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Refinishing is the best alternative to replacement for your bathtubs, tile and countertops!
Refinishing is the best alternative to replacement for your bathtubs, tile and countertops!


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Documented early plumbing systems for bathing go back as far as around 3300 BC with the discovery of copper water pipes beneath a palace in the Indus Valley Civilization of ancient India. Evidence of the earliest surviving personal sized bath tub was found on the Isle of Crete where a 1.5-metre (5 ft) long pedestal tub was found built from hardened pottery.

The clawfoot tub, which reached the apex of its popularity in the late 19th century; had its origins in the mid 18th century, where the ball and claw design originated in Holland, possibly artistically inspired by the Chinese motif of a dragon holding a precious stone. The design spread to England where it found much popularity among the aristocracy, just as bathing was becoming increasingly fashionable.

Early bathtubs in England tended to be made of cast iron, or even tin and copper with a face of paint applied that tended to peel with time.
The Scottish-born inventor David Buick invented a process for bonding porcelain enamel to cast iron in the 1880s while working for the Alexander Manufacturing Company in Detroit. The company, as well as others including Kohler Company and J. L. Mott Iron Works, began successfully marketing porcelain enameled cast-iron bathtubs, a process that remains broadly the same to this day. Far from the ornate feet and luxury most associated with clawfoot tubs, an early Kohler example was advertised as a "horse trough/hog scalder, when furnished with four legs will serve as a bathtub." The item's use as hog scalder was considered a more important marketing point than its ability to function as a bathtub.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the once popular clawfoot tub morphed into a built-in tub with a small apron front. This enclosed style afforded easier maintenance and, with the emergence of colored sanitary ware, more design options for the homeowner. The Crane Company introduced colored bathroom fixtures to the US market in 1928, and slowly this influx of design options and easier cleaning and care led to the near demise of clawfoot-style tubs.

Slipper tub
The clawfoot tub or claw-foot tub was considered a luxury item in the late 19th century, originally made from cast iron and lined with porcelain. Modern technology has contributed to a drop in the price of clawfoot tubs, which may now be made of fiberglass, acrylic or other modern materials. Clawfoot tubs usually require more water than a standard bathtub, because generally they are larger. While true antique clawfoot tubs are still considered collectible items, new reproduction clawfoot tubs are chosen by remodellers and new home builders[2] and much like the Western-style bathtubs, clawfoot tubs can also include a variety of shower head options.

Clawfoot tubs come in 4 major styles:

Classic roll rim tubs, also called roll top tubs or flat rim tubs as seen in the picture above.

Slipper tubs - where one end is raised and sloped creating a more comfortable lounging position.

Double slipper tubs - where both ends are raised and sloped.

Double ended tubs - where both ends of the tub are rounded. Notice how one end of the classic tub is rounded and one is fairly flat.
Pedestal tubs - rests on a pedestal in what most would term an art deco style. Evidence of pedestal tubs dates back to the Isle of Crete in 1000 BC.

Baby bathtub - Wooden bathtubs for children and infants in Haikou, Hainan, China. A baby bathtub is one used for bathing infants, especially those not yet old enough to sit up on their own. These can be either a small, stand-alone bath that is filled with water from another source, or a device for supporting the baby that is placed in a standard bathtub. Many are designed to allow the baby to recline while keeping its head out of the water.

Hot tubs - Are common heated pools used for relaxation and sometimes for therapy. The "hippie" era (1967–1980) popularized them in America in songs and movies.

Whirlpool tubs - First became popular in America during the 1960s and 70s. A spa or hot tub is also called a "jacuzzi" since the word became a generic after plumbing component manufacturer Jacuzzi introduced the "Spa Whirlpool" in 1968. Air bubbles may be introduced into the nozzles via an air-bleed venturi pump.
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How to Remove Efflorescence

In chemistry, efflorescence (which means "to flower out" in French), is the migration of a salt to the surface of a porous material, where it forms a coating. The essential process comprises the dissolving of an internally-held salt in water, or occasionally in another solvent.

