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Home: Home Improvement and Renovations: Beautiful and Durable, Tile and Natural Stone Add Value

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Beautiful and Durable, Tile and Natural Stone Add Value

Written by; Chad Simco / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Sun Jun 28 2009


Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile always adds beauty and value to your home. Whether you use it on floors, walls, or countertops, it adds color, texture, and durability. From terra cotta on patios to travertine all around the kitchen, tile outperforms almost all the alternatives. Tile especially makes sense as an upgrade from linoleum flooring, because it stands up to years and years of wear-and-tear and hard-scrubbing.

Tile often complements hardwood flooring, so that many homeowners install tile floors in their family rooms, picking a color that complements the hard wood or "engineered" flooring in their living and dining rooms. Tile also makes great sense as an upgrade from fiberglass tub or shower enclosures - far more attractive, considerably easier to clean, and immeasurably more durable.

In older homes, natural stones beautify entry-ways and hearths. Slate looks especially dramatic on the floor beneath a white enameled mantelpiece, and it holds-up extremely well in sun-rooms, mudrooms, and other rustic settings. Many homeowners also have discovered the value of "cultured stone", a man-made composite the looks just like rocks from the earth but weighs about 60% less. They frequently use it for outdoor trim or as a beautiful alternative to wainscoting in a rustic family room.

You most frequently find porcelain used for fixtures - sinks, toilets, bidets, and the other places where the exceptionally smooth and shiny surface works efficiently and facilitates easy cleaning. Often, plumbing manufacturers glaze heavy metals with porcelain - as in the best of old-fashioned bath-tubs. For most household surfaces, porcelain finishes are just too slick to be practical. Kitchen counters stand out as the prominent exception to that rule, but the cost of porcelain sometimes makes other choices more appealing. Decorative tiles mark the other prominent exception: you easily could use porcelain-glazed tiles for borders, edges, chair-rails, and baseboards, where its durability and easy cleaning gives it an advantage over other products.

In the last few years, some radical alternatives to tile have emerged: Marble and "cultured marble" appear in more and more new homes and kitchen-and-bath remodels. Marble remains as expensive as ever, but "cultured marble", the man-made composite variety often costs less than tile, looks at least as fashionably glamorous as the real thing, installs easily, and cleans beautifully. Some designers now are experimenting with concrete countertops, and they have achieved some amazing results. Obviously inexpensive and surprisingly adaptable and workable, concrete may become the medium of choice for new-millennium countertops.


Copyright: 2009

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