From Hardwood floors and carpet; to kitchen cabinetry and countertops; each represent an integral part of any Ann Arbor area home or business. Style, comfort, utility, and economical practicality are all issues that we understand. Select Builders Carpet Outlet for all your needs and experience the unique blend of technical ability, customer service and affordable prices that make us a winning choice.
When you're looking to make design changes to your home, you need to work with someone who will be there from start to finish. You need to work with Builders Carpet Outlet! When you walk into our store, you'll receive personal, individualized attention from the initial inception through the completion of the job.
Builders Carpet has over 30 years of experience in the local and surrounding communities providing kitchen and bath design as well as servicing all types of floor coverings including domestic and exotic hardwoods in both engineered and solid formats, porcelain ceramic tile, vinyl tile and plank, vinyl sheet, natural stone, linoleum, cork, laminates, custom area rugs and runners to name just a few. Whew, talk about a run on statement!
We provide a large showroom with a multitude of possible product options. We have professional installation available for any products we may provide to you. We assist in: design, product education and selection, alternative options, cost estimations, installations, and when needed, emotional support.
Kitchen cabinetry is manufactured in a variety of constructions, sizes and configurations.
Cabinets are essentially storage boxes with decorative fronts (doors and drawer headers) allowing access to the storage area within the box.
These storage boxes are typically constructed of particle board, plywood, or a combination of both. Particleboard, sometimes called engineered wood is basically sawdust glued and pressed together to form a sheet. Plywood is made by layering wood veneers (slices of tree) into one sheet. Both come in a variety of thicknesses providing structural strengths of various integrity. Because particle board is essentially constructed from sawdust it is less expensive than plywood. It also has a lower structural capacity as the cellular integrity inherent in a tree’s wood has been ground to compromise. These sheets (particleboard and or plywood) are fashioned into a box using glues, staples, rabbets, dados, and fasteners of differing measures of quality and construction methods. The decorative side of the box where the doors and drawers are applied is built in one of two basic methods.
The 2 basic cabinet construction methods are: FRAMELESS and FRAMED.
Frameless cabinets are most commonly constructed entirely of particleboard. They have no frame so the strength of the cabinet floors and sides relies significantly on the horizontal resilience of the particleboard. The best illustration is a sheet of particleboard suspended between two sawhorses. This is “frameless” construction. As spans between sawhorses is increased the sagging of the particleboard will increase accordingly. There is no frame to counter the force of gravity.
Framed cabinets use particleboard and or plywood materials. The frame is the decorative side of the box where the doors and drawers are applied. It is built from a solid wood frame (usually 1.5’’ hardwood) with “dados” grooves accepting the front edge of the box top, bottom and sides. This hardwood frame with dados supplies a rigidity to the cabinet box which eliminates sagging and bowing of the box itself. The frame increases the weight capacity of the entire cabinet. In the sawhorse illustration used above the sagging trend is virtually eliminated.
Cabinet doors are fixed to the boxes with a variety of styles and qualities of hinges. The drawers are mounted with variety of styles and qualities of drawer glides. These hinges and glides are referred to as cabinet hardware. Today’s demand is soft close hardware. Soft close is a feature that comes in varying qualities. Soft close does not equate with high quality. Door handles (which may be optional) are considered decorative hardware.
Drawer boxes are constructed of particleboard, plywood or solid wood which can simply be glued and stapled together. Four sided drawer boxes are superior to 3 sided drawer boxes. A higher quality construction method for drawers is to dovetail the drawer box. The dovetail prevents the corners of the drawer box from being separated. Different glides include side mount and under mount. Soft close feature is available on under mount glides. Glides can be rated from 25 pound to over 100 pounds in weight capacity. Higher glide ratings allow for a heavier weight capacity.
You may have noticed that I have not referred to the door styles, wood species or colors of cabinetry. I have not mentioned door options like half overlay vs full overlay or mitered vs mortise and tenon. I have also not mentioned solid wood vs core doors, thermofoil or laminated doors either. That is because it is superficial. It is what we see, it is what we emotionally select. It has a major cost associated with it, but has little to do with the nuts and bolts of a quality cabinet.
When a manufacturer provides one hundred or so different size cabinets in 2 or 3 different colors and uses the least expensive construction methods and materials, but offers soft close hinges and soft close drawer glides, (perfume on a pig) this does not equate to high quality cabinetry. It does equate to an extremely cost effective product.
