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Types of bathtubs

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Are you shopping for a new bathtub? Did you know that there are several different types of tubs, each one with a different purpose? Below we will talk a little bit about each type so you can decide which one is best for your home:

 
General purpose tub
While this is not a technical name a “general purpose” tub is the one that most of us probably know quite well. It serves multiple purposes from bathing, to washing the dog, and even maybe as a vessel to hand wash clothes. It typically is a shower/tub combo attached to the walls. There is nothing fancy about this tub, but it definitely gets the job done.

 
Soaking tub
A soaking tub is usually much deeper than just the standard general purpose bathtub. The depth of this tub allows you to totally immerse yourself into the water. Soaking tubs can come in all different styles and shapes. Vintage free standing tubs for example typically classify as a soaking tub since they usually have taller sides and are able to hold more water than just a general purpose tub.

 
Whirlpool tub
A whirlpool tub offers a spa like experience by using jets to shoot water and air bubbles into the bathtub in order to give you the feeling of a massage.
Whirlpool tubs are the most complex of all the tubs because they have pumps, filters, hoses and other equipment needed to circulate the water. This also means they usually need to be repaired from time to time when the system fails.

 
Walk-In tub
A walk-in tub is one that has a door that allows you to just walk into the tub instead of having to lift your leg over the edge. These tub are extremely useful for the elderly and people that have limited mobility. The door to this tub has a seal on it that will allow the tub to hold the water when it’s filled so it can be used for more then just for showering.

 

 

Be sure to check back next week as we will be discussing bathtub materials.
Are you looking to install a new bathtub? If so give us a call.

 
C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains

The importance of keeping your roof and gutters free of debris

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Fall is arriving soon up here in the North Georgia mountains and while leaves and debris are piling up in your yard they are also piling up in your gutters and on your roof! Your roof is one of those things that people don’t really worry about cleaning that often, but did you know that clogged gutters and debris on your roof can cause major problems for your home if left untreated! Leaves and debris can cause water to overflow onto wood services which will eventually lead to rot and can even cause puddling around the foundation which can lead to damp or leaky basements. Water can also back up into the walls or be rerouted and come in through the roof which can lead to very expensive repair costs. Standing water in your gutters can also become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and in the winter time when temperatures drop water can freeze into heavy blocks of ice which can cause your gutters to pull away from your home. The money required to clean your roof and gutters is minimal compared to the money required to repair the damage that debris can cause. So when leaves and other debris start piling up make sure to remove them as soon as possible to keep your home looking beautiful and avoid unnecessary repair costs.

 
Do you have damage from debris or leaves left on your roof? If the answer is yes we can help. Give us a call today to schedule  your free quote.

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

 

How to keep mold from building up in your home

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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The two main things that mold needs in order to grow are organic materials and moisture. In homes there are both!  The organic materials that mold lives on are wood, drywall and various other building materials. While you can’t get rid of the material, the moisture on the other hand can be controlled! Most types molds need 24-48 hours of moisture to begin to grow. Therefore if a suitable material in your home is wet for more than 24 hours then you begin to run the risk of mold starting to grow. Below you will find some helpful tips to prevent mold from growing in your home.

 
Prevent Water Leaks

There are a couple of main things that usually cause moisture problems in your home. One of them is water leaks! These include things such as cracks in your foundation where water can enter your home, leaking roofs, leaking walls, leaking pipes, leaking faucets and a leaking shower. If you become aware of any leaks in your home you should fix them immediately. You might even need to inspect your home and foundation to find any water leaks you didn’t know about.

 
Prevent Condensation

Condensation is another frequent cause of moisture. Condensation will form on cold surfaces when water vapor in the air cools and becomes liquid. You will often see condensation on metal pipes, concrete walls, water tanks, windows, etc.

One way to reduce the condensation in your home is to keep the temperature warmer in rooms where it builds up. One example of how you can do this is by installing proper insulation.  You can also insulate the surfaces themselves such as putting coverings over metal pipes.

 

Reduce Humidity
Did you know that many species of mold can start to grow from humidity alone? In fact the humidity only needs to be higher than 55% before some molds can begin to grow. It is especially important to properly ventilate the rooms where steam and moisture build up, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Exhaust fans help to reduce the humidity when doing things like cooking or washing dishes. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can also reduce household humidity.

 

 

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Stamped concrete

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

stamped concrete

Stamped concrete is a home remodeling trend that seems to be growing quickly and for good reason. In the past only expensive commercial applications looked decent, and sometimes that was a stretch. Recently though new trends in texturizing and pigmenting allow homeowners to introduce it to their exteriors. Stamped concrete involves pouring slab concrete for driveways, walkways, patios, etc. Then patterns are pressed into the wet concrete to create a textured finish.

 
The patterns are made using large flexible polyurethane stamps. The stamps are about a 2×2 feet square and an inch or two thick. This newer type of stamped concrete imparts textures that can duplicate many different surfaces such as cobblestones, brick, pavers, wood, seashells, and more. Pigment is also usually added to stamped concrete to further duplicate the look of these patterns. Brick, pavers, and cobbles do look great but since they form a surface of many interlocking pieces they can be susceptible to changes in the underlying surface.  Also bricks, pavers, cobbles, etc. allow for weed growth through the cracks. Since stamped concrete is a solid, continuous surface nothing can grow up through as it as the “cracks” in stamped concrete are just impressions in the concrete that only partially go through the surface. A stamped concrete patio will also give you the look and texture of a stone patio for a lot less than the real thing. Up to 50% less!

