Thursday, December 29, 2011


There are four different types of lighting, and your home should have each of them, appropriate for the area. The four types of lighting are: ambient, task, accent, and decorative.

1. Ambient. Ambient lighting is general light that fills the room. The light is diffused and produce an overall glow. It should be inconspicuous and blend into the surroundings. It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights and with lanterns mounted on the outside of the home. Having a central source of ambient light in all rooms is fundamental to a good lighting plan.

2. Task. Task lighting provides lighting for a specific area and task. Lighting for reading, crafts, or writing are examples of task lighting. Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain.

3. Accent. Accent lighting accents a particular part of the room or object in the room. An example would be lighting accenting a painting or sculpture. Accent lighting is the most dramatic type of lighting. To be effective, accent lighting requires as least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it.

4. Decorative. Decorative lighting is treated as a design element. An example would be a dramatic wrought iron candle stand or small decorative lamp shaped like a butterfly. It is not made to give out much light, but provides a decorative touch. Decorative lighting is usually provided by recessed and track lighting or wall-mounted picture lights.

A well-lit room looks warm and welcoming. But don't forget the bulbs. Natural full-spectrum bulbs can make everything in your room look better, including you!

Sources: Pamela Cole Harris and American Lighting

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Remodeling Counter Tops

Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is a big job, but changing the look of the whole room can be done without redoing the entire place just by changing out the counter top.

Here are some things to consider, as described by Kitchen Countertops:
  • Granite Countertops - Granite is the most popular choice for kitchen counter tops, especially when the size your budget isn’t a consideration. A solid quality countertop can define a kitchen. The inclusion of a granite counter top will add class to the most modest of kitchens. They are available in a number of colors and are extremely durable (although periodic sealing is usually a must). Although there is some maintenance involved, granite kitchen counter tops are elegant and timeless.
  • Engineered Stone Countertops - Engineered stone is not as popular as granite but is often confused for a granite finish. Engineered stone has all the pros of granite but is probably easier to maintain (it differs from brand to brand the quality of the stone). Engineered stone counter tops are composed of quartz particles and they are available in a larger range of colors than granite – an additional benefit is a nonporous surface that is scratch resistant. Some popular brands on the market are DuPont, and Silestone. Engineered Stone is often more expensive than a granite finish.
  • Marble Kitchen Countertops - Let’s get this out of the way – marble has an extremely high price tag and is not often used for countertops or indeed anywhere in kitchens. While marble is luxurious and instantly recognizable, it requires maintenance and it easily stains. Sealers are required to retard staining and scratches. Please be sure to read all of our great articles before choosing to buy.
  • Solid Surface Kitchen Countertops - Solid surface counters are just what they're called, solid. Most scratches can be sanded out. The countertops are custom-made to your specifications by companies such as Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone. Visit our directory for links to these suppliers. The biggest advantage with solid surface counters is the range of colors and patterns… you just have to make sure you are careful with hot pans and everyday mishaps which can leave marks and/or stains.
  • Ceramic Tile Countertops - Ceramic tile is extremely durable and usually easy to clean. It’s also relatively inexpensive – a great choice for average kitchen renovators. Ceramic counters are usually installed one section at a time and most people can easily work with the materials. Ceramic finishes are excellent because they take hot pans, are easy to clean and are available in a number of different textures. The only downside is that the grout in between the tiles can be difficult to clean (if poorly designed) and the surface can end up uneven. Both of these pitfalls can be avoided with a professional installation.
  • Laminate Countertops - Laminate counter tops are popular and affordable – popular trademarks Formica, Nevamar are house hold names. Laminate counters are made out of plastic coated synthetics with a smooth surface that is usually easy to clean. The pieces are cut to size and then installed and finished on the ends. The biggest advantage of laminate finishing is obviously its affordability and range of patterns and colors. It’s relatively durable and easy to replace if stained or damaged.
  • Stainless Steel Countertops - A contemporary and industrial can be achieved with a stainless steel counter. Stainless steel is extremely heat resistant and durable. This choice of countertop is usually constructed precisely to your specifications so you can expect a seamless finish. While they are easy to clean, they can also appear clinical, they are noisy, very expensive it’s difficult to modify the fabrication yourself.
  • Soapstone Countertops - Soapstone offers a beautiful finish - it is generally dark in color and has a smooth and welcoming feel. Popular among historic homes (particularly among renovators) it is a great finish for both countertops and can be used as sink material. The biggest pitfall is the regular maintenance soapstone requires: applications of mineral oil will help prevent cracking over time.
  • Wood or Butcher Block Countertops - Increasingly popular wood countertops offer a rustic look and are available in a wide range of finishes and timbers. Hardwoods such as oak and maple are often used as kitchen countertops. One of our favorites, wooden counters can be sanded and resealed and the look fantastic, although they require a small amount of care. They can be damaged by water and stains overtime and need to be oiled or sealed – instructions and maintenance will vary from hardwood to hardwood and among manufacturers.
  • Concrete Kitchen Countertops - If your kitchen is an unusual shape and you require a very specific shape then a concrete counter might be a great choice (although the elevated price tag may be beyond most budgets). There are lots of advantages: it can be color tinted, it can look fantastic in the right setting (industrial) and new finishes mean that a concrete counter will almost never crack. On the downside, cracking is possible and the finish can be quiet porous (although it can be sealed).
Of course, you also have to consider what kind of feel the room should have: modern, classic, country, comfortable, chic? And your personal style.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Safe holiday decorating

