Materials 232 Stories

What to Ask Before Choosing a Hardwood Floor
So you’ve decided to get hardwood floors. Easy enough, right? Pick a wood and be done with it. Not so fast. There are a lot of factors that will determine what kind of hardwood floor your home can accommodate,...
Woodipedia: Make a Solid Choice With Oak
Red and white oak have a strange history of being some of the most prized and reviled domestic hardwoods. Whether people love it or hate it depends largely on the way the wood was milled by the sawyer, matched by a craftsperson and ultimately finished....
Will Cork Float for Your Bathroom Floor?
There are a lot of factors to consider when picking out a material for the bathroom floor: price, aesthetic, installation, maintenance, sustainability and more. Cork is an especially hotly debated material choice for bathrooms. Although it's often...
Decking Materials Beyond Basic Lumber
It’s natural to want your indoor spaces to seamlessly lead to outdoor spaces when the weather is right, so many homeowners look to decks to add more living room. Traditionally, decks have been built from pressure-treated lumber and topped...
Woodipedia: Is It Cherry or Is It Alder?
Stains have made it very easy to color one type of wood to make it look like another kind. But there are two species of wood that really do look alike in their raw state: cherry and alder. Here's how to tell the difference.
Woodipedia: Walnut Wows in Traditional and Modern Settings
Walnut is a time-honored choice for traditional furniture and architectural millwork. But it later became the favorite wood of many midcentury designers, too. With the current resurgence of that style, walnut is again being selected to achieve a modern...
Woodipedia: Maple Is a Marvel Around the House
Why choose maple for furniture, cabinetry, flooring or paneling? "It's strong, it's durable, and price-wise it's in the ballpark with all the other wood," says Anthony Fortner, a woodworking professor at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. Because...
Tile Goes High Tech at Italy's Big Expo
More than 900 companies from 33 countries around the world descend on Bologna, Italy, every year to showcase their ceramics and bathroom products at the CERSAIE, the International Exhibition of Ceramic...
Raw Materials Revealed: Brick, Block and Stone Help Homes Last
The basic building materials that fall under the heading of masonry have been used since people started building protective structures. Some of those first buildings are still standing, a testament to the longevity of brick, block and stone. In this time...
Wood in the Bathroom? Absolutely!
The conventional wisdom is that tile is the go-to for bathroom surfaces. We see tile everywhere, from the bathroom at work to the subway, to everybody's house. I love tile, but just because it's so popular doesn't mean we have...
Modern Materials: Copper, Architecture's Natural Beauty
Copper is one of the most distinctive, yet rarely used, exterior materials. Its appeal owes to the natural patina that takes hold and transforms it from orange to brown to green over about...
A Glimmer of Gold Leaf Will Make Your Room Shine
Gold-leafing, or gilding, has embellished everything from furniture to picture frames for thousands of years. Today, gold leaf can add a touch of old-world luxury that still feels modern —...
Cool Your House (and Costs) With the Right Insulation
Thanks to rising energy costs, insulation has become a critical component of all new construction and remodeling projects. In the past, insulation could be poorly installed, incomplete or missing entirely — none of which is an option these days. Reasonable...
A Hard Look at Recycled Plastic for the Home
Plastic has its fair share of health and production concerns, and low recycling rates, due to the complexity of sorting, consumer confusion and pure economics. But it's hard to escape plastic completely. Considering alternative materials, recycling responsibly...
Go for the Glow: Mother-of-Pearl Shines Around the Home
Mother-of-pearl has been used since ancient times to make people and their homes more beautiful, but today's manufacturing techniques have made this product even more accessible and economical. "Mother-of-pearl" is the common name for iridescent nacre,...
© 2014 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™