Prevent Next

Time is often the best cure for efflorescence. On a slab, such as a basement or garage floor, or on patio blocks, for example, wear and foot traffic will eventually remove the discoloration. New building bloom on a brick or stucco wall will usually not reappear if washed away by rain or brushed off by the homeowner. Especially on naturally colored concrete, where the white deposits hardly show, just waiting for it to wear off might be your best bet. If you're itching to take some sort of action, though, there are a few options:

1. Simple washing can sometimes remove efflorescence, scrub with a stiff brush and mild detergent or plain water. Efflorescence is most soluble when it first appears, so sooner is better than later if you want to try this approach. Just wetting efflorescence can make the film seem to go away (it actually becomes transparent), but you'll need to apply some elbow grease to do a thorough job. Always be sure to rinse thoroughly, If you leave dissolved salts on the surface, they'll return as new efflorescence.

Power washing also can be effective in removing surface deposits. Keep the pressure as low as you can to do the job. A spray that's too intense may actually open pores in concrete or brick and encourage further efflorescence.

2. Sand blasting is effective, but should be used with care. The abrasion may damage surfaces, making bricks and mortar more porous. If you choose to try sand blasting, seal the surface you're working on after you're done.

3. Chemical cleaning might be needed for some cases of efflorescence. However, always soak the surface with water before using chemicals in order to keep the cleaner from penetrating into the stone and further opening pores that encourage efflorescence. If you choose this strategy, you can follow the directions of one of the proprietary cleaners on the market, or you can use diluted muriatic acid, citric acid or vinegar. Make sure you wear gloves and goggles when handling acids or cleaners. After cleaning, neutralize the acid with a baking soda solution and finish by washing the surface thoroughly with water. Acid cleaning may discolor stained concrete, so test it on a small section first.

A general rule for cleaning efflorescence is to try gentle methods first before moving on to harsher techniques. But really, the best approach to dealing with efflorescence is to keep it from forming in the first place.
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How can this be?

If you have dirty tile, mold and mildew stains on the grout, this is a slow moving process of grime accumulation snuck up on your bathroom and it's not really your fault! Dirty tile and grout stains can creep up on everyone, one day the tile is clean and the next day the grime seemingly covers the entire bathroom. No doubt you are thinking about hours of back breaking labor, scrubbing with a small brush into nooks and crannies-time slowly passing. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Your bathroom tub, shower floors and walls start out in perfect shape and of course it would be nice to keep it that way. Cleaning tile and grout to bring back its former glow can be a hard job but with a little guidance the process will become less painful for you.

What is Grout?

Grout is a mixture of sand and binders that hold it together. Grout comes in many different colors and is used to fill in the empty areas between tiles covering tub or shower floors and walls. Grout is porous nature and small uneven surfaces not seen by the naked eye can trap all the dirty, grimy things in your shower. Soap scum builds and mold and bacteria thrive on the debris. All mold mildew needs is an unventilated, warm, damp area and a place to cling. This grime builds up and hides the true color of the tile and make your white grout not-so-white.

Common Problems Affecting Tile and Grout

Mold and Mildew, Hard Water Spots, Discoloration and Soap Residue.

1. Harder is not better. In order to avoid scratching the tile or damaging the grout when cleaning your bathroom, scrub the area in small circle with a soft bristle brush. Don't use a wire brush to clean it.

2. Sometimes stains will just wipe away! You don't always have to pull out the strongest cleaners and stiffest bristle brushes to clean tile remove stains. Try wiping the tile or grout using a rag first- if the stain is too tough then move up to using a brush.

3. Use the right product for your type of tile and grout. When using a product for the first time check the product label to see if this is safe to use both for your grout and tile. Whatever you use to clean the grout can affect the surface of the tile. These two areas are connected so there should be some consideration as to what cleaning product is used.

4. Test your cleaning products in a small inconspicuous area. The reason for doing this is to make sure that your cleaning solution doesn’t damage or discolor your tile or grout. This is especially true if you have colored grout, some products can cause the color to change or fade.


Vinegar is a natural product, acidic and a deodorizer to name just a few things. If you have simple stains or basic dirt from day to day use, it works well on ceramic or glass tiles.

