How To Match New Tile in Your Home

Whether new tile can be matched to old tile is a common dilemma among homeowners, especially when a tile becomes damaged or is broken. The answer to whether you can match new tile or not is yes. It was more common for older tiles to be 12- by 12- inches instead of the 16- and 20- inch tiles that have become popular today. Even if your old tile is broken or has been damaged in other ways, you can replace it with a new one that will blend in with the original floor plan. Here are five ways to match new tile flooring in your home.

Hunt for the Original Tiles

Do your research because you never know if you might find the same tile as the original one. Visit stores in person, check out websites, and take advantage of the filtering system that has been designed to make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a tile in a certain shape and color, enter those factors into the filtering system. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll get to where you want to be.

Find a Close Match

What if you can’t find a match to your original tile no matter how hard you researched? That’s okay because you’ll at least be able to find a close match that will not only solve your problems but will also look great. Take a piece of your tile with you to a local store and hold it next to other tiles until you find the tile that looks closest to it. Don’t be afraid to ask an employee for help. Online retailers will also accept pictures of your tile being emailed to them so that they can better assist you as well.

Avoid the New Combined With Old Look

A common mistake among homeowners is matching new tile based on what’s trendy and fresh on the market. As stated previously, newer tiles aren’t the same as older tiles, and what’s trendy has a different meaning in today’s age versus the 1900s. When matching your tile, consider the time frame your house was built in. You don’t want to put trendy tiles from 2019 into a bathroom with a 50’s style bathtub, sink, and toilet. You will hate it.

Use Care When Designing

Matching tile is an art, and it’s easy to mess up and create a piece that just doesn’t look good. So when you’re shopping, don’t throw colors and designs together. Take every piece into consideration. Pair patterns with plain tiles and make sure to limit your color palette. A rule of thumb when matching tile is to vary in shapes, not color.

Be Consistent

If one area is going to look a certain way, then so should the rest of the room. Match the tiles the exact same way for each square foot. You can use different sizes and colors but keep the shapes and design the same for the entire area.

Nothing says luxury and class quite like Travertine tile. Travertine is a limestone that offers strong durability, but also is relatively porous versus other materials that are often used in flooring. Because of that porousness, Travertine presents unique challenges when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Let’s take a look at the proper ways to keep your beautiful Travertine shining bright.

How Often Should You Clean Your Travertine Floor?

Most people think that cleaning natural stone tile flooring has to be a major chore. The truth is that if you keep up on them regularly, they don’t have to be a drag on your regular day. You can do yourself a favor and sweep or vacuum the floor regularly. This will keep dirt and debris from pushing into the corners, and building up.

Beyond sweeping and vacuuming, you will want to mop and disinfect the floor, typically about once a month. Every few months, you should give your tile a deep clean, making sure to scrub the grout and all the corners. How often this all happens depends a little bit on what goes on inside your home, but these are good general guidelines.

What You Need To Clean Your Tile

Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need to get the job done properly. Here’s a look at what you need –

  • A vacuum or broom
  • A mop
  • A bucket with ample capacity
  • Mild, non-acidic dish soap
  • A towel for drying
  • Baking soda
  • A small scrub brush
  • Surface stone sealer

When you clean your floors, you’ll want to avoid using any kind of abrasive cleaner at all. You’ll also want to steer clear of anything acidic. Acid-based cleaners don’t play well with Travertine and will stain and discolor your floor.

The Cleaning Process

1.       Vacuuming and Sweeping

As we mentioned earlier, the best way to be sure that your floor stays clean is to vacuum or sweep it at least every week. Dirt and dust that builds up on the floor can lead to unsightly scratches, and cause your tile to dull prematurely. If you keep up on it regularly, sweeping the flooring is typically pretty quick and easy.

2.       Mopping

As with any hard flooring, mopping is a necessity for keeping it clean. Use warm water, and be sure to change it often.  Don’t saturate tiles with water since it can penetrate down through the sealant or into the grout lines. This can cause discoloration and the development of mildew and mold.

