Thursday, May 17, 2018

What is the Difference Between Wicker and Rattan

Ask many interior designers and furniture salespeople what is the difference between wicker and rattan, and you will get puzzled looks. Many think the terms are interchangeable. Not so fast grasshopper.                                  
Wicker is not a material. There is no material on Earth called wicker. Wicker is an ancient technique or process used to manufacture items out of natural materials, such as willow, rush, bamboo, rattan, and synthetic resins. The natural materials are made wet so that they can be easily woven to create wicker design furniture pieces. Some manufacturers may use the phrase cane furniture in place of either rattan or wicker furniture. Loomed wicker is another type of wicker furniture. As the name suggests, loomed wicker is made mechanically. It uses tightly twisted Hemp paper that looks like rope. This rope-like material is then woven by the machine into a wicker fabric. The loomed wicker material is then coated completely on both sides with a flexible latex paint.   
Rattan is a specific natural material. Unlike the bamboo pole which is hollow, rattan boasts a strong core and is thus durable and even hard to break.  In its original form, rattan is a relative of the tropical palm tree. Rattan starts to grow upwards like a tree but then bends back to the ground and snakes through the rainforest like a vine. After a few years of growth, the rattan vines can be as long as 500 feet. When harvested they are cut into 12 to 18-foot sections.
The solid core of rattan along with vertical grains is generally steamed and then bent into the desired shape through the use of specialized shapers. Once the rattan has dried, it will retain its shape forever. The outside skin of the rattan pole, which is the peel, is generally used to bind the furniture joints together.
Rattan vines may also be peeled mechanically to form thin slats for weaving. The curved outer layer is also used as a decorative trim to hide the rough seams created by the wicker process.  The rattan poles can also be put into a machine that cuts the rattan lengthwise into spaghetti-like shapes.
Rattan is considered to be one of the strongest woods available since its grain grows vertically instead of forming the concentric rings of most other hardwoods.  With over 600 different species, Rattan comes in a variety of natural colors, and the color is dependent on the soils where the rattan grows, generally in Southeast Asia. That means that no two pieces of wicker furniture made from rattan are alike. Rattan has been used for furniture because it is lightweight, durable, flexible, and attractive. At Wicker Home & Patio Furniture, we offer 20 different frame finishes that will fit with any d├ęcor.

Rattan furniture is best used indoors. Sun and rain are hard on rattan if it spends too much time outside. For the outdoors, we invite you to look at our outdoor wicker furniture.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Luxury Vinyl Tile - The Most Resilient Bathroom Flooring

Luxury Vinyl Tile - the most resilient bathroom flooring material. Since flooring is one of the foundational materials required for renovations or new construction, it should be given significant importance for your bathroom. The flooring in your bathroom should also be equally beautiful and pull together all of the style and colors of your entire home while being a flooring material that is extremely resilient, durable and makes your floor maintenance a cinch.
The first considerations for bathroom flooring are usually focused on a few important areas; the style, the color and of course the associated cost for the product itself, including the often hidden installation expenses. But did you know that there are a few other things that you should include as well?
Design and style frequently drive the choice of flooring; however, bathroom flooring considerations such as shape, length, width, textures, moisture performance, installation requirements and durability are also some of the most important items that can impact your flooring choices.
Now, I realize that's quite a bit to take in when you just want the final outcome to be the perfect bathroom and a pocketbook that isn’t completely drained. So you will be excited to know that there is flooring material that will help overcome all of these considerations but can give you something unexpected as well, long-lasting flooring for your bathroom that can withstand the most extreme moisture conditions.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), or sometimes called (EVP) - engineered vinyl plank or luxury vinyl flooring can be a kid proof, pet proof, waterproof and even scratch proof flooring solution, depending on the brand you choose. LVT can also have the highest noise reduction rating compared to other flooring options out there.
This flooring material is a dead ringer for the look and feel of solid, natural hardwood flooring. The variety of species, colors, textures, and price will appeal to any design aficionado and/or savvy homeowner. The range of style and plank/tile sizes for LVT vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so we carry multiple hundreds of LVT options to ensure our customers have a wide selection of the best flooring options to choose from.

