Design Time & Tile :: Miscellaneous Questions
6800 Westside Road, Redding, CA 96001
(530) 241-8693

Built In Cutting Board Material

I am building a new home in the summer. I plan on having a built in, pull out cutting board in our kitchen cupboards. What would the best cutting board surface be to install? Laminate, Granite, etc? - Jan

ANSWER: Though we sell Laminate, Granite and other materials suitable for floors or countertops, I don't recommend any of them for a cutting board. I would recommend that you only use a cutting board material, such as wood that you should be able to get from a reputable cabinet shop.

Staining Butcher Block

I'm going to install a top for the island in our kitchen and want a darker finish than the natural maple. We don't plan on having much direct food contact and would like to use a dark oil based stain and then several coats of mineral oil. Would this be acceptable or is there another way of achieving a darker finish? - Melody

ANSWER: Hi Melody. We only sell Tile, Stone, and Granite Slab for countertops, so I have limited experience with butcher block. I can only recommend that you contact a reputable cabinet shop to select your butcher block top and inquire about food-safe methods of darkening it.

DIY Corian Cutting

I have come into some used Corian countertop. I want to install it in my boat. Straight cuts and edge routing I understand but I want to put in undermount sinks. Probably can do rectangular sinks OK, use a hole cutter to do the rounded corners then clamp a fence and use a jig saw, then rout. However, I want to put in a round bar sink. I don't think I can cut well enough freehand with a jig saw, how would you set up a straight cut router to cut the circle? I am guessing I would have to cut a piece of plywood for a pattern or is there a better way. How do the pros do it? -Shanna

ANSWER: Hi Shanna. I would recommend that you contact a local corian fabricator to have them cut your sink hole, due to the fact that there are many specialty tools required to do the job correctly. The cost of purchasing the tools could far outweigh the cost of paying a fabricator to do it.

Outdoor Tiles

I was going to use granite tiles on my outdoor bar but it is to costly. Can i use glazed ceramic tile outside and will it crack if i keep it covered in the winter? - Stephen

ANSWER: Hi, Stephen! You can use a glazed tile on your outdoor bar. I would recommend that you use a porcelain glazed tile not a regular glazed tile do to the fact that a quality porcelain tile is more dense and will not crack with occasional or prolonged freezing temperatures.

Tile Backsplash and Stone Walls

Regarding tile backsplash and stone walls, can these be combined with other materials for countertops? (I love my walls and backsplash but not my countertops.) -Connie

ANSWER: Hi, Connie. It's very common to combine tile and stone backsplashes with granite tops, so combine away! We have a very large selection of granite slabs and pre-fab tops in-stock at Design Time and Tile. Come in and we'll be happy to show them and help you find complementary materials.

Butcher Block Tables

We are thinking about having a butcher block table installed in our kitchen island. How expensive is this type of wood? Are there different grades? What about up keep? Can you sand it down periodically to deal with the cut marks? Thanks - Lily

ANSWER: Lilly, Design Time and Tile does not carry butcher blocks. I know that Meeks Lumber does carry them and should be able to tell you how to maintain them as well as answer any other questions about them. You can reach them at (530) 378-6325.

Structural Problems

We have a new home with 'TrusJoist' system. The joists are about 15 inches deep and were placed 24 inches on center. They said that the deeper thickness of the joists allowed wider spacing o.c. In two bathrooms there are 2 layers of 3/4 inch plywood. In the master bath, there is one layer of 3/4 inch plywood with a 1/2 inch layer of Denshield on top. We have noticed tiny cracks in the grout lines in all three bathrooms. No tiles have cracked or loosened. Could this be that the floors are deflecting too much? Or are some hairline cracks in grout normal. We were assured by TrusJoist that this spacing was OK. Should we live with this or will it continue to get worse? Any suggestions?

ANSWER: Yes, from the information you've provided, it sounds like your joists are the problem. For the full scope of your problem and how to understand it, go to and go to Technical Field Reports then select Field Report 2001-11-19. This report explains about Wood Sub-floor deflection.

Once you've digested the report, I would recommend contacting a local General Contractor.

Room Acoustics

How does flooring impact room acoustics? Do certain types of floorings help in learning environments? What should we look for? - Ron

ANSWER: Hi Ron. Carpet will absorb sound whereas all hard surface materials such as vinyl, tile, hardwood, etc. will reflect sound, causing an echo effect. I would recommend that you look for a high-quality commercial-grade carpet for your needs. Stop in at Design Time to see all the different types of carpets that we have to offer.


My home was built in 2004. I would like to paint my basement floor myself but I do not know which product is the best. I've been told not to paint the floor because it is concrete and the paint will chip. I have a limited budget what will be the best for me to do? - Tina

ANSWER: Hi Tina. Unfortunately I am not in the painting business. I would recommend that you go to a reputable paint store or contractor and you should be able to find the right product.

Concrete Countertops

Mark, my wife read somewhere that you can now get a countertop made from concrete that looks great. Can this type of counter really look good in a family home? I'm not crazy about the idea. I think it would look tacky and make me look cheap. She claims that you really can't tell that it is cement, is that true? How about maintaining it, will it chip and crack when things are dropped on it? Do you guys do that kind of thing? Thanks for your help. - Thomas

ANSWER: Hi Thomas. At Design Time we're experts when it has to do with tile, granite, marble, and natural stone counter tops. We do not offer concrete counter tops, and my knowledge of the technique is limited. You might want to investigate further at the Concrete Network here. If you decide against concrete for your counters and would like to use traditional materials, please come see us at Design Time.

Foundation Cracking

Hi Mark. We bought a house built in 91', it is on a slab foundation and it had some grout cracking and separating. We had a company fix the cement underneath by sanding (there was a significant crack coming from the toilet area across the floor). They then placed new tile on top. Approximately nine months later one tile in the center of the room cracked in half. The grout on either side is not cracked but there were some very small cracks in the grout coming from the side of the toilet.
Is there any way of ever fixing a crack in the slab or could it continue cracking and separating. Could there be some serious subflooring problem or is it just settling? Should we fix the crack by replacing the tile or look at a different flooring that would be more flexible? Thanks. - Marianne

ANSWER: Hi Marianne. Almost all concrete slab floors have cracks, some worse than others. There are many reasons why slabs crack, such as ground settling, tree roots, structure stress, curing too rapidly, etc. Some cracks can be successfully repaired, where others can be a chronic problem. When installing ceramic tile over a crack, a crack membrane should be used. There are floating wood and laminate floors that might be a consideration. If you would like for us to look at your floor please give us a call.

Countertop Recommendation

I am a recent home buyer and looking to buy a counter top. I want something that looks great but doesn't cost an arm and a leg what do you recommend? - Chris

ANSWER: Chris, Design Time carries the following in order of expense, most to least: granite slabs, prefab granite blanks, natural stone, porcelain tile, and the least expensive ceramic tile. Come in and see us, we'll be happy to show you our product line so you can make an informed decision.