14 Different Countertop Materials

Most homeowners are familiar with quartz, tile, and caesarstone kitchen countertops, but there are so many more options out there that consumers may or may not be aware of!  Here are a handful that we thought you may enjoy reading more about:


This natural stone has been a popular choice for kitchen remodels over the years because it comes in various colors grains and finishes.  Granite is a very hard surface and is not susceptible to scratches and takes normal wear and tear very well.  It also handles heat well so placing a hot pot on the surface will not likely damage it.  Granite countertops, however, are very porous and need to be sealed properly and regularly to prevent staining

Engineered-QuartzEngineered Quartz

Engineered Quartz has taken over the kitchens in the past 3 years. Engineered quartz is a combination of ground quartz, resin and pigments to create a tough, nonporous material.   Quartz is non-porous so staining is not an issue with this surface.  With the wide range of colors, quartz has become a popular choice, but the prices can be a little steep and the surface is not as resistant to heat as granite.


Tile is probably the most effect material to use on your countertops. This is an older trend and isn’t seen much anymore due to the difficulty of maintaining the tile due to grout. If you want to bring back this vintage look, make sure you choose a durable grout to make maintaining easier.   While tile can be affordable and durable, the colors vary from batch to batch so if you get a cracked tile down the line that needs to be replaced, chances are the new tile will not match the original.

Glass CountertopEcofriendly

Things you can use for this can be anything from salvaged wood, Bio-Glass to Bamboo. Choices like this are chosen for clients who want a complete green remodel.  There are tradeoffs and just because salvaged and recycled countertops are eco-friendly does not mean they are all as earth-friendly as they could be…they do have to go from material creation to manufacturing so keep that in mind.

Recycled-Paper-Based-CountertopsRecycled Paper-Based

Yes you read that…recycled paper. Now this doesn’t sound durable by any means but the process to make it durable is similar to quartz. When blended with resins and pigments it does look and feel like soapstone.

Plasic-LaminatePlastic Laminate

Laminate is still in the game when it comes to kitchen remodeling. There is a large variety of customizable edges and finishes and it is very affordable. If you have a rental property and want to keep budget in line while having low maintenance, laminate is probably the best choice for your kitchen remodel.

Recycled-Glass-and-cementRecycled Glass and Cement

Recycled glass and cement is one of those unique trends in countertops that is starting to make its way to the main stream. The combination of these two materials fused into one makes for one beautiful, colorful, slab of one of a kind art. If you are going for a unique theme this countertop might be the perfect choice for your eclectic kitchen


Marble has been one of those classic materials that is very popular and it shows no signs of disappearing. If you have a white kitchen, more than likely you will migrate to marble to create that dreamy white kitchen that graces those glossy magazines. Marble is a softer stone that can scratch and stain easily.


Concrete is fairly new to kitchen remodels however it is starting to gain popularity. Concrete counters are created with pigments and dyes and can be custom made with various colors even down to the texture of the concrete. Once it is sealed it looks fantastic and is very durable.

Stainless-Steel-CountertopsStainless Steel

Want to feel like the Master Chef in your own kitchen? Try adding some stainless steel countertops. Steel is a great choice because it’s non staining, heat resistant and easy to clean. This countertop can drive your kitchen design to a high end look with a mix of high end industrial restaurant with tradition kitchen design.

Wood-CountertopsWood Countertops

Wood countertops may not be the most common option homeowners discuss, however butcher block countertops look great in any country kitchen or cottage kitchen remodel.  The quality of wood you choose and the right sealer to make all the difference when selecting your wood countertop to make it look warm and inviting.


Zinc countertops aren’t seen much in modern kitchens but this unique metal gave your kitchen an industrial feel. A great way to combine traditional design and industrial to your kitchen remodel.


Soapstone, it’s all in the name. This hard surface is 50% talc combined with other minerals mostly magnesite gives this surface a soapy feel.  Soapstone is heat resistant, non-porous and is chemically neutral so acids like lemon or tomato juice will not affect it. It is a soft hard surface so scratches are common and would need to be resealed every year.


Copper is not common but it’s easy to clean and maintain. It is a “living” surface and it will react differently to substances. It looks gorgeous in any kitchen but be prepared for it to change colors when it reacts to various chemicals.


