Replacing Your Kitchen Countertops       

         Build Your Own Concrete Countertops         

     Colors of Granite Countertops     

     Does Your Kitchen Need a New Look

          5 Ways to Save Money Remodeling Your Kitchen


Replacing your kitchen countertops   by The Helpful Homemaker

Are your kitchen countertops worn out? Do your countertops have stains that you just can't remove? Do you countertops have more groves than smoothes and need repair? Eliminate those OLD, UGHLY problem countertops, and replace them for less than you think. Rebuild that counter area into something your friends and neighbors will envy. Yes you can do it yourself and save thousands in the same process. Here are some quick do it yourself tips to accomplish this.

First off you will need to decide if you want a solid one piece top, or you can go with smaller tiles to create a unique look. Also the type of backsplash you want will be critical in your choice. The cheapest way to go on your countertops may put you right back where you are now as the material will in all likelihood be Formica, and that material has a tendency to scratch and stain. My recommendation would be to choose either a solid surface such as granite or ceramic, which is of course a stronger or much tougher solution and will last a long time. If cost is a problem, then I would go with the ceramic, as you can buy tile at a fraction of the cost. I replaced my countertops about a year ago and with a surface are of approximately 30 square feet, it only cost me about $14.00 per box or about $50 for the tile. The granite countertops are about $10.00 per square foot for a comparison. The adhesive or tile glue runs about $30 per bucket, and finally the grout, which will be about $15-20 per container. My cost for the materials ran about $120, excluding the tile for my backsplash.

On top of the materials, you are also going to need a Tile saw, (a simple table model works just great) which you can buy at a bargain price of approximately $80-100 at your neighborhood Lowes or Home Depot. If you consider the price to just rent one at either of these places (about $50 per day), you would have to be a fool not to buy one, especially if you will be doing other projects where one might come in handy. You will also need a rafter square, a notched trowel or spreader, a level and a sponge. Grout float, tape measure and rubber hammer, grout sealer (you can buy grout with this already mixed in), and tile spacers if needed. Are we tired or ready to quit yet? I hope not, as the fun is about ready to start.

In all honesty, the hardest part of this project is actually removing the old countertop, mainly because you need to be careful so that you can re-use the existing base, otherwise you would be looking at an additional cost to buy the wood for that. Once you have removed the old top, you will need to sand down the area so that the adhesive can be spread smoothly and evenly on the surface. Next you will lay each piece of tile onto the adhesive making sure that it is square and even to the previous piece. If you are leaving a space between each piece of tile, this is where you will use your tile spacers to make sure each piece of tile is straight and aligned with the other. If you have done this project several times, you may be good enough to do it without the spacers, but not on your first few attempts. If you are replacing tile that has a sink, you will of course need to have some caulk to put down around the sink so that you form a water tight seal and don't have a leak under the sink. Remember you can not install the sink until the entire tile and grout is completely dry.

After the tile has been installed, you will need to wait approximately 2-3 hours for the adhesive to dry, then you can add your grout between the tile pieces using your putty knife or spreader to apply it. I recommend adding your grout in sections of 4 to 6 feet at a time, because the grout does dry rather quickly and you will need to make sure that the grout is uniform and even around each piece of tile. A secret that I use is that my finger is perfect for about a quarter inch width. Make sure that your grout is as even with the tile as possible and keep your sponge damp in order to wipe up the excess grout as you apply it.

If all of the above sounded easy and if you would like additional information on home designs, you can get some great ideas from the following eBook at; http://bugeater.stepublish.hop.clickbank.net or you can also visit my website.

About the Author

I am a happly married mother of 4. I have been married for 10 years and hope that I can give you help and advice relating to keeping a happy home. you can visit my home page at http://helpful-homemaker.blogspot.com/



Build Your Own Concrete Countertops  by Steve Galashaw

If you've ever considered replacing your counters with concrete countertops you've come to the right place. Here you can learn how to build them from scratch. Are you ready to build a countertop that will leave a lasting impression?

