Heated Flooring Options, Why It Could be Necessary

Are you considering starting a remodeling project this winter? If you are considering it, a Milwaukee renovation project would not be complete without the addition of heated floors. When remodeling your home, consider heated flooring options for
one or more of the rooms in your house. Radiant floor heating is not just a luxury while you live in your home, but it is also a great selling feature when you are ready to sell. These are just a couple reasons to consider heated flooring options.

Heated Flooring OptionsTwo Kinds of Heated Flooring Options

First things first, you want to learn about the two different options. There are two main kinds of floor heating. Electric installation involves wiring electric cords under your flooring. Hydronic is a system that involves hot water tubing that is graphed under your flooring. These are the two systems that have been implemented the most in homes and they are proven excellent methods for heating your floors.

Heating A Room

There is another fantastic reason to choose heated flooring. The most efficient and effective way to heat a room or a house is with radiant floor heating. Heat rises, so if you have a forced hot air system that has vents, that heat is rising right to the top of the room, leaving the top of your body roasting and your feet and legs cold. With heated floors, the heat starts at the bottom, warming you from bottom to top and keeping you warm since heat does, indeed rise.

Pros and Cons

Of course, there are pros and cons to both heated flooring options. The electric system is easy to install, therefore, less expensive to install. The con to the electric system is the high cost. Electric rates climb every year and not always so slightly. The hydronic system is expensive to install but will save you money over the years since it is inexpensive to run. So you need to decide if you want to heat your entire house or just a room or two. This will determine your long term costs and short-term costs and which heated flooring option you need.

If you are in the area, we can be a superb source for information on heated floors that will best fit your needs for Milwaukee Remodeling at Refined Renovations. We offer a wide array of ideas for your home renovation. From classic hardwoods to Italian marble tiles, the team will be sure that your home remodeling not only heats effectively but also looks impressive as well. There are many facets to turning your Milwaukee Remodeling project into a home that you can love and grow in for years to come.Heated Flooring Options Basement

Why Quartz Countertops?

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? With so many products on the market, it can be difficult to decide which products fit your needs best. When looking into countertops, consider Quartz. Quartz Countertops have many benefits that suit a wide array of customers’ needs and wants in the kitchen.

What is Quartz?

For those unfamiliar with Quartz, it is an engineered stone that possesses many of the great qualities of natural stone and much more. There is some Quartz stones that are actually man-made and there are some that are natural from the ground. Both are called Quartz.Quartz Countertops 1

For starters, it has a much softer feel than a natural stone like granite. This allows for a little more forgiveness when dropping things on them. Another bonus is that the stone itself will not be damaged as easily when you drop a hard item on it. It is scratch resistant and dent resistant for the best durability. In addition, spills are never a problem. The non porous surface of the countertops does not allow for stains so wine, tomato sauce, and oil will easily wipe away leaving no traces behind. Finally, perhaps the best aspect of Quartz Countertops is the wide variety of colors it comes in. You are not limited by nature as you are with granite. So you are guaranteed to find a product that compliments all aspects of your kitchen renovations.

Who Uses Quartz Countertops?

Many home remodeling companies are familiar with Quartz Countertops and are now displaying it in showrooms and making samples readily available for consumers. If you are in the Milwaukee area and are interested in renovating your kitchen, Refined Renovations has quite a few products to peruse. This Milwaukee Remodeling company can help you choose a flattering color and design for your kitchen countertops. The wide array of quartz products is impressive and helpful when choosing such an important statement piece of your kitchen.

With so many factors to consider in your kitchen remodel, let the professionals help with the counters. With research and experience behind them, specialists can suggest a perfect product that will meet your expectations and all with a hassle-free experience that will never stress you out. Get the kitchen of your dreams without the frustration and discover the products that are right for you and your family.


Neolith, What Is It and How Can It Be Used?

Neolith Hearth

Neolith is a very new product that is quickly growing in popularity for Milwaukee home remodeling and home renovation projects. It is a high-tech compact surface derived from fusing raw clay, feldspar and silica at extremely high temperatures, resulting in a versatile natural product. Extremely durable, Neolith resists high temperatures, is nonporous and highly resistant to staining and scratching.

An eco-friendly option, Neolith is made from all natural materials, using environmentally conscious manufacturing techniques, resulting in a 100% recyclable product. Neolith requires no sealing and minimal maintenance, making it an excellent choice for high traffic areas.

