5 Tips for Choosing Bathroom Tile

Remodeling a bathroom can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider and coordinate, that the options can become overwhelming very quickly. While every aspect deserves focus, choosing your tile has a huge impact on the overall outcome of your renovations. Tile can be involved in almost every area of the bathroom, whether it’s the floor, the shower, the wall, or an artistic backsplash. With so many variations out there, it’s important to narrow down what type of tile you’re looking for. When you’re deciding which tile to use, consider these quick tips to make your choice a little easier.

Finding Favorites 

Often, when you’re beginning a bathroom remodel, you have a distinct idea of how you want it to look when it’s done. That may include a certain type of tile. Whether you know you’re looking for natural stone, a basic white subway look, or simply something darker, find your “must have” tile first. That way you can plan the rest of you bathroom around it, and you don’t end up with a bunch of different types of tile that don’t fit together.

Practice Practicality

There are a lot of great tile options out there. However, you have to ask yourself if it’s ultimately worth it to get the tile you want if it something that needs frequent cleaning, could potentially cause a health hazard, or just generally isn’t practical for your lifestyle.

If you’re really interested in natural stone tiles for instance, don’t put them in an area that is likely to be wet frequently (i.e. the shower or bath area), as they are porous so they hold onto dirt more than other tile options. You also have to take into account that they have to be sealed, which is an extra step.

Glass tiles, while great for a focal point, should be used on a wall or backsplash as they get very slick when wet, and could result in an injury for you or a family member.

Get Creative

The bathroom is a great place to create a focal point that captures a piece of your personality. Use different colors, patterns, textures, and/or sizes to create a showstopper that is the first thing you see when you walk in. Exercise caution however, as you should stick to one focal point in the room.

Don’t Go Overboard

There are so many cool options to do in a bathroom, we may often find ourselves wanting to do all of them. However, this can create a chaotic look to a room that is supposed to be our oasis. As a general rule, stick to about three different types of tile maximum in the room to avoid it looking messy.

Reuse and Recycle

Large-scale tiles are a very trendy material right now. Take advantage of this style by utilizing the large tiles in a portion of the bathroom, and then cutting them to create different sizes and shapes to use in other areas. You can save some money, as well as creating both a cohesive and interesting look for your new remodeled bathroom.

Home remodels can be taxing, but having a fresh, clean new look for your bathroom will be well worth it in the end. If you’re looking for a top notch tile provider in the Pacific Northwest, contact us today!

Featured image courtesy of Pexels.com

5 Tile Trends to Spruce Up Your Space in 2017

For a lot of people, the New Year is a time to start to projects and set new goals. While some people are hitting the gym, others are using this time to envision the space they want to live in for years to come. If you fall into the latter category, we’re here to help. Check out these new styles and trends in tile on the rise this year.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com, Photo by Jake Rome licensed for reuse

Think natural

Historically, brick-looking floors were made of bricks and hardwood floors were made of wood. This year, wood and brick looking floors that are actually made of tile are on the rise. These materials are great because they give your space a homey, natural look with the added benefits of durability and easiness to clean that only tile can offer.

Change up the pattern

Some people like simple, staid patterns in their homes and prefer to spruce up their spaces with wall hangings, photos, and other types of decorations. In 2017, many people are opting to buck that trend and use patterned tiles to add some flair to their space. Patterned tile is a great way to add some color to your kitchen or bathroom so you won’t have to worry about decorating blank spaces.

Add some color

Expect to see floors, bathrooms, and other tile spaces full of color this year. Using bright tile in your space is another easy way to add color and flair to white rooms and blank walls. For those who really like something funky and avant-garde, mixing and matching is another trend on the rise. Whether you want a little more flair with black and white tiles or to really brighten up a space with various bright colors, colorful tiles are in a great choice this year.