While this list is long, we hope you found the material that will make your kitchen shine and complete your remodel.   Remember that these countertops come in numerous colors so pinpoint your color scheme before shopping for your countertop.  Come prepared with cabinet and backsplash samples to help you along the process.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

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Exterior House Painting Color Inspiration

Summer is a great time to pick up those paint brushes and paint your home.  Most people gravitate towards remodeling the inside of their home, but don’t forget exterior painting will make a huge difference towards how you feel about your home before you even walk in the door.   A fresh coat of exterior paint gives your visitors a great first impression and your house some serious curb appeal.  Let’s start talking about some colors for your home.

Ivory and White

Ivory-WhiteIvory paint is more of a soft almond color and it looks absolutely beautiful. It gives your home a very inviting look and you can also use whit to outline the trim. These two color combinations are stunning and work well with any home.

Prairie Brown, Gray and Yellow/Gold

Prairie-Brown-Gray-Yellow-GoldNow this combination sounds odd but it’s a warm and neutral color scheme. Use the lighter brown for the majority of your home and use the darker colors to highlight the homes details.

White Putty, Taupe and Olive Green

White-Putty-Taupe-Olive-GreenWhite paint is a classic look for any home. It’s sophisticated and gives the home a grand, clean look. While just using white might be boring for some, add some character to the home by adding a soft taupe with some olive on trim and details. This can break up the solid white look and make the home pop.

Cool Green, Butter Yellow and White

Cool-Green-Butter-Yellow-WhiteWhen you think of painting your home, green sounds like a color you would run away from. Green can work if you pick the right shade. A cool green can be used to create a natural calm and serene feel to your home. Use Butter Yellow and White for trimming and accents.

White & Dark Chocolate

White and Dark ChocolateThis color combination is a winner. If you love the classic white home look, then adding a dark chocolate paint to accent the white paint. This color works great and is perfect for decorations and outdoor furniture, the fear of clashing is impossible with this color scheme.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.


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Odd and Beautiful Kitchen Backsplashes

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, the backsplash paints the theme of the kitchen. Cabinets are also important … but the backsplash tells the story.  Need help deciding how to tell the story?   Here are some suggestions:

Glass Tile Backsplashes

glass-tile-backsplashGlass tiles can look incredible against any colored wood. Most choices of glass tiles are bright hued colors, if bright colors are too bold there are others in neutral tones.


Subway Tile Backsplashes

subway-tile-backsplashSubway tile is a common choice in back-splashes. Classic white subway tile can be found in most kitchens however brighter colors are popping up and making waves with this classic trend.

Stained Glass Backsplashes

stained-glass-backsplashStained Glass backsplashes aren’t very common but the look is very unique. If you want to give your kitchen a unique feel stained glass is the way to go.

Stainless Steel and Stone Backsplashes

stainless-steel-and-stone-backsplashStainless steel and stone back-splashes are popping up more and more in modern kitchen remodels but incorporating this futuristic material with an older trend is making a new trend.

Intricate Mosaic Tile Backsplashes

mosaic-backsplashDo you have a special design in mind for your kitchen? More like a focal piece of art or image you want to tell your whole story? Well you can try an Intricate Mosaic Tile. This idea is a great way to get creative and tell your own story and it not be fabricated by someone else.

Natural Stone Backsplashes

natural-stone-backsplashNatural stone backsplash is still very popular and can be seen in many upscale remodels. This style is easily replicated and can work great in any kitchen. Natural stone comes in various colors so it’s versatile no matter what color your cabinets are.

Modern Glass Tile Backsplashes

modern-glass-tile-backsplashModern glass tile can help create a contemporary feel to your kitchen. This small tiles are unique but they give the kitchen an overall different feel to kitchen. Mix various colors to give your back-splash a look of its own.

Sleek Stainless Steel Backsplashes

stainless-steel-backsplashStainless steel backsplashes are on the rise. The industrial look of a modern kitchen mixed with traditional design is something homeowners are going towards.

With so many options and designs this task of finding the right back-splash to complete the look of your kitchen. We know which ever type of material you pick your kitchen will look gorgeous and very unique.


Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

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Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Vanities and Sinks

There are a variety of different vanities and sinks to choose from when remodeling your bathroom.  Below is a list of your options when it comes time to select the vanity and sinks for your bathroom remodel:

Pedestal Sinks


Pedestal sinks are great for small spaces that do not allow for cabinets as well as for powder baths which are designed to meet the needs of daily visitors.  Pedestal sinks are also sometimes used to create a turn of the century look for homeowners who like a symmetrical look.


Free Standing Vanities

free-standing-vanityIt is easy to maintain an elegant look in your bathroom while incorporating plenty of storage space with a free-standing vanity.  The majority of these units are integrated  which means they will come with your counter-top and faucet.  While this makes product selection a little easier, when it comes time to make a change to the top, sink, or faucet later down the line, the change may not be so easy to make without tearing out the entire unit.

Wall Mounted Vanities

Zen Bathroom Remodel General ContractorHomeowners who have a small space but would like to have cabinet space may opt for a wall mounted sink.  Many homeowners also like that the wall-mounted sink allows for extra floor space.  Similar to free-standing vanities, many wall-mounted sinks generally do not require additional purchases of the sink and faucet because they are integrated units.  Wall mounted sinks are ideal for a stylish small bathroom and can be mounted at just about any height.


Vanity Cabinets without Tops

vanity-without-top-cabinetryVanity cabinets are much like kitchen cabinets and reach the floor on all four sides.  Vanity cabinets will require toe-kicks are a recess so you can get close to the counter-top without losing your balance.  In addition to purchasing the cabinet, you will need to select the counter-top, sink, and faucet all separately.  This allows for a much more customizeable bathroom.  If you put a lot of wear and tear on your counter-tops, sinks, or faucet it is much easier to switch out in the future than with integral units.

Vessel Sinks

Glass vessel sinkVessel sinks are imaginative and stylish and becoming more and more common in San Diego.   Vesel sinks are more often than not bowl-shaped but they are also available in rectangular shapes as well as many other sculpture-like shapes.  Some vessel sinks can be found connected to a free-standing vanity if you search long enough.  There are literally 1000’s of styles of bathroom vessel sink options.  This is a great way to make your bathroom unique when combining with a vanity cabinet without a top.  Vessel sinks are more often than not installed above the counter-top, but they can be partially recessed, as well.  Vessel sinks may be the easiest to install because they do not require any cutouts in your counter-tops (with the exception of a small hole to accommodate the drain).

Under-mounted Sinks

Relaxing master bathroomUnder-mount sinks are lovely in my opinion because there is no lip, which makes clean up of the counter-top much easier and really allows for more counter-top space.  Laminate or tile counter-tops are not well-paired with the under-mount sink.  Marble, quartz, granite, and concrete options are the best when electing to install an under-mount sink.  You can install under-mount sinks under laminate and time but we do not recommend this because both these tops have too many weak points along the seams and grout lines to support the weight of the sink.


Self rimming sinks (Drop-in sinks)

Large-Master-Bath-RemodelDrop-in sinks can be simple or decorative, depending on what your goal is for your bathroom remodel.  Most drop in sinks allow for the faucet to be installed directly into the sink, rather than the counter-top. Drop-in sinks take up more counter-top space but the installation is much easier than with an under-mount sink. Self-rimming sinks can be installed into any counter-top material including laminates, tile, and solid surface.

Integral Counter-top with Sink

Zen Bathroom Remodel San DiegoIntegral countertops are a seamless countertop with sink that can be installed on your cabinet.   Many times the integral countetop has an integral backsplash as well.  Having an integral unit allows your faucet to be the focal point of your cabinet.  Cleaning the countertop and sink is a breeze in this configuration.  Unfortunately if you damage the top you will need to replace the piece in its entirety.




Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

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Guide to ordering your bathroom vanity

Selecting your bathroom vanity is an important design decision to make because it is the focal point of your bathroom.  There are many different types of vanity options for you to select from when you remodel your bathroom.  If you are shopping at a big box store such as Home Depot your choices are fairly limited to integral vanities (one piece that includes the cabinet base, sink, and faucet with little to no variety in style).

If you have decided to go for a more customized look for your bathroom, we suggest purchasing your cabinet base, then your sink, countertop, and faucet.  Not only are you more likely to achieve a style more suited to your personal space,  you will be able to create a space that works for your living situation.

