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Old 09-23-2010, 06:48 AM   #21
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the chore i detested the most growing up was sitting on my hands and knees with some water, bleach and an old tooth brush scrubbing the crap out of the grout. it took forever. i will also mention that in minnesota it was quite common to leave your shoes at the door. in arizona, no one gave a crap. i never had to scrub grout until we lived in arizona...
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:55 AM   #22
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A tip when/if installing tile: Once the tile is set and cleaned be sure to do a thorough job of sealing the grout lines. At least 2 coats of sealer. Then NEVER clean the floor with any kind of soap product. Porcelain tile is harder than ceramic and does not take a stain or hold dirt any more than glass would. Unsealed (or sealed) grout on the other hand will hold on to a thin film of soap and attract dirt and oils and look nasty after awhile. If unsealed they can also stain. also Not using soap cleaners and sealing the grout will greatly reduce the need to scrub grout lines with a toothbrush.
I have tile floors (all are mostly white backgrounds with light color grout)throughout the house except for the bedrooms which are solid wood. Some of the tile floors have been around for over 20 years and the grout lines are not a problem and I have never had to scrub them to keep them looking nice.
For the times that the grout has been stained from a spill I used one of the many Cat Urine Odor and Stain products that spray on. Let it set for about 10 minutes and wiped up with paper towel. 10 minutes later and the grout looks new again. and yet another
Works for me!

Cheers!
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:49 PM   #23
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I have heart pine wood floors and teak/holly wood countertops.
Love both! With our usual pet population in double digits, nothing lasts longer. We have ceramic tile in the baths and laundry.
All were installed by the royal we (meaning mostly DH, but I'm the tile girl).
I have a porcelain over cast iron sink and it is one heavy mother to install. If I was doing it again, I'd probably get stainless.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:50 PM   #24
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Flooring:
Laminate versus Wood (pro/cons)- I don't like the sound of laminate flooring, has a hollow sound in most installations I've seen but maybe we've never seen it done correctly. We have one dog that won't walk on laminate floors without being pushed, she'll stay at the edge of the room rather than walk on it. I prefer real wood that can be refinished if needed down the road, we went with a random width red oak (4/5/6") sanded and finished on site.

Kitchen Counter Tops:
Corian vs Granite vs Marble- We just finished our retirement house and went with ceramic tile for most of the counter top with epoxy grout to resist staining. The grout was expensive and can let you know in a few years if it was worth it, the installer certainly thought so and it was more work for them. We had ceramic counter tops in a house many years ago and always liked them. Because of installation cost, they compare to granite in price which we also like but not as well as tile. We did do a breakfast bar in granite so we'd have a flat surface to roll out dough when cooking.

Kitchen Sinks:
Cast Iron vs Porcelin ? Built into the countertop vs separate- we went with stainless steel because we wanted a 2 bowl sink with a built in drainboard and this one fit the space the best. We like SS because it seems to blend with other finishes as well.

Tile Flooring:
Ceramic tile versus Porcelin- we looked at both and finally decided on ceramic tile for our kitchen floor with reasonably small grout lines with a brown tint. The porcelain seemed less expensive but we were concerned about surface chipping, maybe overly worried. We had bright white grout once and wouldn't do that again.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:34 PM   #25
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Everyone I know who used Home Depot for renovations have hated it. Complained bitterly about the experience.

I have done extensive home renovations, using different contractors and I found that the best contractor was the one who did excellent work for one of my neighbors. So please ask your neighbors or send an email to your entire neighborhood asking for their recommendations both for who they would recommend as well as who NOT to use. As to materials: I love granite, real hardwood, and stainless steel sinks. They are easy to care for and beautiful to look at. Best of luck with your renovation.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:41 PM   #26
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Sink: Undermount, but not molded in as an integral part of a Corian counter.

You ask about porcelain and ss but are you familiar with granite or quartz composite sinks? They are made from 80-90% crushed stone mixed with a polyresin and molded into a sink. We had one installed with our new granite counters earlier this year and we really like it. It is very resistant to chips, stains, and heat and comes in a number of colors. And unlike ss, it doesn't dent, discolor, or make a racket when you drop a spoon.
I'll second the vote for the granite composit sink. Our brand was Silgranit - it is very low maintenance, and looks good. Our contractor was unfamiliar with it, but had no problem installing it (undercounter).