Go big

Image courtesy of Flickr.com, Photo by Josep Bracons licensed for reuse

Large tiles are becoming more and more popular. These tiles add a unique look to your space with the added benefit of being easier to clean. If you’re looking for something more bold, consider combining one of the other trends with bigger tiles. This will give your space a bright new look for years to come.

Think outside the square

The vast majority of tile is square, but this year that’s changing. Incorporating new shapes of tile including hexagons, round edges, and other types of shapes can add an edgy look to your space without getting too far out of the ordinary.

A New Year is a great time to take on new projects and start improving your home. To learn more about tile options or to get one of these trends in your home contact Strictly Tile today!  

Granite vs. Tile: What’s Best for Your Home?

Choosing between granite and tile often means deciding what you prefer. Both are terrific flooring options. Both are tough and durable, easy to clean, and available in many different styles. Neither one inherently trumps the other. That being said, they’re absolutely not the same, so it’s up to each homeowner to make the right decision for the house or the project that’s being done. Below are a few things you must consider:

Ceramic tile offers a more regular, planned appearance

Tile is made to look a specific way, whereas granite is cut from the ground as is. This means that you can get regular patterns with tile, while granite will often be irregular and have imperfections. Additionally, you can buy as much tile as you need of the exact same style, but matching granite can be hard. Because it’s a raw material, there’s only so much to pick from and there are only so many options. If you want to control every last detail of the job, that’s easier to do with tile.

Granite is incredibly tough

Being stone, granite is one of the toughest materials you’re ever going to find. Ceramic tiles crack more easily and may need to be replaced. Of course, the upside of tile is that you can replace one tile with another one exactly like it. This is harder to do with granite because, as noted above, there are fewer options.

Granite is porous

A good ceramic tile is non-porous, so it’s not going to stain if you spill something on it. You can just wipe it up and move on. Granite can stain since it is porous and so liquid can get inside the stone itself. This means there can be extra work sealing granite every so often to make sure it doesn’t stain. Generally speaking, granite lasts longer than tile, but it takes more work to keep it looking its best.

Tile is less expensive

If you’re trying to stick to a budget, tile may quickly become more attractive when you see how much less it costs. This also makes it ideal for large projects – more than just redoing the floor in the kitchen, for example. Though you can find good deals on granite, it’s typically going to push the cost of the project up noticeably. Installation also tends to cost more.

As you can see, both granite and tile are excellent options, with their own pros and cons. Make sure you consider all of your options before moving forward on your project, and pick the one that best fits the job. Remember, granite is as durable as almost anything on the market, but tile gives you more options and greater control. If you’re interested in installing tile in your home, contact Strictly Tile today!

Featured photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.

8 Home Improvement Projects to Boost Your Home’s Value Before Next Buying Season

Now that fall is here, the real estate market is cooling off a bit. The average American home-buyer doesn’t want to have to pack up and move during the coldest and wettest months of the year. It’s another layer of stress that most people don’t need during the holiday season. Spring is usually when the buyers come out in droves, ready for a new space after a long winter cooped up inside. Instead of hurrying to list your home now, this fall is a great time to consider plans for projects to boost your home’s value when you do list it for sale on the local real estate market this upcoming spring.

1. Upgrade Your Kitchen
There’s no question that the kitchen is one of, if not the, most influential spaces in a home when it comes to buyers. Kitchens tend to be the center of family activity, so potential buyers want a kitchen space that they can live in that doesn’t feel like someone has already. If you’re going to sell, now’s the time to upgrade your appliances and replace your countertops with granite, quartz, or even butcher block wood, depending on the style of your home and the color scheme and decor. Those investments of a few thousand dollars can pay off big time when the buyers start coming through your home.

2. Install Tile in Your Kitchen or Bath
Tile is an investment that most buyers will immediately notice and appreciate. Whether you’re doing a black and white flooring pattern in your bathroom to give it a fresh and clean yet vintage feel or a backsplash around your kitchen sink using deeply colored subway tiles, the appeal of well-installed tile is powerful. Tile conveys quality, and it can drastically change a room that was previously outfitted in panel boards or linoleum-style flooring. The colors of tiles can be used to blend a room together or make a certain section of the space stand out. Tile is incredibly versatile!

