Walk into any tile store these days and you’ll be confronted with a vast array of options, not only in designs but also in materials. Even with so many choices, two of the most popular types are porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles. Before you head for the store, it’s a good idea to understand each of the materials and the pros and cons of choosing porcelain vs ceramic tile for your home improvement project.
What ‘s the difference?
According to HomeBuild, ceramic tile use goes back centuries to when clay tiles were used as roofing materials. Although the word “ceramic” is derived from the Greek ‘keramos’, which means pottery, its origins are in the Sanskrit term that means “to burn.” This is because ceramics are fired to their hard state in a kiln.
Porcelain is also a type of ceramic, but it is much harder because it is fired to a higher temperature, which causes vitrification. This is the process by which the material develops its waterproof properties. Both types of materials can be found in historic buildings stretching back centuries.
The basic properties of porcelain vs. ceramic tile determine where you can use the materials because not all tiles are appropriate for all areas of a room. Some tiles are great for the bathroom floor, but the ones that you chose for the wall might not be safe and durable for the kitchen floor. When looking at tiles, you may notice that they have a number called a PEI rating. Most porcelain tiles have been evaluated and rated with an abrasion text from the Porcelain Enamel Institute. The PEI scale helps consumers pick the right kind of tile for the right area of the home. The scale runs from 0 to 5 – the softest to the hardest.
- 0 – These tiles should not be as flooring and are best limited to walls.
- PEI 1 – Tiles with this rating are meant for places like residential bathroom floors where people don’t usually wear shoes. They are also suitable for walls.
- PEI 2 – This group of tiles is best residential areas that don’t see high traffic. They are not good for more heavily used parts of the home such as the kitchen or entryway.
- PEI 3 – These tiles are durable enough for any part of the home, including countertops and bathroom floors.
- PEI 4 – Tiles in this group are strong enough for regular foot traffic in the home, and a variety of commercial uses.
- PEI 5 — Heavily trafficked areas that see a good deal moisture or abrasive dirt are usually done with these tiles. These are also used in swimming pools.
Sometimes called non-porcelain tiles, they are made with clay — red or white – that is fired in a kiln. Left unglazed, they are typically terra cotta. Gloss or matte glazes typically provide the pattern and color to the tile. Ceramic tiles are, in general, softer than porcelain options, usually at a PEI rating of 3 or less. This means they are more susceptible to stains and wear and are less water-resistant. It also means that they are not appropriate for some uses. Most certainly, you cannot use Ceramic tile outdoors because it because it absorbs a lot of water. Especially in colder areas with freezing temperature, the tile would soon crack as water inside contracts and expands as it freezes and thaws.
Pros of Using Ceramic Tile
Overall, ceramic tile costs less than porcelain by about 60 to 70 percent. The exception is when you get to the higher end of the ceramic price range, where there is less of a cost difference for porcelain vs ceramic tile. At the budget end of the spectrum, the price difference is far greater. The average cost for materials and installation of ceramic tiles ranges from $3 to $7 per square foot for basic styles. Prices can rise dramatically if you are looking at high-end or technologically advanced designs.
Easier to cut
Because ceramic tile is not as dense, it’s easier to cut. This can be especially important if the tile is a DIY project. Handy homeowners can use a snap tile cutter or a wet tile saw for the job without much of a problem
Glazed ceramic tiles are covered by a layer that protects the surface, making them stain- and water-resistant. They are suitable for bathrooms and kitchens where humidity can be high.
A Multitude of Designs
Modern technology has greatly expanded the styles and designs of ceramic tile that are available on the market today. Different shapes, patterns, prints and textures open the door to expressing your style as never before. Techniques that make ceramic look like stone, marble or wood are just some of the options you have.
Caring for ceramic tiles is easy, breezy: Spills and dirt can simply be mopped or wiped up. Regularly vacuuming and sweeping will help maintain tiles and preserve the finish.
Even though they are generally rated softer than porcelain, ceramic tiles are still extremely durable. They are very difficult to crack by accident. Proper installation and regular maintenance can yield many years of beauty and durability.
Because the surface of ceramic tiles is impervious, they are a great choice for minimizing allergens like pollen or dust. Without anywhere to lodge themselves, these particles are easily washed or wiped away with regular cleaning.
Cons of Using Ceramic Tile
Might need sealant
If you choose an unglazed ceramic tile it will have to be sealed to protect the surface, particularly from liquids. Grout between these tiles also has to be sealed for protection, especially as mold can also grow in this space.
Less Comfortable for Standing
The same qualities that make them durable also make them a less comfortable flooring option.
Places in the home like those in front of the kitchen or bathroom sink will need a rug to ease standing for a longer period of time. Also, as with any hard flooring, area rugs will warm up the feel of the space and absorb sound.
They are Heavy!
If you plan on using these in an upper floor bathroom or laundry room, make sure that your home’s construction can handle the weight. Your contractor should be able to determine this. If you are installing the tile yourself and the area does not currently have tile surfaces, you’ll want to have a professional check this before you get started.
While porcelain vs ceramic tile might look exactly the same, there are critical differences between the two types. Remember that porcelain is a type of ceramic that is much denser and impervious to moisture. Porcelain is usually the better choice for areas of the home that have higher traffic, such as entryway and kitchen floors. In the long run, porcelain will outperform other types of flooring both with respect to durability as well as appearance. Of course, as with any material, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using porcelain vs ceramic tile.
Pros of Using Porcelain Tile
The same process that makes porcelain denser and less porous than ceramic also makes the material far more durable than ceramic tiles. Porcelain is solid and the same throughout the entire thickness of the tile, while the finish of a ceramic tile is only on the surface of the tile. Chips in porcelain tile are not generally noticeable because the color and composition are the same throughout the material. In a ceramic tile, a chip will be more noticeable because the color inside is different. Porcelain tile actually ends up harder than granite. Hence, properly installed porcelain tiles can last decades.
Water and Stain Resistant
Because porcelain vs ceramic tile is denser, it is also more resistant to liquids. Sometimes, a melted glass glaze is applied to make the surface totally impervious to water. The ability of porcelain to keep moisture out also means that it is almost impossible for it to become stained. According to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), porcelain tile has a water absorption rate of 0.5 percent or less. This is tested by boiling the tile for five hours and then letting to sit in water for 24 hours.