Concrete is very popular in modern building. It's used to replicate other material types like wood, clay pavers, roof shakers, or even natural stone. But today designers are taking it a step further. Concrete is being used to create unique counters in the kitchen and bathroom. Just add the right color and texture and you've got a great finish to the room.

There are definitely other countertops that are a lot easier to install than concrete. Pouring concrete is messy and heavy work and it takes some practice to get a surface that looks great. The payoff is that the cost of materials is very cheap and the end result is impressive and one heck of a conversation piece!

In other parts of the world concrete has been used to make counters for centuries. But in North America it's a relatively new concept and you will definitely impress your friends and family!

It's always a good ideas to start with a small project. Practice the techniques. Once you've got it mastered start to play with colors until you get the perfect color you want for your counters.

1. Make The Form

Use ?" melamine wood to build your form. You want the plastic finish because it slows down the drying of the concrete which increases the strength. And it will stop the concrete from sticking. Join sides to the bottom with a pneumatic stapler. Careful you don't split your wood.

2. Don't drill or cut the slab after it's built so create your voids prior and don't use particleboard because the edges will absorb water.

Pour The Concrete

1. You need to fortify the slab using reinforcing rod and polypropylene fibers using a diamond lath. It's the key to a strong countertop. 2. Cut the diamond lath 1" short of the edge using snips. Install No 3 rebar around the sink cutout. Make sure you do all your measuring and cutting prior to mixing up the concrete. 3. Pour the concrete in layers to minimize the time between each step of the process. 4. How durable your countertop is will depend on how well the mix is prepared. Use a mason's hoe to thoroughly blend all the dry ingredients. 5. Measure the liquids and carefully mix them all together. 6. Add them in stages. 7. Add 2 quarts of white Portland for every 60 pound bag of concrete. 8. As concrete cures it cracks but the diamond lath, poly fibers,, and rod will keep the microscopic cracks tight. 9. Pack a one inch strip of concrete along the edges 10. Fill the middle with the reinforced concrete then add reinforcing rods and diamond lath and then layer of regular concrete. 11. In order for the different concretes to look like one seamless block you need to keep the color and the consistency the same. So no guessing on ingredients, instead measure everything! 12. The concrete used for countertops is a lot firmer than regular old cement so you will need to press it hard and compact it well in the form. Use a magnesium float and get ready for some serious manual labor. 13. Add your concrete to fill the low spots then smooth. Repeat until surface is smooth and well packed. 14. Let your concrete set for two hours then take your steel hand trowel to the surface. Don't overwork the concrete or you'll get aggregate popping up. If you see water puddles then you need to let it set for another 30 minutes. 15. If the weather is really hot you'll want to cover with wet burlap or plastic to slow down the setting process. 16. Do not remove the forms for 48 hours. Let the concrete cure. 17. When it's time remove the forms by separating them at the joints with a flat pry bar. 18. Sand any sharp edges and corners using an orbital sander and 100 grit sandpaper. Make sure you wear an appropriate mask. 19. Etch the surface using a muriatic acid and water solution and then rinse thoroughly and air dry. 20. Now prepare your latex additive, liquid pigment, and Portland cement until it is about the thickness of peanut butter. 21. Use your rubber grout float to apply it to the surfaces. Then skiff the surfaces with the float to fill the voids. 22. The filler needs to cure for about one hour 23. Sand with 180 grit discs until it's as smooth as you want it. 24. Let cue for a full three weeks. 25. Now it's time to install. You are going to need lots of help because the slab is not only awkward it's heavy and it will need to be supported so as not to cause stress cracks. 26. Apply a thin bead of silicone caulk where the countertop and wall meet. 27. Seal the surface with your sealer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. 28. Once the surface has dried buff with your Scotchbrite pad. 29. Lastly apply the acrylic clear finish. This will give you the high gloss surface. 30. Use a buffer to bring it to a terrific shine.