3.       Disinfecting Your Floor

Because the tile is porous, it’s important to disinfect it regularly. Failing to do so can cause a buildup of mildew or food-borne parasites. Use about a tablespoon of non-acidic detergent in your mop bucket, and use that to lightly dampen the floor as you mop. Once done, you’ll want to give it a rinse-mop with fresh water.

4.      Cleaning The Grout

The grout is an important part of your tile flooring. It allows the tile to expand and contract as needed and helps keep them in place, without putting them under pressure. The grout acts as a bit of a buffer between individual tiles, so they stay neatly aligned.

The problem with grout is that it’s the number one place in your tile flooring that is susceptible to water damage, and discoloration. When you have water that penetrates your grout and sits, you run an increased risk of mold development, which can lead to having to tear the floor out altogether.

To clean the grout, mix water and baking soda in equal parts. In the end, you should have a paste with a gritty texture. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the paste into the grout channel. Just be careful not to scratch the edges of your precious tiles.

5.       Sealing The Travertine

We’ve mentioned the porousness of Travertine more than once, and that’s because it’s important to remember when you think about cleaning and maintaining your tile. Sealing your Travertine gives it a shield against water, scratch-causing debris, and other dirt.

When sealing the tile, be sure to use a sealant that will penetrate the surface, and leave you with a water-resistant surface that will last for years to come. Or call us at Castles Home Service and we can take care of the cleaning and sealing of your Travertine floor for you professionally.

Travertine tile is one of the most sophisticated and premium options for stone flooring. Regular cleaning maintenance and sealing will keep your floor looking great for decades.

When you think of engineered stone, you may wonder what you’re actually getting, and we’re here to help. Engineered stone is often times referred to as quartz.  If you install a stone quartz countertop, you may think that they are all natural, which is true if you are using granite or marble. With engineered stone, you are getting quartz, but the counters are held together by quartz crystals with a resin binder. This gives it a similar look to natural stone. However, because there are some manmade materials in the stone, it has benefits that are not available for natural materials.

Attractive

Quartz materials are generally compressed into the slabs that you see at the store. You will notice they have a color and texture that is close to granite or slate. However, there is a major difference between quartz and granite. The color of quartz is uniform compared to the natural materials.

Countertops

Many countertops that are made from natural materials differ in color slightly when you use them throughout your whole kitchen area. However, when using engineered stone, you will notice that the color and hue remain the same for a more unified look throughout.

You have a few color choices with engineered stone as well. These colors are more earth tone colors which include rose, grays, and many more earthy tones. These colors you will find are mostly the natural colors found in the mineral but if you desire you can add colorants for a different tone.

Wear Well

When the engineered stone is finished, it is a very hard, durable material. In fact, it is almost as hard as granite. The advantage that this stone has over granite is that it will not crack as easily. Engineered stone is also very heat resistant. This means your hot pans will not leave a ring on the countertop if you set them down. Engineered stone is also known for being scratch and cut resistant.

Easy Clean-up

If you have a natural stone countertop, you will notice that the countertop is porous. This will cause bacteria to form and is tough to clean. However, with quartz, the countertops are known for not absorbing liquids. This makes it easy to disinfect and keep clean. Not only does it help with cleanliness it keeps food safety at a maximum because your raw meats aren’t soaking into your counters.

What Stains?

When you are working with engineered stone, you will notice that they stand up to a lot of abuse very well. Whereas natural stone is very prone to staining especially from oils and wines.

Options Galore

Engineered stone countertops have a variety of different natural colors to choose from, not to mention you can add additional colors to achieve the perfect look for your kitchen. So, when remodeling your kitchen, you are sure to find the perfect color of sandstone for your home.

Conclusion

Natural stone has a beautiful look, but the upkeep can be a lot. Natural stone is prone to cracking, scratching, and staining. So, if you are not looking for high-maintenance, then you may want to go with the equally beautiful and more durable engineered stone.

When it comes to stone masonry, you are going to realize no matter how strong the materials are that it will likely eventually crack. However, can you repair this and is it going to cost an arm and a leg to do so?

It is possible to repair cracked stone masonry. It is best left to an expert like Castles Home Service to replace and repair and repair stone masonry.

What is Stone Masonry?

