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Perfect Countertop Material

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 27, 2011

If you are thinking of redoing your kitchen, you know you can spend thousands on new countertops. Kitchens are one of the biggest remodeling expenses, so how can you be sure that your counters will hold up over time?

You can double the price of a kitchen makeover by throwing in new countertops. So with that kind of money on the line it's important to get the right ones for your lifestyle.

A beautiful new kitchen countertop can really stand out. However, with so many different types to choose from, how do you know which is best? Consumer Reports tested 14 different countertop materials to find out.

"We checked out popular surfaces like granite and quartz. New to our tests we have recycled glass, bamboo, and soapstone," said Consumer Reports tester Chris Regan.

To see how well a countertop resists stains, Regan applied 20 common substances, like tomato sauce and grape juice, then let them sit overnight.

"We tested bamboo countertops with a mixture of a beeswax and mineral-oil finish. Both countertops looked great out of the box, but not so much after our tests," said Regan.

Both stained badly, even coffee and tea, which most other surfaces could handle - stained the bamboo.

Consumer Reports also tests to see if counters can take the heat - literally. Testers set a pot of 400-degree oil on the countertop for an hour. There were scorch marks left behind on each of these bamboo counters.

"We also found a problem with some of the recycled-glass countertops," said Regan.

One of the recycled glass countertops cracked within 12 minutes. But recycled-glass countertops from two other manufacturers did not crack. When all the tests were done, quartz countertops and as well as granite came out on top. And while either surface can chip, getting a rounded edge helps minimize this.

If you decide to go with natural stone, like granite or quartz, be aware their look can vary widely, even within the same slab. So pick out the sample you want and reserve it.

Original article on ABC local – Michael Finney


Avoid Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 20, 2011

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it's also the most popular room to renovate. The average kitchen redo costs about $15,000.

When it comes to remodeling a kitchen almost everyone has something they might have done differently.

When you're cooking up a kitchen renovation there are so many places where it's easy to goof. Storage space is one of them. Consumer reports says, don't skimp!

"Carefully plan how much storage you'll need and where to put it," said Bob Markovich with Consumer Reports.

For instance, dishes and glasses need four to six linear feet of cabinet space above or near the sink and dishwasher. Pots and pans need the same, and store them close to your cooktop. If you have kitchen cabinets that already provide enough storage space, consider refinishing them instead of replacing them.

Center islands can be tricky too. Make sure they are the right size, too big is a common mistake.

The countertop should be three feet wide to no more than ten feet. As for depth, you want one that measures at least 26 inches, and up to 48 inches.

As for countertops, choosing one that stains easily is another mistake people make. Skip oil-rubbed butcher block for kitchen counters - it's one of the surfaces that stains easily. Corian and Granite work nicely.

With careful planning and attention to detail you can sidestep these mistakes and get the kitchen you've always wanted.

Original article on ABC local


Kitchen Remodeling is the Number One Home Improvement Project

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer is the busiest time for home improvement projects and, after a few years of a down economy, it looks like more people will take the plunge in the summer of 2011.

Kitchen remodeling is the number one project that people take on.

It is also the best return for your investment.

You can get as much as an 85% return on your money and it can cost as little as a few thousand dollars for things like re-facing cabinets and a fresh coat of paint.

A good rule of thumb is never spend more than 20 percent of your home's value on any re-modeling job, especially if you are thinking about selling in the next few years.

"Understand exactly what the market is, do they have granite countertops, do they have stainless steel appliances, because the last thing you want to do is price yourself out of the market because that is going to cut into your return," Hicks, from Angies List, said.

In general, you can expect an 85% return on your kitchen re-model when you sell your home.

In the meantime, you get the benefits of a better kitchen, which for most families is the "heart of the home."

Kitchen remodeling on a budget
Just about everybody can make their kitchen their own dream kitchen space without breaking the bank or causing a divorce. Here are some suggestions to do kitchen remodeling on a budget.

1.   Add a fresh coat of paint  
2.   Order new doors or fronts for your appliances  
3.   Refacing your cabinets or replacing the doors  
4.   Replace the cabinet hardware with high end hardware  
5.   Replace your sink or just the faucet

Original article on 9news.com Written by Jack Maher


"Room Lifts" Are Replacing Major Home Remodeling Projects

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 06, 2011

A recession-wrought change in consumer spending is having a dramatic impact on kitchen and bath remodeling, according to a major new study conducted by sink, faucet and shower products supplier Moen.

“Given the current recession, it’s no surprise that consumers are saving rather than spending – and when they do spend, they’re doing so from cash on hand, rather than credit,” says Jack Suvak, senior director of OH-based Moen. “This change in spending behavior has had a dramatic impact on remodeling projects.”

According to Suvak, most homeowners are choosing to perform “room lifts” – small upgrades to personalize a room – rather than undertake the kind of major remodels that were commonplace prior to the recession. An example is choosing to refinish or reface existing cabinets to update a kitchen rather than remodel an entire kitchen. In addition, Suvak said, homeowners “are choosing to personalize renovations to fit their needs, rather than update a room for the next family that will be living in the house.

“For years, we’ve heard that if you want to sell your home, start by remodeling your kitchen because it has the highest return on investment,” he said.

Moen’s research found that families with children living in the home are more engaged in their kitchens than their counterparts without children – and are more likely to view the kitchen as a place where activities or conversations happen. With regard specifically to kitchen remodeling, respondents with children are significantly more likely than those without children to remodel or make improvements to their kitchen or spent more on kitchen improvements, Moen said.

Original article on Kitchen and Bath Design News



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