 

 

That’s not all a stamped concrete patio is low maintenance as it won’t settle over time creating uneven surfaces. You can also add a stamped finish to an existing concrete slab as long as your old slab is in stable and good condition. You will be raising the height of your old slab by an inch or so, so you will want to make sure the higher level doesn’t interfere with existing steps or vents in your foundation walls. Like anything there are just a few drawbacks to stamped concrete:

 
– Deep depressions.

Although stamped concrete is a good choice for ADA accessibility, be cautious of deeply embossed patterns. All the texture may be tempting, but it creates uneven surfaces that can make patio furniture wobble and may be hazardous for those with limited mobility. Accessibility guidelines require bumps and ridges on walking surfaces to be no more than 1/4 inch in hight.

 

– Color.

Although you will have more color options with surface colorants they can flake off over time. A better option is to have your concrete dyed while it’s being mixed for a more permanent solution.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding installing stamped concrete.

 

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Low flow toilets

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

low flow toilet

If the toilets in your home are from the mid 1990s or earlier you should strongly consider installing new ones to save big on your water bills. All new toilet models are low flow. The current Georgia code according to The National Energy Policy Act mandates that all new toilets have to be low flow toilets using no more than 1.28 gallons per flush. Low flow toilets are a smart addition to your home as they can save you money and help the environment at the same time. It is estimated that a family of four could save up to 22,000 gallons of water per year by using a low flow toilet which Home & Garden Television Network equates to as much as a $100 annual water savings.
All toilets have two basic functions the intake of water from the toilet tank and the discharge of waste. There are three basic toilet designs to consider before installing a new toilet:

 

Gravity feed tank

This is the most common type of toilet. It relies on the weight and the volume of water in the tank to flush waste. This type is also relatively inexpensive.

 

Two button flush

This is a gravity fed tank with two amounts of water. One is a half-flush (.8 gallons per flush) for liquid and the other is a full-flush (1.6 gallons per flush) for solids.

 

Power assist or pressure assisted

This system uses compressed air to force the water to flush the waste. There is no freestanding water in the bowl as the water is held in a pressure tank which is inside the toilet tank. This system gives a powerful flush but it is more expensive and noisier than a gravity fed system.

 

 

Feel free to contact C&H Construction with any questions you may have about installing a new low flow toilet in your home.

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville,Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

 

 

Steps to take before you build a home

Posted by on Jul 30, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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So your thinking about building a new home? What do you do first? When you first starting thinking about building a home it might be tempting to just start designing your dream house. There are however some key steps that you need to take before you start designing.

 

1) Know your budget.

Your budget will determine all of your decisions. It is essential to understand what you can afford and to be honest when it comes to the numbers. In addition to figuring out the mortgage payments you can afford and qualify for you also need to include, home owners insurance, property tax, and HOA fees if any. Also consider any down payment funds that you have and any other money that you’ll get during the time the house is being built.

 

2) Select a location.

Selecting the general area where want to live is just the start to finding the perfect location for your new home. Make a list of all the facilities that you need to have access to, such as schools, shopping and public transport, and check the list against each location you’re interested in. If you want to build in a older neighborhood make sure you check the local municipal guidelines about knocking down old houses and building new ones. If you’re looking at a new subdivision make sure you know the architectural guidelines you will have to abide by. Also consider the shape of the of land you want. Do you want a corner lot, a pie-shaped lot with a large backyard or one with a large front garden space? If you have a young children or are planning to have children then look for a location that attracts people with children and have green spaces or playgrounds. One important consideration that also links to your budget decision is how much the taxes in each location are.

 

3) Buy land.

Buying the land with a land loan or cash allows you to take the land off the market so others cannot buy it before you do. It also allows you to have plenty of time to pick out house plans, submit the plans to the county for approval and obtain a building permit all while obtaining the best construction loan. Construction loans can also include the land into the loan but only if you already own the land and have a balance to add into the construction loan.

 

4) Create a plan for your house or hire an architect.

There have some great house plan resources on the internet. Just go to Google and type in “house plans” for your local area and you will have more sources than you can handle. If you choose go with a house plan from the internet you will probably still need to make some small modifications for your local building codes and type of land plot. To do this it is best that you hire a local architect.

 

5) Hire a general contractor.

You can hire a contractor who will organize everything for you and deliver a completed house, or if you choose to you can run everything yourself. However this involves all stages of the house building process from the initial budget and schedule through design to the actual building of the house. You will also have to schedule and interact with all the trades, buy the materials at the right time and perform quality control of adherence to building standards.

 

6) Know what goes into the estimated cost.

This is the breakdown of each particular cost of construction of the home. The foundation, lumber, framing, plumbing, heating, electrical, painting, etc. The builder usually completes this form to show you exactly what it will cost to build your new home. The most important thing to remember here is that you do not want to underbid any line item and you do not want to overbid any line item. You want accurate numbers from real bids. A Good builder will send out the house plans to their contractors for specific bidding on each main item or can estimate the home themselves. When all the numbers come in the builder will fill out the cost breakdown and come up with a total cost to build your new home.