Tile surrounds for your bathtub can also take a mediocre bathroom and really make it pop. While there is a lot of work involved with tile installation, it pays off handsomely when it’s time to list your home. Many buyers are most concerned with the aesthetic appeal of the bathroom and kitchen in a home, so investing in durable, universally-appealing tile is a project that will definitely boost your home’s value. Tile is easy to clean and won’t wear down and look shabby like other kinds of flooring or wall treatments in these high traffic areas of your home.

3. Make Your Home Accessible
While accessible means different things to different people, in general this should include things like replacing circular door knobs with a straight-style lever instead of a knob. It can also mean fixing up and reinforcing handrails in stairways and widening doorways to accommodate mobility accessories. This will appeal not only to families that have a member with mobility issues or special needs, it will also appeal to the older generations who are looking for a home to live in during their retirement years.

Knowing the home is easy to move through can make it that much more appealing to older buyers. You may also consider a home automation system to make maintenance easier for the new owners.

4. Finish Up That Basement!
If you have a full basement that seems like a cement box, it’s not going to appeal to potential buyers. While you can’t put a bedroom in the basement unless there are large windows providing points of egress, the basement can be made into a living space or a work space, depending on the needs of whoever buys your home. Hang drywall over those unsightly cement walls, install a ceiling (drop ceilings are the least expensive option, but aren’t incredibly attractive), and install some practical flooring, depending on the climate and moisture level. Consider leaving it mainly open, which will allow the future owners to divide it (or not) as they see fit.

A finished basement can offer a lot of possibilities for a homeowner, and a newly finished basement space can spark the imaginations of potential buyers. From a quiet workspace and office to a family room, theater room, or even a playroom for the kids, the only limit is the imagination of the person viewing the space. The increased living space and finished square footage can really boost your potential asking price and make the buyers feel like the home is even more spacious than it already is.

5. Invest in Energy Efficiency
While it may seem unnecessary, more and more home buyers are concerned with their impact on the planet. Energy efficiency investments on your part before listing your home will appeal to the buyers who want to tread lightly on this planet. It will also appeal to those who are more frugal, as less energy used means less expense every month. Adding blown-in insulation to your walls, upgrading your doors and windows to thicker, more insulated models, and investing in highly efficient appliances and home systems, like furnaces, will save you money in the short term and command a higher price when sale time comes.

6. Upgrade Your Windows
While it can be an expensive investment, replacing your older window with double-pane, gas-treated windows can be a major selling point for modern buyers. Old windows leak. They get stuck and can’t be opened. They leak hot air all winter and let the cold out in the summer when the air conditioner is running. New windows are easy to open, easy to clean, and have substantially lower rates of heat loss. The installation of newer windows will make your home more efficient and much more attractive to potential buyers, who probably don’t want to incur the expense of replacing windows after buying a home.

7. Invest in Attractive and Durable Flooring
There was a time when a deep carpet was a real selling point in a home. Many modern buyers will view carpets with skepticism. What germs and filth from the previous owners are lurking deep within the fibers of that flooring? No one wants to live on used carpet. Installing modern composite flooring or specially-treated hardwood floors in the primary living spaces is a great investment. It makes the home look open and clean, while offering buyers a space that’s easy to maintain. From sustainable options like treated bamboo floor to gorgeous hardwoods, there’s sure to be one that fits your home.

8. Never Forget the Power of Paint!
Adding a fresh coat of paint to the most critical rooms like the kitchen, bathroom, entrance, and master bedroom, can give a tired space a new lease on life. Fresh paint looks clean and gives the home a newer feel. Buyers don’t want to see the years of fading and wear on the walls when they’re trying to picture themselves in a space. They want to see endless possibilities. Whether you opt for a soft off-white to create a blank canvas to appeal to buyers’ desire to individualize the home or bold colors that play off the flooding, environment, and fixtures, fresh paint can add substantially to the perceived value of your home.