If a cabinet manufacturer provides thousands of cabinet sizes, multiple wood species, thousands of finishes, the highest quality hardware, the best construction methods and materials, multiple modification options, along with the latest and greatest in internal accessories, it would be considered a custom cabinet manufacturer. It would also be more expensive.
If what you need is to flip a piece of real estate, manufacturer #1 is the best deal in town.
If you wish to have something to live with, to enjoy the function of and to reflect the style you desire manufacturer #2 may be just the ticket.
Of course there are manufacturer options between the 2 examples above. Come on in and see us for your cabinetry needs.
Carpet quality is commonly a question posed and we will provide some information below. The reality is that carpet is a replaceable decorative component and rarely remains in place for over 15 years. Its intent is to provide comfort and style. If we wanted our carpeting to stand up to the same treatment that our patio does then it should be made of concrete. Carpet is a textile, a sewn or woven fabric that commonly receives a secondary backing that provides rigidity to the fabric for flooring application.General construction of tufted carpet
Tufting is sewing of yarn into an initial backing fabric. All carpet yarn is initially sewn into the carpet as a loop. Some are drawn down tight in even rows. Carpets of this type fall into a category called “level loop” or commercial carpet. If the bundles of yarn are made larger in diameter and the sewn loops are left taller it is commonly called a Berber. One point of confusion is the word, Berber. “Berber” comes from a tribal people located west of Tripoli. They had stylistic color flecks in their weavings. The word Berber references any carpet with assorted color flecks regardless of its construction. Larger loop carpets often have stylistic color flecks, so we commonly refer to any larger loop carpet as Berber. Variation of loop sewing by leaving some loops taller and drawing others lower can generate unlimited patterns and sculptures of texture. If we cut the tall loops and leave the shorter we create more patterns and textures. These carpets are called cut and loop. If we cut all the loops the remaining carpet is called cut pile. We can further vary the construction by leaving the cut loops long and gangly. Some of us remember it as “Shag”. Sewing it shorter with much smaller yarns very close together describes commercial cut pile. A finer yarn with a tighter twist sewn densely and cut directionally is a Saxony. By heat setting kinks onto the yarn creating a rougher texture, we call it frieze, pronounced frizzA. After the carpet is sewn, whatever the construction method, it is then sent to have the structural adhesive “secondary” backing applied. This backing provides for the structural “lay flat” factor and ensures the yarn stays attached to the carpet. There are many more terms and much more detail involved, but I hope this explains the basics.Fibers to yarn -more about construction
Carpet is constructed from different colored fibers. Fibers are the sub hair like strands that are “air entangled” to form a yarn that is sewn into carpet. These fiber bundles are twisted and subjected to heat to “heat set” the twist onto the yarn. The twist is the coil spring that helps carpet yarn maintain its texture and not lay down. This is very important in cut pile construction. The relationship between twist (measured in revolutions per inch) density (measured in stiches per inch), denier (diameter of fiber and or yarn), pile height, and fiber content is complex. Style plays a role too. As twist goes up density can go down. When face weight (ounces of yarn in one square yard) of carpet goes up too high, performance will fall. For example, frieze carpets are designed for you to walk on the sides of the yarn. Its design is to lay down, so density is reduced. Too much density and the yarn cannot lay down and the look changes too. A carpet that is extremely dense results in carpet that feels hard. The nail bed phenomenon. Dense carpets perform, by sacrificing softness. Although there are other mitigating factors, softness is largely air. Softness, in this light, is a compromise in quality. Softness and Durability are opposing forces. The level of compromise is yours to decide.
Fibers used commonly in carpet include nylon, polyester, olefin, polypropylene, triexta, and of course wool.All these fibers hydrocarbon based.Most are products of the petroleum industry.You need to be a biochemist to know the biological or chemical differences.Not being an expert, I defer to the most common characteristics of the fibers.
Nylon is the most resilient carpet fiber. Resilience is the ability to spring back.
Polyester is more economical and may be softer and more colorfast than Nylon, but not as resilient.
Polypropylene and olefins are more economical and colorfast, but not resilient, therefore usually offered only in level loop construction.
Wool is the most expensive and it is stainable but very durable and quite soft. Simply put, wool is hair.
In summary and hoping to make things a little more understandable; “A well-constructed carpet of a lesser fiber will outperform a poorly constructed carpet of a better fiber.”
“Any carpet will perform better on a higher quality pad.” “Quality carpet on a cheap pad is foolish, Inexpensive carpet on a quality pad is thrifty”. A 6# bonded urethane pad meets most all manufacturer’s minimum specifications for warranty. An 8# bonded urethane is firmer and will maximize the useful life of your carpet. Of course, there are many other pad options offering different features such as spill guards, pet protection, and mold or mildew resistance.