Stay safe this holiday season by following some simple tips for electrical safety regarding your lighting and decorations.
Indoor and Outdoor
  • Before you begin decorating, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning installation and maintenance of all electrical decorations.
  • Use only the lights and other electrical decorations that have been certified by a recognized independent testing laboratory such as UL, ETL or CSA.
  • Carefully inspect each decoration before plugging into an outlet. Cracked sockets, frayed, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new decorations.
  • Always unplug a light string or electrical decoration before replacing light bulbs or fuses.
  • Don't overload extension cords - it could cause the cord to overheat and start a fire. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord.
  • Don't allow children or pets to play with light strings, candle lights or other electrical decorations. Even small light decorations can produce a deadly electric shock if they are misused.
  • Turn off all electrical light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
Outdoor Decorating
  • Use only lights and other electrical decorations certified for outdoor use. Plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • When hanging lights around your roofline or in trees, be sure to survey the area for overhead power lines and maintain at least a 10-foot distance.
  • Don't mount or support light strings in any way that might damage the cord's wire insulation. Never nail or staple light strings or extension cords down.
  • Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water and well protected from weather. Keep all electrical connections off the ground and hang sockets downward to prevent water from seeping into them.
  • Do not run electrical cords through door or window openings where they can be damaged.
Indoor Decorating
  • If you buy an artificial tree, check for a "flame resistant" label.
  • Unplug the lights when changing bulbs or when adjusting them on the tree.
  • Don't let bulbs touch any flammable material.
  • Never try to bypass a fuse built into a string of lights.
  • If you need to use extension cords, use only UL-approved cords that are rated to carry the electrical loads connected to them. Uncoil extension cords completely before using. Place extension cords away from heat sources and bulbs.
  • Never place cords under rugs and doors or through windows where they might be pinched or become worn.
  • Keep cords out of water and away from metal objects.
  • Be aware that cut Christmas trees or real Christmas trees cause the most fires during the holiday season. Make sure the base of the tree is maintained properly with the proper chemicals and water.
Source: El Paso

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hiring a Contractor

Some projects can be done yourself. But for those that can't, or that you'd rather not, you need to hire a contractor. But how? What's the process? What do you need to know or consider?