That's it! You've installed your concrete countertops. Don't they look great?

The durability and customizability of concrete counter tops makes them a versatile choice for your kitchen or barbeque area. The ease with which concrete counter tops can be made and installed put them into the range of most do it yourselfers as well. Concrete counter tops are less expensive than stone or stone composite counter tops. The customizability of concrete counter tops only enhances the desirability of this material for counter tops.

Concrete counter tops can be formed in place or preformed, as you desire. Using preformed concrete counter tops has the advantages being able to make them under controlled conditions. Having set conditions of temperature and humidity make pouring the concrete into the forms easier and faster. Building your forms in place at the installation site makes customized implantation of extra ornaments in the concrete for individualization of your concrete counter tops. Make them uniquely yours by adding personally or family made items to the wet concrete.

Concrete counter tops can be solid units with the sink basins as an integral part. This allows easier cleaning of the surfaces since there is no seam between sink and counter top to catch particles often missed with other styles of counter top and sink combinations. You can also customize the appearance of both the counter and sink basin by implanting items in the concrete as it is being formed. This customizability is one of the reasons for the rise in popularity of concrete counter tops in modern construction.

Concrete counter tops are versatile and can be used in many situations. Not only can they be used for kitchens and bathrooms, but also they can be used in outdoor and utility applications. Building an outdoor recreation area with tables and a permanently installed barbecue is a nice use for concrete counter tops. Concrete will withstand the elements better than many other materials. When choosing a color for your outdoor concrete counter tops, make sure the color is highly resistant to UV rays to prevent the color from fading over time. The strength and durability of concrete makes it ideal for outdoor and utility uses.

Concrete is a hard abrasive porous material that needs to be sealed against moisture and stains. To protect this seal, cutting boards should always be used when using your concrete counter tops for food preparation. This will protect both the seal on the concrete and your knife and help to maintain the beauty of your counter tops. Wiping up liquids spilled on the surface will help to prevent staining on your concrete counter tops. Making your concrete counter tops last for the generations they are capable of will protect your investment.

About the Author

Steve has been a professional interior designer for more than 10 years who specializes in the renovation of the kitchen. If you are interested in soapstone countertops, be sure to start at http://www.purecountertops.com .



Colors of Granite Countertops   by Steve Galashaw

There are as many colors of granite as there are in a rainbow. When you consider the infinite ways that colors can be combined in various colors of granite countertops, there is really no limit to the colors of granite countertops that you can choose from.

In fact, many granite suppliers and retailers lay out the various colors of granite countertops according to a color scale showing all the major colors, including white, black and brown. Also, there will many times be a 'rare' or 'exotic' category for granite colors. These categories generally include granites that are made up of several different colors, or simply equal portions of two or more colors, such that categorization into one group was too difficult to decide.

So, if you have a granite countertop in mind for your bathroom or kitchen, there's no limit to the effects that can be produced by implementing a nice range of colored granite pieces. If you're bathroom already has a particular color scheme, in terms of wall paint and decorative accents, a starting point would be to choose a complimentary color or another shade of that color.

Let's say that your bathroom has nice pink or peach walls with stunning white trim around the windows and other features. Think about going with a greenish color of granite countertop. This will really accent the rosy hues of the bathroom.

On the other hand, experimenting with a very different shade of pink or peach can have striking effects as well. If your bath room is decidedly pink or rosy in color, try a dark red granite countertop. This will add to the depth of reds in the room.

Most of all, have fun when choosing between colors of granite countertops. If you're going to be shelling out the money for granite countertops, you may as well take your time and get the precise color of granite that finishes off the room.

Many granite retailers will be happy to send you samples of various colors of granite countertops. These types of granite businesses usually have a general sample pack that will contain twenty or so samples for a wide range of colors. If you'd rather see the specific colors that interest you before deciding on a purchase, ask for samples of the specific color of granite that interest you.

