The Skinny on Butcher Block Countertops

One of the latest fads to take hold of our kitchens: the butcher block counter top. Whether edge grain, face grain, or end grain, it can be an awesome additional to your home with a range of colors and patterns from woods like oak, to birch, to cherry, to even bamboo.

butcher block countertops

Besides being highly desirable for their looks, wooden counters have a range of features:

  • Lasts a long time and absorbs dings and scratches.
  • Plays well with other materials like metal, plastic, or rock.
  • Less noise than harder surfaces with dishes and utensils.
  • Wood tends to be antimicrobial and antibacterial.

A few properties to keep in mind are:

  • Wood is prone to shrinking, growing, or cracking due to humidity or dry weather.
  • If not sealed properly, the wood may rot or change color.
  • Heat or spills can burn or change the color of the wood, though this could be sanded out.

I hope this inspires your kitchen creativity and let us know if you pick a wooden countertop or have one currently!

Clay Tiles vs Concrete Tiles

Our previous article outlined the differences between metal and composite shingle roofing, in this article, we’ll go over clay and concrete tile roofing. Choosing your home’s roofing materials is a no light task, but don’t be discouraged, once you learn about the differences between the roofing materials available, the right choice should become clearer.

clay concrete roof

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are a beautiful choice for homeowners when it comes to roofing material, they embody traditional European style and are also a beautiful choice for homes with a more modern design. They are a classic roofing material and are immediately identifiable. Clay tiles are made from natural clay and are fired in a kiln which helps their color to not fade over time; they are long lasting and don’t require a lot of maintenance. That said, clay tiles are a lot heavier than composition shingles or metal roofs and require a reinforced roof frame for extra support. Clay tiles are expensive to install, but since maintenance is low, the long-term cost is not high – especially given that clay tiles can last centuries. Since the clay tiles are fired, they won’t rot, they are also fire resistant, and won’t be affected by insects. The tiles can be easily broken by walking on them, so other house maintenance (gutters, fireplaces, etc.) might lead to roof damage.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles are a fairly new addition to the roofing market; they can also be made to resemble slate, wood shakes, or even clay tiles. When compared to the cost of clay tiles, concrete tile is significantly less expensive, but the weight is still heavier than other roofing types, because of this a reinforced roof frame is often required. One advantage over clay or slate roofs is that concrete roofing does weigh less and therefore some of the structural problems resulting from the heavier clay or slate roofs can be avoided. Concrete tile is also fire, rot, and bug resistant, requires little to no maintenance, and is made to have a long life (about 50 years). For both clay and concrete tiles, be sure to check the warranty that comes with the tiles, there should be two warranties, the first from the manufacturer and the second is typically provided by the installation expert.

Composition Shingles vs. Metal Roofing

Choosing roofing materials for your home is a process of elimination, it’s important to take into account your particular needs and environment. Slope of roof, strength of framing, and where your home is located all should be factored into the decision.
metal roof custom home builder design

Composition Shingles

Composition shingles are typically made from asphalt or fiberglass materials; these come in a variety of colors, brands, and types. This is one of the more versatile roofs and can be easily installed and maintained, sometimes composition shingles can even be installed over an existing roof. The majority of brands on the market also offer Class A fire protection. Though the shingles are durable enough to not be damaged if someone walks over them, however if they get hot then they are easily scarred. Because composition shingles common, they are typically a low-cost investment – both in installation and materials, but are not as long lasting as metal roofs and may end up costing as much in repairs over time. They are, however, better at soundproofing outside noises.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs may seem like a recent phenomenon, but they have actually been around for hundreds of years. Some historic
buildings, such as the Washington Monument, have metal roofs. Today the most popular form of metal roofing today is standing-seam steel roofing. In this style of roofing, the upturned edge of a metal panel connects to the adjacent panel which creates distinctive vertical lines. Metal roofing can also be made to look like clay tiles, shingles, Victorian metal tiles, or wood shakes. Aluminum roofing is also a popular form of metal roofs. Metal roofs are extremely durable, practically maintenance free, fire retardant, and, perhaps most importantly, energy efficient. The metal serves as a heat reflector and prevents the heat from entering the attic which effectively keeps the entire house cooler. It has been shown that metal roofing absorbs up to 34% less heat than composite shingles. Installation is best left to professionals as it is very complex and requires some installation experience. Metal roofs are also more expensive, not only for the roof but for the installation, this upfront cost is usually offset by the promise of a lower energy bill in the future due to the heat reflection; in some areas metal roofs may also be eligible for federal energy saver rebates. Metal roofs are lighter than a traditional composition shingle roof and tend to come with longer warranties.