 
7) Get construction insurance.

There are three types of insurance needed to build. All banks require the first two types, course of construction and general liability. Workman’s compensation is only required if your contractor has employees.

 

– Course of Construction Insurance. This policy is an all risk policy to include, fire, extended coverage, builder’s risk, replacement cost, vandalism and malicious mischief insurance coverage.

 

– General Liability Insurance. You or your contractor can provide this policy. This policy is a comprehensive general policy or a broad form liability endorsement. The minimum amount of $300,000 for each occurrence is required. If the builder provides the insurance a general policy of $1,000,000 or a broad form liability endorsement is required.

 

– Workman’s Compensation Insurance. If your builder owns his own company and has employees that are helping to build your home, workman’s compensation is required. If the builder simply subcontracts out the work and does not have employees per se, they will need to write a letter acknowledging that they do not have employees and are not required to have workman’s compensation.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about building a new home.

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Looking for a new home?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Now is the time to buy mountain property in North Georgia! The cost of property is lower than it has been in years, however it is becoming in very high demand and prices are not expected to go any lower or interest rates to stay at this level for long. The median sale price for a home right now is around $159,000 with people buying between $100,000 to $300,000 but you can still get great deals on homes in the $750,000-$1.2 million range.

 

What is the draw of the North Georgia Mountains? For a start there is the Chattahoochee National Forest which covers close to 750,000 acres. In addition to breathtaking views and peaceful surroundings there are plenty of family friendly recreational opportunities like hiking, rafting, boating, tubing and fishing. The Aska Adventure Trail Area in Blue Ridge is a 17 mile trail designed for hikers and mountain bikers and the Appalachian Trail begins at Springer Mountain in Fannin County. If an exciting rafting or tubing trip is what you are looking for the Nottely River in Blairsville, the Hiawassee River in Hayesville and Hiawassee or the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge are all within a 30 minute drive from any community in North Georgia. It’s not just all outdoor activities though there is also plenty of shopping and dining options in downtown Blue Ridge for those times when you want a night out on the town.
Living in North Georgia Mountains means the finest living with beautiful scenic surroundings including Lake Blue Ridge and Lake Nottely with the mountains as a backdrop, wonderful friendly people, and an “easy does it” pace of life that is perfect for raising your family, retirement living or a vacation home which is perfect for a weekend getaway.

 

If you’re considering building a new home in the North Georgia Mountains or remodeling your existing one give C&H Construction a call at (706) 835-9139.

 

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Septic tanks

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Septic tanks are an alternative treatment of wastewater compared to sewer. Septic tanks are often used in rural areas such as the North Georgia Mountains in order to deal with the small amount of sewage created by a single household. The septic tank is part of a septic system. The way the septic system works is one line will enter the tank on one end and exit on the other. By the means of bacteria breaking down the solids, almost everything turns into a liquid. The liquid then flows into the drain field and is absorbed into the groundwater and is cleaned naturally. There is only a little sludge that sinks to the bottom of the tank and stays there. It’s almost like sand.

 

Installation…

 

The supernate from a septic tank is not as clean as the water released by wastewater treatment plants.  This supernate would pollute streams and the groundwater if it came in contact with them before trickling down through the soil.  As a result soil permeability must be carefully tested before installing a septic system. The term permeability refers to how easily water can trickle down through soil. Septic systems do not work well in clay soils since clay is a relatively impermeable soil and does not allow the supernate to soak in.  So if a septic system is installed in clay soil the supernate often rises to the surface of the ground producing a very unsanitary situation.  The Health Department has established soil testing procedures which must be followed before a septic tank can be installed.  These procedures test the permeability of the soil.  The procedure is outlined below:
1. A 2 feet deep hole is dug in the soil.
2. The hole is saturated with water.  Then the hole is filled with water to a known depth.
3. The water is allowed to sink into the soil for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes the depth of the water in the hole is then measured.
Once the soil has been tested and the Health Department has issued a permit the septic system can be installed.

 
The first factor to be considered when you are ready to install is the size of the tank.  The size you need depends upon the size of the family and the type of use.  For example a larger family will create more waste and will require a larger tank. Households which use their tanks for garbage disposal will also require a larger tank. The amount of available land will also influence which tank size is chosen.

 

In non permeable soil up to 60% of the water can come to the top of the ground and will be dispersed through transpiration or breathing of plants.  The other 40% will become groundwater.

 

The last consideration when installing fill lines is that the supernate must be distributed evenly across the ground. When the ground is sloped  then the lines should be connected in parallel or in series to provide efficient removal. The lines should also be placed so that they are perpendicular to the slope of the land.  Another way of saying this is that the fill lines should be parallel to the contour lines of the land.

