Category Archives: Use & Care

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Product Profile- Self-Stick Wallplanks

We are thrilled to introduce this new product to our customers! While we have built the reputation for being your main source for complete remodels, we also provide quality products and expert design to empower our customers to do the work themselves. At Village Home Stores we value a customer who wants to invest their own time into a project that they will enjoy for years to come. It is not breaking news that shiplap, barnwood, and reclaimed woods of all styles and finishes have become very popular in kitchen and bath design. That is why we are very excited to launch this new self-stick wall plank product that is easy to install for an incredible impact! It truly is a DIY project that is NOT intimidating to take on.

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What do we mean by a DIY project that is not intimidating to take on? The day our new display arrived for the showroom our owner Jim decided to just install it right away in between appointments. He had it finished well before lunch! Take a look at this video of some of that installation (we admit that did speed it up just a bit for your own sake).

This product is meant to be installed by the homeowner. So much so that you can install it using just a measuring tape, pencil, and utility knife. Much like many of our other products at Village Home Stores, these wall planks are made in the U.S.A. The 1/4″ thick panels are sustainably sourced and processed with real North American hardwood. keypoints

The boards are stained using a patent pending process of infusing stain pigments into the veneering process. The result is the illusion of exotic hardwoods and rustic and reclaimed characteristics on a smooth, easy to clean surface.  A UV cured low-gloss finish is applied on the top of the planks and is wiped clean with water and a damp cloth. Let us walk you through the process step by step:

Plan & Measure Space:

Before installing it is recommended that you allow the wood planks to acclimate to the climate on the interior of your home. This helps to prevent any gapping or cracking in the planks if the humidity changes once installed. Carefully plan your space before you make your first cut. When this product says “industrial-strength adhesive” that translates to “once I’m stuck on the wall I won’t come off without a fight” adhesive.

measure-and-plan

Measure & Mark Your Cut Lines:

Be sure to measure your planks and mark on both sides of the material before scoring. Double check your wall dimension and your marked material one last time before scoring the plank.
Wallplank installation- Measure your cut line on both side of plank. | VillageHomeStores.com

Score the Planks:

Using a straight edge firmly placed along the marked lines, score the planks with a utility knife. You will want to do this on both side of the plank to achieve the cleanest break in the product.
Wallplank installation- Using straightedge score your cut line on both side of plank. | VillageHomeStores.com

Oh Snap!

Once both sides have been scored successfully, snap at the line firmly securing each side of the plank. Keep your hands close to the line to get the cleanest break.snap

Clean Up Edges:

Using your knife or a sanding block, clean up the splintered edges from your snapped planks.Wallplank installation- clean up the edges of your cut boards to remove any splintering. Use sanding block if needed. | VillageHomeStores.com

RECOMMENDED CUT METHOD:

It only took a few rows of the utility knife method for Jim to switch to using a saw for the rest of the cuts. This made for quicker and cleaner cuts of the material. If you have access to a saw for use you will be thankful for this option. For areas like outlets and airvents, you can make these cuts using a drill first as a starter hole. Then use a jigsaw or scroll saw to complete the cuts. Always use eye protection when cutting materials with a saw.
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Peel, Place, THEN Stick:

Remove the adhesive tape backing from the plank and place your first plank. Using your marked guidelines on the wall place your first plank. As your move along with the installation you will want to but the seams of materials together at a slight angle first before allowing adhesive to touch the surface. Wallplank installation- slide ridged edge into seam area before allowing adhesive touch wall surface. | VillageHomeStores.com

Press Firmly:

Once in place, press firmly to allow the adhesive to make as much contact with the surface as possible.  If you have one, A “J-Roller” helps with this task. Trim pieces are available if the look of the cut edges isn’t desired. Ask a salesperson about these trim options. Wallplank installation- Press adhesive into place firmly. - | VillageHomeStores.com

For Ceiling Application:

Yes you can absolutely use this wall plank system on your ceiling! It is recommended that once installed, you add small 18 gauge finish nails to help secure to the ceiling and take some strain off the adhesive being pulled by gravity.

Where can you use these wall planks? They can be installed on any structurally sound, clean, dry, and flat surface. Accent walls, decorative headboards, adding style to the back of an open shelf, the possibilities are endless and we can;t wait to see where our customers use it! It should be noted that this product is NOT recommended to install planks in any high moisture areas such as bathrooms or steam rooms. If you want this wood plank look in these areas ask us about the wood look tile options available from Village Home Stores.

