Sealing grout is an important detail when installing tile that is often overlooked. Many professionals and DIY’ers overlook sealing grout lines after a tiling job, but this step can ensure the beauty of your tils as well as maintain the integrity of your tiling job.
Many people believe that grout lines are simply a decorative margin that helps define the borders of your tile, but they are also part of the structural assembly of the tile floor. The grout secures the tile matrix together with a hard and inflexible filler between the tile gaps. Although grout is extremely strong and resistant to expansion or abrasion, it does have the limitation of porosity. This is a problem that will get worse over the lifetime of the grout, particularly in areas with repeated exposure to moisture such as a bathroom.
When unsealed grout is exposed to moisture, the grout lines absorb water and become pitted over time. This problem usually happens first but is not highly visible to the untrained eye. Grout is also very susceptible to bacteria growth within the grout, which causes staining and discoloration. This is particularly apparent in a shower, when water enters and stays within the grout constantly, never drying out completely. Water from a shower or bath is particularly harmful since the water tends to be at a warm temperature which when combined with the low pH of soaps and shampoos causes chemical changes in the structure of the grout. In extreme situations, particularly inside a shower, this grout can deteriorate to the point that the bacteria growth spreads into the entire grout matrix, allowing bacteria and moisture to grow behind the tile and penetrating all through the drywall.
Floor tile grout gently suffers less abuse than shower tile, but it is also easily stained and can become difficult to clean due to frequent water exposure as well as a build-up of dirt and grime. When cleaning a tile floor, most people are simply wiping water across the tiles, which allows the dirty water to stain the grout lines between the tiles. Interestingly, the more you clean your floors the more stained the grout lines become since you are more consistently spreading dirty and discolored water into your grout lines.
Tile floors are beautiful and an investment in your home, so keep them in good condition by simple grout sealing. The cost varies depending on the product, but a flooring specialist can recommend an option that will work with your budget and needs. Grout sealer will need a few extra days to dry and will need to be reapplied as often as once per year. You will know it is time to reseal the grout when water exposure begins to slightly darken the grout lines, but keeping up with reapplication can preserve your tile floors for years to come.
Another newer option is to use a tile grout which is made with an acrylic compound within the grout. Usually the traditional bonding agent used is Portland cement, but the addition of this plastic-like compound helps to solve some of the problem with traditional tile grout. Look for grouts which are advertised as being “pre-sealed” or an “epoxy grout” as an indicator that they contain acrylic components. As a recent product, it can be hard to predict the longevity of this type of grout but it is highly water resistant, dries hard, and resistant to staining and discoloration.
Choosing the right flooring goes beyond the overall décor of your home. If your floors are too dark for, say, the pillows on your couch, you can switch them out. Maybe the blue in your curtains are clashing with the particular hue of your wood floors. Those can be switched out too. But, when it comes to your cabinets, it’s not quite as easy. Making sure you choose the right cabinets that work best with the right countertop that compliment the exact color of flooring can be quite stressful. Here are some of our favorite color combos that will hopefully give you inspiration for your own update.
- White Cabinets/Dark Hardwood
This is a classic combination of one of the most popular cabinet colors right now. You can either make the look classic with more traditional cabinets, or go modern with sleeker doors. Hardware can go from polished nickel, to bright gold, to bronzed; the combination is up to you! The end look is stunning and bold. Choose a different color wood for an island for a creative touch.
- Dark Blue or Navy Blue/Light Hardwood
This look has seemed to really take off as of late, evoking a relaxed sophistication. Gold has made a comeback, but not the gold of the 80’s-a more burnished gold that looks simply amazing paired with a marble countertop. We’ve seen periwinkle cabinets with gold handles as well and those are equally as gorgeous. Take a look at a few different design websites to choose the colors best suited for your kitchen.