Even if they charge you more for your choice of colors of granite countertops samples, this is really the best way to determine if you will still love 'green rose' granite once it's in your kitchen next to your existing appliances and whatnot.

In order to get an idea of the wide range of colors of granite countertops that are available, you will have to visit several granite countertop retailers on your own. Again, the internet makes this rather painless. As you surf from website to website, be sure to take some notes about prices and color availability. Keep good notes and you'll be sure to find just the right granite pieces at the price you're happy with.

About the Author

Steve has been a professional interior designer for more than 10 years who specializes in the renovation of the kitchen. If you are interested in soapstone countertops, be sure to start at http://www.purecountertops.com .

Does your kitchen need a new look?   by The Helpful Homemaker

Have you been looking at the same kitchen walls for too long? Does your kitchen paint or wallpaper have you in a funk? Do your cabinets or countertops need repair? Or is a simply a matter of "does your kitchen need a new look", that your current style went out in the 90's. Think that this type of work is beyond your ability and requires a contractor? Well think again, I can offer you an easy, cheap, do it yourself solution. Have I gotten your attention yet? Well read on for the easy "do it yourself" tips.

First you need to get some ideas for what you want to do, my suggestion is to look at some home interior magazines for ideas on color schemes to go with. Try picking one or two colors that will blend into the connecting rooms, unless you have "bolder" plans to expand your redecorating to the rest of the house. Once you have an idea on the colors you want, go to your local remodeling store, (I recommend Home Depot, but Lowes is good also) and look at the color swatches that are available. It helps to bring your example with you to make the selection easier and don't be afraid to ask the salesperson for help, they can be a great aid in providing instructions on your project, plus, that is what they are there for.

First off let me start by saying that painting is probably one of the easiest "do it yourself" things to do around the house, all it requires is a couple of rollers, 2-3 paint brushes, a drop cloth and paint pan and you are ready to go. You are going to want to use a latex paint and more than likely either semi-gloss or gloss, as they are the easiest to keep clean. If you go to places like Home Depot or Lowes, you should ask the sales person if they have "return paint", they will sell this paint at a big discount (maybe 50% less) and if you are lucky, you can find a couple of gallons of the color you need and save some $$ at the same time. Depending on the color you are painting over, and your new color, you will probably need to get a gallon of "Primer paint" to cover the old paint. If you are replacing wallpaper, you will need to get some "Dif", which dissolves the wallpaper paste and makes it easier to remove the wallpaper. Another tip I can offer is that if your walls are currently smooth, and you would like to add some texture to them. There is a product called "Paint and Tex", which is colorless and can be added to any type of latex paint and will give your paint surface the same texture as if you had sheet rock from the beginning.

At this point you may be saying, "Gosh, what is this going to cost"? Well if you are not able to find any "return paint" and have to have it mixed, I strongly suggest using Behr paint. It was recently rated as the best paint on the market by Consumer Report, and I have been using it for more than 10 years and frankly would not use anything else. You may find other brands of paint for a cheaper cost, but take it from me; you will save money in the long run by using Behr, as it will last longer and clean up better. A 1 gallon can of semi-gloss paint will run you about $18-22 at Home Depot and a gallon of "Primer paint" will run about $10-12, which should be enough to cover a 10-12' X 16-20' foot room with a single coat of each. If you need or want a second coat then figure $40 for 2 gallons of paint. If you are adding the texture mix a box of "Paint and Tex", which comes with 2 packages and you use one package for a gallon of paint. That will run about $15. Also the "Paint and Tex" will thicken your paint, which may reduce the amount of paint you need. Your painting kit, which should consist of a couple of rollers, 2-3 paint brushes, a drop cloth and paint pan will run another $15-20, for a total cost of $85 to maybe $100 tops.

Now all that is left is for you to actually paint your room. If you do not have to remove any wall paper, you will need about 2 hours in order to apply the first coat of paint, then maybe 1-1.5 hours for the second coat. If you do have to remove wall paper, that job will probably take a one day on its own, as it involves the spraying of the wall paper and then scraping. Once you have finished the project, you will receive a sense of gratification in your do it yourself project.