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This self-stick wall plank system is available in 9 different finishes all of which you can see on display in our Geneseo, IL showroom. Because this product can be installed by you without any added labor charges it is sold by the square foot and our sales team can help you estimate how much you will need for your project. We are offering this product at an introductory sale price! wall plank price

Please stop in or call us with any questions about this great new product! (309) 944-1344.footer

 

 

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Road Trip! Our 2016 Visit to Whirlpool in Amana, IA

Village Home Stores is proud to offer Whirlpool appliances to the Quad Cities region. We are able to say with great confidence that we carry products that are backed by U.S. manufacturing and jobs. Did you know that:

Whirlpool Corp. is the only full line appliance manufacturer based in the United States. They operate 9 US manufacturing plants in 5 different states.

Our staff  is so lucky to be located just a short drive away from one of those plants in Amana, Iowa. We have been able to participate in a product training and plant tour now for the past few years. Please excuse our attire for the factory tour, this is not a fashion blog folks.
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The plant we visited last week is home to all of the bottom-mount refrigeration operations as well as built-in refrigeration. This 2.1 Million square foot facility is huge! We clocked 1 3/4 miles on our factory tour alone. The water treatment facility for the plant also supplies the entire Amana Colonies with water. Whirlpool provides back-up power when needed for the region as well. This Amana, IA plant produces roughly 6,400 refrigerators a day! Pardon our pun but that’s pretty cool!
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First of all, say hello to Seth (shown above on left). He is our newest member of the Appliances staff and was able to join us this year for this Whirlpool training and tour event. In addition to our tour, we received product training on many new models and features being introduced in laundry and kitchen appliances. Shown below is one of those new features called an “under-shelf prep zone” which utilizes an un-used space for for marinating or other storage needs in this new refrigerator model. This same new refrigerator model includes TWO ice makers, each with the ability to produce 4.6 lb.s of ice. Just get a text that you are entertaining guests after the work day? No problem! You can program to have plenty of ice by the time you get home right from your mobile phone. We saw so many amazing new products! Many of these models are already at our store or on their way. shelf

View this current US Manufacturing Map from Whirlpool showing the locations and products represented in the 9 manufacturing plants in the US. Whirlpool Corporation currently employs 22,000 manufacturing workers. Whirlpool truly believes that “there is no right way to do a wrong thing” and has committed to this opportunity to stay in the US. For example, instead of moving freezer manufacturing to Mexico or China, Whirlpool has recently purchased an vacant factory in Ottawa, Ohio keeping thousands of jobs in Ohio and allowing another category of product manufacturing  to remain in the US.interior

10000cupcakesNo complaints that we were greeted the morning of training with cupcakes alongside our breakfast (see our Instagram post on the right when we caught Rob with a cupcake at 8am). We were thrilled to hear that KitchenAid is hosting their #10000cupcakes campaign again this year to benefit Susan G. Komen. You can help make a difference for this cause! Share a photo or video with @KitchenAidUSA on Instagram or Twitter and include #10000cupcakes and #donate. For every original photo or video posted KitchenAid will donate $1 to support the fight against breast cancer, up to $10,000. Join us in store Thursday October 27th from 4:30-7pm as part of our annual “Witches Night Out” celebration and decorate your own cupcake to snap a photo of. Be sure to follow us on Instagram here to see our own cupcake posts.vanilla_latte_cupcakes

Do you have a recent model of a Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, or KitchenAid bottom-freezer refrigerator in your kitchen? That unit was made just a short drive past Coralville in Amana, Iowa and we had the privilege to see the smiling faces that assembled it for you.Read about our trip to Amana last year here at this link. If you are interested in purchasing appliance brands that help support jobs in our own country, our expert sales staff is ready to help find the right product and features for your lifestyle and budget. Shop our products online anytime here on our website. Then give us a call or stop in the store to experience the award-winning customer experience at Village Home Stores.Village_Home_Stores (1)

 

Get a “Load” of This: Top Load Laundry Tips

top_load_washerWith all of the industry changes that have been made in the category of top-load washing machines it can be hard to know what is the right model for you and your loads. While a front-load washer can be an excellent choice for cleaning if you have heavily-soiled items, don’t count top-load washers out! Many of our farming and machining customers still select from our HE top-loading models for their toughest loads. These models can still get you great results and save you energy as well. You may have a longer wash time but these models will use less water and spend less time and energy in your dryer. As this article from Consumer Reports states, high-efficiency top-load washers can and be an ideal choice if your laundry is near bedrooms or a family room as they cause less vibration and noise.

The Whirlpool®, Maytag®, and Amana® top-load laundry options you find at Village Home Stores try to make things simpler on you the customer every time they launch a new model. It can always be difficult to adjust to a new machine and all of it’s functions but after your few few loads you will begin to get more comfortable and start to see the wash results right for your own lifestyle. To get the best results from your high-efficiency washer we recommend you are sure to select the right temperature for your wash, use the correct detergent (and recommended amount of that detergent), and select the best cycle for your load.

wash_timeThere are really just two simple questions you need to answer when selecting your wash cycles on a top-loading machine. What you are washing and how you want your garments to be treated during the wash cycle. Many of our top-load washer models now offer an estimated time display for you to see how your selections effect your wash time. Some of the newest models of top-load washing machines even have an added feature that can remember your recent settings from previous loads to make it even easier on you. 

