worth it to hire us for a grout cleaning unless you’re concerned about cracks or other degradation of your grout.

Resealing Grout

This is a great stopgap solution to questionable or bad condition grout. If you’re worried about the health of your grout and not ready for a full regrouting, you can ask for a resealing. This will make your grout waterproof again and prevent water from seeping behind your tile and growing mold in your wall.

Epoxy Installation

A grouting solution that’s becoming more and more popular with contractors and builders alike, this is a great alternative to traditional cement powder mix grout. Epoxy grout is very durable and almost 100% stain proof. The downside? It doesn’t look as natural as traditional grout, which might not gel with the overall look of your tile surface.

Contact Strictly Tile for more information on Grout Therapy and how we can help you bring your tile project to completion.

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Grout Rehab: The Permanent Fix for Stained Grout

dirty tile shower detail

If your bathroom is a little lived-in or just a few years old, there’s a good chance the grout around your tile surface is stained, molded, or damaged from normal use. Stained grout discolors your beautiful tile and looks seedy – a designer washroom can appear like a Midwest motel bathroom to guests if your tile is brown and gross.

However, you don’t necessarily need to replace your tile if you’re seeing stains and discoloration. One of the services Strictly Tile offers is Grout Rehab, a complete re-grouting, cleaning, and resealing process that can make even the most stained surfaces look sparkling and brand-new. The grout we use is specialized, high-performance grout that lasts much longer than your typical off-the-shelf grout. It’s stain-proof and compatible with ceramic, stone, and porcelain tiles, ensuring that no matter your surface material, we can shine it up and make it look remarkable again.

Do-it-yourself grout cleaning solutions may remove surface stains and save you a little bit of cash in the short-term, but the reality is grout stains on the surface level often signify a deeper problem like mold or durability issues that need to be treated by a professional. The clean look you get from your vinegar and ammonia cleaning method adds a layer of spit-polish to your bathroom surface, but you’re basically spreading around the stained surface to make it look temporarily more even.

The only way to know for sure that your grout is sealed and working effectively is to bring in an expert who can restore your tile and make sure it’s keeping out water, mold, and mildew. While you probably don’t need us for light discolorations, getting your tile checked out every few years is a good idea – especially if your bathroom isn’t very well ventilated.

Contact Strictly Tile to schedule a grout rehabiliation and maintenance checkup. Don’t risk further damage to your grout!



New Tile Installation vs. Re-Grouting

Different jobs require different approaches. In some cases, you’ll want a completely new tile installation and in others, you may be better off simply re-grouting your existing tile.

Benefits of New Tile Installations

Unless your tile is stained beyond repair or is significantly damaged, chances are you don’t need a total replacement. However, there are few things as beautiful and impactful on your bathroom as a brand new set of tiles.

Different tile has different levels of durability. Aesthetics are certainly important, but if you want to build a tile surface that will last, durability is key. We work with different designers and wholesalers, ensuring you find the right tile for your home and your budget. If you have your own tile on hand or have purchased it elsewhere, we’ll install that too!

Whether you choose porcelain, ceramic, glass or natural stone, Strictly Tile will bring your tile project to fruition and leave you with a beautiful, long-lasting result!

Benefits of Re-Grouting

Apart from restoring your surface to a like-new appearance, re-grouting can also extend life to your shower, wall, or tub enclosure as well. New grout and silicone sealers will lock out water and provide another 10-15 years of life.

Another issue with old grout is mold. It builds up over time and is a significant health hazard, appearing black or red as it ages and grows. In the re-grouting process, we remove and sterilize all of the old grout and sealant from the tile to ensure all mold spores and bacteria have been killed. We’ll then apply new grout and silicone sealant and hand-polish all tile to bring out that brand-new look.

Because our process is streamlined and professional, most of our grout rehab and maintenance jobs take less than a day and you’ll have full use of your re-grouted piece within 24 hours of completion.

If you’re looking for a new tile installation or re-grouting job for your bathroom, kitchen, floors or even your fireplace, contact Strictly Tile for a quick and easy quote today!

Top Ways to Maintain Your Tile

dirty tile shower detail

You have a gleaming, glorious new tile floor or maybe your 50-year old pattern is looking a little grim. Either way, you’ve got a maintenance project on your hands. But what’s the best way to maintain your tile for years to come?

Regular Maintenance

Kind of a no-brainer, but sweeping or vacuuming regularly and mopping once a week will go a long way to preventing damage to your floor. Using some Castile soap and warm water should do the trick when mopping, but if your floors are greasy you should use distilled white vinegar and water.

Take Care of the Grout

After you mop, make a baking soda and water paste and apply it to the group with a toothbrush (not the one you use for your teeth, though!) and rinse it off. If you’ve got serious stains, apply the baking soda, mix with vinegar, and let it sit for an hour before you break out the brush.


If you have an older waxed floor, it may be time to strip it and re-wax it! You can make your own solution with ammonia, laundry detergent, and water and then mop. Let it sit, then scrub with a stiff brush or scrubbing sponge, then rinse and let it dry. Afterwards, apply new wax!

Replace or Repair the Tile

Sometimes maintenance can only get you so far. When you’ve got stained grout, stretched tile, or broken tile, you want a professional to restore or redo your floor.

Strictly Tile is an experienced general contractor and can design, install and maintain your tile floor, wall, bathroom, patio, step, or stoop project. We’re not just about new tile installations, though. We can re-grout, clean, and re-seal your tile to make it look brand new. Our grout is compatible with ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone. Plus, it’s stain-proof!

Contact us today for an estimate on your tile project.

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