Very Easy Maintenance
Porcelain tile is easy to clean because spills are simply wiped up and cleaning requires only water and a mild detergent to disinfect the surface. As durable as they are, unusual things can happen and a tile can be damaged. If so, the repair is easy because all you have to do is replace the broken tile. This is why installers typically leave the extra tile pieces for the homeowner.
Cons of Using Ceramic Tile
Just as with ceramic tile, the weight of porcelain tile is a factor you need to take into consideration if you are using it in the upper level of a home. Again, check with an expert to make sure your home’s interior construction can handle the weight if you plan to do the tiling yourself.
Harder to Install
Because of porcelain’s density, it is harder to cut and may not be the best thing or a DIYer to do. This is especially true if the installation has a lot of corners or complicated joints. While it will cost more, hiring a professional installer might be the best course of action for installing porcelain vs. ceramic tiles.
They Cost More
Porcelain vs ceramic tiles generally cost more, especially if you are looking at newer styles and those with artful or complex designs. The cost of an average porcelain type is $9.50 per square foot installed. Of course, if you venture into the custom selections, the price can go to $25 or more per square foot.
Not everything labeled “porcelain” actually is true porcelain, especially as a good percentage of the tile sold in the United States is imported. Over the years there has been disagreement among industry groups about how to certify tiles and ascertain the water absorption rate. Currently, there are no rules or regulations, but the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) does offer a voluntary certification process and a few dozen major manufacturers participate. That said, blind tests have shown that nearly 23 percent of the tiles tested that were labeled as “porcelain” were not.
Although you can check the box of tiles for PTCA certification mark, that is not necessarily bonafide as some less-than-honest companies may add it to their packaging regardless. If you really want to know, check out the PTCA’s database of tile makers and their products.
Ultimately, when weighing the decision whether to use porcelain vs ceramic tile, make sure you look at all the factors. You want something that is appropriate for the use, durable and, most of all, expressive of your style and design sensibilities. With the wide variety of tiles available today, you should have no problem finding something you love whichever material you choose.
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What would you do with your Pagani Zonda R if you had one? Only 15 of these supercars have ever been manufactured and that makes each one of them extremely rare and special. Naturally, it’s understandable to want to proudly display them and one ingenious owner found a very unusual and interesting way of doing just that. This is a 4,200 square foot apartment in the exclusive beachfront property FENDI Chateau Residences from Surfside, Miami. The 58-unit development was completed in 2016 by Arquitectonica and includes a variety of luxury amenities such as 12 private cabanas by the beach, a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, a spa, a kid’s club and even its own theater and private wine cellar.
This eccentric condo features an interior designed by Artefacto Home Staging. They had to use an exterior crane to lift the car and to bring it in through the balcony doors. Once inside, the car was mounted onto a custom aluminum and carbon fiber stand and became a room divider between the living area and the master suite. Isn’t this an amazing way to display this 750 horsepower, V12 powered race car? Although there is a bit of extravagance in the idea, the design is not as opulent as expected. We really like the fact that it combines looks with function.
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Canopy beds appeared out of a need for warmth and privacy rather than a need for style and extravagance. Until the 18th century the canopy beds used by noblemed in Europe were fairly simple and understated and lacked the ornate designs that were later adopted as a symbol of status. The modern canopy bed is also simple and lacks not just the ornaments but often the curtains too.
A canopy bed fills the room in a way that other beds can’t. It emphasizes the height of the space and you don’t need a bedroom with a high ceiling for that to look great, as exemplified by architect Denis Krasikov in this case.
Like we mentioned before, a canopy bed frame doesn’t need the curtains to look gorgeous, at least not in our time. Check out this elegant bedroom designed by SAOTA for example. It has a wooden canopy bed which gives the space a warm and welcoming look while maintaining an open decor.
Minimalism is the key characteristic of this bedroom’s decor. This is the work of architects Jeremy Bull and Charlene Cong in collaboration with interior design studio Alexander & Co. The bed frame is metallic, very thin and very simple. Its black coloring creates a graphical outline which matches the curtain rods and a few other elements in the room.
Canopy beds make this rustic Italian retreat exquisitely charming. This is Casa Bramasole, a villa that can be rented and which can accommodate up to eight people. We absolutely love the interior. It’s simple and rustic but it also has a touch of modern, being bohemian and chic. The breezy fabric gives the space a feminine allure, making these look like girls’ canopy beds.
The Mercer Hotel Barcelona designed by architect Rafael Moneo has a little bit of rusticity in it too. This is one of the hotel’s lavish suites. It has a stone accent wall and a gorgeous king canopy bed with a wooden frame and a pretty eye-catching look in spite of its overall simplicity.
Just to prove that simplicity can be exquisite and luxurious too, we’re also showing you this chic and stylish bedroom interior from a residence located in Silicon Valley, California. It was designed by Ken Linsteadt Architects in collaboration with Kendall Wilkinson Design and it has a lot of interesting elements in it, including a canopy bed.
Although the emphasis is on entertaining, this modern farmhouse-style home from Newport Beach doesn’t neglect its cozy, private spaces either. This was a project by Eric Olsen Design and RailiCA Design. They made the master suite pretty spacious. A canopy bed with a simple wood frame is the centerpiece, being complemented by comfortable armchairs, simple nightstands and chic accent details.
Not all canopy beds look alike and what better way to prove that than with a design that’s usual to say the least. This slender and sculptural canopy bed frame is part of the design created by Moor & Associates Architects along with interiors studio Olivia O’Bryan for a home in Florida.
Some would say that there’s no point in even having a canopy bed if no curtains are hanging from its frame. Looking at this gorgeous bedroom designed by Chango & Co. for a home in East Hampton, we tend to agree.
How cute is this little canopy bed? It’s the perfect addition to a girl’s room. Yes it’s small but it’s also very charming and a lot less plain and boring than some laternatives. We like the white curtains tied to the posts. They add a feminine twist to the decor without making the space look claustrophobic. This is an interior by Sarah Barnard Design.