Image Courtesy of Whirlpool®

Image Courtesy of Whirlpool®

If you haven’t shopped for a washing machine recently you may be surprised when you open the lid and find no agitator in the center. This is due to the water usage regulations and HE standards now put into place as these machines are manufactured. When you stop in to shop for a new washer and dryer from Village Home Stores our staff can show to you and explain how these new HE washer operate and wash your garments. How these machines now wash compared to the “older” methods is a large subject in itself and our staff has been heavily trained on all of these changes. This same staff is just a phonecall away when you are learning how to use your new HE washer from Village Home Stores.

whatThis is where you can select from options like “delicates”, “whites”, and even “bulky” or “sheets” settings on some models. Maytag® offers their award-winning PowerWash® system with the best cleaning in its class to remove everyday tough stains in a single wash using PowerSpray, optimal dispensers and the PowerWash® cycle. This PowerWash® cycle is ideal for farmers and work clothes that may get soiled with oil or grease. 

howThis is where you will select your soil levels, temperature, rinse, spin speeds, and any pre-treatment options for your load. Lower water usage is one of the main goals of these newer models. Because these machines use an impeller to move your garments in the wash basin and not an agitator, a full basin of water doesn’t allow the movement needed for the best wash. Millions of dollars have been invested by Whirlpool®, Maytag®, and Amana® to perfect this new system of washing. Trust us when we say that the testing behind the best fabric care and best cleaning for you has been invested into these washers.

full_laundryThere may be times that you may feel you want more water to be used during your wash cycles and there are ways to achieve this. Adding an extra rinse can of course help achieve this added water but selecting features like a “Deep Water” wash can also be a great choice. When this option is selected, it still uses the load sensing technology built into the machine so the water levels will vary based on what you loaded into the machine. If you want a full tub of water, you can select the “Bulky” Items cycle which will give you more gallons of water in the wash followed by more gallons in the rinse.

presoakSelecting the “Presoak” option is also a great choice when you have a heavily soiled garment. This Presoak option that lets you skip soaking outside of the washer. It works by adding extra time for it in the washer before the wash cycle starts. This is a feature available on even some of the entry-level models of high-efficiency washers. Other options like the ColorLast™ option from Whirlpool® can help you combine your wash selections with the right temperatures to keep your garments looking fresh and not faded.

With so many options from all of our brands there is a model just right for you and our expert staff can help you find it. Shop all of our top-load washer selection here and be sure to stop in to talk to a member of our expert sales staff about what machine is best for your lifestyle. Laundry_Geneseo

Product Profile: Natural Soapstone

soapstone_titlecardNatural stones have been mined from the Earth for centuries to be used for decorative purposes. Each natural stone that is formed has unique qualities from every other. That is why you may find certain materials recommended for specific locations or uses. For example, marble is ideal for  pastry-making because of the temperature the material maintains among other reasons. While the common use for Soapstone may not come to mind right away, chances are you have work on a Soapstone surface before. Think back to your Chemistry class or any lab course you may have taken…remember the lab tables?

soapstone_on_islandThose dark green chalky tabletops? There is a very good chance those tops you are picturing  were Soapstone! But why? Many of the same reasons why Soapstone has been used in labs for hundreds of years are why you may want to consider it for your kitchen counters.

soapstone_benefits

The first reason you see listed we will touch on when we talk about care and maintenance for Soapstone. The second item listed is that Soapstone is a naturally non-porous material. Nothing will absorb into the material itself. This means it is completely stain-resistant! A fantastic quality in any kitchen countertop!

soapstone_on_white_cabinetsBut why is Soapstone so great in a lab? Soapstone is also an inert material. This means that it is impervious to acids, heat, and chemicals. Bottom line, not a thing in your kitchen can change the makeup of this material once it is installed in your home. While Granite and Marble are extremely durable materials to install in your kitchen, you do need to be cautious of some things that can harm them. Read more about this here on our blog. Another interesting characteristic of Soapstone is that it can absorb, store, and even radiate heat. In fact it is still used as a material in some heaters. Native Americans and Vikings used soapstone and shaped it into cooking-vessels because of these characteristics. 

