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How to Choose Kitchen and Bathroom Materials

By | Bathroom Design Tips, Bathroom Design Trends, Bathroom Products, Kitchen Design Tips, Kitchen Design Trends, Kitchen Products

When it is time to remodel your kitchen or start a bathroom renovation project, the large variety of different products available can make your choices very difficult. As always your choice will be highly influenced by the amount you want to invest in your remodelling project.  Here we will explain the five major types of products available, and the benefits and drawbacks of using them in your kitchen or bathroom remodel.




wood: bathroom and kitchen reno materialAll species of wood are available (eg. maple, hickory, walnut, teak and so on).

Benefits:  Hardwood is a luxury material.  Hardness of the product makes its lifespan last a really long time.  It can also be sanded down and refinished.  The product can be finished in unlimited choices of opacities, stains and finishes or it can be painted in any color of your choice.

Drawback: Most certainly, the price and also, wood tends to warp in a humid environment.



acrylicAcrylic is a process of layering a film of Methacrylate that is a flexible plastic fibre over an MDF or HDF base.  The finish result is a high gloss look.

Benefits: The look only an acrylic finish can create; modern and unique.  It is very easy to maintain and the life span is really long compared to melamine.

Drawback: Less durable than wood and it cannot be repaired when broken.


melamineMelamine is a product that has been around for ages but it has also been improved over the years.  It is now more resistant than when it was first introduced. Composition is MDF panel covered with a sheet of melamine.

Benefits: Melamine is very affordable.  Melamine is now offered in a variety of imitation finishes and is really easy to clean.

Drawback: Melamine is relatively less durable than wood and it can’t be repaired once broken.

PVC and Polyester

Both materials are a really good alternative to melamine.  They are a little more expensive but better resistance in everyday usage.  Price points are comfortable and are about the same in both products.  The difference between the two is in the assembly and composition.

PVC construction materialPVC is an MDF base panel covered with PVC that is molded to all contours with the processes of heat. The base can be composed of multiple pieces. Joints are on the inside of the doors.

Polyester is typically a 5 pieces MDF base assembly covered with a sheet of polyester molded to the base. It is molded on all sides in the process, which is what makes its lifespan longer.

Post written by Taniya Lawrence
Interior designer at Kitchens and Bathrooms First

3 Kitchen and Bathroom Trends

By | Bathroom Design Tips, Bathroom Design Trends, Bathroom Products, Kitchen Design Trends, Kitchen Products, Uncategorized

When it comes to investing your time and money into kitchen and bathroom renovations, it is paramount to have the design and décor selections to suit your personal style preferences and to encompass the current trends, but also to embrace a timeless appearance. The following upcoming and ongoing current trends will help you to attain these essentials for your kitchen and bathroom renovations.

1. Colour Trends

Bigger investment items, such as; cabinetry, flooring, countertops, and backsplashes, homeowners purchase with the intent of longevity, therefore, neutral finishes and colour schemes with clean lines will be the popular selection.

Less significant investment items, such as paint, will correspond to this colour scheme as well. Warm neutrals, white, off whites, and the new neutrals of greens and greys are going to take over the market. You can add a punch of colour in easily changeable items, such as; accessories, towels, dishes, vases, art pieces, etc.

2. Tiles

Tile trends are leaning towards larger tiles and tiles with interest and texture. Large rectangular and square tiles are very popular for flooring and walls. Not only do they make for less grout lines, they also create a cleaner, more modern look. Mixing and matching shapes and sizes for walls and flooring will be trendy. Accent tiles, for backsplashes, borders, or an entire wall, will consist of unique texture, and classic glass and mosaic tiles.

3. Relaxation/Spa Inspired:

The time for relaxation is wanted by all, but unfortunately only attained by few. Spa inspired bathrooms are on the rise and will continue to be in demand . Spa inspired bathrooms will stay within the neutral inspired colour theme and the fixtures installed will be largely influenced by the theme of relaxation, tranquility, and the escape of everyday life.

Although system tubs, such as whirl pools or air tubs, are soothing and relaxing, the demand for soaker tubs will continue to have a profound increase. The want and need for personal serenity and unwinding is at its peak with the hectic world we live in and are surrounded by today. Having your entire body submerged in a hot bath is one way of accomplishing a personal tranquility in the convenience of your own home.

While the time to have a relaxing, unwinding bath may not be realistic for all, the desire for shower systems will be increasingly popular for those who want a relaxing experience without the additional time of taking a bath. Soothing rain shower heads and calming body jets are going to be in popular demand.

So come visit our showroom at 5-850 Industrial Avenue in Ottawa. Our team of experienced bathroom and kitchen designers would love to take the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your kitchen and bathroom renovation project!

Shower Waterproofing

By | Bathroom Products
Shower Waterproofing : Leaky Shower

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Ever notice how water never stays where you want it to? It’ll always run downhill, but it so often seems to be the wrong hill. Now, in defence of your average shower enclosure, it’s not an aquarium. It’ll keep most of the water where it should be, but you can’t expect miracles. The big problem spots in most showers are where different materials or panels meet. So, assuming that everything has been installed properly and cleanly, in shower waterproofing let’s look at where your damp spots are coming from.