Mix in a spray bottle:

2 cups warm water

2 cups plain white vinegar

1 tsp. liquid dish detergent (like dawn)

·The vinegar cleaning solution leaves no residue and can cut through grease, soap scum or other stains. Acidic vineger is effective at removing hard water or mineral deposits formed on tile walls, floors and even shower doors.

·Loosen the dirt from the areas you want to clean with a soft bristle brush and rinse with clean warm water.

·Spray the area with the cleaning solution.

·Let the solution sit on the tile for about 15 minutes

·Use a soft bristle brush to clean in between the tiles to remove dirt. You can old toothbrush to clean tight areas like the corners and help the vinegar do its job.

·Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

·Don’t use vinegar on any real marble, granite, travertine or other natural stone.

·Vinegar can etch the surface and cause permanent damage. If you don’t know the material that is grouted double check with the manufacturer or installer. Some etching on natural tile looks good but only if it is meant to be there.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

If you are dealing with more than simple stains or day to day dirt, baking soda has some extra cleaning power that should do the trick.

Baking soda is a alkaline cleaner, deodorizer and a mild abrasive. It's a very effective way to clean many different surfaces.

Make a paste:

3/4 cup of baking soda

1/4 cup household strength (3%) hydrogen peroxide.

1 Tbs. liquid dish soap or shampoo.

·Don't make more than you need because it loses its effectiveness quickly. With the paste you can fill in the grout and let it sit to get rid of any hard stains that won’t come out with just a rub down from your cleaning rag.

·Use a soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush (for detailed cleaning of grout lines) to avoid wearing away at the grout or scratching your tile. Through experience you will get to know your floors- what cleaners your tile work can take and what it cannot!

·Use a soft bristle brush and lightly apply the cleaner on the stained tile or grout.

·Use an old toothbrush to ensure that the cleaner is applied to cracks and crevasses in the grout.

·Let the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and soap mixture sit for about 15 minutes.

·Rinse the tile completely with warm or hot water.

·Use a clean rag or washcloth to pick up any residue that remains on the tiles.

·Rinse one last time for extra shine.

Chlorine Bleach

Bleach is a great stain remover and will whiten and brighten grout. Make sure the area is well ventilated to avoid breathing any vapors.

Mix a simple solution:

1 cup of bleach

3 cups of water

1 Tbs. shampoo (since it's handy)

·Spray this solution on the surface of the tile and grout and let it sit for about 15 minutes to remove deep stains from your tile work.

·After sitting for a few minutes wipe down your tile with a wet cloth and use a brush on any areas that have not come clean from just soaking.

·Rinse the area well to remove all traces of bleach. Bleach residue will make the tub or shower floor very slippery if it's not removed completely (I know that from experience!)

·Don't mix any other cleaning product with bleach. Ammonia or acids will react with bleach and cause hazardous gases to form.
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Tips on Buying the Best Bathroom Accessories

Everyone would surely love to have a bathroom that is not only comfortable but is also beautiful. That could be the reason why homeowners grab certain bathroom accessories. But of course, the function of these accessories matters first before its aesthetic impact to the entire bathroom. In designing a bathroom, the question of what one may need to buy or what one may want to buy would surely arise. You can’t just go on shopping for these items without a minute idea on what to grab. So, allow us to give you some guidance on how you can choose bathroom accessories.

If you have decided to remodel your bathroom or just decorate it, then this post would be helpful for you. For sure, you would grab new bathroom accessories and you would also not want to waste your money on just anything. You would not want to buy something lesser than what you are actually eyeing to acquire. Hence, read on and use our guide in choosing and buying the best bathroom accessories for your home.

1. Know your budget.
Know your budget
Of course, it would always be important for you to know how much you’re your budget is. This will allow you to choose the ones that would suit your bathroom and would also be within the bracket of your budget allotted for it. For sure, you would not like to splurge too much if you have only enough. So, budget well and get bathroom accessories that are of good quality and affordable price.