Here are some tips regarding the selection of your cabinetry as well as the sequence for when you should purchase each product:

1.  Assess your space to determine the size cabinets you need.

You  may find that you are limited in your options due to the space available in your bathroom so the very first thing you should do is assess where in the space your cabinetry will stand and then measure the available space so you know your maximum dimensions. Depending on  your contractor you may receive product selection guidance but at the very least your contractor should provide you with the dimensions.  If you do not have assistance during this process, be sure to take into consideration the baseboards and/or any wainscoting when measuring, especially in a tight spot.



2. Determine what you want your cabinets to accomplish

Ask yourself these questions:

  1.  Do I need more or less storage?
  2.  What type of storage options do I want:  space for towels, additional shampoo space, an area for my curling iron and hair dryer?
  3. Do I need another sink or do you currently have dual sink that is using up valuable space?
  4. Do I need more or less countertop space?



3.  Select your countertops

San Diego Bathroom Remodel Contractor

Once you have decided what style and color cabinetry you want, you will need to get the dimensions from the manufacturer so you can order your countertops, which will need to be fabricated.

4.  Select your sink


To get your countertop fabricated, you will need to know what your sink selection is.  The countertop manufacturer or supplier will need to know the dimensions of your cabinets so the cutouts will be correct for installation.

4.  Select your faucet

Del Mar Bathroom Renovation 92131

Your fabricator will need to know the dimensions of the faucet you have selected so the appropriate holes can be drilled.

Most contractors will not begin working on your project until all materials have been not only selected, but also delivered so it is imperative you take action quickly on ordering material.


Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

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4 Toilets you did not knew existed

When it comes to toilets, the choice may seem simple however toilets are getting more and more sophisticated.  From water conservation to self-cleaning, technology continues to amaze us with what is available when we are ready to remodel our bathroom.  Here are a few toilets you may not have known existed but may not be able to live without once you hear about them!

dual-flushing-toiletDual flushing toilets now allow you to save water without sacrificing performance.  We have seen quite a few of these emerging in San Diego.  Some, like the one shown in this image, have two buttons on the top, while others have a traditional single lever.

DXV_AT200-Integrated-Bidet-Smart-Toilet_9cabad1dWho would be surprised that there is now a Smart Toilet?  Who would not want a toilet that warmed up their seat for them, had a night light and deodorizer?   In addition to all those features, toilets can also include bidets with a warm air dryer to finish things off.  Mind blown!


Not all of us have $10,000 to spend on a toilet, but if you do imagine having this Toto toilet!   This toilet not only has the night light and deodorizer, it is also self-cleaning.  The lid will automatically raise and shut for you and there is no need to manually flush, who needs that hassle anyway?

wall-hung-toiletsBack to reality though, another toilet that is emerging in popularity is the wall hung toilet.  This European look is great for small bathrooms and they provide a modern sleek feel while providing more room in the bathroom.

Our point is you do not have to settle on the same old plain elongated or round toilet bowl.  There are a variety of styles available so your bathroom can have a decorative feel and there are a ton of options for functionality, as well.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.


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3 tile feature options for your bathroom

Nothing looks better than ceramic or porcelain tiles for your bathroom, whether you are wanting to accomplish a fabric, wood, or stone appearance.  Ceramics also offer a wide variety of colors and an astounding number of patterns.  Ceramic tiles are easier to maintain than natural stone, however may be less comfortable than vinyl (but who really installs vinyl in San Diego bathroom remodels these days?).

Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles are both made of a fired clay material called ceramic.  Porcelain tile as a higher density and has more durability than ceramic tile.  Porcelain tile is also more water-resistant than other types of tile because the high temperatures fired on the clay leave the tile dense.

Tile works well in Southern California bathrooms because they cool the space down during the hot summer months.  Ceramic tile is not as easy to install as vinyl so expect the cost of installation to be higher.  One advantage of ceramic tile is they are harder than clay-based tiles and many times have through-body color which is an advantage if a tile is chipped.

What type of tile feature appeals to you?

linen-wall-tile-choudior-showerLinen tile:  This textured tile comes in various colors, and looks stunning in small or larger tiles. The look overall gives the appearance of a spa and offers some tranquility to your space. The texture of the tile seems to scare some away however it can be cleaned like any other tile and it give your shower a beautiful aesthetic look.


tile-that-looks-like-woodPorcelain wood tile:  A soft grey color is usually chosen to give a shower a modern look. This tile can go in as is or liners can go in to give it a unique look. A popular flooring option is using pebble tile. You can choose a pebbled rough texture or a cut pebble texture for the flooring. This look is very much on the rise because of its neutral soft tones.