- Distressed Cabinets/Antiqued Hardwood
There’s so much character in distressed wood, whether it be your cabinets, your furniture, or underfoot. The look can go either full on antique, or urban farmhouse (which is a HUGE trend right now), steampunk, or ultra-beach rustic (add some rattan to pull the look together). Countertops can be anything you’d like-there are no rules! Distressed cabinets also come in a variety of colors, if you want to bring more color into your kitchen, take a sample of the hardwood flooring to your cabinet maker, and see what styles work best.
- Dark Cabinets/Gray Hardwood
This is the most stunning look on our list, especially when paired with open, natural wood shelving. Marry the old with the new by laying an antique rug, and using old (or old-looking) stools. Again, gold hardware takes center stage here, but silver can work too. Add a few plants to bring in a new color and different perspective to your kitchen, and your design is complete!
Ask one of our designers to take a look at some of what inspires you, and make that ‘wish board’ a reality!
A cozy and inviting breakfast nook is a welcome addition to any kitchen! Many kitchens have them built-in since it enjoyable to have a spot for casual dining or a relaxing cup of coffee with the newspaper in the morning. It is easy to add a breakfast nook to a kitchen without one; an awkward alcove or small corner works perfectly! Use these tips to design a breakfast area in your own kitchen!
- Assess your space! Does your kitchen have a built-in breakfast nook or is there a spot you can add one in? A small bistro table can easily fit in to a tight space. Get out your measuring tape to help you decide what you have room for. Designating the area in front of a window for a breakfast nook is very inviting but this is not always possible.
- Choose your dining surface! A small bistro table for a couple or a larger rectangular or round table for the family. Have the measurements of your space with you while you shop for furniture! Breakfast nooks tend to be small so it is important to choose a piece of furniture that fits.
- Decide on your seating! A table and chairs is traditional but a table with stools can be an option. Think about the number of people who will be using the space. A couple can use a table with two chairs but if the whole family will be having breakfast, you may need more seats. A loveseat or custom window bench is a great way to cozy up the space while also adding room for additional people. Throw pillows in complementing colors can be added to make your nook visually pleasing and welcoming! Check that the height of your seating allows people to comfortably sit at the table.
- How are your floors? Kitchen floors are often tile but hardwood or laminate is a popular choice in modern homes. Protect your floors from scratches from furniture and food spills with a rug. The right area rug can really make the breakfast nook stand out. A brightly colored rug adds a pop of color and energy to the room! Don’t be hesitant to try a different texture or design then you may Are your floors in good condition? Call us for a consultation if you are looking for a change!
5. Add in the extras! A vase of fresh flowers can add some color and warmth to the room. If there is extra room, consider a baker’s rack or hutch for extra storage. A hutch could be turned into a coffee bar with extra mugs as well as flavored syrup, sugar, and cinnamon. Make this space welcoming for your family with cheery prints on the wall and a chalkboard for notes. Consider using a mismatched set of vintage teacups or cartoon character juice classes; whatever makes you happy! The traditional “rules” for dinnerware get thrown out the window in a cozy, family gathering spot like the breakfast nook
There are many exciting new trends that are coming through for the end of this year and into the beginning of the next. There are some that are wildly short-lived (leather cabinets, anyone?) and some that are so beautiful, they’re clear to be long-lived classics. At Kruper Flooring, we understand there’s so much more to your kitchen than just your floors; you have to consider your overall design, and tie it all together. Here are our suggestions for those kitchen trends that take you beyond your flooring and beyond the following five years as well.
We’ve seen a lot of white over the past few years, and there doesn’t seem to be a slow-down on all white kitchens. They’re easy to clean, and convey a very calming aesthetic. But, if you’re into a bold look, try an all-black kitchen. Black is quickly proving to be the new white with a real wow factor. The untraditional look easily becomes the focal point of your home’s design. The sophistication of an all-black kitchen with small pops of color in accessories truly hones the movement towards fusing ultra-fashionable and ultra-functional elements.