Stone masonry has been around for hundreds of years. In fact, stone masonry itself is an ancient form of masonry. It was thought that because the stone is so strong that it would last a lifetime. Which, in all reality, it really can, but many people opt out of using old-fashioned techniques and use modern ones. Modern techniques of installing masonry have been proven to make the stone less durable and more prone to cracking or falling.

Brick is one of the most common materials used in masonry, and it is made of fired clay. It is popular because it comes in many different colors. It is one of the more high-priced finishes, but it is great because it repels water and is easy to maintain. Plus, in the long run, it is actually less expensive. Brick masonry will last around 100 years.

Another form of masonry is concrete block masonry. This type of work is more common among industrial building applications. This form of masonry can last anywhere from 50 to 80 years. However, these are not waterproof and will need to be resealed every 10 years.

What Causes Stone Masonry Damage?

Erosion

The most obvious factor for damage to stone masonry is erosion. While erosion may not cause issues to the structure itself, it may cause outer damage. This could mean the surface stones wear away and the mortar joints have issues. This leads to cracks and taking in water.

Water

Water is honestly, the worst enemy of stone masonry because of how it freezes and thaws. These different freeze cycles are known to cause cracks. You will notice the water is causing issues if you see discoloration on your stone. You can also expect to see dark patches. This is where the water has soaked into the surface. This is not a big deal immediately but will be in the future if not fixed.

How to Fix a Cracked Stone Masonry

One of the most common fixes is called repointing. This would mean replacing the damaged mortar between your stones or choice of material. It is important that you are replacing the old mortar with an equal strength mortar. You also want to make sure the appearance is the same as well. This will help prevent future cracking. If you add a stronger mortar mixture, your wall won’t be able to handle the freeze cycles as well.

Conclusion

Can you Repair Cracked Stone Masonry?  When it comes to cracked stone masonry, your best bet is to replace the problem. This can be hard an unforgiving work, but you can hire a professional like Castles Home Service to handle it for you professionally. Take a look at some of our before and after photos and you’ll see what is possible.

It makes sense – you have a beautiful, inviting fireplace that serves as a focal point in your living area. It only makes sense to orient the furniture around this welcoming feature in your home. But what about the TV? If the furniture placement indicates anything, it’s likely you’re thinking the perfect spot is right above the mantle.

Unfortunately, experts disagree with this placement for many reasons; from an ergonomically correct position to potential heat damage. We’re going to take a look at the reasons you shouldn’t mount your TV over your fireplace.

Heat and Electronics Don’t Mix

Electronics don’t do well with heat. They warp and degrade in the presence of high temperatures, while conductive materials actually fray and cause shorts within the circuitry of the television.

Smoke is a separate, but equally important concern. Smoke and particulate from fires can rise and leave a hazy film on your television, which requires quite a bit of upkeep if you wish to make the most of that 1080p resolution.

It’s Not Ergonomic

TV placement above a fireplace typically results in stiff necks. Ideally, the most comfortable position to view any kind of entertainment is at eye-level. When we hold our necks in an uncomfortable position for long periods, we experience temporary discomfort that can lead to long-term issues like chronic headaches.

Physical therapists who specialize in musculoskeletal issues confirm – much like the concerns we have of sitting for too long at our desks, hunched over at our computers – the effects of watching television in an unnatural position have lasting consequences.

Anything above 35 degrees from the horizontal plane of eye level prevents the neck stabilizer muscles from functioning. When those muscles become compromised, they cause a shearing force in the cervical spine, causing lots of pain.

Screen Quality Gets Compromised

With LCD/LED TVs, the viewing angle is everything. Because their composition consists of tiny, shuttered windows that control the flow of backlight to produce the images, they have limited viewing angles. If you prefer to mount your television, consider buying a tilted wall mount that has enough of a downward angle to allow for a more direct view of the screen. Sometimes, you may even find wall mounts that drop the TV closer to eye level to improve both contrast and color saturation.

If tilted mounts aren’t your thing, try an OLED TV, which is known for having a myriad of viewing angles, no matter the placement.

