If you own a home, at some point in the future you will have to replace your water heater. Many homeowners still have conventional storage or tank-type water heaters. These are comparatively inexpensive to purchase and install, but are not the most energy-efficient. Fortunately, advancing technology has resulted in several more energy-efficient options to choose from when it comes time for a water heater replacement.

Tankless Water Heaters
The purchase and installation cost of this type of heater is high, but it does have a long lifespan of 20+ years and is 8 to 34% more efficient than a tank water heater. With this type of heater, which doesn’t have a storage tank and heats water only when it is needed, you can have an endless supply of hot water. There is a drawback, however. Tankless heaters have a limited flow rate of 4-5 gallons per minute, which may not work for you if you frequently operate the washing machine and dishwasher at the same time, or run several showers simultaneously.

Heat Pump Water Heaters
If you want an energy-efficient water heater, a heat pump water heater is a great choice. It uses electricity to move heat from place to place instead of producing it directly, which is 2-3 times more energy efficient than a storage tank heater. It does exhaust cool air, so you will want to install it in a warm room or exhaust it to the outdoors. Heat pump heaters perform very efficiently in warmer climates, but do not operate well in cool spaces. This heater’s life expectancy of 10-15 years is the lowest of the three options.

Solar Water Heaters
The upfront cost for the purchase and installation of a solar water heater is not insignificant, but luckily today’s units are much more affordable and reliable that earlier models. They tend to last about 20 years, and are 50% more efficient than standard electric or gas water heaters. Solar water heating works in two different ways. With direct circulation systems, which work well in climates where it doesn’t freeze often, water is taken from collectors and circulated directly into the house. Indirect circulation systems, on the other hand, are best for climates where temperatures often dip below freezing. It uses a pump to move a non-freezing heat-transfer liquid through collectors into a heat exchanger, which then heats the water that runs into the home.

Deciding which kind of water heater to use is just one of many decisions to be made if you’re purchasing a new home or updating your current one. If you have other areas that need improvement, such as your kitchen or bath, you can find an excellent selection of stone and tile products in a variety of styles and colors at AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile. Contact us today at 610-344-7700 for a free estimate, or stop by our showroom to see these wonderful products firsthand.

Categories : Maintenance

Why Two Sinks?

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

If you have decided to update your kitchen and are trying to work out what you want to add or change, now would be a good time to consider the merits of installing a prep sink. Many homeowners who do a lot of cooking or entertaining consider a second sink essential, and more and more people are adding this feature when they remodel their kitchens. Some people don’t see the need for a second sink, but that is often because they don’t understand its purpose.

Cleanup Sinks vs. Prep Sinks

The cleanup sink. This sink is pretty self-explanatory. The cleanup sink is where all the pots, pans, and dishes that don’t fit into the dishwasher are washed. Having two sinks is extremely convenient if you cook a lot because you can set the dishes you use for food prep in it to soak, or get them out of the way while you prepare the rest of the meal. It also works well for families, because kids can be washing dishes while parents are finishing up dinner, which reduces cleanup time later. In addition, one person can wash the dishes without having to stop to let someone rinse off the vegetables or wash their hands after working with meat.

The prep sink. If you do a lot of work in your kitchen, a second smaller sink, often referred to as a prep sink, can be a godsend. A prep sink is intended to be used to wash off and prep fruits and vegetables, as well as poultry and other meats. Ideally it should be located close enough to the stove and refrigerator to be easy accessed when cooking, and there should be a work surface next to it with plenty of room for prep work. Prep sinks are often added to islands for this reason.

Placement. The placement of the sinks is really up to you. The cleanup sink is usually situated away from cooking and food storage areas somewhat, which keeps dirty dishes from overflowing into the cooking area and getting in the way of food prep. Prep sinks, as mentioned before, work well when added to a kitchen island. Many people prefer this placement because it allows the cook to talk and interact with family members and guests while they work, though others like the reverse, with the prep sink on a perimeter counter closer to the stove and refrigerator, and the cleanup sink on the island.

If you are ready to make your life a little easier by adding a prep sink to your kitchen, why not upgrade your counters at the same time? Your new sink will look lovely paired with beautiful granite countertops from AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, and if granite isn’t your style, we have a variety of other high-quality materials to choose from that may be just what you’re looking for.

Categories : Kitchen remodeling

The kitchen is an integral part of family life, and as such sees a lot of heavy use (and abuse) over the years. This is why it’s so important to choose materials for your kitchen counters and floors that are tough and durable. Otherwise, in just a few years’ time, they could be an unsightly collection of stains and scratches. To help you out, here are a few tips from AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc. on the best counters and floors for busy kitchens.