 

Maintenance…

 

The need for only minimal maintenance is one of the major benefits of having a septic system. Preventing plant growth on the septic field is the most intensive maintenance required after installation. Trees must not be allowed to grow over your septic tank system as the leaves can clog the septic lines. Grass must be mowed above the septic field.  This prevents brush and small plants from growing in the field as the plants could sink their roots down into the septic lines and break them. Also don’t allow anyone to drive or operate heavy machinery over any part of the septic system and don’t build anything over the septic field. Good septic system operation and maintenance include conserving water, being careful that nothing harmful is disposed of through the system, and having the system inspected annually and pumped regularly. By educating everyone in your household about what is and what isn’t good for septic systems you can begin to develop good maintenance habits.

 

 
What is harmful…

 

What you put into your septic system can greatly affect its ability to to its job properly. Remember that your septic system contains living bacteria that digest and treat waste. As a general rule do not dispose of anything in your septic system that can be just as easily put into the trash. Your septic system is not designed to be a trash can and solids can build up in the tank and will need to be pumped. The more solids that go into the tank the more frequently the tank will need to be pumped and the higher the risk for problems to arise.

 

In the kitchen avoid washing food scraps, coffee grinds, and other food items down the drain. Grease and cooking oil can contribute to the layer of scum in the tank and should also not be put down the drain.

 

The same approach used in the kitchen should also be used in the bathroom. Don’t use the toilet to get rid of plastic, paper, towels, facial tissue, tampons, sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, dental floss, diapers, kitty litter, etc. The only things that should be flushed are waste-water and toilet paper.

 

When used as recommended by the manufacturer most house hold cleaning products will not affect the operation of your septic system. Drain cleaners however are an exception to the rule and should not be used as they can kill the bacteria and disrupt the operation of the septic tank. Cleaners such as bleach, disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners are ok as long as they are used in moderation and in accordance to the product label.

 

In order to avoid permanently damaging your septic system do not dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as paint, varnish, paint thinners, oil, anti-freeze, pharmaceuticals, antibacterial soaps, gasoline, pesticides, etc. Even a small amount of these chemicals can destroy the helpful bacteria and pollute the ground water. If you need to wash paint or stain from brushes and rollers squeeze out all the excess paint on several layers of newspaper and get as much out as you can before rinsing.

 

While many products out there claim to help septic systems work better the truth is that most engineers and sanitation professionals believe that commercial septic additives are at best useless and at worst harmful to your system. There are two types of additives: biological (bacteria, enzyme,and yeast) and chemical. Biological additives are harmless but some chemical additives can harm the soil in the septic field and contaminate the ground water.

 

 

Appliances…

 

A few appliances can also harm your septic system. They are garbage disposals, hot tubs, and water softening systems .

 

Garbage disposals can increase the amount of solids in the tank up to 50% and should not be used at all. Because a garbage disposal grinds kitchen scraps into tiny pieces once they reach the septic tank they are suspended in the water and get pumped out with the liquid waste into the soil. It also significantly increases the amount of sludge and scum in your septic tank. Many states require a larger minimum size tank if there will be a garbage disposal in the house.

 

Hot tubs are very common to have today and while the soothing waters may be good for your body the large amount of water that drains from the hot tub is harmful to your septic system. Emptying large amounts of water into your septic system can cause an overload, stir the solids in the tank causing them to be pushed out into the septic field, and eventually cause the system to fail. Instead of draining the water into your septic system the hot tub water should be cooled and drained on to grass or other areas of your yard away from the septic system.

 

Some water softening systems pump hundreds of gallons of water into the septic tank all at once. This again can stir the solids in the tank causing them to be pushed out into the septic field, and eventually cause the system to fail. Water softeners also remove the hardness by using a salt to initiate an ion exchange. This flushes pounds of used salt into the septic system and can affect the digestion in the tank and reduce the permeability in the soil of the septic field. If you are going to use a water softening system you should have alternative routing installed.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about installing or maintaining a septic system.

 
C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Decking options

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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We are living in a time of abundant choices. Paint comes in thousands of colors and even buying wood can be challenging as there are several different varieties. So it shouldn’t be surprising that decking options have grown dramatically over the past several years. It wasn’t that long ago that the only choice you had for your deck was wood, which perhaps came in two or three types. However due to an explosion of composite lumber, plastic decking and hardwood imports there’s now a dizzying array of decking available. In this article we will discuss each options pros, cons, and recommendations in order to help you determine which material is best to fit your decking needs.

 

Pressure-Treated Wood
Pros: It is economical and plentiful. PT wood can last around 15 years when properly treated with a water repellent every two years.
Cons: If you use southern yellow pine it will crack and splinter as it dries. If Left untreated some PT wood turns muddy grey. In addition PT preservative chemical residue may cause health problems.
Recommendations: Consider PT wood that is factory-treated with water repellent such as Hickson’s Thompsonized PT and Osmose’s Armor All PT. You can also get prestained PT such as Osmose’s Woodshades which comes in three colors. If you want less toxic alternatives ACQ Preserve with UltraWood water repellent and Kodiak lumber are both good choices as they are preserved without arsenate, and are backed for life against termites, decay and fungi.

