Use & Care: Stainless Steel Appliances

One 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 appliances online anytime here. 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 

Selecting Your Material at Epic Stone LLC

Natural stones can be such a unique investment for your countertop surfaces. You never know what slabs will grab your attention.
Natural stones can be such a unique investment for your countertop surfaces. You never know what slabs will grab your attention.

Selecting your stone can be one of the most fun parts of the design 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 up to our customers so that you are able to select the exact slabs of stone your tops are made from.

look inside of Epic Stone in Davenport Iowa

Epic Stone LLC is open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm anf Saturdays from 9am-noon. They are closed on Sundays.Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm. If you would like a peek at what a visit to Epic Stone is like then you have come to the right place! We visited Epic on a recent episode of our weekly TV show The Village Home Show! Press play below to see it!

What 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.

Bring you project samples with you to Epic Stone when you are selecting your materials.
Bring you project samples with you to Epic Stone when you are selecting your materials.

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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. Epic even has some fun new visualizer tools on their website to try!

Labels at Epic Stone indicate name, country of origin, and price category.
Labels at Epic Stone indicate name, country of origin, and price category.

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” stone. “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?

Epic 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 (563) 323-3603 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 is located at 110 N Division St. in Davenport, Iowa
Epic Stone is located at 110 N Division St. in Davenport, Iowa

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. If 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. We are your Quad Cities Regional experts on stone and have access to the very best crews to get to work for you! Contact us today.

Use & Care: Granite and Quartz Counters

 

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 Surfaces

 

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). Here is how you use it: 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 15 must-have items for your temporary kitchen during a remodel. Print off your own checklist of these items here

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 immediate access to water? Keep a bottle of anti-bacterial gel 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 “disposable” 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). Be excited to 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 microwave, consider borrowing one or purchasing an inexpensive one that can later be sent with a child to college or moved to a basement bar or “man Cave” area. Village Home Stores keeps many countertop model microwaves in stock so ask your design team about our 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. Of course you will need a bottle of dish detergent. Keep it 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 already 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. If you have a busy household, create an  “Action File” for papers and piles to stay organized. 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 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 for 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. Your first step is to contact us and start the conversation. Complete this short form or call us at (309) 944-1344Village_phone_number