soapstone_maintenanceBut didn’t we mention above that Soapstone “builds character over time”? Soapstone (also known as steatite, or soaprock) is made up mainly of the mineral talc. This is what gives Soapstone the chalky and “soapy” feel and appearance.   While Soapstone is inert and non-porous, it is a soft material. In a kitchen countertop application this means your Soapstone counters will develop surface scratches. These surface scratches and worn areas are what tell the story of your stone once it is in place. If this is not a look you are after, then discuss with your designer at Village Home Stores what materials can give you this same look but in a harder surface. How do you get your Soapstone to have that darker look with less talc? You oil it. Take a look at this image of an un-oiled Soapstone countertop:

beforeIf a more traditional Soapstone patina is what you are after you will want to oil your counters. Note below the same top with an oiled section in the center:

oiled_imageSee the natural patina that comes out of the stone when an oil is applied over the material? Applying mineral oil (NOTE: not mineral spirits) to Soapstone brings the natural beauty out of the material. The mineral oil will not absorb into the top it just enhances the surface of the material. Many times a coat of mineral oil can also conceal the appearance of surface scratches. If you still have surface imperfections on your Soapstone you can remove them by hand with a fine-grit sandpaper before oiling.

clothKeep your mineral oil and a designated cloth for oiling with your other kitchen cleaning supplies. This way you can continue to use the same cloth and not confuse it with others used for food prep. Because the oil will not absorb into the Soapstone, you may have some non-uniform oiled areas on your tops for a few days as your oiled tops “dry”. These can be wiped clean with a dry cloth. This oiling process can be done as often as you would like. Oiling your Soapstone tops is not a mandatory maintenance. It doesn’t have to be done at all, just often enough to maintain whatever patina and look you want your tops to exude. Many customers oil their tops once a month for a year and get the overall look they desire. They then may oil it once a year or never again as it builds its character.

howto_oil_soapstoneWe are so lucky to have a local source for natural stone material right here in the Quad Cities. Epic Stone LLC in Davenport, Iowa is our local source for Soapstone and other natural stone materials. Epic is the warehouse facility where the fabricators used by Village Home Stores will be picking up the material for your project. Read more about what you can expect from a visit to pic here on our blog.  If Soapstone is what you have selected for your project you can pick the specific slabs of material your project will use. Your designer at Village Home Stores can help coordinate an appointment for you to visit Epic to tag your material.

Are you considering Soapstone counters for your kitchen or bath project? Make an appointment today to discuss your options with a designer at Village Home Stores. Call or click here to make an appointment.soapstone_counters_quad_cities

Product Profile: Is L.V.T. For Me?

LVT_coverWhat is L.V.T. ? L.V.T. is short for “Luxury Vinyl Tile” and it has become a very sought-after material since it’s arrival into the floorcovering scene many years ago. The first L.V.T. began production in the late 70’s but it wasn’t until the last 5 years that Luxury Vinyls have began to take their place among the top choices for material in both remodel and new construction projects.

vinyl_tilesWhy is L.V.T. such a great material for your project? The first reason many of our customer love their L.V.T. are the qualities the tiles themselves. Compared to other harder surfaces, Luxury Vinyls are warmer underfoot and more comfortable to stand on for longer periods of time. Advancements in the industry in the last few years have also played a part in the rise of L.V.T.’s popularity. These tiles can have a photo realistic replication to true natural products at a fraction of the cost.

LVT_installationLuxury Vinyls can be installed to have the look and feel of ceramic, natural stones, and even hardwoods. As with all materials we sell here at Village Home Stores we offer expert installation for your project by crews local to you and your home. Luxury Vinyls require a specific installation method and materials (see grout portion of this post) so your best result will be to hire a professionals to install. If you are wanting to install your material yourself, there will be some preparation to the space needed.

Village_flooringDiscuss your existing subfloor with your salesperson and find out what needs to be done before installing your new floors. An underlayment may be needed as well so be sure to review your material options with your salesperson.   This post by the World Floor Covering Association is a great resource for installation methods and terms you may encounter when installing yourself.

Vinyl_tile_groutL.V.T. can be installed grouted or without grout. If a true ceramic tile look is desired, a grouted application is recommended. However, L.V.T. can be installed without any grout for a very clean look. photo-replicated wood L.V.T. flooring will look most realistic if installed without grout. The grout used for installation of Luxury Vinyls is a specially formulated acrylic that it will not scratch the tiles. The grout used for ceramic tile is cement based and should NEVER be used with luxury vinyl tiles.

LVT_informationBecause the grout used for L.V.T. installations is acrylic based, it will not absorb stains like a cement based grout will. The grout itself is stain-resistant because of the makeup of the product. Cleanup is also very easy for L.V.T. materials. Simple damp mopping is recommended.

LVT_pricesWhat is the price for this category of flooring? There are obviously many products and styles under the category of “Luxury Vinyls” but we can offer some perspective where L.V.T.s fall into the bigger picture. L.V.T. can vary in price.  Entry level pricing is comparable to entry level sheet vinyl and at the high end it is comparable to a mid-range hardwood.  With pricing everywhere in between depending on product line and brand.