Small canopy beds are cute so what could we say about a massive one….other than it’s impressive and royal. This canopy bed sits on a raised platform which extends quite a bit to the sides. It’s an interesting strategy used by JM Design for this tropical retreat in Hawaii.
Most often than not, if there’s a canopy bed in a room then that’s the main focal point of the space. It’s the case of this glamorous suite by Diedre Shaw Interiors. Check out the canopy bed frame. It’s not as simple as it seems.
Canopy beds have a classical, timeless allure so sometimes it’s nice to exploit these characteristics through a design that reflects these details. Studio Heintzman Sanborn did a wonderful job with this bedroom suite.
Remember that sculptural canopy bed frame that had an unusual form? This bed is pretty similar in that sense. The whole room is whimsical. The queen canopy bed is the centerpiece. Find out more about the space on Houseofturquoise.
This bedroom designed by Melanie Turner Interiors has a canopy bed that lacks the typical poster bed frame. Instead, it has this large piece of fabric that extends up from the back, forming a headboard and then mirroring the bed onto the ceiling. It matches the window curtains which is a nice detail.
It’s no secret that mirrored furniture is exquisite and glamorous but we didn’t really expect to see this strategy being applied to a canopy bed frame. As it turns out, it’s possible and it looks quite stunning, especially when complemented by the right colors.
In case you like the idea of having a canopy above the bed but you’re not particularly fond of the typical canopy bed frame, there are alternatives. One is demonstrated here by interior designer Carde Reimerdes. The canopy is hanging from the ceiling and no posts are required.
There are also designs which retain the typical canopy bed frame with posts and everything but make it look special and interesting. One example can be seen in this stylish bedroom suite designed by Chad James Group. The canopy bed frame gets thinner and thinner towards the top.
The San Giorgio is on our list of the most amazing hotels on Mykonos Island. Designed by Lambs&Lions, the interior of the hotel is an oasis of peace and relaxation. The breezy canopy frame hanging from the ceiling in this suite is the perfect finishing touch here.
You can also find some spectacular resorts and hotels in the Maldives, like the Kuramathi Island Resort which features these amazing suites with wooden canopy beds, comfy lounge areas and extraordinary views.
Also located in the Maldives, the Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel is cozy, welcoming and elegant in its own way. Once again, canopy beds with wooden frames add charm to the suites but there are also numerous other attractive details to be enchanted by as well.
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There are many different types of windows and skylights are among them. They’re sort of like regular windows installed into the ceiling or the roof of a structure, or so it would seem to the untrained eye. A skylight window is in fact quite special and not at all the same as a roof or ceiling window. First of all, it’s important to know that skylights are fixed into the roof line and don’t open, as opposed to roof windows which do open. That means skylights can’t always be considered replacements for regular windows, at least not in all senses. Also, you should keep in mind that there are a ton of different designs to choose from when it comes to skylight windows
In the design created by NatureHumaine for a residence in Outremont, Montreal you can see how the skylight allows sunlight into the space and how the light shaft below it lets the light go down into the lower spaces. It’s a perfect combo.
Isn’t it mesmerizing how these skylights fan out and illuminate this stylish and spacious living space? This is a strategy chosen by Nick Bell Design for the new extension of a house located in Sydney, Australia.
You can think of this as a single, super long skylights right at the center of the pitched roof or as a set of several small skylights arranged in a row. Either way, the effect is spectacular. This is a design done by Sexton Lawton Architecture for a residence located in Franktown, US.
One of the issues with skylight windows is that they’re usually always there, always letting light through. It’s close to impossible to install shutters. Of course, there are exceptions and one of them is this house from The Netherlands designed by 70F architecture.
Skylight windows are a great solution for bringing more natural light into a space, especially when the traditional windows on the walls are small or lacking completely. It’s even possible to bring light into the lower level of a house when the skylights are obviously installed on the top floor ceiling. That’s when light shafts do their magic. A cool example is this house from Japan designed by y+M.
In case you’re not decided where exactly to position the skylight in your home, we have a few suggestions. A kitchen skylight is pretty great since kitchens don’t usually have very large windows and you always need a lot of light in here. Similarly, the dining room could use one too. Check out this design by Carterwilliamson architects for inspiration.
The skylight windows along with all the other openings in this small house designed by takeshi and yuka komada serve to give the impression of more space and to extend the home out to the sky.
Andrew Burges Architects called this project The skylight House. Its skylight windows are not huge or very spectacular but they are an important element in the architecture and the design of the house, being the main source of natural light for the kitchen, dining room and living area.
The skylight windows designed by Architects EAT for this house from Kew, Australia are quite unusual. First of all, they’re not exactly skylights. Well, they do let you see the sky but they’re vertical, just like regular windows, just on a higher level.
The indoor and the outdoor overlap harmoniously and the large, oval skylights have a lot to do with that. This is a cultural pavilion located in Taipei and designed by Emerge architects & associates.
This is a house from Nanjing, China. It was designed and built by AZL architects and it’s mostly a concrete box. There is, however, a very special detail about it. The house has a slit in it, a continuous line of narrow windows which start from the roof and end at the bottom of the house, at one point switching from vertical to horizontal.
There are many cases when a skylight window can make a huge difference in both the design and the ambiance of a space. For example, a loft bedroom like this one would seem and feel quite small and claustrophobic if not for this window. Luckily, architect Dalibor Hlavacek was quite inspired when designing the house.
Long and narrow kitchens are not exactly inspiring. They’re quite challenging when it comes to design and there’s not much you can do to make them stand out in a good way. Architect Jessica Liew however found a way. The idea here was to give the kitchen and long and narrow skylight window that matches its layout and brings in light and a view of the sky.
Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, this house designed by denzer & poensgen welcomes you into a world of passages, paths, courts and outdoor spaces connected together in intriguing ways and featuring a variety of different types of natural lighting. This living area, for example, has a skylight window that runs along the fireplace wall from one end to the other.
A workspace needs lots of natural light which is why it’s usually suggested that the desk be placed in front of a window if possible. But what if the space had a huge floor-to-ceiling window and on top of that a large ceiling window as well? It’s the combo chosen by ARCHISPEKTRAS when designing this charming retreat in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Circular skylight windows look like portals into another world. There’s something magical about them no matter where you place them or how big they are. In this case PASCUAL Architecte gave this open space a huge skylight which is not exactly a window per se since it’s only an opening into the roof.