Alas, if the layout of your living space limits your options, leaving you feeling defeated, there are some things you can do to try and mitigate the negative aspects of having a TV mounted above the fireplace:

  • You can try to place your seating further back to lower the angle of your neck as you view your shows.
  • You might opt for a reclined position while you watch TV.
  • You can refrain from having a fire going while you watch TV, so the lighting from the screen and the fireplace don’t compete.
  • You can have your TV professionally installed for proper cable management and expert suggestions for how to get the most out of your TV’s new position.

Natural stone floors are a beautiful addition to any home. The use of stone floors throughout a home can easily brighten and modernize a home. They are also sturdy and durable, lasting many years without cracks or wear and tear.

Although a stone floor is amazing to have in a home, it does need to be cleaned in a specific way. Over time stone floor tiles can lose their shine and luster requiring an intense cleaning by professionals. It is recommended that you sweep at least twice a week in order to grab any dust or dirt to make periodic cleaning and mopping easier.

Prepare the Floor

In order to be able to properly clean a stone floor, you need the right products for the job. Before rushing into cleaning, make sure you have a clean mop, a mop bucket, a broom, towels, and a ph neutral stone cleaner like the ones available from MORE™ Surface Care. Change into some comfortable cleaning clothes as there is a possibility of staining and dirtying the clothes worn. After gathering the materials, sweep and dust the floor using the broom. This allows for easier cleaning as the broom can collect dust and debris before the addition of water and cleaning product.

Mop the Floor

The easiest way to clean a stone floor is by mopping. Fill up a mop bucket with warm, but not hot water, and add a ph neutral stone cleaner. The addition of this ph neutral stone cleaner makes a difference in the long run as it is not acidic and won’t wear down your stone floors. Regular floor cleaner can harm tile as the product is not designed for stone tiles.

After mopping dump the mop water and thoroughly rinse out the mop bucket for the next step.

Rinse the Floors with Warm Water

The next step can be relatively easy or more difficult. If you use a typical stone cleaner, rather than just drying the floors right away, you need to rinse them. Although you might use a generic ph neutral stone cleaner in your mop water to mop, there is always the possibility of leaving behind residue. This residue has the potential to erode and damage the stone tile floor. The residue can also leave streaky marks on your beautiful tile floor that may not be noticeable till the floor dries.

To get rid of the residue, fill up the clean and rinsed out mop bucket with only lukewarm water. Mop like you normally would if you were using the floor cleaner. As the mop bucket water changes color, dump the water and fill the bucket with clean fresh water. After about three different rinses, you should be good to go.

However, if you use a cleaning product from MORE™ Surface Care, there’s no need to rinse and you can skip this step completely!

All Done!

After rinsing, you have two options to dry; air drying and manually drying with a towel. If you choose to air dry, you may have to wait a while before you can walk on your floors. It is recommended to dry with a towel as it speeds up the process and the towel may be able to pick up leftover dirt and debris left behind.

Choose a towel that is sturdy and won’t leave any lint or fabric behind. While the fabric or lint won’t harm the stone floors, it is better to use a towel that won’t leave any mess behind. Taking the towel, begin wiping and dragging the towel in one direction to limit any streak marks. When the floor is dry, admire your work! You are done!

Renovating your kitchen can come with a lot of decisions to make. There are so many things to do to make your kitchen the perfect kitchen for your home. To make it easier, start with one specific area to focus on like, cabinets.

Choosing the right color cabinets for your home may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! There are a couple of key ideas to keep in mind when choosing the right color cabinets for your beautiful home.

These key ideas include; inspiration, tone, and compatibility.

Step One – Research and Find Inspiration

Although it is so easy to want to just jump into everything, drawing on inspiration is key to finding the right color cabinets for your home. Every kitchen has a unique design and look that stems from somewhere. This ‘somewhere’ can be anything from a magazine, an old childhood home or a movie.

Looking for inspiration is an easy step to ensure you choose the right color cabinets. Next time you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, pick up a magazine! There are plenty of lifestyle and home magazines that can give you a great idea of what you want to do with your kitchen. Inspiration can be drawn from modern-looking and traditional kitchens and cabinets photographed in the pictures.

If you aren’t much of a reader, there is always the internet! A quick search and scan through the internet can satisfy your inspirational needs for your home. Once you find inspiration for your home and cabinets, you can then begin to find the mood or tone you would like to set!