If you have an acrylic or synthetic granite shower base and your walls are damp right where the base meets the wall or floor, you probably have water running behind the door along the tiling flange. Look for spots where the shower walls meet the base where the calking has failed or isn’t sticking. Once you’ve eliminated that possibility, it gets a bit messier. If you can’t keep the water from getting into that spot, you have to keep it from running out, so clean up that front corner and fill it nice and full of silicone. Maax actually recommends doing that and leaving a 1″ gap in the calking at the inside corners to let water in there run back into the base and drain.

If you have a leaky shower door, check where it’s calked. I know this is going to sound counter-intuitive, but the calking on shower doors is almost always done on the outside of the door. If you have silicone on the inside of it, there’s a good chance that’s what’s causing the problem. Shower enclosures are designed to drain back into the shower, so you need to let them.

Those two sources cover almost all of the leaky showers I’ve seen. I know it may not cover everything, and if it doesn’t, let me know 613-749-1512  or in person at 5-850 Industrial Avenue in Ottawa. I’d be glad to share what I’ve learned if you’re having drips.

Technical Support for Installation Problems

By | Bathroom Products

Talking to technical support people is always interesting. Why doesn’t my printer work? Why is my check engine light on? Why does my new shower door leak? We’ve all had those types of conversations with a bored sounding person on the other end of the phone and probably the other end of the world now. They really are bored, too. They have a script that they’re working from. If you make it all the way through their script without solving your problem, you get escalated and they get to pass you to someone else. They’re bored. They’re bored because just about all of the time they could have sorted out the difficulty with one question: Did you read the manual and follow the instructions?

I’ve been out to look a lot of fairly new bathrooms (not ours, by the way) that people say leak or don’t work and want the whole thing replaced. Imagine their surprise when I tell them that the shower door is calked improperly or that their shower valve is installed upside down. Easy fixes most of the time. It would have been even easier to do it right the first time though. To paraphrase the carpenter’s adage of measure twice, cut once: Read first, trust it, do it.

Come see us and we’ll walk you through any questions you might have!

5-850 Industrial Avenue Ottawa


All Shower Walls Are Not Created Equal

By | Bathroom Products


I was reading a Fleurco acrylic shower wall installation manual the other day. Ok, I know, it sounds like a pretty lame read, but I was actually impressed by this one. I had sold a shower door, base and walls to a nice couple and I gave their contractor the installation manuals in advance of the delivery.

I was impressed by two things, actually. First, their contractor actually read and followed the manual to the letter. I really should get his number. What really impressed me though was how Fleurco wanted the corner shower put together. It goes without saying that corner showers need to be built as level, plumb and square as possible for the door to fit, function and retain water.

I was surprised to see that Fleurco wanted you to level and fit everything and then bolt the walls to each other and then both walls to the base. They are the only manufacturer I’ve seen so far to do it this way. By the time it gets installed, it’s been turned into a one-piece unit. It’s a great idea! And it solves a bunch of issues related to joints and calking.

If you’re shopping for a corner shower, have a look: At Kitchens and Bathrooms First we distribute and include Fleurco showers in our bathroom design and renovations in Ottawa. Contact us for more information on our design services and Fleurco products in stock at our showroom.

Modern Customer Service

By | Bathroom Products

I must be getting a little jaded as I “gather life experience”. Ok, as I get older, not always as gracefully as I might like. I know I’m dating myself when I say this, but I remember when self-serve became an option at gas stations. You were charged a lower price if the station had to do less work. That makes sense to me.

Now I walk into a grocery store or Home Depot and a courteous clerk pressures me to use their self checkout. The first time it happened, I thought “This is great! I can save a bit on the bill by doing their work.” So I asked what the discount was for doing their job. The clerk was flabbergasted. I was told that there wasn’t a discount but that it was much faster and easier. Sure, for them. I figure that since I’m paying for the service anyway, off I go to a normal register. The clerk asks me if I want bags. Of course I want bags, I’ve got a cart full of groceries and not a bag or bin in sight. I’m told that there’s a charge for the bags and then after he’s rung everything in he hands me the bags and points to the groceries. Apparently I’m now doing his job too. I ask if I get a discount for this. The look I got in response was answer enough.

I know that you can’t walk into a bathroom showroom and walk out with a bathroom in a bag. We do offer the next closest thing though. We offer customer service here. It’s not something you find anymore. When you buy a bathroom or a kitchen, you shouldn’t have to run all over town to find your fixtures, faucets, and everything else.

When you invest in a renovation, you should be able to sit down, and buy a finished job where everything just happens with little to no effort on your part. That’s customer service. It’s what we do. Think of it like this: We’re a full-serve station. We’re going to bag your renovation and carry it home for you. It’s customer service the old fashioned way. It’s what we do.