LifeHacker put it well when they said:
Everything fails. From your air conditioner to refrigerator to the mortar holding the bricks of your front walk together, everything has a failure point—Great Pyramids of Giza? Not looking so new anymore, are they?—and the more aware of this you are the less likely you are to be caught off guard with a huge repair. 
You don't want to be forced to pick a contractor or repair man hastily just because an emergency repair is breathing down your neck, so your best defense is to check for problems before they crop up. You'll have time to carefully pick someone to do the work instead of saying "You can repair the septic tank tomorrow? Oh thank God!" and hoping for the best.
They recommend making a list of all the systems in your home, and their respective ages:
  • When was your roof installed? 
  • How old is your furnace? 
  • When was the AC unit last serviced? 
  • That 25 year old furnace might still be going strong today but it's well into its end of life. 
  • How old is your home? Is all the electrical original or have you upgraded it the technology you use?
  • Is your breaker box up to date or does it still use fuses that have to be replaced?
  • Is the seer on your AC appropriate for the size of your home after remodeling?
A checkup from a qualified professional on the major parts of your home like the roof and the heating/cooling system is radically cheaper than an emergency visit when they fail.

Here are some suggestions before hiring a contractor:
  • Get recommendations from friends and neighbors. We want you to start every story with "Look at the work I had done by Benchmark, it's perfect!"
  • Check for complaints against the contractor. You can see that our license is up-to-date with no complaints against us at the Board's Site.
  • Find out what licenses and permits they need. Generally, each city requires permits. Also ask for a rough estimate on the cost of those permits.
  • Check out the contractor's insurance. 
  • Meet with the contractor. We want to be a good fit for you - friendly, reliable, personable.
  • Get quotes. Track the quote variables with a spreadsheet or other list. Make sure you compare apples-to-apples, and understand the work that will be done.
  • Ask for references and check them out. 
Now that you're an informed consumer, we know you'll choose Benchmark Contracting because of our stellar reputation and excellent references!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Drywall is a labor-intensive job. Certainly, like painting, it is a job many do-it-yourself-ers choose to, well, do themeselves. Also, like painting, a poor job will show a lot of imperfections for the life of your home.

Drywalling is actually two separate jobs. The first part is the sheetrock installation which entails cutting, shaping, putting the panels into place and then fastening them. The second part includes taping the seams and then sealing both these and the screw heads with drywall compound. This latter process revolves around coating and sanding these surfaces until the walls and corners are smooth and you can't tell where one sheet begins and the other ends.

We hope you will ask questions like this before hiring Benchmark, or any other contractor:
  • How long has your company been in business?
  • Are you licensed?
  • Can you provide proof of insurance?
  • Do you have your own crew?
  • How would you do this job? Inclusions?
  • When would be the tentative start and finish dates?
  • Will you obtain the required permits?
  • What is you payment schedule?
  • Can I see your references?
  • Will you bring the right drywall tools and will you clean up and take all garbage away when you leave?
  • Will you provide a written contract with all the details agreed upon?
Source: Handyman America

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Home Improvements

This gift-giving season, plan a gift for your home that your family will enjoy year-round.

Beautify. Expand. Landscape.


The first impression your guests will have of your home is the front yard and entrance way to your home. Make this a lasting impression with a landscape upgrade.

Porches, Patios, and Sunrooms

If you live in a mild climate, consider creating or enhancing an outdoor living and entertaining space. Not only will your guests enjoy your new and well-appointed deck, patio or sunroom, you can be proud of making an economically smart decision because outdoor remodeling projects typically bring an 80 to 90 percent return on investment. Learn more about other projects with high ROI.

Touches of Color

Simply having autumn landscaping tasks completed, such as pruning and yard debris clean-up can make a big difference, but think about little touches that add to your wintery landscape. Depending on your climate zone, winter blooming flowers such as pansies can add a nice splash of color. Evergreens and red berries add beauty to landscapes on their accord as well as the colorful birds they attract.