2. Know what you need.
Know what you need
Before you start shopping, make sure that you already know what you really need. Look at your bathroom and check what needs to be placed there. Also, you need to consider your usage being the homeowner. Do not get those which you do not use. Only buy accessories that are important.

3. Do not be brand conscious.
Do not be brand conscious
When buying bathroom accessories, it would not really be necessary to think about brands. Most people would think that if the brand is popular, it is the best buy. There are times that it isn’t really the item with the best quality. Look into every item well and not just the brand. See to it that you have also considered the function of the items that you are about to buy. Make sure that it suits to your needs. It is not the brand that really matters.

4. Look for affordable items of good quality.
Look for affordable items of good quality
Another misconception of buyers is that when it costs more, it means that it is better. Actually, that is wrong because there are a lot of other items that are cheaper and even better. So, be a smart buyer. Carefully look at the item’s details and prices so that you will be able to get a good one in an affordable price.

5. Consider your available space.
Consider your available space
You might buy some accessories that would eat up a lot of space even if your bathroom is just small. So, look into the available space so that you won’t be able to purchase items that will only crowd your bathroom. Remember that it is the function that matters most and not the look.

6. Prioritize necessary accessories.
Prioritize necessary accessories
Not all accessories are actually important. Some of them don’t have to be purchased. In buying, see to it that you buy the necessary ones before you buy those which are not so needed. Do not ever forget to buy sinks, faucets, showers, floor drains, and others. See to it that the accessories that you truly need are bought first. Also, make sure it would fit your style and would serve a good purpose.

7. Choose apt faucets and showerheads.
Choose apt faucets and showerheads
Make sure that your faucets and showerheads would complement with your bathroom fixtures. If you have used a sink and tub that are streamlined, then use faucets and shower heads that would go along with it to get a modern look like a goose neck faucet. If your fixtures are embellished, then you can get porcelain-brass combos for a traditional look. Also, look into how effective are your chosen faucets and showerheads.

8. Choose plain style or neutral colors.
Choose plain style or neutral colors
If you plan to change your bathroom theme from time to time, then it would be wise if you use neutral colors and plain styles. This way, you won’t have to buy accessories whenever you intend to change your bathroom’s look. You can buy a basic porcelain bathtub, toilet and sink.

9. Choose lighting well.
Choose lighting well
Some may not consider lighting as part of the accessories but you would nod on its value for the bathroom. It is a very vital accessory and can even create a totally great feel for your bathroom. Choose lighting that would illuminate your bathroom and could also give it a good look. You can use wall sconces, pendants and others. Your choice of lighting actually depends on the size of the bathroom.

10. Buy other bathroom accessories.
Buy other bathroom accessories
After you have bought the necessary ones, you can now add other bathroom accessories which include the soap dish, toothbrush holder, towel hanger, shower curtains, and others. But do not place those which are not really needed because it will only clutter your bathroom and will also make it appear too crowded.
In buying bathroom accessories, you have to see to it if what you are buying is worth the cost. Always consider the condition of your bathroom, the space available, the budget you have and the functions you need. Also, aside from looking at the quality of the items, you can also check if how long the warranty of the items is. The design concept of the bathroom is also an important consideration-if it is a modern bathroom, a contemporary or a traditional one. Enough knowledge on the items you will buy is also a good factor for you to choose the best bathroom accessories.
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How to Re Glaze Acrilic Tubs
Replacing your bathtub costs hundreds of dollars in materials and sometimes thousands more in labor. Although professional tub re-glazing -- commonly known as refinishing -- and re-lining services can cut the investment in half, they still cost a pretty penny and should only be attempted by licensed contractors. As an economical alternative, do-it-yourself acrylic bathtub refinishing kits allow you to restore your tub, smoothing out nicks, removing stains and restoring the glaze to its former luster. Choose a kit with a glossy epoxy finish to give your tub a glazed look.


Remove any caulk around the perimeter of the tub. Apply a caulk remover to soften it. Slice the caulk with a utility knife. Dig out stubborn strips with needle-nose pliers or a paint scraper. Clean the formerly caulked areas with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth.