Village_floor_companyWe have multiple brands of Luxury Vinyls on display and also installed in our Geneseo showroom. Call today or contact us via our website to schedule a consultation with a flooring expert at Village Home Store. Let us help you decide if L.V.T. is right for your project. flooring_Quad_cities_phone

Use & Care: Stainless Steel Appliances

cleaning stainless steel appliancesOne of the most common questions we get when showing Stainless Steel appliances to customers is but doesn’t it show fingerprints? The short answer to this is yes, but we usually then walk that same customer over to a Black appliance. With the industry change to a smooth and glossy finish in place of a texture, Black appliances can actually shows fingerprints pretty clearly. Stainless Steel can be a great look for many projects. That being said, there is a small amount of maintenance for your Stainless Steel appliances.

stainless steel wipesAlways use a cleaner that is labeled specifically for Stainless Steel. There are a great number of these available. Village sells products by “Affresh” that are manufactured and approved by Whirlpool for use on their appliances. Many Stainless Steel cleaners come in spray and wipe form. While wipes can be convenient for quick touch up, they can dry up easily if the container isn’t closed properly after use.  If you have a busy kitchen you may prefer the wipes because they are a one-step process and are perfect for touch-ups and frequent use.

affresh for stainlessSpray or lotion-form cleaners require an extra step but can give a great result of you are cleaning your appliances less frequently and want the best results. Use spray-on products about every other month or as you see they are needed. In the showroom we are constantly using Affresh to keep things looking great. Follow the directions on the label. In most cases you apply with one cloth, let the product set, then return with a clean cloth and buff. The best tool you can keep handy for daily cleaning is just a clean, dry microfiber cloth. This can be used to wipe smudges and prints quickly.

We do want to mention a few things to avoid when cleaning your Stainless Steel appliances. You want to be sure to protect your investment and not let certain things come in contact with the Stainless so your appliances look great for years to come!

magnets on stainless steel

  • You want to be sure to avoid using Magnets on your Stainless panels. The reason for this is the reaction that happens over time where the metals make contact. These marks can be difficult to remedy once they happen. Magnets also can become a cause of scratches to appear on your appliance.
  • Abrasive Cleaners, Pads and Clothes can be damaging to the surface of Stainless Steel.
  • Bleach or any kind of Hydrochloric Acids need to be avoided. These materials can cause a harmful reaction to your Stainless Steel.
  • Lysol cleaners contain ingredients that fall into the category listed above and should be avoided.
  • Long exposure to Table Salt or Salt & Vinegar Mixes can be damaging as well to Stainless Steel.

alternative cleaners for stainless steelBut what alternatives can be used? We do recommend using the Affresh products or others approved for use on Stainless Steel. If needed, there are some alternative methods you can try as well. WD-40 can be used on stainless and is said to be helpful in repelling prints and smudges from happening. The smell however is not to appetizing so you may want to stick to another method. Baby Oil can also be applied to Stainless and certainly smells more pleasant than WD-40.

Village-Home-Stores-AppliancesJust because you see Stainless appliances on magazine covers at the grocery check out or all over Pinterest does not mean the look is your taste. White and Black kitchen appliances remain very popular and even the now-discontinued “Bisque” finish is very sought-after in our region. Both Whirlpool and Maytag have recently introduced combination finishes that offer a Black or White appliance with Stainless hardware and accents.  These can be an excellent option for a customer who may not want full panels of Stainless Steel in their space.

There are some “matte finish” or “fingerprint-proof” appliances available in the market but they can be very limited in features and models as the finish is not universally available on all products. It can also be difficult to put together a full kitchen of models in these specialty finishes. The look is slightly discolored from true Stainless so be aware of that when selecting models and locations. These “fingerprint-proof” finishes can be a fantastic choice if, for instance, your refrigerator is separated from the other appliances and won’t be near another appliance. The combination Black-with-Stainless and White-with-Stainless finishes have become very popular and are now available in many many models. That list of combination models continues to grow as the false-stainless look is becoming less popular in purchases.

Talk to your salesperson about what appliance finish is right for your lifestyle. Don’t have a salesperson yet? Call or contact us today to get started. You can always shop our appliances 24 hours a day online but seeing these models in person is the best way for us to show you all of your options. See you soon!  (309) 944-1344 

Village-Maytag

Selecting Your Material at Epic Stone LLC

Granite in the Quad Cities

You have decided to invest in beautiful stone countertops… now what?

Epic Stone in DavenportThe good news is that selecting your stone can be a fun part of the process. Village Home Stores is not going to send you on an epic journey to Chicago or Des Moines to select your stone, instead we will send you to Epic Stone in Davenport, IA. We are so very lucky to have such a large selection of materials without a long drive to see them. Epic Stone, LLC is the warehouse that our countertop fabricators purchase the material from for your project. They open their warehouse to our customers so that you are able to select the exact slabs of stone your tops are made from.