If all black seems a little dark for you, there’s also a trend of using more muted Hex colors like Equator Yellow, Bali Hai Blue, all shades of Gray and Tawny. The neutrality of these colors keeps your kitchen from looking like a box of crayons, and ups the sophistication value of your space as well. These colors also work well with a multitude of other colors also, so if your style changes, your cabinets don’t have to.
As we mentioned in our last blog, countertops are seeing a lot of change this year. Cork, concrete, silestone, and quartz countertops are pushing out the ever popular granite countertops as top choices for new kitchens. Don’t worry if you just got granite a couple of years ago, it’s not a dated look just yet. Granite is still quite popular, however, as millennials are becoming home owners, their eclectic styles and out-of-the-box ideas on what is considered ‘normal’ are beginning to strongly influence future design.
The white subway tile is making way for more eclectic, colorful and interesting backsplashes. No longer just a place to blend the countertop with the upper cabinets, it’s now viewed as an area to really showcase your artistic side. Colorful and eclectic tiles that either add that pop to your otherwise monotone kitchen showcase a theme for your kitchen that can then be translated in light fixtures and other kitchen add-ons.
These colorful tiles are also being used in flooring, tying the entire look together! Either use them in conjunction with your hardwood flooring, or, create a tile-like rug as a focal point in your kitchen. We’ve seen a surge in cork flooring and luxury vinyl tile simply for their ease of care and water-resistance. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and where you most likely spend most of your time. Taking some of these key elements and translating them into your new, stylish kitchen will not only update your look for the coming years, they’ll wow your guests as well for a very long time!
Ask us how we can help you design your dream kitchen!
We still have a few months left in the year (it feels like it just began, doesn’t it?) Hard to believe, but there will be new trends unfolding in the next few months. The trends themselves seem pretty solid, but there are a few surprising additions. Our highly technological world has influenced many of the trends we’re seeing. If you’re planning to renovate or build something new, take a look at what you should consider adding to, or subtracting from your design.
OUT: White Tiles
As the world becomes more advanced in technology, design is getting closer to the earth. We’re seeing more and more earthy, muted colors on walls, natural wood floors, and matte terracotta tiles used as feature walls or around fireplaces.
What we’re not seeing any more are white subway tiles. These tiles are featured in nearly every space design, from bathrooms to kitchens, to every trendy restaurant in town. Trade the cold for the warm as you look ahead into the future of your space.
Tip: To stay on trend, and give way to a classic look, stay away from tiles that look too rustic or shiny.
IN: Black Steel and Burnished Metals
OUT: Copper and Rose Gold
Didn’t copper and rose gold just come into style? Unfortunately, unless you’re drinking a Moscow mule, copper doesn’t have a place in a modern home’s design any longer. The super polished look of both elements may continue to be on trend for the rest of this year, but come spring, it will make room for the more industrial feel of black steel and burnished metals.
Following the trend of what’s familiar and closer to the earth, black steel appliances and fixtures are going to make a huge statement that leads the way for other burnished metals as well. Future design will carry a more earthy texture, and the shininess of copper and rose gold will clash with this look.
Tip: Use these elements in small doses such as in door knobs on white doors for a truly dramatic effect.
IN: Cork, Concrete, Silestone
OUT: Granite, Marble
Again with the nature trend, it seems only fitting for countertops to follow suit. Natural elements are making their way into kitchens lending a more earth-friendly touch to your home. These options are also quite a bit less expensive, last considerably longer, come in many options, and bring warmth to the heart of your home.
Granite has had a considerably long run, and it is still in high favor for many young home buyers, but if you want something that will still be on-trend 10 years from now, do yourself a favor and choose a different countertop. The coldness of Granite and Marble have had their run; now it’s time to bring a little bit of softness back into the kitchen.
There are a multitude of options for your home these days that go beyond these predictions. Jewel tones and tufted furniture; dedicated decompression spaces in your home, and the end of the open-space design are just a few more details you should expect to see in the coming years. See one of our designers and discuss what you would like to see in your new space, and how you can bring your ideas to life.