1.   What’s The Best Bathroom Flooring?
One of the questions we are frequently asked is what is the best bathroom flooring, or the best-looking, best-performing luxury vinyl tile flooring out there and how does it stand up to matching classic hardwood floor when it comes to installation in your bathroom?
There are many LVT brands that truly deliver on durability, design and realistic texture. Some of the top luxury vinyl tile brands are Adamantine, Aurora Hardwoods, Cali Bamboo, Coretec, Engage, Gala Manufacturing, Hallmark Floors, Mannington – Adura Max, Neptune, Oasis, Provenza, Ridgeline, and SLCC, just to name a few. The choices really become endless from a bath design perspective and provide the look that you are after in a gamut of natural designs, from realistic wood grains to natural stones and slates. Furthermore, many of the top luxury vinyl tile manufacturers offer 25 year to lifetime warranties.  

2.               Is LVT Durable For Bathrooms?
Let's take an active household with kids and pets with constant foot traffic and a lifestyle that consists of wear and tear on a daily basis. That kind of flooring stress will show cracks, gouges, scratches and water damage over a period of time. Now throw in that it is a high moisture area that can add significant stress to natural hardwood flooring with the constant expanding and contraction process.
In the past, it would not be advisable to install a wood floor in a bathroom environment, but today we see folks using their LVP and LVT floors in mudrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms, primarily because the mirrored look of wood grains and natural stones are so closely matched to the real product that the homeowner can have their cake and eat it too!
With LVT, you get unstoppable resilience in your bathroom floor, combined with a distinguished style. The durability and beauty of a quality luxury vinyl floor product just can't be beat.

3.               Waterproof Benefits of Luxury Vinyl Floors In Bathrooms
The moisture and water that gets distributed on a bathroom floor can often lead to the damage and ultimate replacement of flooring after a certain number of years, depending on the surface that was originally selected. One of the foremost benefits of luxury vinyl plank flooring is its amazing waterproof characteristics. This type of bathroom floor creates an impenetrable and tightly locked floor surface that does not allow liquid to absorb of leak through. LVT flooring keeps all splashes and spills on the surface, allowing you to simply and easily wipe it up! Today, homeowners are looking to waterproof flooring for the bathroom and kitchen so that it can help prevent unnecessary or costly water damage from accidents or consistent daily use.
4.               Luxury Vinyl Tile In The Bathroom
When it comes to bathroom flooring and the many choices of tile, wood, stone and of course luxury vinyl tile, there are factual and realistic superior qualities of LVT. Luxury vinyl tile is easier to install in your bathroom than many other flooring options, which reduces your bathroom flooring costs even more. LVT flooring is lighter than either tile or wood, making treks up to the 2nd and 3rd level floors so much easier for installation.
Another fantastic characteristic of luxury vinyl tile flooring for your bathroom is that it can be a do-it-yourself job if you are on a tight budget. We have guided hundreds of customers through the installation process and best practices for laying LVT in your bathroom correctly, with excellent results.

Luxury vinyl tile flooring is the most resilient bathroom flooring that delivers on style, cost, and durability.

Author Bio:

Tom Michaud is the CEO of Simple Floors Portland, located in Portland, Oregon. Tom’s decades of experience providing homeowners and contractors with quality home building and renovation materials focuses on wood flooring, countertops, tile, laminate floor, and carpeting.

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Difference Between Quartz And Granite Countertops

Selecting the right countertop materials for a home renovation or building project is one of the most challenging decisions a homeowner makes. The color, design, and pattern within the material are only overshadowed by the composition of the countertop product itself. In fact, many homeowners struggle to understand the difference between granite and quartz countertops, often referring to both as granite, stone or rock.

But there are distinct differences between quartz and granite countertops that every homeowner should know.

What’s The Difference Between Quartz and Granite Countertops?

There are some substantial differences between the various countertop materials on the market today.

Quartz and granite are among the two most popular kitchen and bathroom counter options, and they are both completely different materials.