Manufactured in large slab sizes, Neolith is a cost-effective option. The larger slabs require fewer joints and Neolith is lighter weight than natural stone solid surfaces. The coloring and pattern are consistent throughout the slab. The lighter weight makes it easier to handle and no additional structural reinforcement is needed, as is often needed when renovating with a granite or marble surface.

Neolith is available in a virtually endless variety of color options to fit any décor from traditional to ultra-modern. The versatile and durable nature of Neolith lends itself to a wide variety of applications for both the interior and exterior of a home.

Neolith in Countertops

Highly resistant to heat, scratching and almost completely nonporous, Neolith is an ideal option for kitchen and bathroom countertops. The lighter weight of the Neolith slab is a cost effective option and it’s easier to handle and cut than granite or marble. The nonporous nature of Neolith makes it a hygienic and easy to sanitize option.


The nonporous quality of Neolith makes it an excellent choice for flooring, particularly in high traffic areas, such as kitchens and entryways. Its resistance to ultraviolet rays, staining and high temperatures makes it an ideal choice for exterior applications, such as porches, patios and decks.


Neolith is well suited for interior walls in bathrooms and showers. The high heat resistance makes its an ideal choice for fireplace surrounds. The resistance to temperature and ultra violet rays make Neolith a low maintenance option for exterior walls and accents.


The beauty and durability of Neolith makes it an ideal product for use in interior furnishings, such as cabinet facings, tables and shelving. It lends itself well to exterior furnishings as well with its resistance to temperatures and staining.

A highly durable and cost effective option, Neolith provides the beauty of a natural stone product that is easier to handle and install than the heavier solid stone slabs. Neolith is a versatile option for any Milwaukee remodeling or renovation project.

How Do Granite Countertops Compare to Others?

Granite Countertops

Granite is the most popular of the natural stone products used for countertops. With its natural, organic feel, granite makes a refined statement in a kitchen or bathroom. Granite is a highly durable, hard and dense rock containing specks of mica, quartz and feldspar. The unique veining of granite gives it a classic and distinctive look. When considering remodeling or renovating your Milwaukee home, granite countertops can provide a timeless look and can even increase the resale value of your home. Available in an endless variety of color and pattern choices, granite can coordinate with any style or color scheme. Nonporous and scratch resistant, granite countertops will remain beautiful for decades.


Granite used for making countertops is available in a wide variety of different color patterns. Granite has naturally occurring variations in color and pattern. These variations, known as “movement”, give the granite its natural beauty and charm. The veining gives granite its distinctive look. The depth and intensity of the colors can vary within the same slab of granite, depending on the mineral concentrations in each portion of the veining. These color and pattern variations make each slab of granite one-of-a-kind.


The color options for granite are endless. Each individual piece is unique; no two pieces will ever be alike. Colors ranges can be found in every color imaginable, from greens, blues and blacks, to pinks, burgundies, grays, whites and even yellows. The popularity of specific granite colors can be trendy. Although the popularity of color combinations follow currents design trends, a classic combination of colors that has had long term popularity is yellow with combinations of green, black and brown.


Polished granite is reflective and shiny. Polishing granite highlights the depth, color and crystal structure of the stone and makes it easier to clean. A polished finish seals the pores of the stone surface which helps the stone repel moisture and resist stains. A polished finish can withstand high heat. Polished granite requires periodic sealing; lighter colors of granite need sealing more often than darker colors. Polished granite will retain its shine for an extremely long time.

A honed granite surface is smooth, but not reflective. Honed granite is flatter, not glossy, and the depth of color is decreased. Granite with a honed finish is more susceptible to surface staining than a polished finish.

Leathered finishes have become increasingly popular in recent years. The leathered finish gives a sophisticated look to the granite. The leathering process closes the stone pores, making the granite stain resistant. A leathered finish retains the stone’s natural color and hides fingerprints and water spots better than a polished finish.

A variety of other finishes are available, such as antiqued, brushed and flamed.

Our Milwaukee renovation and remodeling experts can assist you in determining the style and finish of granite countertop appropriate for your taste, budget and lifestyle.


Granite countertops will last forever and maintain their value to present a timeless look to a kitchen or bathroom. The variety available means that there is a slab for any look from traditional to modern. Well-sealed and maintained granite countertops are nonporous, scratch-resistant and can withstand heat, though the more care taken, the longer they will last. Granite countertops are easy to clean and require little maintenance beyond the regular re-sealing.


