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All about Onyx

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Product Education

As more exotic natural stones begin to gain in popularity for floors, walls, and countertop installations, many homeowners are beginning to give onyx a second look. This wild and translucent stone has some very unique characteristics that make it desirable in a number of situations.

Onyx Marble

Chemically speaking onyx is actually a type of marble, a metamorphic stone made up primarily of calcite. Therefore you may find some crossover in how the onyx is labeled, either as onyx or onyx marble, and in the case of some stones such as Alba Chiara, the onyx may be labeled simply as marble.

Translucent Nature

One of the things that make onyx so unique is the fact that it is completely translucent. If you hold a piece to the light, you can see shadows and shapes right through it. Therefore, onyx is often installed as counters and columns that can be backlit for a modern and dramatic presentation.

Even when it is being installed in non-lit area, the translucency of onyx needs to be considered. Because the stone is so fragile, it is often reinforced with a fiberglass backing that may be seen through the stone. Additionally, any color other than white mortar may show through the onyx, dulling its color. Ridges dragged through the mortar may also be seen through the onyx if they are not smoothed out as part of the installation process.

Wild Variation

The other thing that makes onyx so unique and desirable is its incredibly wild color variation. Onyx can differ tremendously from piece to piece and even within one piece. Some onyx, such as Honey Onyx, merely displays its variation as different shades of the same color possibly mixed with white. Rainbow Onyx, or Red Multicolor Onyx, however may show several unusual colors within one piece. This can be challenging to blend during installation and a dry layout is recommended. Homeowners purchasing the stone should ask to see pictures of several pieces within one lot to get a good idea of the kind of variation they can expect so as not to be taken by surprise with the final installation. 

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Understanding Pebble Tiles

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Product Education

The ultimate in Zen bathroom designs often make use of pebble tiles on the floors or walls. These tiles have a smooth surface that provide a massage to the feet as you walk on them. They also present a soothing and tranquil appearance that complements spa bathroom styles. Get to know these tiles as potential flooring for your bath.

Origins and Appearance

Pebble tiles can come from anywhere, but most come from Indonesia, where they are gathered from beaches. The stones may vary in size, and most people find that the larger stones make better floor installations due to the way they feel underfoot.

The pebbles are usually sorted by color, with colors ranging from bright white to black, with many shades of gray, green, and tan available as well. Most pebbles come on mesh sheets of 12 or 16 inches with borders in 3, 4, and 6 inch widths as well.

Installation

The sheets of pebbles are usually meant to interlock with one another like puzzle pieces. This creates the most seamless installation; when installed properly, you should not be able to see the outline of the various sheets.

The pebbles are installed like any stone mosaic in a bed of white latex-additive thinset mortar that has had the ridges smoothed out. The sheets are beaten into the bed for a uniform installation.

The difference in the installation of the pebbles versus other mosaics is in the grouting. The pebbles require usually twice as much grout as other mosaics because the grout needs to settle slightly below the pebbles, as well as around them. The finished installation should have the grout extending to just below the curve of the pebbles to allow them to be felt underfoot.

Care

Like most natural stone, the pebbles to need to be sealed to protect them from staining. If desired, a color enhancing sealer can also be used to deepen their color. Otherwise, the colors will deepen in color when wet, and lighten again when dry.

Consider using pebble tiles on your bathroom floor or walls. Whether you use them everywhere or sparingly, the effect is always striking.

Product Spotlight: Caprice

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Ceramic / Porcelain Tile, Kitchen and Bath, Product Education, Tile

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 4.06.27 PMAre you looking for an accent or backsplash inspiration?

Caprice by Dal-Tile is our product spotlight this week.  It’s a glass tile product.

This product would look great used as a backsplash in a bathroom (like the image to the left) or in the kitchen.  You could also put it in the shower as an accent strip.  Where do you envision this in your home?

Caprice comes in eight different colors! Which out of the eight colors pictured below is your favorite?  Do you like the lighter or darker options?  The lighter colors would look great against a dark counter top for contrast and vice versa for the darker colors against a light counter top.  If you want to bring in a subtle color into the room, Whisper Green might just be the choice for you.

Take a closer look at our website here.

