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Archive for the ‘Materials & Products’ Category

 

This shower has Glass Accent Tiles that are approximately 10″ high.  This glass accent tile from Pental is the Bamboo Stripes line and is a great,  affordable way to add some style to your shower. 

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When deciding to remodel your home, you will inevitably confront the question of which windows are right for you?  This simple question always has the same answer, ” it depends”.  This obscure conclusion becomes a lot clearer with an understanding of the available options, the pros and cons of each, as well as their impact on style and the overall design which is what this article will attempt to cover.  The pros and cons of windows break down into approximately 4 general categories and, conveniently, so do the respective design issues.

Wood & Aluminum-Clad Wood:

Wood windows come first.  They are the back-bone of traditional home construction in the United States and while found mostly on traditionally styled houses, contemporary houses can sometimes be complimented by a gorgeous wooden sash.  Wood is beautiful, versatile, sustainable, paintable, and offers a classic look.  Wood is easy to work with thus wood windows come in a seemingly limitless array of shapes, sizes, and operational styles.  Wood windows’ Achilles heel is, of course, that it comes from plants.  It is vulnerable to moisture, critters, and particularly on the exterior, it MUST be maintained in order to perform long-term.

Aluminum-clad windows offer an appealing compromise to the all-wood window in that they confront the maintenance issue by completely cladding the exterior in a thin sheet of aluminum.  This marriage of the invincibility of aluminum with the versatility and classic beauty is finding its way on to more and more homes seeking a low-maintenance, but authentic looking window.  It’s primary design knock is that you do not get to select the color of the exterior, rather you must select it from a pallet that is limited to whatever the manufacturer is offering.  There are many tasteful options amidst many less so, and a good architect or designer can help you develop a color pallet around one of the better-looking cladding colors.

Bottom line: wood is beautiful, traditional, and the addition of aluminum makes it a life-time contender (all, of course, with a cost…)

Aluminum:

Early ancestors of aluminum windows and their rusty steel cousins, carry a touch of infamy to this category of window.  The reality is that today’s aluminum widow is a pragmatic and beautiful option for homes, particularly those with contemporary leanings.  Aluminum windows are made from framing a double-paned panel of glass in extruded sections of aluminum specially shaped and joined together to minimize thermal bridging (the pathways that your heat uses to escape your walls!)  Because the material is extruded, aluminum windows are almost always rectilinear in shape, and because it doesn’t rust, it never needs paint or any routine maintenance of any kind (other than a cleaning from time to time).  Aluminum can be colored by the manufacturer in an anodizing process that electro-chemically bonds a color to metal frame but the pallet is usually very limited (black and white are usually options) but wonderfully, aluminum looks great in its natural or “mill-finish” condition.

Bottom line: aluminum is an affordable, beautiful, low-maintenance option for houses that can handle a more modern-looking window (oh! and it’s 100% recyclable!)

Vinyl:

Vinyl windows are the work-horse of today’s home-building industry.  Vinyl makes an appearance on tract-homes, remodels, even high-end architect-designed houses in exclusive neighborhoods.  They are extremely affordable, versatile, completely maintenance-free, and like wooden windows, are available in shapes limited only by imagination and budget.  They can serve both traditional and contemporary houses alike and will never decay, corrode, or be eaten by bugs.  Like the aluminum they are extruded and so result in a window that is highly thermally isolated (vinyl windows will reduce your energy bill).  The primary drawbacks come back to the fact that at the end of the day, they are plastic.  They are not paintable, and so the pallet is again limited to whatever colors the manufacturer is offering at any one time.  One last issue: for those who find quality as much in feel as they do appearances, vinyl may not be the best choice.  While they perform flawlessly, vinyl windows have a kind of “light-weight” quality and sound that makes them feel, well, cheap; and that may deter those who care about such things.

Bottom line: vinyl is a sensible choice for longevity and budget (though it suffers on style).

Fiberglass:

Fiberglass windows are the newcomer of the bunch  and they attempt to solve the unsolvable: how to make a window that is versatile, beautiful, affordable, and indestructible.  Fiberglass window frames, as the name suggests, is glass-only it is laid up in sheets to form a solid material that benefits from being the same material as what it frames: the glass window pane.  The fact that they expand and contract at the same rate means that finishes and seals stay in place better and therefore longer making these windows LAST.  The frames are moldable and so the profiles of the window sashes and jambs can be made more ornate for traditional houses, or cleaned-up and simplified for more contemporary ones.  Fiberglass windows are available in both wooden and vinyl interior finishes and so like clad windows can offer the elegance of wood with an invincible exterior. They will not rot, mold, attract insects, or deform over time and the ace up their sleeve is that they are paintable*!  However, the asterisk is there for a reason-the windows are indeed paintable, but because the paint is applied to a slick surface reminiscent of plastic and not a porous surface like wood, a quality painting of these windows is best left to a professional painter and not a homeowner-a factor that must be considered in the budgeting process.

