Common Problems with Tile and Why You Should Refinish Them Instead

There are all sorts of problems with tile, including cracked grout, loose floors, flaking glaze, and mismatched patterns. One tile company listed common complaints by clients on their website—and this is just a partial list:

  • My polished porcelain floor does not seem to have an even shine.
  • My tiles are warped.
  • My tiles are scratched.
  • The glaze on my tiles is flaking off.
  • My tiles seem to have small cracks on the edges.
  • My shower is leaking through the tiles.
  • My tiles have been laid, but they are wrong or damaged.
  • My tiles have defects in the surface.
  • My tiles seem to be different than the ones I selected.
  • Some of the tiles on my wall or floor are the wrong color.
  • There are cracks running across my tiled floor.
  • The glaze on my tiles is flaking off.
  • The grout is crumbling.
  • The grout is turning dark.
  • My porcelain tiles are stained.

Rather than explain away faults and problems in our materials or workmanship, we do it right the first time. Refinishing is a much better option to replacing ceramic tile. It is not only more practical, but also less expensive than new tile and you avoid the mess of removal and replacement. Make your life easier (and bathroom more sophisticated!) by refinishing your tile. Ceramic tile refinishing can be used on tile countertops, bathtub tile surrounds and tile walls saving you up to 50% over the cost of replacement. The results, especially if you choose Refinish First’s Natural Accents stone finish, can be dramatic and is an affordable alternative to pricey Formica, Corian, Swanstone and other solid surfaces. Consider Natural Accents for your kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities and ceramic tile. Natural Accents multi-color stone look offers a high-end makeover for any decor – modern, traditional, country or casual – without the mess, time and expense of removal and replacement. The specks and flecks of different colors deliver a depth and character that you have to see to believe. The results are beyond impressive, so give Refinish First a call today.


Entertaining Guests for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas right around the corner, the holidays will soon be in full swing. But with all of the treats, parties, and holiday excitement comes a substantial amount of stress. Perhaps you’re responsible for hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or maybe you’ll have extended guests staying with you for the holidays. With large dinners the focus of so many holiday gatherings, you’ll be spending ample time in the kitchen. Before family and friends arrive, you’ll want to do a few things around your home to spruce up its appearance and increase your guests’ comfort. Not looking forward to showing off your outdated, scratched countertops to your mother-in-law? This late in the game, you don’t have time to get new countertops installed and holiday entertaining is already tough on your budget.  Refinish First offers you a quick, cost-effective solution to replacing your countertops. That new countertop will be the perfect backdrop for your delicious holiday feast.

In addition to refinishing your countertops, here are some other tips for entertaining guests:

  • Make your guests as comfortable as possible—in the extra bedrooms, set aside extra blankets or a space heater. It can get chilly during the winter and there’s nothing less fun than a sleepless night spent shivering in bed! Make sure there’s plenty of reading light and extra magazines or books nearby so your guests can have the option to enjoy a good book. Leave some bottles of water and some healthy snacks in the bedroom. Late-night hunger strikes all of us, but it can be uncomfortable for guests to rummage through another person’s kitchen.
  • Clean the bathroom—while this seems like a given, in the rush of the holidays it’s easy to find yourself hurriedly wiping down the sink in the often-forgotten guest bedroom. If your bathroom vanity is in shabby shape, give Refinish First a call. Make sure there are plenty of toilet paper rolls available in a visible place, as well as some air freshener. Keep plenty of clean, fluffy towels on hand—extra points if you warm them in the dryer! People inevitably forget things while traveling, so give your guests some added peace of mind by buying commonly forgotten things like earplugs, toothbrushes and other toiletries.
  • Plan meals ahead—find out any dietary restrictions your guests might have and plan accordingly. Do your shopping well in advance of the holiday dinner and don’t use recipes you haven’t tried before. Test out new ones before the big feast—it’s a sinking feeling when the delicious recipe that got amazing ratings online is a total flop. To take some of the pressure off of planning several days’ worth of meals, think about taking guests out to a favorite restaurant. Escaping to a restaurant in a new city is exciting for guests and takes some of the pressure off of you. (Plus, if you didn’t get that countertop refinished, you don’t have to stare at it all night with regret that you didn’t call Refinish First.)

5 Ways to Maximize Your Kitchen Storage Space

Small countertops driving you crazy? Not enough shelving for storing your pots and pans? We’ve all been there. For many city dwellers and apartment renters, space is at a premium and the kitchen is no exception. Small kitchens can be extremely frustrating to work in. Finding enough space to chop your vegetables without knocking over the spice rack is hard enough, but cooking an elaborate meal for guests seems nearly impossible. Since most of us won’t be able to craft additional cupboards to help with storage, we have to get a little creative. The following 5 tips will help you maximize your kitchen storage space and make cooking in your little kitchen a lot simpler and more enjoyable.

  1. Roll with the small space—rolling carts can help add much-needed counter space and their shelves underneath add extra storage. When you’re finished, simply roll the cart to the side.
  2. Use your walls—once your cabinets are filled, look to your walls. Install pot racks for your pots or use hooks to hang those coffee mugs that always seem to get in the way. Extra shelving adds room to store your dishes or spices.
  3. Conjure up cabinet space—though you might not be able to build cabinets, installing multiple-shelf units in standard-front cabinets offers you much more space and makes those large mixing bowls much easier to access.
  4. Arrange a bouquet of utensils—if you’ve got a tiny drawer that barely fits your silverware, store your larger cooking utensils like your wooden spoons and ladles in a large canister next to the stove. Flower vases from the thrift store work very well and add a pop of color to a small kitchen.
  5. Conquer the shallow sink—a small, shallow sink is the bane of many apartment owners. For sinks on the small side, think about installing an articulated faucet that can bend out of the way to accommodate large pots and pans.

