Some Really, REALLY Big Tile—Ceramic Slab

Bring together tiles and countertops – not backsplashes, but kitchen work areas and vanity surfaces – and it’s often a case of love before the install and remorse long before the next remodel. I know some people make it work, but it’s a rare job among the many that doesn’t go south quickly. Whether it’s

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Lamitech Captures Nature’s Contemporary Woods

Lamitech, the largest manufacturer of high pressure laminates in Latin America, introduces two new wood grain designs that represent the current natural trend of raw, stripped down hues found in untreated natural wood. These laminates include; Neutral Oak, a modern wood lined with warm sand, tan, khaki and wheat tones, and Natural Elm with pronounced

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LEED Stirs Up Controversy

By Emerson Schwartzkopf Think the fightin’ words are over with November’s presidential elections? Not at the U.S. Green Building Council, where nerves continue to be sharp after some public questioning of its role in green building practices. The non-profit USGBC is the touch point of the sustainable building movement with its Leadership in Energy and

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Is Engineered Stone Driving The Market Train?

It’s one of the oldest marketing clichés to find a new angle for an item: a different name, redesigned packaging or an added ingredient, and call it the “Product of the Future” in a must-have-it frenzy. And, almost without fail, it’s forgotten next year. But, can a product – or a line of products –

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How Does Your Surface Rate?

Customers and fabricators often lament the lack of a good, straightforward comparison of countertop surfaces. Sure, everyone’s seen the standard good-and-bad summaries — and the myths within gaining new life with each mention — but why can’t anyone rate the materials? Look no further than the gold standard of product testing: Consumer Reports. The non-profit

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Laminate: Going for Looks

It’s the classic champagne-on-a-beer-budget dilemma: Deliver the look of natural stone, but avoid running up the cost. Laminate makers are offering some interesting choices, although these alternative surfaces are mainly a matter of appearances. Providing a manmade option to granite, marble and other stone is a decades-old challenge that manufacturers met with mixed, and often

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The Coverings Factor

When it comes to countertop surfaces, one U.S. trade show tends to get the most attention: the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). Last month, plenty of designers (and the crowd that follows them) made tracks to Chicago for the 2012 edition of the show. What the vast majority of them missed however, was the

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A Different Way to Drain

With all the surfaces for surfaces for countertops or vanities – and more choices for backsplashes and trim – sinks usually fall into two options: stainless steel in the kitchen and porcelain in the bathroom. There’s no reason, though, to settle for the standard choices in a drop-in format. There’s nothing wrong with stainless steel

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The Richest Mix

When it comes to alternatives surfaces, there’s one type of material on the market that’s made of natural stone … but it isn’t.   It’s not quarried and cut from blocks, although it’s readily available by the slab. Nor is the surface mixed, molded and thermoformed in batches of precise colors – yet it’s man-made.

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Poring It On

When making comparisons with stone, manufacturers of alternative surfaces often play the Care Card: Liquids literally roll off our tops with no maintenance required, while granite, marble, limestone et al need sealing at least once a year, if not twice. And, there are numbers – following recognized, standardized tests – to help back the low-

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