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How to Choose the Right Bathroom Flooring

Second only to the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the busiest rooms in the house, and the flooring needs to be able to handle more than the wear-and-tear of normal family life. In addition to looking great for years to come, bathroom flooring must also be safe to help prevent slips and falls and budget-friendly.

By far, ceramic tile is at the top of most every homeowner’s list for their bathroom floor; a full 83 percent of National Kitchen & Bath Association survey respondents said it was their go-to flooring choice. Still, there are choices to be made, so here’s how they breakdown:

Ceramic tile – This durable favorite gets top marks for good reason; it stands up to water, comes in almost any color and pattern, and can be textured for better slip-resistance.

Natural stone – Pricey but gorgeous; granite, marble, and slate (among others) add instant elegance to any bathroom. Tumbled stone can be a good choice because the sharp edges get worn off, but enough texture remains to prevent slips and falls.

Vinyl – Because vinyl tiles have seams that can succumb to moisture, sheet vinyl should be used instead. Vinyl in the bathroom is an economic choice because it’s durable and stands up to almost anything.

Linoleum – Believe it or not, the flooring choice of yesteryear is making a comeback. It’s an eco-friendly option because it’s made with natural materials, and it’s also economical, stands up to moisture and is stain-resistant.

What to avoid:

Hardwood – Even if the floor is sealed, hardwood in the bathroom might not stand up to the wettest room in the house without warping.

Carpet – Mold and mildew will build quickly in the fibers of bathroom carpet and so will odors. Instead of installing carpet, use rugs that can be removed and cleaned.

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Flooring

So much goes on in the kitchen that the floor needs to stand up to a lot of use and abuse. Wood is warm and beautiful, but tile is tough and resilient and vinyl is so easy to clean … the choices for kitchen flooring are almost endless.

To help cut through the chatter, homeowners should answer a few questions to determine which flooring option best suits their lifestyle:

  • Is there a lot of cooking?
  • Was the home designed with an open floor plan or is the kitchen a little more isolated?
  • Is low- or no-maintenance a priority?
  • Is environmentally-friendly materials important?
  • What is the budget?

Hardwood – up to $20/square foot installed

Warm, beautiful and timeless, hardwood can stand up to some serious traffic, but it’s also susceptible to contraction and expansion because of the amount of moisture generated by cooking. Hardwood is a great flooring choice in open-floor plan homes because it ties the living spaces together seamlessly.

Tile – up to $30/square foot installed.

Ceramic and porcelain tile are the workhorses of flooring, especially in the kitchen. Both materials hold their looks for years (with proper care) and provide one of the most durable surfaces available in such a variety of colors, patterns and textures – including the look of wood! – it’s almost impossible to not find a tile that will work in a kitchen.

Cork – up to $20/square foot installed

Cooking can often involve hours of standing and moving around, so flooring that is both durable and kind to joints like knees and backs might be the right choice. Cork fills the bill on both counts, and it’s eco-friendly because it’s harvested every eight to 10 years from trees that regrow their bark.

Vinyl – up to $10/square foot installed

If the kitchen is the heart and stomach of the home, vinyl might the perfect flooring choice. Not only is it extremely durable – waterproof and almost maintenance-free – vinyl is also the least expensive flooring choice, which can be important if budget is an issue. Color, pattern and texture choices are also almost unlimited so finding the right vinyl is a snap.

 

Faucet Style: Defining Traditional, Transitional, Contemporary, Country

Traditional … Transitional … Contemporary … Country … so many style choices, but what does it all mean, and what would a traditional faucet look like compared to a contemporary faucet? Let eFaucets break it down:

2 traditional faucet Delta

Traditional: Choosing a faucet to fit a traditional kitchen means looking for familiar lines and details the evoke a sense of the past. Embellishments are few and symmetry is key. (Delta Leland faucet)

transitional faucet Brizo

Transitional: Here is where traditional meets contemporary with straightforward lines that are not as ornate as traditional or as severe as contemporary. The focus is on comfort and practicality. (Brizo Belo faucet)

contemporary faucet kohler

Contemporary: Typically viewed as stark, contemporary design is really quite bold, veering more toward curves and reflective surfaces. This style is very sleek and can veer toward the industrial. (Kohler Clairette faucet)

Country faucet moen

Country: Classic, comfortable, clean, and warm all describe a country style sensibility. Finishes are rustic – more oil-rubbed bronze instead of chrome – and functionality is paramount. (Moen Waterhill faucet)

 

5 Easy Ways to Conserve Water & Energy for Earth Day, Everyday

Happy Earth Day! Today marks the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day, created by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to call attention to air and water pollution. Since its humble beginnings, Earth Day has grown into an international movement to improve the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink and to understand the need to conserve natural resources.

Practicing the philosophy of Earth Day should be noted just one day of the year; there’s plenty to do every day to promote a healthier planet.

1. Fix leaks – Sinks and toilets that drip and leak waste hundreds of gallons of water a year and money, too, in lower water bills.

2. Shower instead of bathe – Taking a five-minute shower uses far less water than a bath; 10 to 15 gallons of water compared to an average of 70 gallons.

3. Install low-flow kitchen and bath fixtures – Look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense badge when shopping for new faucets and toilets. Fixtures with the WaterSense label are at least 20 percent more efficient.

4. Turn off lights in empty rooms – Parents everywhere are constantly reminding kids to turn off the light when they leave a room and for good reason. The less time lights spend on, the less energy they use which translates into lower energy bills.

5. Use LED lamps – Replacing incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs with LED saves energy, time and and money. Not only do LEDs use considerable less electricity – 8 watts compared to the traditional 60 – they also last for years and don’t contain mercury like a CFL.

Do you have energy-saving tips to share?

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