There are basically 2 categories for kitchen countertop application. These are LAMINATE and SOLID SURFACE. Note: There are MANUFACTURERS of materials used in fabrication of tops, then FABRICATORS who fashion the materials into tops and RETAILERS who sell the finished products. Understanding these relationships makes searching out clear and concise educational information less confusing.
Laminates are constructed with multiple layers of craft paper, capped with a photographic rendering, and then sealed beneath a melamine wear layer. Different wear layers can provide different surface finishes. Examples are: high gloss, matte, stone, etched, satin and textured surfaces. The maximum laminate sheet size available is 5’x 12’. The brown edge, or “line” visible around the perimeter of a “self-edge” laminate top is the layers of craft paper. Laminates are nonporous, but not knife or heat resistant.
Laminate is applied over a wooden substrate. The substrate is vulnerable at seams and edges when exposed to water. A common failure point is behind the faucet at the junction with the backsplash. The substrate that most laminates are applied to is a high density particleboard that will swell when exposed to moisture. Laminate wear layers can be compromised with abrasive cleansers. Once the wear layer has been compromised stains can easily permeate the photographic presentation. If the photographic visual is compromised there is no repair.
Within laminate tops are 2 basic options: self-edge (traditional square edge) and post-form.
A. Self-edge tops glue the flat laminate sheet over all flat surfaces creating a sharp square edge profile. This square edge exposes the typical brown line. Self-edge tops may be built with applied custom edges. These can be a bevel edge, ogee, or a slightly curved profile thus eliminating the sharp square edge profile and hiding the brown edge line. Note: There are limited laminate color palettes that offer custom edge profiles. Self-edge tops may be fabricated in nearly unlimited shapes and sizes, however custom edge profiles cannot wrap a radius corner.
B. Post form tops are manufactured in only specific lengths and depths. The laminate is wrapped around the long edges under heat and pressure. This eliminates the brown line on long edges. Very commonly the back splashes are also included into the wrap eliminating the common faucet to backsplash failure zone. Post-Form tops are limited to 12’ lengths. There are only a few different depths and edge configurations available. Miters must be cut for an “L” shaped counter. Short ends must be capped showing the aforementioned brown line found in self edge tops. Virtually all tops must be constructed with straight lines as post-form tops are only manufactured in straight lengths.
Laminate is easily less than half the cost of solid surface tops.
This category includes most any product where the surface and core of the product is one. Although wood, stainless steel and concrete may fit that definition, most commonly this category refers to GRANITE, QUARTZ and ACRYLIC. Different edge profiles are carved into the solid surface to provide different styles. Seaming if needed is usually accomplished with an epoxy or acrylic resin.
GRANITE is a naturally occurring stone cut from the earth into a slab and fabricated for countertop application. It is heat and knife resistant but it is porous. It is easily sealed with a wipe on sealer. Because granite is porous it is approved for use in restaurant food service areas, but generally not in food preparation areas. Rarity and accessibility of different colors of stone is what drives the pricing of different Granites. Note: Quartz is a naturally occurring stone that can be mined in slabs and fabricated just like Granite. This quartz is often confused with quartz tops. It is recommended that granite slabs be personally selected as color shade variations abound.
QUARTZ tops are real ground stone “most often quartz” artistically manipulated and held together with an acrylic resin. Quartz products are heat and knife resistant as well as being nonporous. Quartz products offer a deep palette of color in myriad configurations. Samples of Quartz products generally provide the consumer with a true visual of the product which greatly reduces the need to select individual slabs. Quartz is nonporous so it is generally approved in food preparation or service areas.
ACRYLIC is a synthetic polymer. “Corion” is to acrylic, what “Kleenex is to facial tissue”. Some other manufacturers include Swanstone, Hi Macs, Avonite, and Staron. Acrylic tops are nonporous, but can be scratched with knives and are not highly heat resistant. They offer a wide variety of color and can readily be fabricated into unlimited shapes and sizes. Splashes and sinks can be integrated into the top. Integrated means that they can be fused together into one piece versus just attached together with an adhesive.
A Note on SINKS:
Any countertop may use a "drop in" sink where a hole is cut and the sink simply “drops into” the hole. With drop in sinks, the sink provides the pretty edge adjoining the top. The preventative water leakage measure (between the sink perimeter and the countertop) is usually a silicone caulk. The sinks can be of any material. Laminated tops traditionally use only drop in sinks. I won't discuss it here, but there are some exceptions to every rule.