What are granite countertops?

Granite is a completely natural stone material that is quarried from the ground in massive blocks. These blocks are then slowly and meticulously sawn into slabs that vary from 1 ¼ to ¾ inches thick, depending on the intended application of the countertop. The thicker slices of granite are often used for kitchen counters, whereas the slimmer versions are typically reserved for bathrooms. Once cut into slabs, the granite material is atomized and polished to beautiful gleaming finish.

There are no man-made components contained within granite. Granite is found in in the ground naturally and is completely free of human creation. Granite is considered to be one of the hardest natural rock materials, making it extremely durable for counter surfaces.

What are quartz countertops?

 Quartz countertops are usually comprised of around 90% natural quartz material and then combined with approximately 8-10% polymer resins. Quartz countertops are considered to be an engineered stone material which is created by using a ground-up component of the natural hard mineral quartz and then compressed into forms with hardening resins, polymers, and pigments to form a very hard granite-like slab.

The Advantages of Quartz and Granite Countertops

Both types of the most popular countertops have their advantages and disadvantages, but understanding them is imperative. Because many homeowners’ refer to all stone-like counters as granite, it highlights the fact that there are misunderstandings that should be clarified. Below we will break down some of the advantages and disadvantages of both quartz and granite counters.

Advantages of quartz countertops:

  • Quartz is one of the most abundant mineral resources around the world; therefore its harvest has a minimal environmental impact.
  • Quartz countertops result in an extremely durable and hard surface material which is ideal for counters.
  • Quartz counters are a non-porous material that does not require any sealing and limited maintenance.
  •  Quartz countertops are stain and crack resistant.
  •  Countertops made from quartz come in an extremely wide range of colors and patterns due to their man-made process.
Disadvantages of quartz countertops:

  • Quartz countertops are typically around 30-30% more expensive than granite counters.
  • Quartz does not tolerate heat well and as a result, care must be taken to protect them from hot cooking pots and utensils.
  • Quartz counters are extremely heavy and often require seams for larger surface areas.
  • Professional installation of quartz countertops is highly recommended.
  • Some quartz countertop material can discolor over time when exposed to prolonged and direct sunlight.

Advantages of granite countertops:

  • Granite is naturally formed by nature, therefore making each piece totally unique in color and pattern.
  • Granite material for countertops was formed through pressure and heat allowing them to perform perfectly when they come in contact with hot pans and utensils.
  • Granite countertops are often favored, due to the perceived value over quartz by many homebuyers, therefore granite counters can add to the home’s value over the long-term.
  • Granite is extremely hard and can last forever.
  • Granite can be less expensive than quartz countertops.

Disadvantages of granite countertops:

  • Granite is naturally porous; therefore it requires sealing and significantly more maintenance.
  • Granite countertops can be brittle and crack easily when significant force is applied.
  • Granite is a natural material, so creating a completely seamless look can be challenging when installing.

Selecting Quartz or Granite Counters

The main considerations that a homeowner should weigh when selecting the countertops for their home should be both use and preference. How you cook, the way you use your counters and the durability requirements are extremely important. Next, your preference to color, look and patterns should determine your final selection process. This will ensure that the net result of your new kitchen or bathroom depicts what you originally envisioned.

Furthermore, there is always a cost consideration that you will have to weigh. If budget is the dominant concern, we always recommend our customers consider natural granite options. However if budget is not driving the most significant criteria and the priorities are in matching specific colors or patterns, along with finding a low maintenance material, then we suggest they take a good look at quartz.

Finally, be mindful of the tile or wood flooring that you will be using in your kitchen or bathroom space and how that will pair or contrast with your countertop selection. Since kitchens and bathrooms are the most important living spaces within your home, you will want to make sure that everything compliments your counters perfectly.

Author Bio:

Tom Michaud is the CEO of Simple Floors Portland, located in Portland, Oregon. Tom’s decades of experience providing homeowners and contractors with quality home building and renovation materials focuses on wood flooring, countertops, tile, laminate floor, and carpeting.