With Inspiration Comes Tone

After choosing a photo or coming up with an inspiration for the cabinets in your home, the next step is to choose a tone. Color has a lot to do with mood. For example, you can choose a specific color cabinet for your home based off of the tone. Some moods include; happy, calm, modern, cool, and energetic.

Some colors that would be great options to have for a happy tone are yellow, red, and orange. These fiery colors are known to boost the mood of people and would work beautifully in your home.

If you are searching for more of a modern or cool tone, light colors are recommended. Choosing a color for cabinets that fit a cool or modern tone is fun and easy.

Make Sure They Match The Rest of Your Home

Something that may slip your mind is keeping the kitchen and the rest of your home compatible. If your walls are painted a lovely cool blue, and you want to keep a modern tone choose a color accordingly. There are many appliances and furniture throughout your home that may alter the tone or style based on the color contrasts.

Before choosing a cabinet color for your home, look at your surroundings and ensure that the color of the cabinets will match with the rest of your gorgeous house.

Every home has pockets, if not roomfuls, of space that homeowners either overlook, take for granted, or simply don’t know what to do with. Remodeling unused spaces can do wonders to improve the functionality and quality of your entire home. Plus, enhancing an unused area gives your home an immediate makeover and provides you additional living space. As a bonus, remodeling unused spaces can often add financial value to your home, especially when done well. Read on for five tips for making the most of the space of you have.

Set a Budget

First things first: financials. Whether you’re turning an attic into an office or carving a study nook out of an extra closet, expenses can add up fast. You’ll want to factor in obvious costs such as supplies, labor, and basic aesthetics like paint and caulk. Because your space will be completely remodeled, you’ll need a design budget, too. Prioritize the necessities and set aside a small fund for extras that pop up as you go.  

Think Outside the Box

Your renovation is an opportunity to express your creativity through structure and design. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! Consult social media and other platforms for renovation and decor ideas. There are entire communities dedicated to crafty, quirky takes on otherwise traditional homes. There are no “rules” – but extra points for creativity!

Don’t Forget the Small Spaces

If you don’t have a dedicated area ready for a renovation like an attic or basement, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some great ways to add more value to your living space. Take inventory of any and all unused or under-used space in your home. A deep closet under the stairs can become a kids toy room. An extra five feet of corner space in the muck room can become a dog washing station. Build a faux mantle using bookshelves to line a bare wall under a mounted television. No space is out of the question.

Focus on What Your Family Needs

A good way to make sure you’re making the most of your renovation is to focus first on the needs of your family. If there’s been a pain point for say, more homework or study space, then making the most of your den or office space is key. Every home will have its own unique needs; you’ll want to figure out what yours are before you go hunting for space to make it happen.

Treat Yourself

Once you’ve established the space you’re renovating, the need your space will fulfill, and what your budget is, the rest is all about imagination and implementation. It’s important to remember that this newly-created space will be a permanent part of your home. You’ll want to take care that it reflects the overall vision you had in mind. Above all, treat yourself when you can. Take allowances to make sure your living space matches your best vision so that you’re happy with it long-term. There’s nothing worse than taking shortcuts and ending up dissatisfied with the final product. Keep some wiggle room in your budget for last minute finishing touches that really make your new space pop!

Are you considering remodeling your kitchen? Great decision. You are probably sifting through a lot of options to ensure that you give your kitchen a worthy remake. While at it, have you considered what material to use for your countertop? Considering that your kitchen countertop takes a lot of abuse, it is only fair that you invest prudently when it comes to what material to use.

Ideally, the best kitchen countertop material has to be highly durable, aesthetically appealing and bring the best value. No other material will fit this description as well as natural stone.

Four Reasons Why Stone Material is the Best Fit for Your Kitchen Countertop

Highly Durable

There is no about it; a stone countertop will last as long as your house lasts. No other material can hold up against the daily abuse countertops receive as well as stone. If you have been operating in a kitchen long enough, you understand that durability is priceless. Frequent remodels are not only costly but also frustrating.

That is why a durable material like a stone is not something you want to pass up. The key is to find a professional that can properly install it. You will save a lot both in terms of cost and the frustration of having to redo the kitchen now and then.