Shopping for granite in the Quad CitiesWhat should you have with you when you visit Epic Stone? It is best to come prepared with whatever you have available for your project. Backsplash and flooring samples, cabinet stains, or other important finishes that may help you select your stone. Epic will ask  your designer’s information so that material amounts and fabricator information can be included on a tag once you have selected your stone. Your designer will be able to tell you how many slabs of material your project requires. You do not need to have your kitchen or bathroom layout with you.

Keeping an open mind as you walk the aisles is most important. Bring a camera or have you smartphone or tablet ready to take pictures of favorites and labels during your visit. There are so many stones to choose from. You are able to browse a gallery on their website and following them on Facebook gets you immediate news of new materials coming in.

what do granite price categories mean

As you make your way around the warehouse at Epic you will notice each stack of slabs are labeled. There are three important elements to these labels to make note of:

  • The Name of the stone is important to note as some colors have many variations of the same name and this may change the price and color if the wrong name is given. The label shown above indicated that we were looking at a slab of “Super White Brushed” “Brushed” is important to note in this case because these slabs of “Super White” are not a polished, glossy stone and are priced a full category higher because of the “Brushed” finish.
  • A price category is indicated in the bottom right hand corner of the label. Categories range from 1 on up to the high teens. The lower the number, the lower the cost. Your salesperson at Village will get the full estimate together for you, they just need to know what category you have selected.
  • Another element to the material labels is the origin of your stone. This is what makes natural stone so amazing and unique. The stone slabs you see at Epic are mined throughout the world. How wonderful will it be when someone visiting your home asks what the name of your stone is and you can reply with a name and location from where it came?

granite warehouse in davenport, iaEpic Stone, LLC is located at the bottom of North Division Street, in the former Franks Foundries complex. The warehouse is a gigantic warehouse of stone slabs, so it is cold in the winter months and can get very hot in the summer. Dress prepared for the current temperature. While they have open hours, it is always best to call ahead to make an appointment. This makes your time spent at Epic more focused. Materials change so frequently so making an appointment also gives you the opportunity to ask if colors you are considering are there.

Epic Stone QC hoursIf you are just starting the process of shopping for granite or marble countertops for your home, your first step is to contact a designer at Village Home Stores. You can do this via our website or call us at (309) 944-1344. Your designer will walk you through the process from estimating to installation. We have selected the best fabricators in the area who are experts in their field of manufacturing, installing, and seaming your tops. Maintenance of natural stone tops is minimal and we wrote a short post about it here for your reference.

Natural stone is a fantastic choice and a material that is timeless and rich in history. With Village Home Stores and Epic Stone, LLC your stone countertops will look great for years to come.

Marble Institute of America

Use & Care: Granite and Quartz Counters

Granite Counter Tops in the Quad Cities

Your beautiful new kitchen from Village Home Stores is finished. Gorgeous stone counter tops are shining back at you…now what? How can you keep your Granite or Quartz counter tops looking as fantastic as they do now for years and years to come? Here are some tips from the experts here at Village Home Stores.

how to care for graniteIt’s no secret that Natural Stones and man-made Quartz surfaces are extremely hard and durable materials. These surfaces still remain the most sought-after choices for kitchen projects all across the industry. Granite and Marble mined from sources all over the globe are selected for their beauty and uniqueness. The fact that these colors and patterns occur in nature is pretty amazing. That is why many people fall in love with the look and concept of installing natural stone in their homes. However, there are some things that can harm these surfaces.

Man-made Quartz counter tops are non-porous and cannot be damaged by foods and liquids. Natural stones vary in density and sealant absorbency. Because of the natural properties of Natural Stone, with Granite or Marble surfaces you will want to avoid the following:

  • Acidic foods and liquids coming in contact with your stone. They can etch the polish of a stone or even stain them in some cases. Citrus fruits & juices, tomatoes and tomato sauces should never be left on your Natural Stone surfaces for long periods of time. Wine, coffee and soda spills should also be kept clean.
  • Abrasive cleaners should never be used on your stone surfaces. Granite and Marble are very hard surfaces but the sealants on some may break down faster over time if abrasive cleaners are used. We will expand more on cleaning your counters below.
  • Leaky oils & soaps can slowly be absorbed into natural stones so make sure to keep an eye on any dispensers or containers.

Cleaning Granite TopsCleaning your new counter tops will surely become part of a day-to-day routine in your new space. There are many mild cleaners formulated specially for use on Granite and Marble surfaces. These are all safe to use but for quick clean ups warm water and basic liquid dish soap will be just fine.  Avoid excessive use of soaps on your Natural Stone tops so you do not begin to form a build-up of soap and dull the shine of your surfaces. Never use abrasive cleaning products on your stone. For difficult spills and food stains, the flat side of a straight razor blade can be used on your Granite or Marble top.

