Investing in Stone

By Lee Cameron Published 09/19/2007 | Home Improvement

If you are considering a renovation anywhere in your home, but especially in the bathroom or kitchen, consider stone. Stone tiles and granite counter tops are very much in style right now, and for good reason—they are long-lasting, need little maintenance and are gorgeous. Not only that, they are synonymous with quality, adding flair to your home and increasing its resale value.

Let's take a look at tile flooring. One of the main benefits here is the huge selection. Of course, this can also be a challenge, but with a mind for your budget and needs, it shouldn't be hard to find the tile flooring that's right for you. Tile is usually available in stone, ceramic, terra cotta, glass or metal. Tile can be bold or subtle. It can be the same, consistent experience all through the room, or even house, or it can be patterned with contrasting colors or even incorporate printed tiles.  No matter what your aesthetic style, there is a type of tile to suite your needs.

If your needs are casual elegance and high performance, consider terra cotta tiles. Their mottled appearance can disguise spills and dirt, and this comes in handy if you have kids, pets, or just don't have time to clean every day. The downside to them is they have a porous surface, so can gradually stain if they aren't treated with a quality sealant. For this reason, they may not be ideal for kitchens, unless they are well sealed. Glazed ceramic tile might be a good choice if you anticipate messes. Their glazed surface makes them easy to clean and they won't stain. Plus, they are affordable and easy to install.

Marble is popular for a formal look, as is limestone. There is so much diversity in color and texture, half the fun will be in deciding what look you want to achieve with this surface.

Metal can be expensive and delicate (stains, especially with acidic things) but it sure makes gorgeous kitchen back splashes. Again, a quality sealant will prevent staining if that shiny look of metal is what you are after. For a little something extra, add some embossed tiles for accents or borders.

If you are installing flooring, pay attention to color. White tile floors will show every footprint. A more earthy tone, however, will radiate warmth and look good, even after your guests have walked all over it.

Granite counter-tops are easy to clean, but if you want it to stay stain-free it's a good idea to purchase sealed granite, or seal it yourself with a high-quality and durable sealant. After that, it's up to you how you clean it. Many granite counter-top owners recommend specialized granite cleaning products, but just as many say simple soap and water works great. Almost unanimously, however, they recommend a microfiber cloth for wiping up after washing. These assure a streak-free shine. No need to buy fancy cloths marketed just for granite. Check out the car-detailing section of your local hardware store for inexpensive microfiber cloths.

Other than regular cleaning, your granite counter top will last a lifetime, and only needs to have its sealant re-applied every couple of years.

With granite counters and tile flooring, you are assured long-term value for your home. Stone and ceramic details add elegance to any home, and that's good news for sellers and buyers alike.

Lee Cameron is a professional REALTORŪ serving the Orlando real estate market. Lee has consistently proven his talent and knowledge in the real estate business and is known to his flair the business and the care with which he treats his clients. For more info on homes & properties in Orlando contact Lee today.