 

 

Redwood and Cedar
Pros: Redwood and cedar has glowing color, attractive straight grains and a natural resistance to decay and insects. The wood can also be left untreated to weather naturally and the life span is more than 20 years.
Cons: Both options are expensive. Redwood sapwood which is the newer wood closer to the bark rots when exposed for sustained periods to moisture and cedar sapwood breaks down quickly in moist conditions.
Recommendations:  Clear heart, clear, B heart and B grade redwood are all fine for lower budgets. If you want to go with cedar clear all heart is the premium choice. Good lower cost alternatives include appearance grade and No. 1 select tight knot (STK).

 

 

Tropical Hardwood
Pros: Now more widely available, ipe (E-pay) is a durable teaklike tropical hardwood sold as Ironwood or Pau Lope (pow LOW-pay). It is twice as strong as oak and is more durable than redwood and cedar. It has a life span of at least 40 years and is resistant to insects and decay. Ironwood is backed by a 25-year transferable warranty, while Pau Lope comes with a 20-year limited warranty. All grades are virtually knot-free and have tight grain patterns which make this wood resistant to water. Another tropical hardwood option is cambara it is less durable than ipe but is also knot-free.
Cons: It is an expensive choice And requires predrilling for fasteners.
Recommendations: Ipe (E-pay) is the most durable choice but costs about $2 more per square foot then cambara.

 

 

Plastic-Wood Composites
Pros: It is virtually indestructible. It has skid resistance, sustainability, it’s low-maintenance, resists decay, and repels insects and UV rays. It is also splinter free and easy to work with. Trex, TimberTech and DuraWood EX come with 10-year warranties, while ChoiceDek and DuraWood PE are backed for 20 years.
Cons: Some composite decking has a plastic appearance and some times colors can fade over time. Some building codes also don’t allow composite lumber so check before you order it.
Recommendations: Typical choices are plain deck boards such as Trex and ChoiceDek, and shaped tongue and groove deck boards, such as TimberTech and SmartDeck’s DuraWood EX. SmartDeck also offers a 100 percent plastic product called DuraWood PE. If you’re going to be wiring the deck consider ChoiceDek and DuraWood as both of these deck and rail systems are formed to allow running wires within posts or deck boards.

 

 

Vinyl Deck Systems
Pros: Vinyl deck systems typically include deck boards, rails, spindles and fascia. They create a low maintenance deck that does not need sealers or finishes and is free of splinters and cracks. They also resist UV rays if treated at the factory. The three major manufacturers of vinyl deck systems Kroy, DreamDeck and EZ Deck offer limited lifetime warranties.
Cons: These systems can be very expensive. Vinyl can also fade and get brittle with age unless specially treated at the factory and all vinyl eventually loses its gloss.
Recommendations: Skid resistant planks are available in a variety of colors from Kroy, DreamDeck and EZ Deck. Also opt for color-fast, no-fade treatments like the one used by EZ Deck.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact C&H Construction your North Georgia mountain licensed home builder with any questions you may have about your decking options, redoing your current deck or installing a new one.

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Shopping for a new countertop?

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

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Choosing the right material for your counter top is a extremely important decision after all your counter top will be used every day not to mention your counter top can have a great impact on the value of your home as well. With so many choices it can be quite confusing as to which type of material is best for your home. In this article we will discuss the most popular countertop materials being used today to help assist you and your general contractor make a decision.

 

Butcher block

Butcher block countertops are made from wood pieces of different colors to form a complementary and attractive pattern. The wood is glued together, sanded and sealed to form a smooth and unified countertop. Butcher block countertops and other wooden countertops are a popular choice in kitchens although some woods are used on bathroom countertops too.  Butcher block countertops can be used in conjunction with other surfaces such as quartz, granite and laminate. For example a work island might have a butcher block countertop while the tops around the appliances and sink are made from a different material. When considering butcher block many environment conscious buyers will also look at Eco friendly countertops like reclaimed wood as wood of all types is warm and inviting when used in a kitchen or bathroom.

 

Pros: The warmth and beauty of butcher block is very inviting. Butcher block countertops are ideal for those who enjoy baking and other types of food preparation as they handle cutting very well and do a good job of hiding cuts and scratches.  In fact the scars they accumulate give them character and can be part of their appeal. After years of use the countertops are able to be sanded and resealed to make them look brand new again. Butcher block goes well with a wide variety of cabinetry, flooring and appliances. They are easy to clean and they don’t suffer from some of the weaknesses of harder countertops such as cracking or chipping.

 

Cons: Butcher block countertops need to be sealed when produced or first installed and they require periodic sealing over the years.  If they are not sealed water can penetrate the butcher block and warp wood pieces causing them to separate as well as harbor germs.  Long term exposure to water is not good for the wood so it is essential that you clean up water and wipe butcher block and wood countertops dry after cleaning them.  If the surface is scratched below the level of the finish oiling the area is needed.  In fact some manufacturers recommend that you oil butcher block countertops every 1-3 months with linseed oil to keep out the harmful effects of water.

 

 

Concrete

Concrete countertops are one of the newest types countertops offered.  New innovations have been made in the way concrete is formulated which means that modern concrete countertops are relatively light and can be produced in an array of colors while still maintaining there strength. Concrete is more of a custom material and countertops are often framed and poured right in the kitchen or bathroom although many are made offsite as well.  Homeowners are also able to utilize various stamping and staining techniques to add personalized touches for their concrete countertops.