Interior Upgrades

Before you deck those halls, is there something in your home badly in need of a remodel that decorating won't hide? Or perhaps everything's in good order, but you'd just like to add something new.

New Flooring

Replacing old flooring or carpet with an eco friendly and beautiful floor like bamboo can turn a whole room around. And don't forget the bathroom. Go all out for a new bathroom remodel or increase the aesthetics and comfort with perhaps a new spa or tile shower or something as simple but eye catching as a lovely new mirror and lights.

The Bottom Line

Remember when considering home improvements for the holidays that while you will be providing a more enjoyable stay for your guests, you will also have the pleasure of enjoying your improvements for years to come.

Source: Painless Home Improvement

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Latest Project - JothiVita Ayurvedic Spa & Wellbeing Center

We love our customers and wanted to show you a few pictures of our latest finished project that we were hard at work on for the JothiVita Spa in Hollywood.

For the rest of the album, click Here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Types of Wood Flooring

We've covered styles of wood flooring. Now lets talk about types of wood flooring!

Acrylic Impregnated Wood Floors - This type of wood flooring undergoes a process where acrylic is injected into the wood itself to create an extremely durable floor surface. These floors are typically used for commercial installations where high traffic takes place.

Engineered Wood Floors - Engineered wood floors consist of many layers of wood that have been pressed together and glued. The grains of each layer run in opposite directions to create added stability. Engineered wood is good for use in areas of the home where solid wood flooring is not appropriate. Most applications are in kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms.

Solid Wood Floors - Solid wood flooring can be defined as any piece of hardwood flooring that is one single piece of wood from top to bottom. Solid wood flooring lends itself well to custom flooring in a variety of species, stains and finish types. Combined with molding, accents and borders, a room finished with solid wood flooring is a work of art and this type of flooring is suitable for most rooms in your home.

Ready to begin your hardwood project? Call Benchmark Contracting for more information!

Source: WoodFloorsOnline

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Styles of Wood Flooring

Wood flooring can be installed in a variety of styles. Check out just a few of those styles below!

Parquet -

Parquet flooring is comprised of a series of pieces that are arranged to create a geometric design. These patterns are often repeated across the span of the floor.


Plank -

Plank flooring is linear and typically deals with wider planks of wood, ranging from 3" - 8" in width. Wider planks have been used, but using wider planks can increase moisture concerns.

Strip -

Strip wood flooring is also linear, like plank flooring, but the planks are typically much thinner, not exceeding 3 1/4" in width. The linear effect created by this type of wood flooring produces an illusion of a larger and more open space.

For more information on these wood flooring styles, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!

Source: WoodFloorsOnline

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pre-Finished Wood vs. Unfinished Wood

Once you've made the decision to purchase and install hardwood flooring in your home, you'll have to ask yourself - pre-finished wood or unfinished wood? Let's take a look at what you're facing...

Pre-Finished Wood Floors 

Pre-finished wood flooring is becoming the mainstream when it comes to hardwood flooring. It is a favorite among home owners because installation is simple and doesn't require a sanding and finishing process, which can be messy and costly. Pre-finished wood flooring typically costs $2-$7 per sq. ft, not including the cost of preparation, installation, moldings, accents, and any other finishing touches desired.

Unfinished Wood Floors

Unfinished wood flooring is pretty self-explanatory. Once the wood has been installed, it must be finished on site. This process includes sanding, which can create a fair amount of dust around the area. Sanding to finishing can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the size of the floor and the other activities and renovations taking place at the same time. The cost of this type of installation ranges from $2-$4 per sq. ft., which typically includes a three step sanding process and three coats of finish. Additional costs include moldings, prep, furniture removal, etc.

The choice is yours! When you're ready to begin, give Benchmark Contracting a call!

Source: WoodFloorsOnline

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wood Flooring - Why?