Something about this space is quite surreal and it’s not difficult to guess what it is. This is an extension designed by studio Alma-nac for a house in London. The extension is clad in fiber cement panels and has awesome skylight windows and a huge pivoting door.
Bromley Caldari Architects designed an awesome A-frame house on Fire Island in the US which has a fully glazed facade and several windows on the side walls. These, in a way are skylight windows. They’re on walls but they’re slanted and the house has no ceiling.
When they redesigned a 19th century house from Germany, Güth & Braun Architekten and DYNAMO Studio worked together to preserve the original character of the building and the same time to give it a modern touch. The new features include these large skylight windows.
Ceiling windows are, as you can see here, a perfect option is you’re trying to bring more natural light into areas such as hallways or other transitional spaces which don’t usually have windows. This is a design done by Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects.
Some types of skylight windows are easier to install than others. Things usually get complicated when the window doesn’t fit between the beams or trusses of the roof and you have to make structural modifications. The ones featured in this Vancouver residence designed by DIALOG seem pretty approachable.
A lot of contemporary residence situated in remote areas are designed to be in perfect sync with their surroundings and to blend in as best as possible, featuring geometries that mimic the landscape around them and textures and colors that connect them to the topography of the site. That’s not the case with the H House. This is a concrete house designed and built by Felipe Assadi Arquitectos and located on a sloped site in Zapallar, Chile. It has a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and its design is very…geometric and defined by clean, straight lines and sharp angles. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s not a dream home, especially with all the cool features like the cantilevered pool or the gorgeous interior.
This extraordinary house has a very well-defined structure with large longitudinal and transversal beams which allow both ends to extend seven meters past the main structure, forming covered terraces with gorgeous views. Another interesting characteristic related to the design and the architecture of the H House is the fact that it doesn’t follow the topography and doesn’t mold onto the slope but instead looks as if it;s floating above the slope, as if it’s made out of a single piece of concrete and was placed there by a giant creature. The interior design is in tone with the exterior, being simple and limited to only a few colors and materials. However, the spaces are warm and welcoming thanks to features such as the two-sided fireplace in the living area or the wood flooring.
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You don’t usually hear people talking about chapels in terms of their architecture and design and that’s most likely because chapels are usually small structures, sometimes rooms inside institutions such as hospitals or schools. They’re worship spaces for people that are just passing by so it’s very difficult to become attached to such a space in any way. However, there are a few very impressive chapels around the world that you’d be mad not to fall in love with and we say that without making reference to anything other than their architecture.
The Ribbon Chapel in Japan
You may have seen pictures of this amazing structure without even realizing that what you were looking at was actually a chapel. Nobody can blame because, well….look at it! It’s a work of art, an exquisite metaphor materialized into a wonderful building. The Ribbon Chapel was designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects and is located in the garden of a resort hotel from Hiroshima Prefecture, in Japan.
The chapel sits on a hill and is surrounded by trees, offering panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea and the distant mountains. It was built here in 2013 and covers an area of 80 square meters. Its unique design is the interpretation of marriage metaphor. Two spiral stairways support one another and connect at the top at a height of 15.4 meters, forming a single ribbon that allows the chapel to become a freestanding structure. The entwining ribbons represent the bride and groom and serve as walls and ceilings of the structure. This is probably the most impressive example of chapel architecture taken to the rank of art in a very unexpected and at the same time amazing way.
The Sunset Chapel in Mexico
The name in this case says it all. The Sunset Chapel is a structure designed with a very specific set of rules in mind. First of all, the client requested that the chapel take full advantage of its location and especially the amazing views surrounding it. The second request was that the chapel be positioned in a way that would allow the sun to set exactly behind the altar cross (twice a year). There was also a third request which had to do with the crypts, a section of which had to be placed outside and around the chapel.
The most unusual and striking thing of all, however, is the form of the chapel. The unusual architecture was dictated by the landscape. The team in charge, BNKR Arquitectura, was faced with a big challenge: the site was occupied by lots of vegetation, large trees and, most importantly, a huge and very heavy boulder which was blocking the sunset. Since getting rid of the boulder was not an option, the architects chose instead to raise the chapel level more than 5 meters and to reduce the footprint of the building to almost half the floor area of the upper level. Further more, this allowed the chapel itself to look like a giant boulder.
Sayama Forest Chapel in Japan
The Sayama Forest Chapel from Saitama Prefecture, Japan is one of the most spiritual and most unusual spaces of worship anywhere in the world. It’s not just its architecture that’s amazing, unique and incredible in so many ways but also the idea behind the design and the feeling one gets upon entering the chapel. The structure sits on a small triangular plot in the Sayama Lakeside Cemetery which is open to numerous different religions. The site is very rich in vegetation and has a very strong relationship with nature and the chapel reflects that.
The chapel was designed and built by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. Its form is unusual no matter how you look at it. The walls tilt inward to avoid the trees and their branches and this allowed the vegetation to be preserved and celebrated. This unusual architecture also impacts the interior design and the ambiance present inside the chapel. It’s as if the walls tilt inward as to embrace and to console the one inside, creating a very warm and calming atmosphere.
The Bosjes Chapel in South Africa
At times, this chapel looks like a giant but delicate piece of cloth that undulates as the wind blows and floats above the water. It’s a very artistic image which is possible thanks to the unique design that Steyn Studio and TV3 Architects came up with when they collaborated on the Bosjes Chapel project. Located outside Cape Town, in the Witzenberg district of South Africa, this chapel doesn’t have a typical construction with walls and ceilings as we know them. Instead, it features a white canopy which undulates above and around a series of glazed walls, at times dropping so low that it almost touches the water.
The sinuous outline of the chapel allows the cast concrete roof to appear very delicate and lightweight and also gives the structure a dynamic appearance. The reflective pond emphasizes this weightlessness and helps to create a very tranquil ambiance. What’s very interesting about this building is the way in which certain elements have been seamlessly embedded into the design. For example, one of the cross-shaped frames takes the place of the crucifix. Apart from that and the golden pulpit, there’s little else going on inside the chapel, the focus being on the architecture and the extraordinary views.