 

Pros: Strength is definitely one of the top reasons for choosing concrete. It is very hard, durable and not easily chipped.  These countertops can be custom formed on site so that they fit even oddly sized or shaped areas.  Concrete can be pigmented to achieve just about any color you want and can be personalized in hundreds of ways.  You can customize concrete surfaces by embedding shells, tiles, pieces of colored glass, and stones.  They also can be textured as well.

 

Cons: Concrete countertops are expensive so they may not be an option for everyone.  Concrete also requires a level of maintenance about the same as a granite countertop would.  They need to be sealed regularly in order to make the surfaces easier to clean.  Even then they are susceptible to being stained by coffee or juice and putting a lot of weight on a corner may also cause it to crack.

 

 

Granite

Granite countertops are some of the most elegant available. They are also one of the most expensive. Granite is a natural stone with great strength and has a natural beauty that few other stones can match. Every granite countertop is unique because the natural shading and tone differences within the stone are never exactly the same sometimes even within the same piece. In wood or a solid surface countertop this would be viewed as a defect however in granite countertops the varying shades and colors are greatly appreciated for the individuality they give to each top. Granite is an elite material for kitchen and bathroom countertops and it is an great option for those who have high-end cabinets, appliances, flooring and other top of the line products. As beautiful as it is granite may look out of place with items that don’t match in it’s quality.

 

Pros: Granite is stunningly beautiful and will provide an attractive complement to many types and colors of cabinets.  Granite is extremely strong and durable.  It is highly resistant to scratches and heat making it an asset in your kitchen work , especially near a stove top.  If you use a hair straightener or curling iron in the bathroom you can also set them down without worrying about burning your countertop.  When it is properly sealed granite also has good resistance to stains.

 

Cons: Granite kitchen and countertops need to be sealed because granite is a porous stone and will absorb fluids, which may stain.  Being porous could also harbor bacteria if it is not sealed.  Some granite countertops need to be sealed annually while others can be pre treated prior to being installed and can last 10 to 15 years before needing to be sealed again. There are about 20 different colors of granite compared to other types of counter tops, which offer hundreds of colors. If granite countertops have a heavy object dropped they can chip or crack. Granite countertops are also among the most expensive on the market and not every budget will accommodate them.

 

 

Laminate

Laminate countertops are a very popular option for many kitchens and bathrooms because they are affordable and come in the widest range of colors and patterns. Laminate countertops offer excellent versatility and value as well. Many countertops are made to mimic the look of more expensive surfaces like marble or granite and are one of the best choices for those with a limited budget. Laminate countertops sometimes called plastic laminate contain a hard particle board with layers of plastic laminate bonded over the top of it.  The plastic laminate is tough and fairly durable as well as easy to clean. Laminate does not harbor harmful germs like porous surfaces do and they are great if you have kids where they can be quickly sanitized with a disinfectant wipe.

 

Pros: Laminate countertops are being made with a higher quality than ever before.  The process has been refined to make them even more durable.  They also remain one of the most affordable types of countertops available. Laminates come in the widest selection of colors, hundreds of patterns and designs, and textured surfaces too.  For cleanup there’s nothing easier than laminate countertops.  The surface is solid without pores so a soapy washcloth or sponge is usually all that is needed.  Laminate seams can be also be hidden better then other countertop seams.

 

Cons: Laminate countertops can be more easily scratched than most surfaces so it is best to do any cutting in the kitchen on a cutting board. Laminate is also not as heat resistant as other surfaces so items such as hot pans or curling irons should not be placed on laminate countertops. In the event that the laminate surface is scratched, burned or chipped it is very difficult to repair.

 

 

Lava

Lava countertops are very unique, beautiful and highly functional. They are durable and extremely heat resistant. These countertops are made from lava stone that is quarried from sites of ancient volcano eruptions. Most of the lava stone countertops currently being produced come from stone extracted from craters in Auvergne France but other sources are being developed as these countertops grow in demand. Once the stone is mined it is then custom cut for each order. Then the lava countertop is glazed with enamel at heat in excess of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. The glazing gives it a smooth non-porous finish that is completely water-resistant. As the countertop cools small cracks form in the glazing giving every countertop a completely unique appearance.

 
Pros: This is a extremely strong and durable material that resists chipping and cracking. The glazed non-porous surface withstands heat, staining, acids from cleaners and foods and it will not fade. Lava countertops can be glazed in a wide array of colors to match every type of kitchen decor and the finish can be made glossy or matte. Lava countertops also nicely integrate with contemporary, traditional, country and eclectic kitchen design.

 
Cons: Lava countertops are extremely expensive easily surpassing other pricey countertop materials like granite and marble. Most of the cost is due to shipping since all lava stone currently being used is imported. Another drawback is that lava countertops cannot be easily refinished. They last around a 50 years so if you plan to install them make sure you love the color you choose.

 

 
Marble

Marble is a beautiful addition for a countertop and one of the most elegant materials you can choose for any home.  Marble countertops are mined from metamorphic rock consisting of crystallized carbon.  The hued rock is then cut into slabs of the proper thickness for countertops.  When shopping for marble the customer is shown various slabs of the material in the general color that they want.  Some of the slabs will be fairly solid in color with slight variations and hues while other slabs will display characteristics known as veining which are streams of minerals that run through the stone. Veining may be thick or thin it can dominate the marble countertop or just add a nice accent to an otherwise solid piece.