Kitchen Counters That Can Take the Heat
In a busy kitchen, kitchen counters need to be able to stand up to heat, cuts, spills, and stuff falling on them. Here are your best options when it comes to those key factors:

  • This low-maintenance material that looks like stone is actually man-made, a combination of crushed quartz, resin, and coloring. It can take whatever you can throw at it and doesn’t require sealing, though the corners and edges can chip if you’re not careful.
  • It’s easy to see why granite has been the go-to material for kitchen countertops for the past 15 years. The natural beauty of this stone shines through in any style of kitchen. It’s important to remember to seal granite regularly, or oils will be able to seep down into the stone and stain it. Granite’s rugged surface is resistant to heat, cuts, and scratches, though like quartz, edges and corners can chip.

Kitchen Flooring That Stands the Test of Time
If you want the absolute toughest, longest-lasting flooring material that will hold up against heavy kitchen traffic, ceramic tile is the way to go. Ceramic tile has been extremely popular for many years because it’s strong, durable, attractive, and available in a wide range of styles and colors. You can now even find tile that looks like hardwood! But beware installing it yourself; if not laid correctly, tile is much more likely to crack. It also must be grouted and sealed correctly in order to resist kitchen spills without staining. If in doubt, hire a professional.

With one stop to AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, your kitchen needs could be furnished. Give us a call today at 610-344-7700 and talk to one of our talented designers, and they will be able to help you find just what you need from our wide selection of granite, quartz, and tile, along with our other fabulous materials.

Categories : Uncategorized

Outdoor cooking and barbecuing has long been a summer tradition in the United States, and every year it seems like there are new innovations in grilling products and techniques, from grill stones on which you can cook pizzas to tips on how to grill a myriad of fruits and vegetables. As a result, outdoor kitchens and grill stations have grown a lot in popularity the past few years. But before investing in an outdoor cooking area, it’s important to choose the right material for your countertops.

Tile
Tile countertops are the most economical option for outdoor grill stations and kitchens. The colors and styles are endless, but they do have some drawbacks. They don’t work well in cold climates because the tiles and grout tend to crack when they freeze, and even grout that has been sealed can stain. If you’re still set on a tile countertop, use freeze-proof tiles, choose dark grout to hide stains, and hire an experienced installer to make sure the tile is laid properly.

Granite
Many materials that work great for interior kitchen countertops are not the right choice for outdoor counters because of increased exposure to the elements. Granite is not one of these. This durable and easy-to-care-for material is perfect for a custom outdoor counter or surround due to the fact that it is strong enough to withstand bad weather, resists fading from the sun, and doesn’t stain easily when properly cared for. Just remember to seal it regularly, and your will granite beautify your outdoor kitchen for years to come.

Soapstone
Soapstone is another great option for outdoor countertops if you’re not picky about color. Though the color selection is small, the fact that it is non-porous and doesn’t need to be sealed makes it even lower in maintenance than granite. It also resists heat, staining, and bacteria, and holds up well against acidic foods.

Concrete
Another popular countertop material that can work well outdoors is concrete. It will give your outdoor kitchen a contemporary look, and is available in an endless array of colors. Concrete does tend to crack, however, even when reinforced with steel, so an experienced professional installer is a must if that’s what you prefer. It is also very porous, and will need to be sealed on installation and regularly thereafter to keep it looking its best.

With over 30 years of experience, our skilled craftsmen at AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile are pros at custom stone fabrication and installation. If you are ready to extend your living space with an outdoor kitchen, give us a call today at 610-344-7700, and we’ll get one of our designers started on the perfect custom countertop for your outdoor space.

Categories : Blog, Paver Tiles

Bathroom remodels are still among the most popular home remodeling projects preferred by homeowners, with some choosing to forego a tub/shower combo altogether and focus solely on a unique, luxurious shower. Spa-like bathrooms are also a great draw for potential buyers if you plan on selling in the near future. If you’re considering a bathroom renovation, here are some of the current popular shower trends to think about as you plan its design.

Frameless Glass Shower Doors
Showers doors that are frameless require thicker glass and are therefore more expensive, but the resulting spaciousness and luxurious feel it gives your bathroom make the extra money worth it for many homeowners. With the right design and materials, custom frameless glass enclosures can virtually disappear in your bathroom, but keep in mind that you will have fewer options as far as measurements and installation than with framed enclosures.

Large Showers
For homeowners who have the room, large shower enclosures with a profusion of natural light are gaining ground. If you have enough space to contain the water, you can even forego a shower door altogether. A lip or small step may be used as a barrier to keep water off the bathroom floor.