Remove the tub's drain cover. Remove faucets and fixtures, or tape them off with masking tape or painter's tape. Mask the perimeter of the bathtub to avoid staining your bathroom walls.


Scrub the entire surface of the bathtub thoroughly with a bleach and water solution and a non-abrasive pad to remove dirt, grime and mildew. Rinse the tub clean and allow it air dry. Ventilate your work area as much as possible. Open any bathroom windows and turn on all available fans. This helps the drying process and reduces your exposure to chemical fumes.


Sand the entire surface of the tub with 400-grit or 600-grit sandpaper. Rinse away residue and allow the tub to air dry completely. Remove excess dust and residue with a tack cloth.


Fill any pits or dings with an acrylic body filler. Smooth the filler out with a putty knife until it is even with the surface of the tub. Allow the filler to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Sand the dried filler and remove the dust with a tack cloth.


Apply a bonding agent. Spray on a urethane finish with a high-volume, low-pressure paint sprayer. Professional grade bonding agents and finishes are dangerous and available only to professionals, so utilize Step 6 only if you are a professional contractor. If you're not, skip to Step 7.


Mix the epoxy included in your acrylic bathtub refinishing kit according to the manufacturer's directions. This typically involves combining and stirring the included activator and base.


Apply the epoxy to the surface of the tub using a fine-bristled varnish brush. Make strokes in one direction, overlapping the edges of each new stroke to prevent the appearance of hard lines. You can also apply the epoxy with a short-nap roller or a paint sprayer. If using a sprayer, thin the epoxy according to the manufacturer's instructions. Hold the sprayer about 8 to 12 inches from the surface of the tub, and spray in a slow, back-and-forth motion.


Allow the first coat to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions, and apply a second coat. Let the epoxy finish dry completely according to the instructions before running water or using your bathtub. It may take days for the bathtub to dry completely, so plan accordingly.


Re-apply caulk with a caulk gun loaded with tub and tile caulk. Use caulk with fungicide to prevent fungus and mildew. Once the caulk has dried, replace your tub's drains and fixtures and remove the tape.
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Soaker tubs are part of the dream home and owning a small bathroom doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the aroma, sensation and relaxation of a good soaker tub.

While small bathrooms certainly make it difficult, there are special soaker tubs on the market designed for smaller bathrooms. What they lose in depth or width, they make up in both comfort and price.

To accommodate your small bathroom, the following eight small tubs are five feet long (or less) and cost less than $1,000. While the average price to install a bathtub is $2,300, these specialty-designed soaker tubs will surely cost less, even if you hire a professional.

Archer Deep Soaker

A few models would fall on our list of soaker tubs designed for small bathrooms, Archer Deep Soaker comes with lumbar arches within the tub to fit your body’s natural figure. In addition to it, beveled edges and curved base, the Archer comes with a lower wall to step over, great for kids and the elderly. To make up for the height, you can purchase an extra overflow attachment to ensure no water makes its way out of the tub.

The tub measures 19” high, 32” wide and 60” long. While taller adults may not be able to fit most of their body below, many will enjoy resting away in this deep soaker.


Expanse is another tub designed for small baths across the globe. The curved basin and integral apron add a sense of elegance to your bathroom. With its 60”x30”x17” dimensions, much like the Archer above, the Expanse tub lets you stretch out and forget your daily struggles as you wash away in your gentle, yet compact tub. While it’s modern design lends itself to contemporary or modern homes, many designers have found ways to integrate these great soakers in more traditional remodels.


This cast iron tub comes in at 59”x27.5”x16.75”. The narrow footprint and clean lines make it ideal for skinny bathrooms, but it stills gives you the relaxing aroma of a soaker tub.

The polished finish, along with its cast iron material, drive the cost up to $1,240 (comes with adjustable pop-up drain), but eFaucets lists the small soaker at $931.


The Villager line is the most popular soaker tubs with all the bells and whistles that come with their larger tubs. The cast iron design, along with its 60”x30.25”x14” dimensions, allow for extra room to stretch out and soak for hours. Given its dimensions, some homeowners may not be able to install the Villager.