 
Pros: Countertops made from marble are some of the most beautiful countertops of any kind.  Marble comes in many different shades and varieties including whites, grays, black, yellows, pinks, green and more.  Marble is waterproof and is also very resistant to heat, which makes it a good choice near a stove or cooktop.

 
Cons: Aside from being one of the most expensive materials for countertops marble is very porous and therefore can trap dirt and germs.  It can also be somewhat fragile and possibly chip or crack when stressed.  Because marble countertops are so porous they can be stained quite easily and the stains can be very difficult to get rid of.  Acidic liquids such as wine, vinegar and some juices will also cause staining and etching. Etching is where the polish is eaten away and the marble is marred. Marble countertops should be sealed immediately and will need to be resealed every 2-10 years depending on the type of marble. Keeping it well sealed and polished is key to keeping it from being stained.

 

 

Quartz

Quartz countertops also known as Engineered stone countertops are mostly made from a high concentration (93%) of quartz crystals which is a natural substance but they are fabricated instead of cut from a solid piece of stone. These stones are designed to look like natural stone and make up the biggest percentage of engineered stone countertops. Quartz counter tops have about 7% non-quartz material including a binder to hold them together, other ingredients to strengthen the material, and added color.

 
Pros: Quartz countertops have all the advantages of natural stone including durability, hardness and beauty, plus, they overcome natural stone’s weaknesses.  Engineered stone and quartz countertops are easier to maintain than natural stone because they are not porous so they won’t harbor bacteria and they don’t need to be sealed like granite countertops do.  You’ll find engineered stone and quartz countertops in a wider range of colors than granite including many that offer more affordability.

 
Cons: Quartz counter tops have very few weaknesses since they are engineered. They don’t have quite the same level of natural beauty that granite countertops do but they are still quite attractive.  Their seams are about as visible as other stones where as solid surface and laminate countertops offer better seam control.  Because these countertops have an advanced manufacturing process, there high quality and have long lasting durability they are fairly expensive as well.

 

 

Resin

Resin countertops have a lot to offer in beauty and durability. These countertops can be produced any standard length with a seamless finish. They offer many color and style options as well. Resin countertops are crafted from cured epoxy, acrylic or polyester resin, which is a synthetic material used in a wide variety of applications. The countertops are cut to order and can be customized for unusual or unique countertop designs. The epoxy can be tinted slightly or completely colored to produce the exact look desired. Keep in mind though that acrylic resin is generally regarded to be of higher quality than polyester resin.

 
Pros: The two necessities in quality countertops are attractive appearance and durability. Resin countertops excel in both categories. Acrylic resin countertops are resistant to impact, staining, UV rays, scratches and heat. Most resist damage from the types of acids found in wine, tomato products and other foods. Resin countertops are non porous so they don’t support the growth of bacteria or fungus and they clean up quickly and easily with common household cleaners. In terms of appearance the coloration in the resin can produce a variety of effects and hundreds of color choices are available. Solid colors are very popular but many homeowners opt for resin countertops with less pigment, which produces a semi-translucent effect that can be very attractive. When a countertop is not fully opaque backlighting that shines into and through the material can be used to produce a very unique appearance.

 
Cons: The biggest drawback to resin countertops is the lack of consistency amongst products as not all resin countertops are created equal. Resin countertops are also not as heat resistant as stone countertops are and can be easily scratched. However many scratches may be able to be removed.

 

 

Solid surface

As the name implies solid surface countertops are made from solid synthetic materials. They have quickly become a popular choice for many homes offering the advantages of laminate countertops but with greater quality and without the main disadvantages.  Popularized by leading brands such as Corian and Swanstone they offer versatility and very good durability in a wide range of colors.

 

Pros: Solid surface countertops are very hard and very durable countertops. Corian countertops are available in over 100 different colors as well as many patterns. Many of the looks are patterned after more expensive materials like granite, stone or quartz. Because of the variety these countertops can be used in virtually any style of kitchen or bathroom and they work well in both traditional and contemporary homes.  The surfaces are solid, tough and non-porous making them very easy to clean and maintain.  When custom made solid surface countertops can present a seamless look in any kitchen or bathroom.

 

Cons: Solid surface countertops are not as resistant to heat as stone or quartz countertops are and can also be scratched, but since they are solid in color many scratches can be removed with careful sanding. In terms of cost, solid surface countertops are on the upper end of the price spectrum but are not as costly as quartz, concrete, granite or other stone countertops.

 

 

Stainless steel

Stainless steel countertops combine elegant beauty with outstanding practical benefits. With so many large kitchen appliances now featuring stainless steel finishes, you can select countertops to blend seamlessly with your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and more. While everyone is familiar with stainless steal you might not have considered it for use as a countertop. Stainless steel countertops are good to consider using when one of two design schemes is being sought: Retro or contemporary. Stainless steel sinks were introduced in the 1940s and became all the rage in the 1950s along with stainless backsplashes. Stainless steel tiles are now being produced for use in backslashes and countertops that are clearly inspired by past decades. Contemporary kitchens are the second ideal choice for this countertop material. Stainless produces a clean and efficient yet beautiful appearance. It blends well with contemporary accents, lighting and fixtures.