Are you considering pulling up your carpet and installing a shiny new wood floor? Take a moment to consider these facts about wood flooring!

Wood flooring is...

1. Affordable - Wood flooring is a lifetime product that adds value to your home when it comes time to sell! Even if you spend a pretty penny on the wood and installation, hardwood flooring is one of the most sought after renovations when it comes to home construction because of it's value over time.

2. Easy to Maintain - Placing area rugs and floor protectors over your new hardwood flooring is a great way to keep your floor looking new. Routine maintenance with hardwood floor cleaner should be implemented from time to time. If you follow those simple rules, making a quick pass with the broom and vacuum will keep your floors healthy for a long time!

3. Ecologically Sound - Wood floors are created from a natural resource that is sustainable. Most timber is cut from forests that are managed to ensure continued production of resources. In fact, the amount of hardwood timber that is produced doubles each year! Today, there is more standing hardwood timer than 50 years ago!

4. Healthy - With indoor air quality being a huge concern with homeowners, it is good to know that hard wood flooring helps to contribute to a health living environment. Hard surfaces do not harbor dust mites or molds, creating better overall air quality within the home.

5. Vast in Variety - Today, there are so many colors, sizes, styles and finishes available that the possibilities with hardwood flooring are virtually endless!

Stay tuned to our blog for more information about wood floor types and visit our website to get started on YOUR next project!

Source: WoodFloorsOnline

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Carpet Fibers - Part 2

 Triexta PTT

  • Permanent Stain Protection
  • Wear Resistant
  • Ease of Maintenance
  • Luxurious Softness
  • Quick Drying 
  • Typically used in residential settings.

Olefin or Polypropylene

  • Resists fading.
  • Inherently stain resistant.
  • Limited color selection.
  • Generates low levels of static electricity.
  • Chemical, moisture, and stain resistant.
  • Favorably priced 
  • Typically used indoors but can be engineered for outdoor use. 
For more information, visit our website
Source: Mohawk

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carpet Fibers - Part 1

Certain types of carpet fibers perform in different ways. Here is a breakdown of Nylon and PET Polyester carpet fibers and their characteristics:


  • Durable, resilient.
  • Abrasion-resistant.
  • Versatile in color.
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Must be treated to be stain and soil resistant. 
  • Used in residential and commercial environments. 

PET Polyester

  • Color clarity.
  • Colorfastness.
  • Resistant to water-soluble stains.
  • Noted for luxurious "hand." 
  • Can be produced from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Used in residential and commercial environments. 
Stay tuned for more on carpet fibers next week and for more information on styles of carpet, visit our website!

Source: Mohawk 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Berber Carpet

Berber is one of the best selling types of carpet on the market today. It provides relatively easy cleanup and limits the appearance of footprints and vacuum tracks.

Before 1985, Berber carpet was constructed of nylon and was typically available in beige colors. These light colors tend to require more frequent cleaning, but the are easy to clean and age well. After 1986, when the DuPont StainMaster was added to Berber carpet, customs began buying light colors Berber carpet in droves, expecting that the StainMaster treatment meant the carpet was incapable of getting dirty. Just to keep the record straight, it never made that promise. It simply meant that cleanup of stains and dirt would be easier!

About the same time as the StainMaster was introduced, Berber carpet underwent a change of materials. Olefin fibers were introduced which added a whole new dynamic to Berber. The great characteristic of olefin is that is resists all stains, with the exception of oil-based stains. Once olefin Berber took over the market, nylon Berber became more difficult to find, which is still the case today.

One of the few difficulties with Berber carpet is the installation. It is typically difficult to match up patterns and seams, so you may end up with some mismatched areas around the room. And always order extra, just to be safe!

For more information Berber carpet, visit our website!

Source: CarpetBuyersHandbook

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cut and Loop Pile Carpet

Cut and loop pile combines cut and looped fibers to create a variety of textures that provide medium durability in regards to foot traffic and lifespan. You can find cut and loop pile in several solid or multicolored patterns that hide foot prints and dirt relatively well.