Must be resealed every 1 – 3 years to remain resistant to heat or staining.
Because if its weight, additional structural support may be required.
Since granite is extremely hard, glassware and dishes are easily chipped or broken if dropped or tapped on a granite countertop.


Requiring little care and care and maintenance, granite countertops will last a lifetime. Granite countertops should be periodically resealed with a resealing product and should be polished when the shine starts to dull. Clean granite countertops with mild soap and water. Polish or buff the granite to restore the shine. Do not use any type of abrasive cleaner on granite countertops. Heat and knives will not immediately damage your granite but to keep them looking gorgeous for a long time, use chopping boards and hot pads.

For a beautiful, natural look, granite countertops are an investment that gives your room a distinctive and timeless look as well as increase the value of your home.

Kitchen Marble Countertops

Beautiful and timeless, marble kitchen countertops make a refined statement. Adding an upscale feel to a kitchen, marble has many enduring qualities, making it an outstanding investment when renovating or remodeling your Milwaukee home. Although marble is highly durable, regular maintenance and care is required to keep it in tip-top shape.


Island Cabinet Shot - Marble CountertopsMarble countertops are available in a variety of finishes to enhance the look of any style of kitchen from traditional to country to modern.

Polished marble is buffed to a shiny sleek finish, making the veining of the polished marble highly visible. Polishing enhances the marble’s character and makes it less porous, but it will scratch and can be etched with acidic substances.

Honed marble has a dull, matte finish. Honed marble does not show scratches and wear as easily as polished marble, but the honing process makes the marble more porous and more susceptible to absorbing liquids. A penetrating sealer is recommended as a protectant.

Marble can also be finished with a leather, textured finished. Used primarily with darker colors, the leather finish creates a textured surface on honed marble. The leather finished marble is not reflective and smudges are not as noticeable as with a polished marble finish.

Consult our Milwaukee renovation and remodeling experts for assistance in determining the style and finish to bring your remodeling and renovation dreams to fruition.


Bar Area - Marble CountertopsWhite marble is a popular choice for kitchen countertops. White marble goes with almost any kitchen style or cabinet color and lends a light feel to the room. Marble is also available in a variety of colors to match any décor. Marble can be found in tones of cream, pink, gray, green, brown, tan, black, gold and even purple. One of the charming aspects of marble is that no two pieces are identical.

Often lower priced than granite, quartz or other natural stone countertops, marble is relatively easy to clean. Classic and enduring in style, marble countertops should outlast the kitchen in which they are installed. With proper care, a marble countertop will be beautiful and functional for generations to come.


Banquette Shot - Marble CountertopsMarble is a porous stone, not as hard or dense as granite, but not as porous as limestone. Marble will stain if a liquid such as red wine is spilled on it, so it is important to immediately clean up spills. Acidic substances, such as lemon juice or vinegar, can etch the marble if allowed to sit too long. However, etching can be buffed out. It is best to consult a Milwaukee renovation and remodeling specialist to professionally refinish marble etches and scratches.

Marble is prone to scratching easier than harder stone surfaces. Etching and scratches are more noticeable the darker colors of marble. Although heat resistant, marble is not heat-proof, so it is important not to place hot pans or dishes directly onto a marble surface. Cutting on a marble Countertop should also be avoided.


Banquette Shot - Marble Countertops With proper care and maintenance, marble countertops will age gracefully with the timeless beauty of polished, natural stone. Marble countertops must be cleaned periodically with a food-safe resealing agent. Marble should be polished when the shine starts to dull.
Spills should be wiped up immediately to prevent staining and etching. Clean marble countertops with a mild detergent and rinse well. Do not use any type of abrasive cleaner on marble countertops. Hot pads and trivets should be used with hot dishes and pans. Cutting boards should be used when cutting or chopping on a marble countertop.

A timeless classic look, a marble kitchen countertop gives a kitchen a high-end, refined look that will remain stylish for decades.

Kitchen Island Shot - Marble Countertops

Stove Shot - Marble Countertops

Slate or Stainless Steel Appliances?

What are the differences?

Slate or Stainless SteelStainless vs. Slate

There are so many fun choices to make during a kitchen renovation. From tile to paint color to countertops, every decision plays a part in the final look of your new space.

The choice of appliance finish probably is not one of the things you think about when dreaming of your new kitchen, but notice just how much of the surface area is actually appliance. Whether you choose paneling or white or 1970’s avocado, it will affect how you feel in the space.

