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Home Maintenance

Cement Countertops – Why Would You Want a Sidewalk for a Countertop?

If you have never heard of a cement countertop you are probably wondering why you would what to put a sidewalk on your kitchen counter. Well the truth is cement countertops can look as good as or better than granite if they are done properly. The best part is you can completely customize the countertop to meet your exact specifications. You can choose any color, shape, or thickness you want. You can even add a built in sink and drying rack. Items embedded in the countertop can also be exposed during the finishing process adding character to the counter.
The process involved in making a cement countertop starts with the template. Thin strips of wood or any light material is used to make a mock up of the final countertop shape. Then a mold is made around the template the desired thickness of the finished product. Re-bar is added inside the mold and then cement can be mixed up in the mixer with all the necessary ingredients included color pigment. The concrete is then poured into the molds and vibrated to help remove any air bubbles. The countertop is removed from the mold after approximately three days and then the finishing process can begin. Since the countertop was poured upside down it is first flipped over so the top is now facing up. This way the exposed surface of the counter is already completely smooth and the rougher troweled surface becomes the underside of the counter. The top is then polished using a variable speed wet polisher and diamond coated pads of various grits until the desired amount of aggregate is exposed and a mirror finish is produced.
Once the polishing is done the cement countertop is left to fully cure which can take a few weeks depending on the temperature and then it can be sealed and installed in the kitchen. The finished product looks absolutely amazing if done by skilled craftsmen and is a great option for a countertop instead of granite.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Looking To Replace Your Kitchen Countertops? Go With Granite

There are a number of options for new countertops in the kitchen but the trend currently is definitely toward granite. The stone is extremely durable and will hold up well to the daily grind that comes with cooking. Granite will hold its luster for years with a minimal amount of maintenance and will add elegance to your home that will increase the value.
The number one drawback to granite is the cost. To have a slab of granite configured to fit your kitchen and installed will cost you at least $60 per square foot and can go up to over $90. A typical 3×12 granite countertop will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000. One of the most costly expenses related to granite is shipping it to your home. Granite slabs are very heavy and great care must be taken in moving them around because they can snap, especially if a sink hole was cut out at the factory. Because they can be difficult to handle, installation is best left to the experts.
Ten years ago, composite materials became very popular for use in the kitchen. Sold under name brands like Corian, Avonite and Swanstone, these one piece countertops provided a nice upgrade over conventional laminate which has been the industry standard for years. The materials though are not as durable as granite and cannot withstand high temperatures as well. A pot just removed from the stove can be placed on a granite countertop with no fear of it burning the surface. Granite when sealed properly is also much more stain resistant than the composites made from plastic resins.
There is also no substitute for the look of Granite. There is no material that is produced by man which can match the appearance of polished stone. Granite is made up of tiny crystals which are ground down using diamond studded pads to polish off the stone to a smooth finish. The surface is ground down to the point where it is completely flat and the shine comes from the way that the polished granite reflects the light.
There are enough color options available in granite to match any design or taste. While no two pieces are alike, slabs are classified into basic color groups of white, yellow, blue, green and brown. The White Granite tends to be more cream colored and often will have speckles of black or gray in it. The yellow granite is a brownish yellow while the brown granite tends to be a dark tan. The blue and green granites come in both dark and lighter shades of those colors. Each different color can be found with a wide variety of marbling. The most expensive cuts of stone are variegated granite pieces which have elaborate veins running through them. These pieces have been compared to pieces of art and give the illusion of movement throughout. Going with variegated granite will give your kitchen a look like no other and make it truly unique.…