 
Pros: Stainless steel looks gorgeous on any surface. It complements materials such as wood and natural stone and stainless steal comes in a number of different finishes so you can select one that works well with your overall design. Stainless is also very durable and should give you 15-25 years of dependable service at a minimum. Stainless steel is one of the most sanitary materials you can use. Unlike wood, concrete or natural stone it is not porous so bacteria and viruses are easily removed. Cleanliness and durability are among the top reason stainless is used in so many professional kitchens.

 
Cons: Stainless steel isn’t cheap at least for a quality countertop. Avoid thin material and choose a thinker grade that will hold its shape better.

 

 

Tile

Tile countertops can use either ceramic tile, glass tile or porcelain tile. Tile is one of the most versatile materials because it comes in a vast variety of styles, sizes, shapes and color.  For this reason it has never gone out of style as a material for use in countertops. Ceramic tile is the most popular because it is affordable and comes in the greatest array of style options. Porcelain tile is a wonderful choice for countertops and backsplashes as well because it is easy to clean and resistant to moisture. Glass tiles are also easy to clean and they offer exciting options when installed over LED lighting.

 

Pros: Tile countertops offer unlimited opportunities to create a look that is tailor made for your home. Tile used for countertops range in sizes from about a 1 inch square to a 12 inch square or greater. Tile is versatile enough to go with any decor from very traditional to retro to contemporary. All types of tile are generally easy to clean but you will need to make sure that grout is sealed every few years in order to keep it from harboring bacteria and becoming stained. Tile is very durable and can last at least 50 years or more.

 

Cons: Besides the need to seal the grout every few years tile can also be expensive to install. The tile itself is one of the more cost effective countertop materials but the installation is very labor intensive. This is especially true if you want an elaborate design for your countertop.

 

 

Eco friendly

Eco friendly countertops are growing in popularity because they do as much for the beauty of your home as they do for the environment. Several choices are available that are made from sustainable materials like bamboo and post-consumer materials like recycled glass, paper and wood. Below we will discuss the two most popular eco friendly options reclaimed wood and recycled glass:

 

Reclaimed wood

Reclaimed wood countertops will provide rich and stunning beauty to your home, but you are also helping the environment by keeping the wood out of the waste stream. This natural material is found in a wide variety of styles and colors. It is a perfect choice for traditional, country, old world,  and even eclectically styled homes. Reclaimed wood comes from many different sources and most of it was once building material in barns, warehouses and other commercial buildings. Wall boards, floor boards and beams are used to produce reclaimed wood countertops that can add a warm organic element to your countertops. The marks of history and the natural imperfections of the lumber give it character that many find very appealing. The countertops are created through careful selection of wood and it almost every case, the boards or beams will all come from the same building in order to achieve consistency of quality and appearance.

 

Pros: If you love the look of natural wood especially wood that has character or a stressed appearance then reclaimed wood countertops should be a top consideration. They offer beauty and warmth wherever they are installed. The wood is also quite durable and should give you many years of service. Last but not least reclaimed wood countertops are a green building material.

 

Cons: Reclaimed wood countertops can be expensive. There is a limited supply of material and turning the wood into countertops is very labor intensive. Wood counter tops are very porous and if not properly sealed they can hold bacteria and viruses. They should also be resealed every few years. Finally wood countertops don’t handle heat very well and can burn when very hot items are placed on them.

 

 

Recycled Glass

Recycled glass countertops have a unique and beautiful appearance that goes very well with a wide variety of designs. Depending on how the glass is used recycled glass countertops can look very modern and contemporary or they can be made to look antique and almost traditional. Be careful when selecting glass countertops though as they are not right for every situation especially if you have small children in the home. In rare cases a piece of glass may come loose. Most recycled glass countertops are 80% to 90% post-consumer glass. The glass comes from both commercial and domestic sources.  Recycled glass countertops feature pieces of glass held together with a cement binder.  They are popular with eco-friendly consumers but because of their unique design and beauty are chosen by a wide variety of homeowners to produce a customized looked to their countertops. Recycled glass can also be made into tiles and backsplashes that can be installed along with the countertops.

 

Pros:  Recycled glass countertops are very durable and strong.  The binder is very hard and the countertops are not very prone to chipping or cracking.  The countertops are non-porous and therefor easier to clean and maintain.  They are also heat resistant and stain resistant.  Every recycled glass countertop is a unique creation and no two are alike. Recycled glass countertops differ in their design through the use of different colors and pieces giving them a custom look.  Even recycled glass tiles are unique from one another.  Last but not least recycled glass countertops are good for the environment because they keep waste glass out of landfills.

 

Cons: While recycled glass countertops are fairly strong they can crack or chip if installation creates stress points and depending on the design some of them can show water spots or fingerprints.  In some cases, acidic foods or cleaning products might mar the surface. Recycled glass countertops can come in a range of prices but most of them are fairly expensive.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact C&H Construction with any questions you may have about countertop materials.

 
C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville,Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.