Bottom line: fiberglass windows offer a feature set that feels like a home run (*just don’t forget that pesky asterisk!)

Gaspar’s Construction and Gaspar’s Handyman Services are both experts in window installation, replacement and retrofit.  We offer every brand, style and material imaginable.  Contact our Design Team for suggestions.

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In our previous post about countertops, we shared some environmentally friendly options that are made from paper and wood.  Now we will show you some great recycled-content countertops that are fashioned out of recycled glass.  Sit back, and enjoy!  There are some real beauties.  They are listed in order of shortest distance from manufacturer to Seattle.

GLASS

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Trinity

  • Content:  70% recycled glass and low-carbon cement
  • Manufactured in:  Seattle, WA
  • Material source:  Raw materials:  WA, Cement:  Mexico
  • # of colors:  6
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website:  http://www.trinityglassproducts.com/
  • Notes: Used slabs can be crushed and recycled back into the earth.
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    Fuez Glass

  • Content:  100% curbside recycled glass, low-carbon cement, natural aggregate
  • Manufactured in:  North Portland, OR
  • Material source:  Within 500 miles of manufacturing
  • # of colors:  27
  • Waste during manufacturing:  They reuse the water used in the process and have a recovery service that takes care of the cement slurry.
  • Website:  http://www.fuez.com/details.php?line=FuezGlass
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    Vetrazzo

  • Content:  85% recycled glass.  Curb-side recycling, windows, drinking glasses, building demo glass, traffic lights and Portland Cement.
  • Manufactured in:  Richmond, CA
  • Material source:  Varies cities in the US
  • # of colors:  19
  • Waste during manufacturing:  They have 0 waste.
  • Website:  http://www.vetrazzo.com/products_intro.html
  • Notes:  We have a large slab of Vetrazzo in our showroom – stop by if you would like to see it in person.  The inclusions are beautiful.
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    EnviroSlab

  • Content:  80% recycled glass and porcelain. 20% epoxy resin
  • Manufactured in:  Texas
  • Material source:  Porcelain: Kohler in Texas / Glass – Distributor that collects US glass
  • # of colors:  50+, custom available
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website:  http://www.enviroglasproducts.com/slab.asp
  • Gilasi

  • Content:  80% recycled materials, mostly glass
  • Manufactured in:  Chicago, IL
  • Material source:  Within 200 miles of factory
  • # of colors:  24
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website:  http://www.gilasi.com/
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    Icestone

  • Content:  100% recycled glass and cement
  • Manufactured in:  Brooklyn, NY
  • Material source:  Cements: York, Pa / Glass:  Throughout US
  • # of colors:  29
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Water used gets recycled – little waste
  • Website:  http://www.icestone.biz/
  • BioGlass

  • Content:  100% recycled or recyclable glass with no colorants or additives
  • Manufactured in:  Italy, Distributed in CA, NJ, FL
  • Material source:  Italy
  • # of colors:  6
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Kiln molded, so no waste
  • Notes:  Extremely durable since it is pure glass
  • Website:  http://www.coveringsetc.com/BioGlassSpecifications.aspx
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    Eco-Terr

  • Content:  72% recycled content – reclaimed granite and marble.  A true Terazzo
  • Manufactured in:  Italy, Distributed in CA, NJ, FL
  • Material source:  Italy
  • # of colors:  36
  • Waste during manufacturing:  None
  • Website:  http://www.coveringsetc.com/EcoTerrHome.aspx
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    Eco by Consentino

  • Content:  75% recycled materials:  salvaged mirrors, windows, bottles, glass, porcelain, stone / 22% corn oil resin bond
  • Manufactured in:  Spain, Distributed in WA and more
  • Material source:  Spain
  • # of colors:  10
  • Waste during manufacturing:  None
  • Notes:  This is one of the more affordable glass products.
  • Website:  http://ecobycosentino.com/raw.html
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    This is a 2 part series in which we will share with you options for using recycled-content countertops for your kitchen and bath remodel.  Gone of the days of ugly recycled countertop materials.  We are in a new era of innovative products that rival – and sometimes surpass – the sophistication of granite.  Whether your space is modern, traditional, or contemporary, there is a sustainable countertop option that is sure to steal the show.

    We have compiled an exhaustive list of eco-countertops and there are new products coming on the market often.  Since we remodel in Seattle, we have ranked them in order of closest to Seattle so that our local readers can make an informed decision about the transportation element of the product’s sustainability.