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Contrast Blend

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Creme Soda

Crimson Blend

Crimson Blend

Ice White

Ice White

Kinetic Khaki

Kinetic Khaki

Mink Blend

Mink Blend

Vanilla Blend

Vanilla Blend

Whisper Green

Whisper Green

What Makes a Flooring Products ‘Green’?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Green Flooring, Product Education, Tips

Due to a growing awareness of the effects of global warming, many homeowners are now supporting the idea of going green by using materials for their home and flooring products that are good for the environment.

So What Makes a Flooring Product ‘Green’?

· Renewable Resource. If the flooring is made from material that is easily renewable, then it is considered an eco-friendly flooring product. An example of this green flooring is bamboo. Bamboo takes just 5 to 6 years before it matures so it can be harvested repeatedly for many years. Cork is also a flooring product that is a renewable resource, as it is made from the bark of a cork oak tree, and nothing is harmed in the manufacturing of cork floors.

· Made from Recycled Materials. Recycling is another method that can help save the environment. Instead of throwing away old material, which adds to our landfill problems, recycled items can be recycled and put to good use. Reclaimed wood flooring that is taken from old homes, barns and buildings for demolition, create a rustic feel giving your home a unique look.

· Made from Natural Products. Natural products are good for the environment, as they don’t emit harmful chemicals that can damage and pollute the earth and atmosphere. An example of flooring that is made from natural products is linoleum. Linoleum is made from linseed oil, pine resin, and cork which are not harmful to mother earth.

There are now many options available for green flooring. They are affordable, beautiful and most of all environment friendly. Go green!

Century Tile – Pete The Pro

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in About Us, Ceramic / Porcelain Tile, Pete the Pro, Product Education

Some of you like to do home improvements on your own, or at least you want to understand the process of laying tile, preparing a sub floor, knowing what tools are needed and which adhesive works best. But who has time to spend hours on-line or at your nearby hardware store trying desperately to find someone who may know a little something?

Fear not, Century Tile has “Pete the Pro”. Pete Lettecci, also known as “Pete the Pro” has installed ceramic tile for over 30 years. Since 1995 he has shared his knowledge and experience training Century’s staff and conducting 240 customer installation-training seminars. In his free time Pete responds to customer inquiries and tests potential new tools, setting materials and products.

Even if you don’t have time to check out one of Pete’s seminars, and they are quite useful, Pete has a series of videos on our website. He also has a list of commonly asked questions with very detailed answers. If you have a question that is not listed, you can post it and Pete will respond. How cool is that? A pro at your fingertips.

Pete teaches several workshops a week at each of our locations. He teaches classes at 7pm during the week and at 11am on Saturdays.

Please come and meet “Pete the Pro” or post your question on line. We want to help you make your ceramic tile project as easy as possible.

Wool Carpet – Pros and Cons

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Carpet, Product Education, Wool Carpet

Up through the end of WWII, Alexander Smith & Sons of Yonkers New York was one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers, producing up to 26,000 square yards of woven wool carpets per day. Wool, one of nature’s most brilliant products has been used in textile production since 4,000 BC! However, when nylon was introduced during WWII, wool carpets quickly lost their position of supremacy. From that time on, wool carpets have accounted for only a fraction of the carpet market, but they still incite desire for their richness, safety and beauty.

When it comes to hiding soil, wool performs wonderfully. Even when they do get dirty, wool carpets readily return to their natural beauty with most standard commercial cleaning methods. Another key to wool’s success is its ability to retain its beauty for 20 years or more. When constructed well and maintained reasonably, wool will never “ugly out” like nylon or polyester. And, because of its affinity for dyes, you can find some of the deepest and richest colors in wool carpets. Finally, wool is a safe carpet, recognized as non-allergenic and will not burn (wool self-extinguishes).

A down side to wool carpets is the expense. One more caution is that because of its affinity for dyes, wool carpets may also be a bit more susceptible to stain agents like red wine or fruit drinks. Nonetheless, if you have the budget and the ability to protect your carpet from stain agents, wool is a luxurious carpet that will serve you well for many, many years!

Lyptus Hardwood

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood and Laminate, Product Education

Lyptus hardwood products are an excellent option we’d like to tell you about if you are looking for an exotic species grown to sustainable forest certification standards. Lyptus offers all of the benefits expected of a tropical hardwood, Lyptus hardwood is ideal for cabinetry, millwork, furniture and flooring applications.

Why Lyptus?

Eucalyptus trees grow quickly and can be harvested within 14-16 years of planting. Because these trees are manually pruned during their growing years, logs coming into the mill are more uniform and have fewer knots. This in turn results in high conversion rates of logs to clear lumber. It’s also available in solid or engineered flooring.