Chapel in Valleaceron, Spain
This chapel from Real, Spain looks like a folding box, a giant origami-inspired structure. It was designed by architect Sancho Madrilejos in 2001 and it sits at the top of a hill. the chapel has become an important landmark, a reference point in the landscape. As unusual and strange as the design is, there’s something else that makes this chapel quite special: the fact that it uses no artificial lighting. It’s a very simple and bare structure which relies on the special relationship it has with the exterior and the surroundings, allowing natural light to play a role similar to a material (like concrete in this case).
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Plants don’t normally require a lot of care and are great to have around for numerous reasons. However, there’s a problem. What will you do with your plants if you have to go away for a few days or more? They’re like quiet pets which you can’t take with you on trips and which have to be watered on a regular basis. The solution is quite simple: DIY self-watering planters. Yes there are quite a few fancy self-watering planters available in stores as well but they tend to be pretty expensive whereas these ones are super cheap and easy to make.
A lot of the DIY self-watering planters on our list are made from recycled bottles. The tutorial from craftyourhappiness shows how you can make such a planter out of nothing but a plastic bottle and a piece of string. Cut the bottle into two sections, make a hole in the cap and run the string through, put a few stones and soil into the top section, add the plant and then place this upside down into the bottom half of the bottle which is filled with water.
Check out how cute this self-watering planter is. It has two parts: a water reservoir at the bottom and the actual planter at the top. there’s a whole in the bottom of the planter with a wick coming out of it. The (or string) absorbs water and lets it seep into the soil, ensuring a suitable environment for the plant to grow in. You can make planters like this one using molds and concrete mix. Find all the details on instructables.
All DIY self-watering planters have pretty much the same structure. They feature a reservoir filled with water and the actual planter which sits on top and slowly receives water from the reservoir through small holes or a sort of wick. The self-watering downspout planter featured on instructables is no different. With this planter you don’t have to worry about a thing. Just remember to fill the reservoir every once in a while.
Plastic bottles are definitely easier to cut but if you want your self-watering planter to be a bit more sturdy you might want to use a glass bottle instead. You’ll need a bottle cutter for that. The project is fairly easy even with this extra step. What’s nice is that you could use a green-tinted wine bottle that would match the plants and would be heavy and sturdy enough to last for a very long time.
DIY self-watering planters are a perfect idea if you’re trying to grow an herb garden. The planters are small enough to be kept on the windowsill and large enough for the plants to have enough room for growing. The ones suggested on designsponge are made out of recycled bottles. As you can see, the two pieces don’t have matching colors and that’s a pretty cool detail.
To make it even easier to craft a self-watering planter out of a plastic bottle, choose a bottle that has a sports top. This way you won’t need to add the string and to make a hole in the map. In addition to the bottle you’ll also need some aquarium gravel, soil, a plant, scissors (or a small utility knife) and some dried moss. Follow the instructions on thechillydog and pay attention to the details.
After you’ve seen the ideas we’ve gathered so far, you might be wondering if there’s any possibility that you could make a large self-watering planter, more similar to what you already use. The answer is yes. Check out bucolicbushwick to find out how you can convert a standard planter into a self-watering one.
If you like the idea of a large self-watering planter or one that has a big reservoir for those times when you need to take long trips, you should have a look at the tutorial offered on frugalupstate. It shows you how to craft a self-watering planter that suits these criteria. The project is fairly simple and budget-friendly.
There’s more than one way to connect a planter to a water reservoir. The idea with the bottle planter that has a hole in the cap and a wick is one of the easiest ones to achieve but there’s another strategy that you might want to try. This idea comes from instructables. As you can see, the planters are hanging upside down and that’s pretty cool even without the self-watering system.
Another tutorial showing you how to build a self-watering planter can be found on thehandygardener. The supplies needed include a foam box with no holes and with a lid, a PVC pipe, a saw (or something to cut the pipe with), scissors, waterproof tape and a stick. Curious what the stick is for? It serves as a gauge that lets you know whether your planter box needs water or not.
The idea of upcycling water bottles into self-watering planters is great because you can make planters or all shapes and sizes, depending on how big the bottle is and how it’s shaped. If you need a large planter than use a water cooler bottle. That should offer a big water reservoir that will take care of your plants for quite. some time. the tutorial featured on bucolicbushwick also suggests using a tomato cage as a support structure if needed.
Speaking of large planters, another idea is to use buckets instead of big bottles. According to the tutorial offered on reallifeathome you can make a self-watering planter using two paint buckets, a paint mixing container, a piece of PVC pipe, a dowel and a drill. You’ll also need some coffee filters or cheese cloth to cover the holes at the bottom of the bucket with so soil doesn’t block them.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, you can probably use any type of pot or container to build a self-watering planter. It’s just a matter of adjusting the design and strategy to the supplies and tools that you have. Check out littlevictorian to find out how this whole process goes. It’s easy, cheap and anyone can do it. Also there’s a lot of room for customization.
It’s possible to build a self-watering planter out of just about anything. I think we’ve already proven this with all the planters made of bottles we showed you earlier but in case you still need convincing check out this project from verticalveg. These planters are made out of wood boxes, plastic sheets, pipes and plastic boxes.
Thanks to self-watering planters like this one you can grow beautiful tomatoes without even having a garden. You can make a planter like this one for less than $10. You need a towel, two containers and two sponges. You can find all the details plus instructions and tips in this Youtube video tutorial.
The post 15 DIY Self-Watering Planters That You Can Craft Today appeared first on Home Decorating Trends – Homedit.
Should I rent or should I buy? What was once a simple question of renting vs. buying a house is now much more complex. For the longest time, it was assumed that once you earned and saved enough money, you would buy a house because ownership was the dream as well as the most financially responsible decision. But that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Life today is different and many people are renting vs buying a house for a wide variety of reasons. It used to be as simple as running the numbers to see if you could afford to buy a house, but now there are more lifestyle factors at play.
First, from the investment angle, home ownership was always seen as an important step toward building wealth and security. That was because properties typically appreciated in value and yielded more profit than investments might have. Look back over the past decade at the real estate mortgage crisis and you can see that appreciation in value is no longer a guarantee. Countless people currently still own houses that are “under water,” meaning that the amount they owe on the mortgage is greater than the sale value of the home.