Most Solid surface tops employ an "under mounted" sink where the hole for the sink needs to be precisely cut and finished, as it is readily visible. The sink is “mounted under” the working surface. Under mounting eliminates the visible caulked edge and the crumb barrier that is inherent with drop in sinks. Under mount sinks are available in many materials.
"Integrated" sinks can be created by fusing acrylic sinks into one piece with an acrylic counter.
CULTURED MARBLE VANITY TOPS
Although any bath vanity top can be created using any of the aforementioned methods, there is another category called cultured marble. Cultured marble is a blend of stone particles and resins poured into a mold. When cured, it is removed from the mold and finished with a gel coat. Because these are produced in molds, integrated sinks are commonplace but, the molds also limit the overall sizes available. The gel coat finish is nonporous but, not heat resistant and can be damaged with abrasive cleaners. These tops are not recommended for kitchen applications.
The dynamics of a ceramic tile installation (ceramic vs porcelain- see below*) involve not only design, but product understanding, layout and application. The proof is in the pudding, details matter. Following are a few bullet points worth consideration.
-Ceramics are an excellent option for heavy traffic, high water exposure areas. They are ideal for bath, kitchen, laundry and mud room applications.
-Tile installation is labor intensive so it is generally the most expensive product to install notwithstanding that the product itself may be economical.
-Tile is hard therefore durable.
-Tile is cold because heat transfers through it rapidly. This makes it a poor insulator, but ideal to use in conjunction with in-floor radiant heat systems.
-Many tiles do not offer trim pieces that detail the perimeters.
- The thickness of the tile matters. The substrate under the tile matters. A rule of thumb is that cheap products are exactly that.
-Tile can be confusing. So now what? Come to see us first.
*A little confusion exists on the terms “ceramic” and “porcelain”. One clarification is that all porcelain is ceramic, but not all ceramic is porcelain. Porcelain is a ceramic tile that has been fired at higher temperatures for longer periods of time so that its water absorption rate is less than one half of 1%. What that means is that porcelain is most practical to use in heavy water areas and may be frost proof so therefore usable in exterior freeze-thaw environments. Please be aware that many glazes on porcelain may not be frost proof and many ceramic glazes are waterproof. Although porcelain is equated with quality, take note that there are both high-quality ceramic tile and lower quality porcelain tile.
Only God can make a tree. Hardwood floors are durable, beautiful and warm to the feel. It is no surprise that homes with hardwood floors sell for more than those without. Who can improve on Mother Nature? No one really, but we take what she provides and tries to make it better. Somewhere in the last century or two. we installed hardwoods in our homes and after a time they became distressed, so we started to wax them. Mom said this is too much work! We applied varnishes and then urethane finishes. These finishes wore away over time, but each performed better than the last. We now have some super-duper acrylic finishes and aluminum oxide impregnated finishes that stand up to wear and tear better than previous products. The refinish of a hardwood floor today is further out than we would have faced years earlier. If you accept that a living hardwood floor ages gracefully with us, you may never need to refinish your floor.Engineered vs Solid (where is what matters most)
Solid Hardwood is generally ¾’’ thick slabs that have been cut directly from the wood of various trees and milled into interlocking strips of various widths. It’s most commonly used over a wood substrate. Most applications are nail down installation.
Engineered wood is generally a thin layer varying from 1/32 of an inch to a heavy 1/8’’ of the same wood from various trees glued to a supporting structural panel made from either plywood or high-density fiberboard. Engineered products can be applied over a wide variety of substrates. Engineered floors are generally more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood. Most applications are floated over a pad, glued or stapled down.Some other general thoughts:
In an ideal world, nobody will ever notice the installation of your flooring. Quality installation results from attention to the details. The details of a perfect floor installation are meant to be hidden. Anything on the floor meets the perimeter of the room. Your floor installation does not end with, How much per square foot? Whether it's carpet, hardwood, tile, or another material Builders Carpet Outlet strives to achieve installations where details are never seen.
During the planning phase, we'll take accurate measurements and give you an accurate quote for the costs to avoid unpleasant surprises like running out of material or hidden charges at the end of the job.
Like you, we're local to Ann Arbor and doing a poor job is simply not an option. Our reputation for quality flooring installation is what keeps us in business.
To discuss the different types of flooring installations available in Ann Arbor, dial 734-973-8466 to speak to a Builders Carpet Outlet expert.
Conveniently located with service to the greater Ann Arbor area, Builders Carpet Outlet is available for all your flooring needs.