If all of the above sounded easy and if you would like additional information on home designs, you can get some great ideas from the following eBook at; http://bugeater.stepublish.hop.clickbank.net or you can visit my website listed below.

About the Author

I am a happly married mother of 4. I have been married for 10 years and hope that I can give you help and advice relating to keeping a happy home. you can visit my home page at http://helpful-homemaker.blogspot.com/



5 Ways to Save Money Remodeling Your Kitchen  by TC Thorn

So, you're thinking of remodeling your kitchen. It's a smart move if your motivation is to improve the value of your home. (It's a smart move if you just want a better kitchen for yourself too.) This is because kitchens are the most important room in the house for most prospective home buyers.

If you're currently doing your cooking and food preparation in a room that's dated, dingy, or dilapidated (or all three), it can seriously affect the amount of money people are willing to offer when it's time to sell your home. Unfortunately, it's easy to spend tons of money on a kitchen remodel. Stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, dedicated pot-filling faucets, double ovens, professional cook tops, etc. etc. etc. If you want to buy all that stuff, you can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars. Some people even spend six figure sums on their kitchens.

Fortunately, it's possible to update your kitchen and make it look a lot better without spending an arm and a leg. Let's take a peek at some of the ways you can increase the value of your kitchen without spending a lot of money:

Paint or refinish your cabinets instead of replacing them.

Before you decide you need to completely gut and replace your cabinets, take a good look at them. Are they sound? Are they made of good wood? (If you live in an older home, chances are the cabinets are made from solid wood and of a higher quality than you'll get today--most of today's low to mid-end cabinets are made from particleboard with maple/oak/beech "veneers".)

If they're basically in good shape, all your cabinets may need is a little low-cost TLC. A paint job is the cheapest way to give them a new look. New door and drawer hardware (knobs and hinges) can help bring your kitchen into the 21st century as well, and it won't cost a lot. You might also consider just refinishing the fronts and getting new cabinet doors.

Install granite tiles instead of solid granite countertops.

If you want the classy, upscale look of granite, you can achieve it with granite tiles, which are less expensive than solid granite. They can also be installed by the average do-it-yourself homeowner, whereas solid granite countertops need to be cut to fit and installed by a professional.

If you want to save even more money, you can get laminate countertops that are made to look like granite, marble, or other stones. (These won't likely fool prospective home buyers though.)

Choose laminate flooring instead of hardwood

Wood flooring is popular in kitchens right now, and it'll cost you a pretty penny to get it installed. However, you can buy laminate flooring that looks a lot like the real deal for about half the price. Laminate is also more forgiving of spills (wood can be damaged over time if repeatedly exposed to moisture), and it's very easy to keep clean.

Don't spend a fortune on appliances.

If you want stainless steel, you don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money on Aga or Viking. Many of the low to mid-end brands are putting out high-end look-alike appliances. GE, for examples, offers stainless steel ovens and refrigerators. True, they won't fool kitchen snobs, but let's face it: the people looking to buy your house are more likely to be average Joes, who just want stainless steel and granite because that's what everybody says is in right now.

Buy new lighting.

Nothing makes a kitchen look dark and dingy like a single overhead ceiling fixture. Lighting is a relatively inexpensive improvement, but it goes a long ways in brightening up the kitchen and making it look good. Make sure to buy modern fixtures. Pendant lighting over eating counters is popular, and under-counter task lighting is smart for brightening up food preparation areas.

To save on lighting, visit stores like Ikea, or consider doing your shopping online. Sites like Nextag.com make it easy to compare prices on lamps and just about anything else.

Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas on how to make your kitchen look like its worth a lot without actually spending a ton of money.

About the Author

TC Thorn is a writer, blogger, and webmaster, who specializes in home improvement. To see what's trendy in kitchens right now, visit the Kitchen Remodeling section of the author's Home Improvement blog.