Multilevel Cut and Loop: This type of cut and loop was very popular for many years and typically formed a textured pattern with color randomly spread throughout the pattern. While this variation had limited appeal today, it can still be found if you look in the right places.

Level Cut and Loop Pile: This type of cut and loop had a leveled texture and has a more enhanced color effect than the multilevel cut. Level cut typically starts out as a multi-layered carpet and is then sheared to become level. The appearance provides a very attractive finish for any room.

For more information, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!

Source: CarpetBuyersHandbook

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Frieze Carpet

Frieze carpet is designed for high traffic areas and tends to curl in different directions to hide foot prints, stains, and vacuum marks, making it a great choice for a busy office or home. Likened to shag carpet, frieze resembles the texture of shag, but is not the true shag style as used in the past.

Frieze is available in several colors and patters but because of the nature of the texture, it doesn't come in extravagant designs. Typical frieze carpet is available in solid or flecked color patterns designed to hide the appearance of stains and wear and doesn't need to be vacuumed as often as saxony or velvet carpet.

While frieze carpet may be more expensive than other types of carpet, you do get a much longer lifespan out of it and your money will go a long way.

For more information on this and any other carpet type, contact us!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Velvet Carpet

Velvet carpet is a rich and dense type of carpet that adds a very elegant and formal touch to your home. It is constructed of tightly twisted tufts that create a thick and luxurious appearance and a very soft texture.

Velvet carpet comes in two pile heights - low to medium and high. Low to medium pile heights tend to wear better over time, while high pile velvet carpet is more likely to crush under foot traffic. Think of the texture of velvet carpet as the texture of a velvet dress. When the velvet is moved in different directions, a pattern can be seen. Velvet carpet displays the same effect.

While this kind of carpet is rather luxurious, be sure to consider the risks involved. Sometimes, the carpet can take on an undesirable direction after installation, creating an odd shading and that can create sections of the rug that look crushed. This is called "watermarking" or "pooling". This is not the fault of the manufacturer, but is a characteristic of this type of carpet. Make sure you know the manufacturer's warranty forward and backward before settling on this carpet, as you may not be able to have it replaced.

For more information, contact Benchmark Contracting!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saxony Carpet

Saxony carpet can be referred to as both a style of carpet and a manufacturer. For the purposes of this blog, we are referring to the style of carpet.

Saxony is often referred to as the "Cadillac" of carpet. It is thought to be a superior type of carpet made from very high quality materials. This type of carpet is a cut loop style that is woven in loops and sheared to create an even surface. The fibers are very soft and create a plush texture that is very soft to the touch.

One disadvantage to Saxony carpet is that it is susceptible to showing signs of traffic and vacuums, meaning footsteps and tracks from the vacuum will show on the surface. If you desire a smooth carpet, you'll have to vacuum frequently. Newer versions of Saxony carpet are being produced to make it more resistant to these issues, but is not always manufactured with the high quality that is typically expected.

For more information on this and other types of carpet, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Carpet Types - Cut Pile Carpet

Cut pile carpet is created by cutting the top loops of of carpet fibers which results in yarn strands standing straight up. This type of carpet has a luxurious look and feel but is less resistant to crushing than other types of carpet.

Today, this type of carpet is produced using man-made fibers (a combination of polyester, olefin and polyester fibers) which helps the carpet hold up under lots of traffic. This is an improvement from natural fibers which would not be as resistant to such traffic. The synthetic blend makes this kind of carpet ideal, even in an office environment.

Cut pile carpet is available in three different designs - varying in the specific twist to the individual yarns, as well as the choice of fiber used. All three variations tend to last for several years before visible signs of aging appear.

For more information on this and other types of carpet, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Choosing Your Grout Color

Choosing your tile was hard enough. Now you've got to choose your grout color! This can drastically effect the complete look of any room.