Colony Tub

The American Standard’s Colony is built from acrylic, reinforced with fiberglass. The tub sits at five feet long, but comes with six jets and even a 1.25 HP motor to deliver a relaxing massage right in your own home. While the drain is not included.

Standard Collection Tub

Traditional fans rejoice, as the Standard Collection tub is the perfect 1920’s inspired bathtub ideal for small bathrooms across the country. Much like the Whirlpool line mentioned above, the Standard comes with a generous backrest, is made from acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement and an integral apron. The Standard measures 60”x32”x20” which is well aligned with many of the tubs mentioned in this article.

Evolution Bathtub

The Evolution, comes in at 60"x32”x 21.5”, a little deeper than the previous two tubs. The evolution comes with all the same features, including dual armrests for added comfort and is listed at $859. Please note that if you do purchase this bathtub, you will need a Max Drain that allows for three inches or more of water.

Aloha Soaking Tub in White

If you will not find a cheaper yet, more comfortable and effective tub on the market, Bootz’s 60” bathtub offers a full-length soaking tub with both porcelain tile and steel below. The high gloss porcelain finish is resistant to abrasion, burns and discoloration.
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Does your bathroom feel a little snug? It’s probably not your imagination. Although the average size of bathrooms in new homes has almost doubled, bathrooms in many older houses have remained at their original 5- by-8-foot size due to lack of space or budget for remodeling.

If you’re stuck with a small bathroom, don’t despair. You can increase the physical space – and the perception of space – thanks to these tips from Kohler Design Center designer Diana Schrage.

1. Keep it cornered.
Small bathrooms need to make use of all available space, so install shelving or build your storage units into the corner. Corners provide extra inches, and allow you to create unique design solutions.

2. Downsize your toilet.
Consider replacing your old toilet with a compact elongated model. It's the same size as a round-front toilet but provides the comfort of an elongated seat. Plus, newer toilets use less water, making them friendlier to the environment.

3. Stick with solid colors.
In a small bathroom, busy patterns can overpower and appear to shrink the space. Light, natural tones lend an open, spacious feel. If you want to get creative, play with textures rather than patterns. Keep prints light and to a minimum. If you really yearn to go bold, the powder room is a better choice for showing off your style.

4. Maximize your bath.
Consider installing a bathtub that’s designed to make the most of small spaces. TheExpanse® bath has a uniquely curved basin, while its standard size makes it perfect for easy updating and renovation. There’s even a coordinating curved shower rodavailable in three styles.

5. Choose a smaller faucet.
Change your sink faucet to a space-saving, single-hole model.

6. Streamline the shower.
Choose a sliding shower door or shower screen. Sliding doors don't require space for door clearance, and the clear glass acts like a window, creating the perception of even more space.

7. Downsize the vanity.
Save real and perceived space by installing a smaller vanity, a pedestal sink or a wall-mounted sink. Even if they're not particularly small, console tables help expand the perception of space thanks to their slender legs. If you choose to forego a vanity, you'll want to add shelving to make up for lost storage.

8. Take the tub down a notch.
Consider replacing your old tub with a lower-walled model to help open up sightlines and make the bathroom look more expansive. Try a 5-foot tub with a flat bottom. They're perfect for showering, but still deep enough for a pleasant bath.

9. Adjust your view
Consider hanging your cabinet at a more comfortable height (around 34 or 36 inches) to avoid unnecessary bending. If possible, use niche shelving and a mirrored medicine cabinet to remove bulky furniture.
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Choosing a Bathroom Vanity Top

If you’re looking for a bathroom countertop—usually called a vanity top—look for something that will stand up to water, soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, and alcohol- and acetone-based liquids. Replacing a vanity top is a feasible do-it-yourself project since you don't have to replace the whole vanity cabinet if you don't want to. Most bathroom vanity tops are surfaced with one of the following five materials.

Granite and marble
Solid surface material
Granite and Marble

Though marble and granite are unrivaled for their beauty, at $125 to $250 per running, or linear, foot (as measured from one end of the counter to the other), these classic materials warrant careful thought. Also, while marble stains easily, granite shrugs off most stains, except grease, especially if the granite is unsealed. If a solid sheet of stone for your coun­tertop is beyond your budget, granite or marble tiles may be substituted at a lower cost.