Bright, clean, and reflective, stainless steel has been a favorite for a decade, but the stark and cold appearance of this material leaves some clients wanting. Additionally, unless you spring for the no-marks metal you’re going to spend a lot of time cleaning up fingerprints.

Consider instead the new slate option debuted by GE.  Developed as an alternative to stainless, it still gives the look of metal, but with a warmer feel. The color is slightly darker with a matte finish that is very forgiving when it comes to marks and smudges.  Be aware that the handles are still generally stainless, so will mark as usual. There has been some consumer discussion over fears the finish would be discontinued and therefore make it undesirable for those who are buying appliances piecemeal, but two years after it’s release the look is still going strong. Pfister is jumping on the bandwagon with slate products including bath and kitchen hardware and GE is constantly rolling out new options within this line.

Slate appliances are not going anywhere any time soon, so consider this a viable option for your next renovation.

Check out our ideabook on Houzz for more pictures.

4 Great Tips to “Redefine” Your Trade Show Experience

Trade Show Experience

1. Good Shoes

First off, wear good shoes.

The consumer trade show experience is enormous and other than stopping for some locally crafted BBQ or an ice cold micro-brew, you’re walking the whole way. Avoid the grumps that come with sore feet and wear shoes made for walking. Continue reading

Custom Countertops Enhance Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations – Part 2

Common to almost every bath and kitchen renovation project is a key design element, custom countertops. The seemingly limitless type of materials, colors  and surface variations of custom countertops, enables a high degree of coordination and contrast between other design elements and features. As a follow-up to Part 1 of Custom Counter tops Enhance Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations, we highlight additional materials providing both aesthetic and functional value.

Glass (slab)

A modern and dramatic option, glass slab countertops are not for the faint of heart. This is meant to be an attention grabber, and with many texture options as well as lighting and color additives, a kitchen brave enough to feature this option will be talked about for years to come. It’s hygienic, in that it will not harbor bacteria and is easy to clean. Cracking and breaking on pressure points is a consideration and this is probably not the best option for a kitchen that will see heavy use.

Does not require sealing
Available in many different textures.
Can add resin for colors or LED lights for a dramatic look.
Single, seamless pieces
Non-porous and easy to clean

Can crack, chip, or dent.
This cannot be repaired but must be replaced.
Cost: $60-300 per square foot

Continue reading

Custom Countertops Enhance Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations – Part 1

Granite Countertop Island Sink Kitchen and Bathroom Renovation

Your countertops will be a primary focus of your kitchen and bathroom renovation, so the decision of what material to use is an important one. When choosing custom countertops, expect to spend 10-15 % of the remodeling budget on materials and installation. Depending upon your design criteria and your budget, you may want to consider using more than one material. An engineered surround paired with a dramatic granite island brings visual interest to a room and can save on costs, when compared to a full granite installation. Serious chefs may include a butcher-block section for chopping or marble for rolling dough. Whatever your style and budget, there is a look that will fit your room perfectly. Continue reading

Energy Star Products Complement Home Weatherization

Home renovations results in warm enviroment

This time of year marks the beginning of our winter burnout as Midwesterners. The holidays are over and the remaining winter months stretch before us like the frozen tundra our beloved state has become. We can’t really help with the weather, but we CAN ensure that your home is snug as a bug in a rug and efficient to boot for the long winter. A snug home means insulation, air sealing, and Energy Star approved building materials and appliances.

Yes, you read that right. The little blue Energy Star logo is not just for washing machines and televisions. Insulation and roofing materials can also carry this designation, ensuring that your money is well spent on products that can stand up to Wisconsin winters. Insulation and air sealing products have been tested and approved for heat and cold retention and appliances that have been granted the designation of energy star have passed testing by a third party and are ensured to use 20-30% less energy than traditional products.

Energy Star approved furnaces and water heaters will both save you money and keep you warm. However, the best furnace in the world won’t do you any good if your home is not prepared to hold the heat it produces. Drafty rooms, uneven temperatures as you move through your home, cold floors, and high heating bills all suggest that upgrades could be in store for your home’s insulation. Heating bills can be significantly lowered with air sealing and duct sealing. Air sealing reduces the outdoor air that penetrates a building, and duct sealing prevents attic or basement air from entering ducts and lessening the heating system’s efficiency. Continue reading