First, thinking about the overall look you're going for with your house and each specific room. If you choose a color that closely matches the color of the tile, they will blend seamlessly together. However, if you choose a color with a hard contrast, the result will be an edgier, more dramatic look.

From rustic to sophisticated, timeless to trendy, the choice is yours! Here are a few tips to help you make this decision:

  • White grout usually looks best with pure white tiles.
  • If using a white or cream grout in any high-traffic area you should seal it. This will make clean up easier over time.
  • Darker colored grout hides more dirt, though the look itself cab tend to look dirty.
  • Dark grout has been known to fade from sunlight and/or harsh cleaners.
  • Epoxy grout works better than sealer from keeping stains out. It works especially well on counter-tops, where there is a high-risk of stains.
  • Areas where a tiled surface meets a perpendicular surface should be caulked and not grouted. You’ll need to re-caulk annually where the counter-top meets the back splash, for example.
  • Keep grout from the original installation in case of repair. Grout from a later batch might not match exactly.
  • If you choose the wrong color, you’re not necessarily out of luck. Grout can be re-stained, bleached and colored even after it has been applied.
For more information, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tile Types - Agglomerate Tile

Agglomerate Tile is made from bits of marble and other rock set in a base of epoxy. It is available in a wide variety of colors and designs. Because it's man-made, agglomerate tile has very precise, predictable measurements.

This type of tile is susceptible to ultra violet rays which can peel away the sealers on the tile, so it is better suited for indoor use. The recommended uses for Agglomerate Tile are countertops, backsplashes and walls. Beware though, this tile does have a tendency to chip and dull over time, so it will require high maintenance to keep it beautiful.

For more information on Agglomerate Tile, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!

Source: HGTV

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tiles Types - Mexican/Terra-Cotta!

These low-density natural clay tiles are fired at a low temperature and are typically made in Mexico or Europe.
  • Handmade or machine-formed
  • Old World, handcrafted look; rustic character
  • Require more maintenance than higher density, less porous tiles
  • Available in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • Can vary in color, texture and appearance
Mexican tile can be used in an outdoor setting, but typically in non-freezing climates. They may not be suitable for rooms with a lot of moisture, like bathrooms, at they have a high absorption and can create slippery surfaces. Terra-Cotta tiles are typically less expensive than other types of tile and can be cost efficient for those on a budget!

For more information on this and any other type of tile, visit our website!

Source: The Home Depot

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tile Types - Marble Tile

Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of calcite which is formed when limestone is compressed for long periods of time. It is more beautiful and durable than limestone and is a preferred building material.

While it can be used for kitchen counter tops, this usage is not typically recommended as marble tile can stain easily. Marble tile is also less durable than the similar granite tile and can chip more easily than granite.

Marble tile is available in a wide range of colors and patterns and is suitable for use in both residential and commercial buildings. This type of tile can add sophistication and charm to any location.

For more information on this and any other type of tile, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tile Types - Granite Tile

While granite tile makes for a stunning floor, wall or countertop, it can be difficult to work with as it is very heavy.

Because granite tile is so heavy, the subflooring must be solid, with no flex capabilities. Gravity will constantly pull on the granite tile and can damage the flooring underneath if not supported properly.

When using granite tile on walls, they must be secured very carefully to ensure they do not slip out of place.

Another thing to consider with granite tile is that it does not come with self-spacing lugs on the edges, meaning you'll have to space the tiles by eye or use plastic spacers until the tiles are dry in place.

Granite tile can add sparkle and character to any room, but it must be done carefully. For more information on this and any other type of tile, visit our website!

Source: Ask The Builder

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tile Types - Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are typically made from red or white fired clay in a kiln. They are usually finished with a durable glaze which helps to carry the color and pattern of the tile itself.

Suitable for both wall and floor applications, ceramic tile is easier to cut than porcelain.