In addition, prices in some housing markets across the globe have skyrocketed to the point where many people – especially first-time buyers – can’t afford to enter the housing market. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, millennials that earn a middle-range income are finding it difficult to buy because housing prices have grown far faster than income has.
Finally, many millennials feel that they cannot afford a home because of student debt and credit challenges, according to NYpost. In addition, young people are deciding that they do not want to take on the expense of upkeep, opting instead to rent and have more free time by not spending it (and their money) on home improvements and repairs.
You need a place to live, so how do you decide whether renting vs buying a house best for you? As already mentioned, many factors are at play because buying a house is no longer simply an investment decision. We’ve taken a look at the costs involved in both, as well as the various pros and cons of renting vs buying a house. Read through this guide and decide for yourself about renting vs buying a house.
If cash on hand is a problem, renting requires less money up front than buying a house does. Still, renting a new apartment and moving involves a number of costs that you need to prepare for.
Rent – Generally, you will need to pay the first month’s rent in advance. Some properties also require you to pay the last month’s rent when you move in as well. This may or may not serve as a security deposit.
Security Deposit– This is a sum of money that you pay to the landlord in case of property damage that requires repairs, or extra cleaning. In addition, many landlords deduct a move-out cleaning fee from the security deposit for repairs, repainting and cleaning between tenants. It is important to know the laws of the state in which you live to make sure that the deposits you are being asked to pay are legal. While large rental groups will likely be compliant, individual or smaller rental companies may not be.
Fees and additional deposits– Have a pet? The great news is that more and more apartment communities allow certain types of pets. The downside is that you will likely have to pay an additional deposit and/or fee to keep a pet. This defrays the cost of extra cleaning that might be necessary from pet accidents and extra wear and tear on the flooring.
Moving – No matter whether you arerenting vs. buying a house, you’ll have to move your stuff and at some point, the job will likely become too big to handle on your own. You’ll need to set aside money for movers, or at least the rental of a moving truck if you are going to do it yourself.
Renters Insurance– Not all landlords require renters insurance for their belongings, but it is advisable to do so. In case of a robbery, fire or weather-related catastrophe, renters insurance can help you replace your furniture, small appliances and personal items. According to State Farm Insurance, the first step is to determine what your belongings are worth by making a list of everything and its value. The cost of the policy will vary by location, type of apartment and amount of coverage you choose. Some larger rental communities may require evidence of renters insurance before you can move in.
Utilities – Whether or not the utilities are included in your rent will vary. Some landlords may include water or heat, but not other services. Be clear what utilities are covered by the rent and which ones will need to be budgeted for each month.
Laundry. If you don’t have a washer and dryer in the apartment or home you are renting, you will have to pay to do it in a laundromat. This can add up and should be a line item in your household budget if you are renting.
The Pros of Renting
Maintenance or repairs aren’t your problem
Renting is the maintenance-free way to live. All the repairs and major appliance replacements are the responsibility of the landlord. That can be a real time and stress saver when the heat or air conditioning goes out and you need to be at work.
Moving is a breeze
As long your departure fits the terms of your lease, you’re free to pack up and move somewhere else, whether it’s across town or across the country. There’s no house to worry about selling at a price that’s high enough to make good financial sense. This is why renting vs. buying a house is often the best option for people who change jobs frequently or are often transferred to another company location.
Renting vs. buying a house is cheaper
When you rent, there’s no big down payment to save for and you don’t have to worry about home prices fluctuating. If property values go down, it’s not your problem. The rest of your cash can stay in your investment accounts.
Credit rating is not as big a concern
To be approved for a home mortgage and get a good interest rate, you need a great credit score. Even though you’ll need to undergo a credit check when you apply to rent an apartment, it’s typically not as rigorous as a mortgage credit check. Unless your background has big red flags such as bankruptcy or an exceptionally credit low score, you’ll be able to rent. Also, if your financial situation is in flux or unstable, renting can be a better option.
The Cons of Renting
No Real Estate Equity
Despite paying your rent on time and taking good care of the property, you’re not building any equity. That means that when you leave the property, you won’t have built up any real estate wealth. Depending on where you live and your individual situation, this may be a disadvantage.
No Tax Benefits
Despite changing tax laws, it’s likely that homeowners will still be able to deduct some portion of their mortgage interest and property taxes on their income tax returns, and the federal/and or state level. This can be a major factor for some renters, especially those with higher incomes.
Generally, a landlord will raise the rent to keep up with the market and to cover rising costs. Homeowners with fixed-term mortgages will not face the same uncertainty and can plan on payments being steady for the life of the loan, no matter whether the real estate market goes up or down. In a rental property, you have no control over whether the rent will rise or by how much.
Despite laws that prevent against unlawful eviction and require adequate notice if you won’t be able to renew your lease, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to stay in a rental property indefinitely. Even if you are a model tenant, properties sell, convert to condos, or otherwise change, meaning residents have to move on. As long as a homeowner keeps paying the mortgage, he or she won’t have to move.
Buying a home can be a good decision but before you start looking it’s crucial to know what you can afford. Most financial experts will tell you that total housing costs should not 28%-30% of your gross monthly income. It’s also important to keep in mind that in many markets, starter homes are in short supply, making competition for those properties more intense. If you’ve looked over your budget and credit situation and thing you want to move forward with buying a house, here are the factors to consider:
The costs of buying
As you can imagine, the upfront costs of buying a house are far greater than renting. If you’ve looked at renting vs. buying a house and think you want to buy, consider these sums that you will need to have before you can get the keys to your own place.
Earnest Money. When you find a house you like, in addition to making an offer you will also have to provide a check to the seller as “earnest money.” Typically, about 1 to 3 percent of the sale price, the money shows the seller that the buyer is serious about the offer. If the offer is accepted, the money will go into an escrow account until the closing on the property when the buyer receives credit for the payment.
Down Payment– This is another amount you will need to specify when the offer is made to the seller. The total is the percentage of the purchase price that you will pay at the closing. Depending on the type of mortgage, your credit rating and the local housing market, the ideal down payment is generally 20 percent. Some mortgages allow 10 percent down payments and loans form the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) can be as low as 3.5%.