Multiple Showerheads
If there is a height disparity between the members of your family, placing two showerheads at varying heights will make the showering experience much more enjoyable for taller individuals. This is also a good selling point for prospective buyers. You can even incorporate a hand-held showerhead for ultimate shower versatility.

Mosaic Tiles
These types of tile have become very popular due to their versatility. Bright mosaic tiles can bring the focus of attention to your shower. For a more subtle look, make use of them on the upper half of the wall while using neutral tiles of the same color but different sizes on the lower half and the shower floor. This will help to calm things down and bring balance to the space.

At AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc., we have a great selection of tile in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials. If you are contemplating a bathroom remodel that includes a new shower surround, backsplash, or tiled walls or floors, we have everything you need. Just give us a call today at 610-344-7700 to set up a time to meet with one of our experienced designers.

Categories : Bathroom Remodeling

For many years, kitchen remodeling has reigned supreme as one of the most popular home renovation projects. It is also one of the first spaces potential buyers look at when searching for a new place. Here at AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc., we know a well-organized, updated kitchen with plenty of storage is a great asset to any home. If you are thinking about sprucing up your kitchen to sell, first take a look at what’s trending in the world of kitchens.

Storage Walls
If you want a more open, spacious kitchen, being smart with your storage is key. One trend that has become popular is the kitchen storage wall. A storage wall takes the place of upper cabinets, which is what opens up the room and gives the kitchen a breezier feel. Another advantage is that it allows you to condense a lot of storage into one spot, which frees up more space for prep work and improves the flow of the kitchen due to the convenience of having the majority of your supplies in one location.

White or Neutral Colors
The demand for white cabinets is still going strong, showing that this kitchen trend has staying power that will probably continue for years to come. White countertops, white backsplashes, and and even white appliances complete the look of a cool white kitchen, with many homeowners preferring white over stainless steel appliances because they are easier to keep clean and smudge-free. If you want a little more color, grey is a neutral option for sunny climates, and it also works well when paired with warm wood and bright colors to bring life to kitchens in cooler climates. Whites and neutrals are preferable if you’re trying to sell your home, as brighter, bolder colors can be a turnoff to buyers who don’t have the same taste in colors.

LED Lights
Another trend that has made its way to kitchens is the use of LED lights. These low-heat, highly energy-efficient lights are extremely versatile. Common places they can be found in kitchens are along crown moldings to give ceilings a soft glow, under upper cabinets to light up countertops, and inside cabinets and hutches to highlight china and other special collections. They also work well to light up the deep recesses of kitchen cabinets, where it can be hard to see into dark corners.

If you are ready to transform your kitchen with a new look, give AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc., a call at 610-344-7700. Our remodeling specialists will answer your questions, listen to your ideas, and help you design a gorgeous, functional kitchen.

Categories : Kitchen remodeling

When making a decision on the best material to use for new countertops, flooring or stone elements in your home, the wide selection of options to choose from can be overwhelming. Here at AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc., we understand how important it is to homeowners to have all the information they need to make a wise, informed decision. To help with this, we would like to share with you a little more about three of the great products we carry: marble, granite and limestone.

Marble
This timeless classic has long been used around the world to bring beauty to ancient as well as modern structures. The delicate veining and lovely color variations in marble never go out of style, and marble countertops can bring elegance to any room. It must be handled with care, however, as it is easily stained and scratched.

Granite
For those who want a material that is more durable and stain-resistant but just as exquisite, granite is still the stone of choice for homes and businesses alike. It’s very low-maintenance, and comes in so many different patterns and color variations that you’re sure to find just the look you’re searching for. In addition, granite countertops add value to any home.

Limestone
Limestone comes in an assortment of textures and colors that vary based on where it came from. It can be used for backsplashes, bathroom countertops and flooring. Limestone must be treated with care because it does stain and etch. This will change the appearance of the stone over time, though some homeowners feel the wear adds character. If you find that limestone appeals to you, go for it, but be aware that limestone is porous and will need to sealed regularly.

If you are ready to upgrade your countertops, flooring or other home element by bringing the beauty of natural stone into your home, give AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc., a call today at 610-344-7700. We offer a FREE in-home consultation with one of our excellent designers.

Categories : Blog, Kitchen remodeling

AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc., has proudly served the West Chester, Pennsylvania, area for over 30 years. With our outstanding products and our talented designers and remodeling teams, it’s not hard to see why our company has been so successful. To help you learn a little more about us, here are some of the most common questions we get asked by our customers.