Granite Counter Top SeamsMost kitchen layouts require a seam in the material. Seams can be expected with both man-made Quartz and Natural Stone products. These seams are constructed of epoxy products that may react to heat. Avoid placing heat directly on seamed areas of your counter tops. While some stones may need to be resealed every 4-5 years, some may never need more sealant than the initial installation. The best way to test if your sealant is working is to place a few drops of water on your work surface. If the water soaks in quickly, then it is time to reseal. If it beads up, then it is protected.

Below is an infographic for your quick reference. Feel free to “Pin” it or print and save with your project information. Making this information available to all members of your house, house guests or even babysitters will help protect the investment you have made in your new space. Selecting stone tops for your kitchen was a great choice. By creating good care habits in your new space, you will ensure that they will look as beautiful 15 years from now as they do today, If you have any questions about what you have read here on the use & care of your stone tops, please contact us today.

Items that can harm natural stone counters

Use & Care: Cultured Marble

Gel-Gloss for Vanity Tops

Bathroom vanity tops and some shower units are commonly installed using cultured marble or acrylic materials. These products have improved in color and customizing options to get you the look of some natural stones but still remain a softer product that requires some care and maintenance. The most popular brands of these bathroom products we sell in the Quad Cities region are made right here in the Midwest: The Onyx Collection (Belvue, KS) Classic Marble (Arthur, IL) and Bertch Oasis (Waterloo, IA).

The most important part of maintaining a scratch-free and shiny surface is using Gel-Gloss Polish & Rejuvenator. Gel-Gloss has been around for ages and continues to be the industry choice for any cultured marble or acrylic surface. It is a very inexpensive product and can be found in most hardware stores and even online. It comes in many forms because it can be used on more than your bathroom top (i.e. boats, some furniture, chrome and porcelain).

How to clean Cultured Marble vanity tops with Gel-Gloss spray.

STEP 1: SPRAY & APPLY GEL-GLOSS The best way to have Gel-Gloss on hand for your home is in the spray form. This makes application and use easy. You will need two clean, dry cloths to use the product. Use the first cloth to apply a coat of the Gel-Gloss over the entire surface you wish to clean. If the time of year allows it, crack a window as the product does have a scent and most bathrooms are not large spaces.

How to clean Acrylic vanity tops with Gel-Gloss spray.

STEP 2: DRY TIME Allow the product to dry completely. You will start to notice a film or haze forming everywhere your coated the product. Once this haze has formed and dried you are ready to buff your surface.

How to clean Cultured Marble vanity tops with Gel-Gloss spray.

STEP 3: BUFF & SHINE Using your second clean and dry cloth, buff your surface to reveal a luster. You can repeat the process as often as weekly. The Gel-Gloss product leaves a smooth, sealed surface that help protect it as well as prevent water spots.

As mentioned before, cultured marble and acrylic materials are a softer material than a true granite or marble. Once installed in your bathroom there is very little that can damage the product from daily use. You do want to remember the following when caring for yours:

  • Never wipe or clean with anything abrasive. Cleaners or tools that can scratch your surfaces if they have abrasive elements to them. Most sanitizing household cleaners are safe to use as long as they are labeled “Non Abrasive”
  • Protect the bottom surface of items placed on the counter. Jars and containers should have soft surfaces where they contact the material. If they feel rough to the touch, they could cause tiny scratches over time. Applying stick-on felt pads can help avoid this.
  • While many vanity tops are tested to be strong even against some nail-polish removers and many beauty products, avoid contact with products that could stain or damage the product.
  • Heat can damage the gloss coating atop many of these cultured marble and acrylic surfaces. With some flat irons and curling irons marketed to give you high-heat for better results, make sure you don’t leave them in direct contact with the surface. Never leave a lit cigarette on your surface.

If you have any questions about the many products available for your bathroom don’t hesitate to contact us. With new surfaces and finishes changing every day, there are so many choices. Village Home Stores can help you find the right fit for your home and lifestyle.

temp_kitchen

15 Must-Have Items For Your Temporary Kitchen During a Remodel

Remodeling a kitchen is a process. During that process you will need a temporary kitchen to prep and clean in. How can you keep the essentials handy for your day-to-day life? You set up a temporary kitchen. This can be located in a dining room, living room or even a corner of the kitchen itself. Village Home Stores suggests these must-have items for your temporary kitchen during a remodel.

15 Must-Have Items For Your Temporary Kitchen During a Remodel:

The best small appliances for your temporary kitchen

1. Decide what small appliances best fit the lifestyle of your family. Choose appliances that can be used for multiple tasks. A toaster oven may become your new favorite small appliance. Many are available with convection features and interior capacities that will make it possible to prepare many different meals. Take note that these ovens can get very hot in the areas surrounding them. Keep the space clear and avoid stacking items on top. Crock pots, rice-cookers, and countertop grills can each be used and stored off-site in another room. You can still prepare meals at home without eating out every day. Follow our Pinterest board of recipes to enjoy during your remodel.