Appraisal– Before a mortgage is approved, buyers are required to get an appraisal of the property. This is done to make sure that the sales price matches the market value of the home. An appraisal typically costs anywhere from $300 to $500.
Inspection— While these may not be required by the lender, an inspection by a licensed professional is alwaysa good investment. The inspection can identify flaws or needed repairs that buyers don’t notice. If any serious defects are found, it can lead to negotiation with the seller on who pays for or handles the repairs or renovations. These also cost around $300 to $500. Some additional fees may be involved if you live in an area where radon or mold testing is beneficial.
Property Taxes Homeowners have to pay property tax in advance, so depending on the tax cycle where you are buying, a portion of the property taxes may be included in the closing costs to reimburse the sellers for the amount of time they have already paid for.
Homeowners Insurance. Before you can sign on the dotted line at closing, you will need to provide evidence that you have purchased homeowner’s insurance. Premiums are generally paid annually, so you’ll have to cover the first year up front.
Private Mortgage Insurance. If the down payment you are making is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, you may be required to buy private mortgage insurance. This policy protects the lender in case it has to foreclose on the home and sell it at a discount. Payments will vary according to the down payment and the buyer’s credit rating.
Additional Closing Costs. It’s difficult to say what these will include because much depends on the property, location and your individual mortgage situation. Typical fees and costs can include credit report fees, loan origination fees, flood certificates, title insurance, recording taxes, among others. Closing costs are typically 2% to 4% of the sales price. Of course, mortgage providers often have varying options that combine slightly higher rates with lower closing costs and vice versa.
Once you’ve purchased the property, you’ll need to make regular mortgage payments as well as property taxes and insurance. Some lenders will allow you to include taxes and insurance in your monthly payment. The amounts will be held in escrow until the lender pays the charges on your behalf.
Utilities– Once you own a home, all the utilities are your responsibility. It’s a good idea to budget for water, gas, electric, garbage and recycling, cable and internet.
Maintenance. It’s not one of the joys of home ownership, but it is definitely the main responsibility. Maintenance includes everything from repairs when things go wrong to regular replacement of aging appliances and fixtures. In addition, large appliances like heating and air conditioning need regular inspections and tune-ups to make sure they are working properly and efficiently. Home maintenance budgets also need to take into consideration any work you will not be doing yourself, such as cleaning, painting, snow removal, yard work and other landscaping. A basic guideline is to plan on budgeting 1 percent of the home’s value for repairs and maintenance.
You’ll also want to have a fund for larger repairs, such as if you have to replace a broken window, soiled carpeting or a hole in the wall. Many repairs are more expensive than one might think!
Furnishing. Any time you move into a house, there are things you will need to buy, from assorted new lamps or hardware to additional pieces of furniture. You’ll want to keep some money aside for these purchases. If you are a first time home buyer, it’s very likely you will need to buy more furniture unless you are moving from an equally large rental property. No matter if you are buying new furniture or second-hand pieces, the expense needs to figure into your budget, even if it’s over an extended period of time.
Moving Costs. Depending on how much stuff you have, you may or may not be able to get away with renting a truck and doing the move yourself. If not, you’ll want to get estimates from movers because depending on the volume of belongings and distance traveled, this will likely run from $500 to perhaps several thousand.
Renovating and Redecorating. Making a home your own is part of the fun of home ownership. Of course, that carries its own price tag. If you feel that major renovation projects will be required for you to be happy in your new home, it’s critical to have realistic estimates of how much they will cost before you commit to a particular house. Even new carpeting or hardwood floor refinishing can run into the thousands of dollars if the square footage is large.
Advantages of Buying
Despite all the costs, buying a home can still be a great decision for many people. If you don’t anticipate moving from the area for a longer period of time and have decent credit, buying a house might be the right decision. Also, if prices are on the rise, waiting could be costly.
You’ll Build Equity
Owning a house lets you build up equity. With each mortgage payment, you’ll be paying down the principal amount of your loan – albeit likely a small one. If you’ve paid off at least 20 percent of your principal, you would be able to refinance your mortgage if interest rates fall low enough to make it financially worthwhile. According to TheNew York Times, on average, homeowners have a net worth ($195,400) that is 36 times that of the average renter ($5,400). Also, major improvements you make to the home will help increase its value, although you should not count on recouping the entire cost of any renovations or improvements.
Some Tax Benefits
As a homeowner, there are some tax benefits to owning a home. With pending changes to the federal tax code in the United States, it’s hard to say what the tax breaks will be in the future, however, it’s currently allowable to deduct home mortgage interest if you itemize deductions. Property tax is also currently deductible.
In many states, if you own a home and live in it, you may qualify for a homestead exemption. This means that a specific amount of your home’s value would be exempt from property tax, thus yielding a savings.
Rental Income Possibilities
If you own your home, you can rent out part of it to help defray the cost of your mortgage and expenses. Even short-term rentals through Airbnb or other sharing services can help with costs. This is a great option if you run into financial difficulties and need help covering expenses.
Building a Community
Anytime you buy a home, you become part of a neighborhood that is less transient than an apartment building. Meeting neighbors and living near your children’s friends can help grow your community and increase personal connections. All of this makes life a richer experience.
Disadvantages of Buying
Exposure to Financial Risk
Yes, owning a home helps build equity, but that doesn’t mean you might not lose money when it’s time to sell. If the housing market drops, as it did in 2008, your home may be worth less than the mortgage you have on it. That means that if you have to sell, you will lose money when paying off the mortgage.
Maintenance and Repairs
As a renter, you just call the landlord when pipes burst, the sink overflows, or the heat doesn’t work. When you own a home, the responsibility for everything is your own. As noted above under costs, the amount is not insignificant and should have a place in your annual budget.
Buying More Things
A bigger home, more rooms and more space mean more stuff. You’ll want to furnish all the rooms in the home– eventually – and this means more money. Knowing what you have and what you will need to buy can help create a budget for all thing things required to make your new house a comfortable home.
High Cash Costs
As we’ve already noted, between just the down payment and the closing costs, you will have to have saved a substantial amount of money to purchase a home. Add on the costs of moving and getting set up in your new place with utilities and furnishings and the amount can seem monumental. It is without a doubt the largest purchase most people will ever make.