Shower remodel Classic Home ImprovementsStone Tile:  Porcelain tile that has a natural stone look offers the beauty and variation of stone, but without the maintenance required of real stone.  The engineered porcelain tile is designed to have rough or polished finishes to resemble rough, gauged slate or smooth, polished marble.


Get creative with your bathroom, take the time to look at different styles.  You may find that you like something you never would have imagined.  We also suggest taking the material to your home (most places will allow you to take home a sample) because the lighting in your space will make a big difference on how the product looks once installed and store lighting is never the same as home lighting.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.


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When to Order Material for your Bathroom Remodel

Once you have decided to remodel your bathroom, the planning begins.  Most homeowners start off with a general theme and style they want to accomplish for their new bathroom.  Once they have decided on those two things, many homeowners do not really know where to start.

It is important to understand that when you are building a custom or semi-custom bathroom, the sequence in which you order material plays a very important role in the project because delays in receiving material essentially means delays in starting (and completing) your project.

This is an exciting time but once you get started, product selection can be overwhelming.  Here are the 7 core products, and the sequence you need to purchase them in, to ensure you keep your sanity (we have excluded accessories, trim,  and paint in this particular article):

1.  Select your vanity.


Do not delay on selecting your vanity, some are custom made or are not in stock and can take several weeks to receive.  You do not want your finished bathroom to be delayed while you wait for your vanity to arrive from the manufacturer.  Most contractors will not begin work on your project until all the materials have arrived so this is a priority.

2.  Select your bathtub and shower glass doors (if applicable).


Bathtubs, like vanities, can have a long delay in shipment depending on where they are coming from and if they are in stock.  There are a variety of different sizes and options for bathtubs including type of material, depth, length, with or without jets, and handles.  Becoming popular are the walk in tubs meant for aging in place.

3.  Select your faucets and trim to be installed.

Glass vessel sink

Selecting your faucets and trim is an essential part of your shopping.  There are “rough” parts to the shower fixtures which will be installed behind the drywall and under the tile floor.  Without those parts, you will be delayed in the middle of your project.  Be sure to match your tub and shower trim to your sink faucets, many times they are paired in a “family” of products such as Kohler’s “Memoirs Collection” .

4.  Select the tile for your shower and backsplash.


Tile is just as important as your vanities because its such a large piece of the bathroom.  You will be selecting tile for your shower and backsplash so you will want to consider how well they coordinate with one another.  We tend to guide our clients against “matchy – matchy” with the different products to avoid a “washed” look.  For example, we might suggest not using white tile with white cabinets.

5. Select your toilet.


When it comes to toilets, the choice may seem simple, however, toilets are getting more and more sophisticated!   There are toilet options that are designed to be green and save water depending on which flush option you choose.   Additionally, there are a variety of style and color options. Manufacturers such as Kohler have families of sink, tub, and toilets which have the same style, making your product selection choices a little easier when you want them to match.

6.  Select your lighting.

Zen bathroom remodel San Diego

Don’t forget to consider your lighting options…there are so many to choose from.  Not only do you have to decide between canned lights, pendant lights, or light bars – you also need to decide what you want out of your light switches.  For example, do you want to have a dimmer, is it important to have a built in night-light?  Those types of questions will lead you to the light that will fit your family’s lifestyle.


7.  Last, but not least, select your flooring


Flooring is your last and final piece to your master piece. Ditch the linoleum and select flooring that works with your design.  If you love wood but don’t want the hassle of maintaining a wood floor, there are now porcelain wood tiles that can give you the look of wood flooring.  Travertine flooring along with ceramic tile are also popular choices.


Your bathroom has the potential to look amazing.  The world of design and remodeling have endless capabilities to turn the idea of your space to a wonderful masterpiece. Start getting inspired by looking at local design build contractor’s website or better yet look to see if they have a Houzz profile.   Anything is possible no matter the size of the space.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a general remodeling contractor servicing San Diego, CA and Temecula, CA with a showroom located in Escondido, CA.  This remodeling company offers full service kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, and exterior home remodeling options.

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