Easy to Maintain

Now if there is something that can get you worked up it is kitchen maintenance. Considering all the activities that take place on your countertop, getting it neat and appealing can be an enormous pain if you use the wrong material.

Although they can quickly accumulate dust and debris, cleaning a stone countertop is quite painless. Additionally, if it’s properly installed and sealed, you won’t need to refinish or sand it. Once it is installed, all you have to do is ensure that it is always kept clean. We can help you in this respect with our full range of cleaning and sealing services, specifically using MORE™ Surface Care products.

Has the Best Value

For homebuyers who are on a budget, great value is a top priority. If you look at the benefits we have already covered, there is no doubt that a stone countertop will bring the best home value. Think along the lines of durability, easy maintenance, and aesthetics.

All these are qualities that are guaranteed to boost the overall value of your home. To be honest, no other material can give you as much return on investment while adding a flair of sophistication to your kitchen.

Aesthetically Appealing

The benefits we have covered above are important. But if you choose a material that does not add to the general aesthetics of your kitchen, you may not be satisfied with it in the future. A great looking kitchen countertop is something many homeowners derive satisfaction from. Other materials may not give you everything you desire. If they are durable, they may not be aesthetically appealing and vice versa. The good news is, natural stone gives you everything you could want. The beauty of stone is undeniable, and there is no doubt it is going to give your countertop a touch of uniqueness and aesthetic appeal.

Conclusion

The material you choose for your kitchen countertop matters a lot. A stone countertop will serve you well and ensure that you enjoy a fabulous kitchen for a long time for the best value.

Natural stone surfaces provide beauty, elegance, and durability when properly installed in your home or office. These surfaces can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance, but even a material such as natural stone can be subject to etching from common household tasks:

  • A slight orange juice spill while your child prepares breakfast that goes unnoticed…are your children perfect cleaners when you’re not around?
  • Spilled wine on the counter or floor during a cocktail party…can you trust that every guest has perfect cleaning manners while you play host/hostess?
  • Hard water stains from an aggressive sink hose or bathroom faucet…will everyone using your facilities dry your surface ASAP?

Sealing is Not Enough to Prevent Etching

While stone sealers will work hard to protect your stone, they are still susceptible to acidic substances in everyday household items. An unattended spill of coffee, wine, soda, or orange juice can eat away at the surface and cause etching. It is important to note that etching is not a stain that can be easily wiped away. Etching refers to the dull spots left behind on natural stone that will mar your beautiful finish.

In addition to acidic substances, items such as toothpaste, lotion, or even household cleaning products can cause etching. Having to constantly remember the potential dangers these seemingly harmless items pose to etching your surface can be a frustrating endeavor.  You want to protect your investment for years to come, so enlisting the best defense from etching should be high on your list of safeguards.

The MORE™ AntiEtch™ Difference

MORE™ AntiEtch™ will stop etching on natural stone and provide you with peace of mind for your beautifully installed surface. This innovative product provides a durable, ultra-low visibility, and super thin coating to prevent etching and stains. Eliminate costly repairs down the road and enjoy the numerous benefits of MORE™ AntiEtch™ :

  • Stops etching and staining on your natural stone surfaces
  • Provides a crystal clear finish
  • Can be applied to marble, limestone, onyx, travertine, and concrete
  • Can be applied on horizontal or vertical surfaces, as well as honed, polished, and leathered surfaces
  • Low odor installation and environmentally friendly
  • Safe for food-contact surfaces
  • A zero porous product with no worries about germs or bacteria growing anywhere
  • Will not crack or peel after installation
  • Easy to maintain and repair
  • An extremely durable product with a 10 year expected wear timeframe

Protect your Costly Investment

Your investment in natural stone is a significant one for you and your family. Ensuring the surface finish remains pristine and visually stunning will keep your investment safeguarded for years to come. Even the most diligent care can still result in a few mistakes down the road, so why chance it on an item that will serve as a proud focal point for you and your family?

We at Castles Home Service are proud to offer MORE™ anti-etch coating to assist in keeping your natural stone looking stunning for years to come.