So once you’ve evaluated whether renting vs buying a house is best for you, grab your budget and start touring the open houses. If you’re renting, you can pick and choose properties with the amenities that you really want. If you’re buying a house, do some research on line and then call your real estate agent. Even though both renting and buying are big life decisions, looking at properties and planning for change can be very fun and exciting!
The post Renting vs Buying a House: Which One is Right for Me? appeared first on Home Decorating Trends – Homedit.
How you ever considered installing floor tiles in your bathroom by yourself? Yes, that’s something that you’d usually need a professional for but, as it turns out, it’s entirely possible to manage such a project by yourself if you have the right tools and if you do some research before you actually start the project. The difficulty level is medium but can vary depending mainly on the type of tiles you want to use. Here’s a short guide on how to tile a shower or a bathroom floor:
Calculate the square footage
Before anything else you should calculate the square footage of your bathroom and for that you’ll only need a measuring tape. This step is super easy if the bathroom isn’t divided into separate areas and has a unified floor plan but if that’s not the case then just divide the floor into smaller areas and measure those separately. Calculate the total and be sure to add an extra 10% when ordering the supplies.
Get some samples
Next it would be nice to get some samples of different types of tiles or different colors just so you can get a feeling of how they’ll look like on your bathroom floor. Also, choose the grout. You have several options here. You can choose to match the grout to the tiles which would help to hide any imperfections or irregularities or you can choose different colors that contrast with each other or complement one another.
Install cement boards
The next step would be to install cement boards. This is done in order to ensure proper floor thickness and a smooth and seamless transition between rooms as well as to prevent mold in areas with a lot of moisture. You may not need to do this if the floor is already prepped and ready to receive the tiles.
Determine the layout
After that, figure out how to arrange the tiles. To determine the layout, just lay the tiles on the floor exactly how you want them to get an idea of how they’ll look like and where you’ll need to cut them. Don’t forget to use tile spacers. Several sizes are available so be sure to pick the right one. Next, you can cut the tiles that need to be cut or you can do this as you adhere the tiles.
Lay the tiles
Finally, apply thinset and lay the tiles using spacers. Keep in mind that this time the placement is final. Use a level as you lay more tiles to make sure you’re doing this right. After 24 hours )minimum), remove the spacers and apply grout to fill in the lines. Let the grout sit for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess. You should also apply sealer at the end, considering that the bathroom floor is exposed to moisture and water constantly. You can find additional details in the guide featured on wayfair.
The tools you’ll need:
There are a lot of different types of tiles to choose from with many variations of color, texture or pattern but no matter what you select you’ll need to be prepared for installation and that means you’ll have to have a few tools:
- a hammer
- a diamond blade wet saw
- a hammer drill
- a notched trowel
- a margin trowel
- a rubber float (for grout)
- a level
- a measuring tape
- fiberglass tape
- a wooden block
- a foam brush
- gloves, safety goggles, knee pads and other such accessories
Individual floor tiling projects
Installing new bathroom floor tiles can refresh the entire bathroom and would also have a positive effect on the rest of the home as well. You may think it’s a very difficult task which requires a big budget, lots of time and the help of a professional but that’s not exactly true, as demonstrated by the tile installation guide we just showed you. Moreover, installing tiles can actually be quite fun. Just think of all the ways in which you can customize this project. For example, you could opt for a honeycomb pattern using hexagon-shaped tiles like the ones featured on remodelaholic.
The bigger the tile pieces are, the easier and quicker it is to install them all so take this detail into consideration when planning your bathroom floor remodel. Most standard tiles look like the ones featured on abeautifulmess. they’re easy to install and they come in lots and lots of different colors and patterns. This white marble look is very chic and stylish. It really brightens up the space.
Prepping the floor is just as important as installing the tiles and you can’t do one without the other. So how do you prep the floor anyway? There’s a pretty good description of this task on atcharlotteshouse. Assuming you don’t need to remove old tiles or boards first, you can start by cleaning the floor. Then you mix the mortar and you apply it, placing concrete boards on top as you advance. Wait 24 hours and then tape the seams between the boards. After that you can start installing the tiles.
No matter how big or small your bathroom floor is or what type of tile you want to install, the main ideas are generally the same. You prep the floor and then to lay the tiles. There are, of course, variables that you need to take into consideration. For example, the pattern you want to create. Even if you chose the classic, rectangular-shaped tile, you still have to decide where to start installing them from and how to position them. A cool idea could be to create a diagonal pattern as shown on sarahsbigidea. Given that the area in question was in this case a long hallway, the pattern seems quite suitable. Of course, you must decide this detail based on the particularities on your own bathroom floor.
Installing bathroom floor tiles, as you can see, is not that difficult, at least not if you know the basics and you have an understanding of how to choose and use all the materials and tools. Tutorials such as the one on apartmenttherapy are very helpful at explaining the process from start to finish and offering useful tips. In case you also want to install new tiles on your bathroom walls, you should know that the process is basically the same. You should use tiles designed specifically for walls as they can differ slightly from floor tiles. You can match them to the floor to create a seamless transition or you can pick an entirely different color and pattern.
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It’s not everyday that you see a residence which has been built with the express purpose of serving multiple generations over a very long period of time. Usually architects have to worry about their current clients without necessarily taking into consideration the next generations that will live in the structure that they built. The Luna de Sang estate is quite special in this sense. This is more than just a residence. It’s an ecosystem, a multi-generation project designed to stand the test of time. It’s a project completed by CHROFI in 2018. This used to be a dairy farm and from its concrete and stone wall ruins a modern pavilion has emerged, complete with a gorgeous swimming pool, surrounded by a pocket of subtropical rainforest.
The pavilion is actually the latest addition. The property also includes two working sheds, a guest house and a general manager’s residence. As a whole, this is a multi-generation project meant to thrive and to stand the test of time, not just with its architecture but also the rainforest which will reach maturity in 300 years or so. The pavilion’s design is modern but also timeless, featuring stone walls on the outside and wood paneling and polished concrete floors on the inside. The materials are locally-sources and recycled.
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