As far as granite, there are many different types of granite with varying degrees of hardness. Our granite is very hard and does not absorb anything, so I have no concerns about stains. (The Corian that we replaced stained fairly easily - although it was quite old). You just can't beat the beauty of granite, IMO. Also, what are houses in your area doing? If you're the only Corian in a town full of granite, that puts you at a disadvantage.

I also second the recommendation for Gardenweb - their forums are invaluable for kitchen/bathroom remodeling (and a lot of other subjects, too!)
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:42 PM   #27
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We put in new countertops, sink, cooktop and hood late last year. We thought about the kitchen floor (is wood, prefer ceramic) but left it for a later date.

Granite: prices have fallen a lot, tons to choose from, and the look is unbeatable. It is truly a buyers market. We also put in a tile backsplash. DW is very happy with the granite, and when she is happy, so am I.

Sink – deep single bowl, stainless, undermount. I clean the kitchen and prefer it hands down to other options. Bought it from the granite folks, about ˝ of price anywhere else.

Cooktop – stainless, 5 burner with excellent heating controls. It’s beautiful, the cook loves it, and it’s scratched everywhere.

Hood – see cooktop, add noisy.

Wood vs tile in the kitchen is as much about personal style as anything else. Tile is easier to clean and shouldn’t stain as much, but does chip.

Contractor. We chose a contractor from angies list. It has worked out well. Excellent work ethic, 1 year guarantee – and they’ve been back 3 times for retouching or reworking something without complaint.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:11 PM   #28
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We are about to redo our master bedroom (and have been on the cusp of this project for the past four years... so maybe will get to it in the next four) and are seriously considering cork for the flooring. It's renewable, soft underfoot, as durable as most hardwoods, warm, and comes in click formats for easy DIY. I love the way it looks, I like the way it smells, and I think it would be perfect in our master bedroom, where we really need sound absorption (vaulted ceilings).

I've been in a couple houses that had it throughout the house and it was lovely.
My holiday home has cork flooring with inlaid patterns. I love walking on it in bare feet. It's softer than tile and feels very natural.

My home has hardwood floors throughout, except for the bathroom. The kitchen is holding up very well after 80 years.
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:16 AM   #29
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Mead, we put cork tiles down in the motorhome and I love it! So pretty and quiet and soft. A great improvement over the gross carpet and little patch of worn out linoleum in the kitchen.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:28 PM   #30
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Mead, we put cork tiles down in the motorhome and I love it! So pretty and quiet and soft.
It's nice, isn't it?
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Old 09-28-2010, 06:58 PM   #31
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Counters: We put in Corian countertops with an integrated sink. It looks good and there are no sink/countertop seams to grab gunk.

If for a kitchen or bathroom, don't cross vinyl off your list before giving it fair consideration. Is this house for you or for a Fine Homebuilding pictorial? Top quality sheet vinyl has no seams, is not cold or hard under bare feet, won't chip if a pot falls on it, is easy to clean for decades, and gives dropped glassware a good chance of survival. In 20 years when it's time to change the look of your kitchen or just replace the flooring, it's a one day job. I like the stuff with the color that goes deep into the vinyl and which doesn't pretend to look like stone or wood. It's plastic and proud!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:09 AM   #32
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If for a kitchen or bathroom, don't cross vinyl off your list before giving it fair consideration. Is this house for you or for a Fine Homebuilding pictorial? Top quality sheet vinyl has no seams, is not cold or hard under bare feet, won't chip if a pot falls on it, is easy to clean for decades, and gives dropped glassware a good chance of survival. In 20 years when it's time to change the look of your kitchen or just replace the flooring, it's a one day job. I like the stuff with the color that goes deep into the vinyl and which doesn't pretend to look like stone or wood. It's plastic and proud!
Ditto on the vinyl for kitchens and bathrooms.

I've talked to two people now who have loved their Corian kitchen countertops for years, but who hate the molded-in sinks that came with them. They both complained about flexing and hairline cracks, which eventually get filled with uncleanable black gunk. We've had small molded-in sinks in the bathroom for 11 years now with no cracking...very easy to clean and attractive looking. I think it is the large, flat-bottom molded-in kitchen sinks that have the flexing/cracking problems.
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