    RECYCLED PAPER/WOOD

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    Richlite

  • Content:  50% corrugated cardboard to 100% FSC certified recycled paper depending on color. Some are FSC certified.
  • Manufactured in:  Tacoma, WA
  • Material source:  Unknown
  • # of colors:  7
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website:  http://www.richlite.com/countertop/
  • Notes: We have had this product in our showroom kitchen on Capitol Hill for 4 years now and have been very happy with it.   We’ve had it refinished once (which makes it look brand new) although many people prefer to keep the patina that it gets over time.
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    Paperstone

  • Content:  100% FSC certified recycled paper and water based phenolic resin with cashew nut shell binder and pigment.
  • Manufactured in:  Hoquiam, WA
  • Material source:  Unknown
  • # of colors:  13
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website: http://www.paperstoneproducts.com/
  • Notes:  Created by the same people who created Richlite.  We used Paperstone Mocha in the above left picture.  Click here to see more of this Gaspar’s kitchen remodel.
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    .Eco-Top

  • Content:  50/50 blend of FSC certified post-consumer recycled paper and rapidly renewable bamboo fiber.  Bound with 100% water-based system.
  • Manufactured in:  Tacoma, WA, Wisconsin, Texas, California
  • Material source:  Close to manufacturing.  Bought from nearest paper facility.
  • Recyclable?  Unknown
  • # of colors:  10
  • Waste during manufacturing:  All leftovers and edge trimmings go to Recovery One.
  • Website:  http://www.kliptech.com/ecotop.html
  • Recycle-Top

  • Content:  100% post-consumer reycled curbside paper and corn-based 30% organic resin
  • Manufactured in: Tacoma, WA
  • Material source:  Bought from nearest paper facility.
  • # of colors:  3
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Notes: This product is so new that it isn’t even on the manufacturer’s website yet.  It will be available some time in 2010.
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    We remodel a lot of condos in the Seattle Area to be beautiful, functional retreats.  Many of these spaces are moderately small and call for appropriately-sized furniture.  A great place to find smaller-scale furniture is at Del-Teet in Bellevue and we suggest you check them out if your space is petite.  Even better?  They are having a one month sale starting June 18th where sofas will be 15-35% off!

    Can’t wait until then to start scoping out the inventory?  Click here for a map on how to get there.

    – Lauren

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    With so many models, options, settings and spaces, choosing the right appliance can be dizzying!  Fret not, for Gaspar’s has just the man for the job.  Smiley, from the Bellevue Albert Lee Store,  is our go-to appliance guru and we’re pulling him in for our weekly appliance column to answer all of your questions.

    Do you have an appliance question?  Leave a comment here or email lauren@gaspars.com. Here are this week’s questions:

    What is a downdraft gas range?

    A downdraft gas range is a specialty piece.  It is a range that incorporates it’s ventilation into the middle of the cooking surface.  Downdraft ranges are very common on islands, or other area where overhead venting is either difficult, or not an option.  – Smiley

    My kitchen is right next to my reading room, and I would like to get the quietest dishwasher possible.  What would you recommend?

    Having a reading room so close to your kitchen definitely calls for a very quiet dishwasher.  The quietest dishwasher considering all manufacturers is a Miele.  Price is a factor though, and their quietest model is in the premium price point for dishwashers.  That being said, even their entry level models are extremely quiet.  – Smiley

    If you want personal assistance and some one-on-one time with a local expert, you can visit Smiley at the Bellevue Albert Lee store.  Click here for a map and directions.

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    There are so many things that are exciting and fun when it comes to remodeling your bathroom – new countertops, shiny fixtures, beautiful tile.  Selecting a toilet typically doesn’t rate high on a homeowner’s list of fun things to shop for.  They’re all the same, right?

    Nope!

    A perfectly selected toilet will not only blend seamlessly into your bathroom design, it can be the hero that saves you money on your water bill and helps in the bigger picture of water conservation.  In the average home, the toilets account for approximately 30% of household water.

    A good place to start when looking at new toilets is choosing models that are Watersense labelled.  This means that these models have been independently laboratory tested to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency – using 20% less water per flush than the standard federal regulations.  A key trait of a Watersense toilet is that it must perform well!  This ensures that you won’t be sacrificing flushing power, a critical function,  for efficiency.

    We’ve pulled together 5 toilet models that are Watersense labeled to inspire you or your designer in picking the right toilet for your newly designed bathroom.

    1. Kohler Escale®

    • Model #: K-3588
    • Design: 2-piece, elongated bowl
    • Dual Flush?  Yes (1.6 or 0.8 gpf)
    • Finishes Available: White, Almond, Biscuit
    • List Price:  $1076.40+

    2. Toto Aquia®

    • Model #:  CST414M
    • Design:  Elongated toilet, oval SoftClose® seat available
    • Dual Flush?  Yes (1.6 or 0.9 gpf)
    • Finishes Available:  Cotton, Sedona Beige, Bone, Colonial White, Ebony
    • List Price:  $475 – $713

    (more…)

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