Ceramic tile is suitable for light to moderate traffic and has a high water absorption rate which makes it less resistant to frost. One important characteristic to note is that ceramic tile is more prone to chipping and wear than porcelain tiles.

For more information on this and other types of tile, visit our website!

Source: Build Direct

Monday, June 27, 2011

Power Tool Safety

These days, power tools can be found in almost every home! They speed up long jobs and make the process easier. That being said, they can be dangerous if not used properly! Follow these simple safety tips and your project will be a success!

  • Wear safety glasses. Safety glasses protect your eyes from debris. Prescription glasses are designed to be impact resistant, but dust and debris can easily get around the frame and into your eyes.

  • Always read the manufacturer's instructions before using any power tools and equipment. Pay attention all safety precautions.

  • Use the right tool for the right job. For instance, a single construction project may require the use of several types of saw blades, different sized drill bits, and nails ranging from heavy duty galvanized to finishing.You want to make sure you choose the right tool before you get started!

  • Protect your ears. Many power tools create a lot of noise that can be damaging to the ears. Chances are if you need to shout over the noise, your ears are at risk.

  • Dress appropriately for the project. Avoid loose clothing and, for protection, wear clothes that cover the entire body. Wear heavy gloves to protect your hands and a mask to reduce inhalation of dust and particles. Also make sure long hair doesn't interfere with the work.

  • Use both hands when using power tools. If you need to hold something in place, use a clamp.

We at Benchmark Contracting know that some projects are small enough to do on your own, but we want to remind you to stay safe!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Tile Types - Quarry Tile

  • Quarry tile is a commonly used type of tile that is made from natural clay. It is usually 13-19 mm thick and is known for its characteristics of durability. For this reason Quarry tile is often used for commercial flooring.
  • Traditionally, Quarry tile is unglazed and is red or grey in color, though it can sometimes be found in shades of brown, black or white.
  • Quarry tile is available in freeze-resistant grades which make them suitable for outdoor settings, especially in the winter.
  • Quarry tile is also slip resistant and are therefore commonly used in kitchen areas or places that tend to be wet or slippery.
  • This type of tile is very easy to make and is very affordable in today's market.
  • The slip resistant characteristic of the tiles make them good for areas that are prone of being wet and slippery.
  • The main disadvantage of Quarry tile is that any colored liquid that spills on the tile can stain it indefinitely. This can be prevented by sealing the tile, but this can be a very difficult process which requires great attention to detail.
For more information on this and other types of tile, contact us at Benchmark Contracting!

Source: Quarry Tile

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tile Types - Porcelain

Porcelain tile
is a tile is typically made by the dust pressed method from porcelain clays which result in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth, with a sharply formed face.

Porcelain tiles:
  • have a much lower water absorption rate (less than 0.5%) than non-porcelain tiles making them frost resistant or frost-proof.
  • that are glazed are much harder and more wear and damage resistant than non-porcelain ceramic tiles, making them suitable for any application from the lightest to heaviest traffic in both residential and commercial environments.
  • carry the color and pattern through the entire thickness of the tile making them virtually impervious to wear and tear.
  • are available in matte, unglazed or a high polished finish.
Call Benchmark Contracting today for your tile installation!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beautiful Slate Patio!

No yard is complete without a tool shed!

Multi-colored tiles gives the yard a dynamic look!

Roomy enough for the whole to family to enjoy!

There are sure to be many fun-filled days spent lounging in this gorgeous yard!

Another fantastic build from Benchmark!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Commercial Services

Benchmark Contracting offers new construction buildouts, conversions and other commercial construction for businesses in the South Florida.

  • Carpentry

  • Drywall

  • Masonry

  • Landscaping

  • Steel

  • Concrete

  • Sidewalks, Curbs, Gutters

  • Electrical Work

  • HVAC

A team effort from the inception of the project through completion minimizes problems encountered with all major construction projects. Call Benchmark for your next commercial project!