9 Easy Decorating Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Bathroom not as large as you’d like? If you’re not ready to start tearing down walls but would really like your bathroom to feel larger than it is, try these easy decorating ideas.

  1. Shelving—Installing an over-the-toilet shelf or a wall-hung shelving unit will provide some extra storage space and some unique opportunities for those cute nick-nack items you’ve collected while not taking up valuable floor space.
  2. Bold color—bright, attractive colors liven up a space and make it seem bigger than it actually is. Use plush, colorful towels and accessories to accent your color scheme. Add an extra pop of color with a pretty bouquet of flowers. It’s an effortless, inexpensive way to add a touch of class to a bathroom. If you entertain guests, they will certainly notice that thoughtful detail.
  3. Use window space—if you don’t have much space on the vanity or countertop, use the windowsill as extra shelving. Display bathroom necessities like bath salts or soap in colorful glassware. This frees up counter space and adds a creative touch to your bathroom.
  4. Add unique fixtures—create a focal point by installing unique fixtures or quirky accessories. Maybe an antique faucet or a quirky towel holder. Use an old dresser or shelf to add a vintage look to the room.
  5. Mix it up—mixing prints and textures draws the eye away from the size of the bathroom space. Think about pairing a bold shower curtain with a thick, textured rug. Or, experiment with a vibrant wallpaper pattern. If you go bold on the wallpaper, offset that with plenty of light and neutral accent pieces. You want to make your bathroom pop—not overwhelm.
  6. Light it up— swap out your standard light fixtures and install bright, attractive ones to both lighten up the space and create visual interest. A chandelier adds a little luxury to the room, while round, organic light fixtures are quirky and cool.
  7. Ditch the vanity—vanities can swallow up a room, so think about ditching the vanity for some antique pedestal sinks. They take up much less space and add a vintage, retro feel to your bathroom. And if you find some that are a little dinged up, we can refinish them!
  8. Be open—compartmentalized spaces shrink a room visually. Open spaces create the illusion of size, so think about swapping out your shower curtain for clear glass shower doors.  Refinish First can even install those new shower doors for you!
  9. Use mirrors—don’t underestimate the power of mirrors to transform a space. They stretch space by reproducing it, so highlight your bathroom’s best features by using a mirror. Highlight artwork, a panoramic view, or a window. To add an extra decorative touch, choose a mirror with a distinctive frame.

A Short History of the Bath

Enjoying a hot, steamy bath after a long day at work is a luxury that’s been enjoyed by people for centuries. For the Romans, baths were a way of life. By the early fifth century, there were as many as 900 baths in Rome alone. However, bathing in the Roman Empire was not the private activity as we know it today. Baths were a central part of the community, places where Romans gathered to eat, listen to a philosopher, exercise or even get their teeth cleaned. The Japanese still practice communal bathing in onsens, or hot springs.

When the Roman Empire fell, however, the aqueducts they used to supply water to the baths fell into disrepair and went unused for centuries. While public bathhouses existed in the Middle Ages, Christian scrutiny of communal bath practices and fear of the Black Death put an end to communal bathing. Though baths moved inside, a shortage of wood for heating water meant a scarcity of baths for common folk.  The fear of bathing gradually faded away as the Renaissance ushered in greater scientific knowledge and awareness about disease and by the 1700s, bathing was once again considered to be healthy. In colonial America, bathing still largely meant sponging off, though wooden tubs were occasionally used for a thorough wash.

Toward the end of the 18th century in Williamsburg, St. George Tucker installed the first copper tub recorded by the city. It wasn’t until the 1840s in America that architects added a specific room called “bath-room” to house plans, which meant that fixed plumbing would eventually be installed in that room. However, for a very long time, well into the 1920s in rural places, tubs were moved into the kitchen and filled with warm water. Everyone would take turns getting a bath, starting with the father. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the 19th century, dreamed that one day Americans might have one bathroom for every three or four bedrooms.

In 2012, 30% of new homes built had 3 or more bathrooms, a luxury American colonists could hardly have imagined. But when bathrooms were fewer in number and hot water was not as plentiful, bathing was a luxury. That luxury is reflected in the beautiful craftsmanship of the clawfoot tub, which made its debut in 1883. Even many modern bathrooms today proudly feature the classic design of the clawfoot tub as the focal point of a newly remodeled bathroom. And now that showers have become so commonplace in our fast-moving culture, taking a bath is once again a luxury that few of us take the time to indulge in.

If your bathroom makes you want to get in and get out as quickly as possible, it might be time for a Refinish First bathroom makeover so you can once again enjoy the luxury of a relaxing bath. There’s nothing quite like sinking into an old clawfoot tub filled with bubbles. However, if that antique tub looks as old as it is, think about refinishing it with Refinish First. We can restore your antique clawfoot tub to its former glory. Give us a call. Your bubble bath’s waiting.