Cultured marble is less expensive and is made from real chips of natural marble embedded in plastic. It's available in sheet form and in standard counter dimensions of 19 and 22 inches deep. Cultured marble comes with or without a wash basin molded into it, for $50 to $80 per running foot, installed. Although easy to clean, cultured marble must be well cared for. Once scratched, it cannot be resurfaced. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for what type of finish to apply to cultured marble to best protect it.


At an installed price of $24 to $50 per running foot, laminate offers good value and per­formance. As a result, it’s the most widely used countertop material in bathrooms, just as it is in kitchens. Various manufacturers market laminates under different brand names, but they're all based on the same principle—a stack of thin plastic layers bonded together under heat and pressure. Laminate countertops clean easily and are resis­tant to water and stain. However, laminates can burn, wear thin, and dull over time. Hard blows can chip or dent the plastic, and there's no remedy short of replacement.

Available in many colors and patterns, lami­nate finishes range in texture from high-gloss smoothness to a mottled, leather-like look. Dealers usually have a few standard patterns in stock; you can view color chips in the store to order others

Do-it-yourselfers can buy prefabricated lami­nate vanity tops or have them made to order with a hole for the sink cut where needed. Installing the finished countertop is a fairly easy matter. You can apply pieces of laminate material to an installed particleboard countertop, but a professional will do the job best.

Solid Surface

Solid surface countertops offer many of the advantages of stone with few of the drawbacks. Cast from an acrylic resin that sometimes include crushed stone—particularly quartz—solid-surface material demands little maintenance and is extremely durable. Intense heat and heavy falling objects (which shouldn't pose much of a threat in bath­rooms) can cause damage, but scratches, abra­sions, and even minor burns (if you leave a curling iron on the vanity top, for example) can be repaired with fine-grade sandpaper. The methods and tools needed for working with this material are similar to those required for woodworking. However, some manufacturers require that a trained pro­fessional install their materials.

Solid surface material is available in white, beige, pastels, and imitation stone, usually in ready-formed vanity tops with integrated sinks. Prices range from about $100 to $250 per running foot installed.


As it does for floors and walls, ceramic tile makes an attractive, durable finish for countertops. It's available in many colors, designs, and textures. Grout lines that trap dirt and encourage mildew are a major drawback, although new grouts and sealers help alleviate these problems to some degree. Costs range from $10 to $40 per running foot installed.

Getting professional results with tile is a chal­lenge for do-it-yourselfers. A slightly irregular look can be appropriate for rustic, unglazed quarry tile, but most other tile varieties demand greater precision. Using pregrouted tile sheets, or sheets of mosaic tile on a mesh backing, makes it easier to space tiles evenly.


As a countertop surface, wood is attractive, versa­tile, and easy to install. It is, however, especially vulnerable to water damage, and its porosity makes it difficult to keep clean. All hardwood and softwood species must be well sealed with polyurethane or marine varnish. Special care should be taken to seal around the edges of plumbing fixtures so standing water can't seep in and cause wood rot.
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Choosing the Right Tile Adhesive

The two main categories of adhesive are pre-mixed adhesives and thinset mortars. Choosing the right adhesive for your tile job has to do with the type of tile you are installing, the location of the tile and surface you are installing the tile on.

This article should give you a pretty good idea about which type of adhesive you should use. Be sure to follow the manufacturer guidelines for the tiles you purchase. Some may require you use a specific adhesive in order to keep the warranty valid.

Pre-mixed Tile Adhesives

We’ll start with the pre-mixed adhesive options. These are generally used for wall tiles because they begin gripping the tile as soon as it makes contact. This prevents tiles from slipping or falling during installation. The most popular types of pre-mixed adhesive are organic mastics. Avoid using this type if your tiles are located outside or will be frequently exposed to heat.

Adhesives may be used in areas that will be exposed to indirect moisture, such as the wall outside of a shower. However, you should never use them for areas that will get frequent, direct moisture. An example would be the floor outside your shower or the walls inside your shower.

