Step 3: IDENTIFY YOUR LIFESTYLE.
Consideration of how you and your family live will help with your final selection of a hard finish. I admit that I love many marble countertop slabs and they make a kitchen look fantastic but, I also know that I tend to be a messy cook. Understand the material and the manufacturer’s limitations on what you are choosing so you don’t get frustrated maintaining the finish over time.
How we live.
It is sometimes hard to acknowledge how you actually live in your home. I see so many photos of interiors that look like no one lives in them. Be honest with yourself here. I mean, very, very honest. Don’t pretend to think that you don’t have young children in your house, a messy spouse or that you have hours to spend maintaining the finishes in your home. Not fully acknowledging your stage in life in your current home will only lead to frustration with your hard finishes over time.
Children in the mix? Messy cook? Countertops that are made of stone (granite, limestone, marble) require sealing and maintenance. Marble stains and is easily etched by acidic foods. If this is something that will bother you after a few years or you have young cooks in the kitchen and want a simpler option, quartz will be the better finish material for your countertops.
Something similar can be said of backsplashes. There isn’t much discussion of the main purpose of a backsplash behind a stove. This finish must be able to withstand heavy steam and oil splatters if you love to do heavy duty stove top cooking.
When considering hard finishes for your home, it is important to get real about the amount of time you have to devote to cleaning . Many finishes require specific cleaning products or cannot hold up to heavy wear and tear. Marble in showers is very popular in interiors today. I am not a fan in terms of cleaning and maintenance. This finish is high maintenance. Choose something more within your range of cleaning habits so you will not get frustrated over time.
One of my nieces says that she wants a pristine house. Obviously, she does not want pets! I live with a big, brown, fur ball of a dog that closely resembles Chewbacca from Star Wars. A pristine house is a long way off. My heart fell in love with my crazy dog, Slim, when I took him home at 4 months old. I quickly realized that his rambunctious nature and love of life was not going to be easy on my home finishes but, when he runs through my house with wet feet, I am not worried because I know my stone floors can take the abuse. He also loves the cool, stone flooring in the summer months here in Phoenix.
Don't forget to consider the type of hard finish in your shower or tub surround if you tend to wash your dog at home. Having glazed ceramic tile for the surround allows for easy clean up after the dog washing session.
If you are looking for a comprehensive package of hard finish suggestions, shop my various finish schemes for sale. The PDF download is a materials list of coordinated hard finishes and appropriate foundation whites for kitchens or baths. Be sure to get both corresponding rooms if you are planning a complete remodel.