Caring for Tile in Fall and Winter: Best Practices

There are many household chores required of the average homeowner during the fall season. Preparing the home for the possibly damaging effects of cold, ice, and snow during the winter can be a lengthy, but necessary, process. After all, if you don’t invest the time in preparing for inclement weather and its impact on your biggest investment, you may end up paying the price come spring. Your interior tile is very likely one area of your home that can benefit from some extra attention during the cooler fall months. Not only can you help protect a beautiful and likely expensive investment by maintaining it each fall, you can also check one major project off the list of things you have to clean to prepare the interior of your home for holiday gatherings!

Clean Tile Should Look Like New Tile

Because one of the most efficient means of cleaning tile is using a steam clean process, performing this routine maintenance in the fall makes sense. It is cool enough to allow for the professional use of steam in your space without that impacting your energy costs via your air conditioning system. However, it is also still warm enough to allow for open windows to provide excellent air circulation during the steam cleaning process. If you don’t own a steam cleaner, you can rent one from many chain grocery stores, big box stores, and home improvement stores.

How to Steam Clean Your Own Tile

First, you’re going to want to sweep up the area you’re going to clean. Follow this up by wiping down the tiling with a soft cloth, such as a towel or microfiber cloth, to remove any additional dust or spider webs that may have accumulated over the year.

Next, fill the water tank on the steam cleaner with distilled water. The steam cleaner should have a microfiber cloth that attaches to the head for tile cleaning. Now is the time to apply that. Plug in and turn on the device. Allow it to heat up, which can take anywhere from thirty seconds to five minutes.

Use the trigger on the handle of the steam cleaner to release the steamed water through the microfiber cloth you attached. Move the steamer over the tile in a similar manner to mopping. Move slowly across the surface, paying special attention to high-traffic areas and corners. If you are cleaning a backsplash or a tub or shower area, wipe down the sections with a towel or dry microfiber cloth immediately after steaming them to remove soap scum and other dried-on detritus. If you need to refill the water tank or clean or replace the microfiber cloth, unplug the steamer before doing so.

Work in an organized manner across the surface, starting in one area and ending in another. Steam cleaning is both efficient in terms of time and energy used for cleaning and in terms of how much dirt, mold, and other unwanted accumulation can be removed in a single cleaning session.

The removal of mold and other allergens can do a lot to keep the interior air in your home safe and clean throughout the dry, cold winter months. Steam cleaning your tile can also make the inside of your home sparkle, making it easier for you to prepare for the holidays and the influx of traffic they bring to your home.

Sometimes, It Pays to Call the Professionals!

Cleaning newly installed tile can be a simple, if protracted and physically demanding process. It requires some specialized equipment as well as patience and physical stamina to manually move the steamer across the surface (to say nothing of getting down on your hands and knees to wipe areas). If your tile is older or has aging or stained grout, it may be easier and more time and cost effective to call in professional help to prepare your tile for the winter.

Removing stains from grout or getting rid of old grout and replacing it with new grout can be exhausting, time-consuming activities for the average homeowner. Working with tile professionals can ensure that the process is done quickly, efficiently, and to the highest professional standards. Nothing can destroy the beauty of a tiled space like improperly applied grout. Don’t cut corners by trying to do this labor-intensive project yourself and end up with an unsightly mess! Deciding to let those with the experience and best equipment for the purpose of tile cleaning and grout replacement is one of the best decisions you can make when it comes to tile maintenance. 

Whether you have a tiled bathroom floor or shower area, a tiled kitchen backsplash or floor, or tile as flooring or decorative touches in other spaces, such as entranceways or fireplaces, Strictly Tile can help you maintain and clean your tiles surfaces!  If your grout is older or was poorly installed, Strictly Tile can also provide you with professional, high-quality work when it comes to removing the old grout and installing new grout.

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