Thinset Mortars

This is the adhesive you want to use if you are installing tile flooring. They can be used to install tiles in wet areas or areas subjected to frequent heat. They have a stronger, more flexible bond as well. This combined with its ability to support a lot of weight is why thinset mortars are used for flooring.

This type of adhesive does not come pre-mixed, so you will have to learn how to mix thinset mortar yourself. This is a fairly simple process. They will be mixed with water or sometimes an acrylic additive if it’s not blended in already.
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Pros and cons of 9 bathtub materials


Also known as FRP, or fiberglass-reinforced plastic, this is typically going to be the least expensive bathtub material. A fiberglass bathtub is made by forming layers of fiberglass into the desired shape, then coating it with Gelcoat resin.
The advantages are low cost, light weight, ease of installation, and a finish that can be repaired. On the negative side, fiberglass tubs are thin; they flex and don’t have a stable feel; they’re not very durable; and the finish is prone to fading, scratching and cracking. Personally, it’s one of my least favorite materials.
Porcelain on steel
Also sometimes called enameled steel, this is another inexpensive and very common bathtub material. The tub is stamped from a thin sheet of steel, then finished with a layer of porcelain enamel. These tubs are durable and easy to clean. The finish is resistant to most common chemicals, and retains its gloss for a long time. They’re also especially useful when replacing fiberglass or acrylic tub/shower units, as they fit in the same 5-foot opening and can be finished off nicely with a ceramic tile surround.
On the downside, they’re heavier than fiberglass or acrylic; the surface can rust and chip under impact; and you’re very limited in the number of shapes and sizes available.
Acrylic tubs use fiberglass sheets for reinforcement underneath vacuum-formed sheets of colored acrylic. The advantages are pretty much the same as for fiberglass, although acrylic tubs are more expensive.
Disadvantages are that the finish can scratch or discolor over time, although the better grades of tub finishes have now reduced that problem to a minimum. You also have a lot of choices of shapes, sizes and colors.
Acrylic is a good all-around choice, although it may lack a certain high-end appeal for some people.
Cast iron
If you’re looking for a material that will last, this would be it. Cast iron tubs are made by pouring molten iron into a mold of the desired shape, then smoothing it and coating it with a thick layer of enamel.
It’s probably the most durable tub available, and the finish is resistant to chipping, scratching and denting, as well as most types of chemicals. There are a number of different colors available, and there’s a richness to cast iron that’s hard to match. The heavy material also tends to retain the water’s heat.
On the downside, these tubs are extremely heavy and require extra labor — and often extra floor reinforcement — to install. They’re also typically going to be among the most expensive tubs on the market.
And now for some less common material options:
Solid-surface materials
Solid-surface materials are relative newcomers to the bathtub market. They’re durable; they retain heat well; there are a variety of subtle, natural-looking colors available; and the finish can be repaired if needed. They can also be made in a variety of shapes and sizes.
On the downside, they’re somewhat heavy and relatively expensive, and may require a long lead time to get.
Cultured marble
These tubs are made from crushed limestone mixed with resin, then finished with Gelcoat. You have a lot of options for color, size and style, and the Gelcoat finish used with cultured marble is more durable than that used with fiberglass. The cost typically falls somewhere between acrylic and cast iron.
Ceramic tile
Ceramic tile tubs can be made on site to whatever size and shape you desire. You have more design options with this material than any other. However, you’ll have to deal with the maintenance of all that grout, and the irregular interior surface may not be the most comfortable to relax on with bare skin.
Stone and wood
You can custom order a bathtub from a variety of natural stone materials, including granite, marble, onyx, travertine, basalt, sandstone and other materials. These tubs are extremely heavy, and require special structural framing to support their weight.
You can also custom-order a bathtub made from teak and certain other woods. As you’d imagine, with any of these true one-of-a-kind pieces you get an unbeatable "wow factor," but it comes with a pretty high price tag.
And, in the case of wood and some of the stones, it’s going to require a lot of maintenance in order to retain the tub’s original beauty.
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