2. No water? no problem. A bottle of anti-bacterial gel should be accessible for you and the crew. Stop germs from spreading without needing running water.

3. While they can be very wasteful to use regularly, using paper products during your remodel can be a great way to keep dirty dishes from piling up. When cleared off properly many can even be recycled. Plastic utensils and cups can even be washed and reused. Just be aware that certain plastics should not be heated up to high heats and reused for food service.

4. Keep a roll of paper towels handy. Some snacks and meals can even be prepped and served on a paper towel. No judgement from us if we catch you eating a slice of pizza off of a paper towel. We know that in just a few weeks you will be cooking a gourmet meal in your brand new kitchen.

5. For quick meal prep, reheating leftovers, and even warming up coffee, a microwave really is a necessity. If you do not have a portable model, consider borrowing a small one or purchasing an inexpensive microwave that can later be sent with a child to college or re-purposed in a basement or “man cave”. Shop our small appliances here or stop in the showroom to see our microwave options. 

Life goes on in your home no matter what state the kitchen is in. Busy families, single adults, and empty-nesters all create dirty dishes. When they do start to pile up we recommend to set up a dish-washing station.

Set Up a Dish Washing Station:

DishWashingStation

6. Not having a running kitchen sink and faucet is probably one of the largest inconveniences during a remodel. Find a large plastic tub that will act as your sink during this time. If you do not have another running sink nearby, make sure your tub fits nicely in the closest bathtub you have. If you are preparing a meal at home, we suggest filling this tub with warm, soapy water and adding dirty dishes as they are used.  This gives them time to soak as you prep the meal and will mean less time scrubbing in the bathtub later on.

7. Have two bottles of dish detergent. Keep one bottle of dish detergent in your temporary kitchen and the other nearby whatever water source you are using.

8. Set up an area for drying clean items. Find a drying mat or rack that does not take up too much space and fits the dishes you do plan on using often.

9. Using a dish scrubbing brush that also dispenses detergent can eliminate the need for a sponge at all in your dish-washing station.

Where Should It Be Located?

We have seen many temporary kitchens set up throughout the many years we have been remodeling kitchens. Some of the most innovative locations we have seen use existing furniture or spaces already accessible near the kitchen. Do you have a buffet or built-in bookcase? Consider these spaces first before unfolding a large camping table for your temporary kitchen. If you find an existing space you may only need a small cart in addition to that. Always seek out a location that is outside of any masked off areas from the jobsite.

Keep a Command Center:

KitchenCommandCenter

10. Establish a command center for your family and even the crews. Keep a notebook and writing utensils available for notes and lists. Project information should also be in this location. Village Home Stores will give you a project binder with schedules, specs and up to date plans to be kept on-site. The family at SimpleLifeTogether.com recommends all working kitchens to have an “Action File” for busy families. This is a great addition to your temporary kitchen command center and may even find its way into your permanent one. Here you can keep bills, incoming mail, school papers, schedules, and paperwork that may normally end up piled on a kitchen counter.

11. Borrow a shelf or two. Relocating a few boxes of books or movies can clear off enough shelf space for pantry items and even some small appliances. If you have set up a folding table, large tubs or bins below can be used for pantry storage. Always have trash bags and and lunch packing items handy by the pantry area as well.

12. A coffeepot is absolutely a must-have item for most customers. Just remember this part of your temporary kitchen does not need to be near the rest. Reduce clutter and free up counter space by setting up your coffeemaker in the master bathroom or even a home office.

13. Find an all-purpose cleaner in a spray bottle that you can keep on hand. This can be used to clean work surfaces and even appliances as they may get dusty during the remodeling process. All-purpose cleaning wipes can be fantastic as well for quick clean up.

14. Running water and a clear work surface are as desirable as available outlets in your temporary kitchen. By using a power strip for your small appliances you can gain surge protection and access extra receptacles for charging devices.

15.The most important item of course is patience. Being torn up for a short period of time is always worth it once you can enjoy your new finished kitchen space. Patience truly is a “Must-Have Item” when remodeling. Just remember that the project is only temporary. Soon you will have a new space to enjoy.

We wish things could happen overnight like they seem to do on television, but in reality these things take time. Our Project Management program allows us to use your time most efficiently and get your new kitchen up and running as quickly as possible. Be sure to check out our board on Pinterest full of great tips and examples of temporary kitchen.  If you are reading this post because you are about to start a project with us we thank you so much fro your business! We can’t wait to have your new kitchen up and running as soon as we are able to. If you are still in the research phase of a remodel feel free to contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our expert kitchen designers. We can’t wait to hear what you are working on. Contact us today to set up an appointment and get your remodel started! (309) 944-1344Village_phone_number