Our engineered flooring is also a good environmental choice. The plywood base is made from native trees harvested under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and meets the new California Air Resources Board (CARB) formaldehyde regulations. Virtually every inch of every log is put to good use — even the residuals are used as fuel.

Engineered

Available in 3 ¼- and 5-inch widths, its standard tongue-and-groove construction allows it tobe stapled, glued down or floated. It is well suited for any area of your home, including below-grade spaces and rooms with radiant heat.

Their engineered flooring is also a good environmental choice. The plywood base is made from native trees harvested under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and meets the new California Air Resources Board (CARB) formaldehyde regulations. Virtually every inch of every log is put to good use — even the residuals are used as fuel.

Choose from a palette of six rich colors and varied strip lengths to create a living space that’s uniquely yours and can endure for years to come.

Thickness ½”
Widths/lengths 3 ¼” wide / 1′ to 4′ long
5″ wide / 1′ to7′ long
Wear Layer 1/8″ solid-sawn face; can be sanded and refinished
Warranty 25-year Limited Finish Warranty from Weyerhaeuser for residential applications, 3-year for light commercial

Solid Strip

Lyptus solid hardwood flooring is harder than oak, less expensive than walnut, and as beautiful as Brazilian cherry. Available unfinished or in six pre-finished colors, it complements the most stylish interiors.

Its tongue-and-groove construction, natural hardness, and aluminum-oxide finish yield long-standing durability, while its low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels makes it a healthier choice for your household than many other flooring options.

Thickness ¾”
Widths 2 ¼”, 3″, 4″
Lengths From 11″ to 88″
Warranty 25-year Limited Finish Warranty from the manufacturer

Come check out samples in our showrooms. We don’t stock this material, but can order it for you to arrive in just a few days!

Carpet Fiber Options: Nylon

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Carpet, Product Education

Nylon exploded onto the scene as a synthetic fiber when silk became scarce during WWII. Needing parachutes and other military fabrics, textile chemists and engineers at DuPont created a replacement fiber, which has today become the fiber of choice for a significant portion of carpet sold throughout the world! Because of its strength and durability, manufacturers in both the commercial and residential markets create beautiful carpet from nylon fibers.

Since its debut about 60 years ago as a carpet fiber, little has changed in nylon’s basic chemical makeup. What have changed are the dyeing, construction and finishing technologies. As a result, today’s nylon carpet products perform exceptionally well, whether in loop or cut-pile (plush) constructions.

Colorfastness is one of the strengths of nylon fiber. Solution-dyed nylon (where color is introduced while the fiber is still in its liquid state prior to extrusion) is nearly impervious to fading from direct sun or even bleach! Because of the latest stain protection technologies, nylon dyed after extrusion is also extremely colorfast, though it must still be protected from direct sunlight or bleach exposure.

When nylon carpets are constructed, installed and maintained well, they retain their original shape and appearance – providing years of useful life. They resist staining and soiling, and respond well to most commercial cleaning methods. The truth is that because of its chemical structure, nylon will never actually wear out; it simply “uglies out” at the end of its useful life.

Carpet Fiber Overview

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Carpet, Product Education

Mainstream fiber choices haven’t changed much over the past twenty years! Wool still reigns at the top of the list, since for the last thousand years or so, it has thrived as a successful (though perhaps a bit more expensive) carpet fiber. The latest generations of nylon and polyester are solid choices as well. In upcoming entries, each of the fibers will be highlighted in it’s own post.

Wool, with it’s distinctive beauty, charm, and gracious wear characteristics, is still king o’ the hill for the “I Want!” lists. While nylon “uglies out” as it ages, wool looks good year after year. In fact, with basic maintenance, wool carpets perform superbly for 20 years or more. Wool may occasionally wear out – literally, yet still look great. We’ve seen beautiful 30-year-old wool carpets – with only one or two threadbare spots where there was high traffic.

Nylon has been a wonderful second choice for 50 years. Today’s nylon carpets are attractive, stain resistant, and high-performing at a great value. With standard maintenance, and installed over a quality pad, nylon carpet will perform well for 10 – 20 years.

Polyester, once known for poor performance, has made a significant comeback and now accounts for up to one-fourth of residential carpet sales. Its draw is price. Insure performance by asking for yarn with multiple plies and multiple twists.