How does AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile stand out from similar companies?

At AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, we endeavor to make every job personal by treating your home like our own. We strive to customize our work to fit the needs of each individual customer, and will walk you through every step of the installation process so that you always feel comfortable with us and know what’s going on.

What are some of the different designs and features you offer?

While we specialize in providing exceptional granite, marble and tile, we also provide a variety of other stone products. Having a large selection of stock and custom products to choose from allows us to widen our customer base, individualizing each installation project to meet the needs and desires of the homeowners we work with. In addition to marble, granite and traditional tile, we also offer paver tiles, quartz, travertine, soapstone and limestone.

Why is AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile the best choice for my stone fabrication needs?

When our customers come to us, they are looking for more than just a pretty countertop or fireplace surround. They want to invest their money in something that will make an impact on their home and help create rooms that are beautiful and inviting, where they can relax with family or entertain guests. At AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, our commitment to quality along with highly-trained craftsmen and a courteous, professional customer support team help make this dream a reality.

If you are ready to let us transform your home into a showplace, just give us a call for your FREE in-home estimate. Contact us at 610-344-7700 to find out more.

Categories : Blog

For many people, after several years of having things in their home a certain way, they get bored with the status quo and start to get the itch to try something new. If you have a love/hate relationship with your kitchen, here are a few ways to get things back on track.

Clear Off Your Counters
Cluttered countertops do nothing for your kitchen. They look messy and unorganized, make meal prep a hassle, and even cause the room to look smaller. Relocate items to cabinets or pantries, leaving only essential items like cooking utensils, knives, seasonings, and one or two of your most frequently used appliances. Your kitchen will look bigger and cleaner, and after-dinner cleanup will go much more smoothly.

Reface the Cabinets
If you have kitchen cabinets that are sturdy, functional and well-designed, there’s no reason to spend big bucks on the purchase and installation of custom cabinets just to get a new look. Refacing your kitchen cabinets will give you the same result at a fraction of the cost. Choose a new color or finish and buy some attractive hardware and accessories, and when you put it all together your kitchen cabinets will look like new.

Add Some Under-Cabinet Lighting
The shadows cast onto countertops by your cabinets can make prep work difficult. Installing LED lighting under your cabinets is a great economical solution to this problem. LEDs are very energy efficient, emit little heat and add a nice ambiance to your kitchen. They also work great to light the way when you need a little midnight snack.

Upgrade Your Flooring
In most homes, the kitchen is hands down the room that gets the most wear and tear, so the kitchen floor has to be tough enough to stand up to the abuse. If you are thinking of upgrading your kitchen floor, consider replacing it with ceramic or porcelain tile. While both are good choices because they are attractive, durable, and easy to clean, porcelain is the better of the two. It is denser, so it can handle heavier loads, and unlike glazed ceramic tile, the color goes all the way through, so chips won’t be as noticeable.

If you are ready to love your kitchen again, pick up the phone and give AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile a call at (610) 344-7700. We are happy to offer FREE consultations and share our expertise.

If you associate your kitchen only with an endless cycle of cooking, cleaning and washing dishes, resolve to start the new year fresh! These small changes will give you a new view of your kitchen and make it a place of comfort and belonging.

Clean the Slate
With any room transformation, it’s important to start with a clean slate. Begin by giving your kitchen a deep cleaning: scrub down cabinets and countertops, thoroughly mop the floor, and dust the tops of upper cabinets. This is also a great time to get rid of junk that has been cluttering up your cabinets. Splurge a little on some matching dishware or flatware, or if your taste is a little more eclectic, check out local thrift stores to build your own unique collection.

Dress Things Up with Baskets
If you have a lot of open shelving, try utilizing pretty woven baskets for storage and organization. This is an easy way to take care of cluttered counters and shelving. Simply gather up similar items that you want to store together, toss them in a basket, and find a good place to display it. This will help you become more organized while adding nicely to the look and feel of your kitchen.

Add Personal Touches
People have certain ideas about what kitchens are supposed to look like, but if you are going to be the one spending the majority of your time in it, why worry about what other people think? Try adding some personal touches to give the room some personality. If you’re into gardening, place fresh-cut flowers in vases around the room, or start an herb garden on your windowsill. If you are an artist, find the perfect spot for one of your paintings, or use your creativity to spice up an accent wall. It doesn’t really matter how you choose to do it; just make the space your own.

If your kitchen floor or countertops are in serious need of an upgrade, give AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile a call at (610) 344-7700. We offer FREE consultations that will start you on your way to the kitchen of your dreams!