Category Archives: How To

How to Choose – A Kitchen Sink

Remodeling your kitchen? There are a lot of choices to be made – countertops, cabinets, flooring, hardware, appliances, lighting, etc.  The list goes on! You use your kitchen – and the sink – everyday, so it’s important to get the right one for you. Here’s a list of 5 types of sinks – starting with the three we install most often:


  • Made from an engineered material made up of either granite or quartz dust and acrylic resin
  • A lot of color options allowing you to easily blend your sink with your countertops
  • Durable
  • Heat resistant

Stainless Steel

  • Very common, and for good reason
  • Can be affordable
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Have a bit of “give” to them – if you are worried about dropping/breaking dishes in the sink then stainless could be a good choice
  • Can show water spots more easily
  • Only come in one color so if you want a sink that really blends in with your countertops, this may not be the sink for you.

Cast Iron

  • Made from cast iron with a layer porcelain enamel on top
  • Enameled hard top finish but can be repaired
  • Very heavy – which is not problem if we are installing for you!
  • These sinks do take a bit more effort to maintain as they can be prone to staining, but if you rinse it out after each use you shouldn’t have any problems and your investment will last for years!


  • A beautiful way to bring character into your kitchen
  • They are expensive and require a bit more maintenance
  • Come in a variety of finishes/configurations
  • Have a “living finish” – they develop a patina over time (although this can be stripped off and the sink’s finish can be sealed).


  • Ceramic, molded sinks
  • Fired at a very high heat to make them extremely durable

At Becker Building & Remodeling, our design-build process walks you through all these steps during your project design to help you be an educated decision-maker when it comes to the selections for your remodel.  If you’re interested in a remodel project, start the conversation with us by filling out our online form

How to Clean Stainless Steel

Let’s talk about stainless steel appliances.

Stainless steel is the most common finish for appliances and looks great – especially when it is shiny and smudge free. So, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for cleaning your appliances to keep them looking new! 


  • Find the grain – Yes, your stainless steel has “grain”, similar to wood. Find the direction it runs, either horizontal or vertical, and wipe with it for a better clean and shine.
  • Use soft microfiber or cotton clothes – They won’t scratch or leave any lint behind.
  • Use water – Always try to do less first. If a damp cloth cleans up the mess, then you’re done!
  • Liquid dish soap – For more stubborn smudges, put a drop or two of dish soap on a damp cloth and wipe.
  • Try glass cleaner – Sometimes those fingerprints just won’t budge. Try spraying a bit of glass cleaner on a cloth and wiping in a circular motion.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly – If you apply a cleaner, be sure you rinse after using and always dry your appliances with a clean cloth when you’re finished. Remember to go with the grain for the ultimate shine!


  • Spray cleaners directly onto your appliance – It’s hard to control how much cleaner you are using and where it lands. Instead, spray onto a cloth and then apply
  • Use abrasive brushes or scrubbing pads – They will scratch your beautiful new appliance.
  • Use harsh or abrasive cleaners – Harsh cleaners can scratch or dull the finish of your appliance, cleaners containing bleach could even stain them.

Want to see more photos of this beautiful White Bear Lake kitchen? Click here!

How to Choose – Ceiling Texture

“What ceiling texture would you like?”

I’m sorry, there are choices? Yes! There are tons of choices. And choosing the right one is important, because it can make a difference in price, durability, and looks of your remodeled space.

Let’s narrow it down to the four simplest and most common:



Acoustical Popcorn

You’re very familiar with an acoustical popcorn ceiling.  It involves a process of mixing tiny Styrofoam balls with paint, and then blasting them onto the ceiling.  It’s quick, inexpensive, and actually does a pretty decent job in stopping sound from bouncing off the ceiling, and therefore helping with echoes.

Downsides – it doesn’t have any stain-blocking properties, so it can show pre-existing stains over time.  It’s also hard to touch up.  And, it is sharp, so it can collect dust and debris. 



If you’ve visited any parade homes or model homes lately, you’re probably also very familiar with a knockdown ceiling.  It too involves a spraying of types, but then using a knife to literally “knock down” the bumps. It literally looks like a knife cut through a heavy textured ceiling.  After the knocking down, it gets painted with flat ceiling white.

Downsides – although more durable than acoustical popcorn, it is still a pretty strong texture, depending on the application.  And it adds painting to the process, so it’s more expensive.




Smooth is smooth.  The ceilings are treated the same way the walls are, with mud, sand, repeat.  Then it gets painted with flat ceiling white.  It’s a simple, clean, modern look.  It’s also a simple texture to use in a bathroom or small area when the rest of the house is still popcorn.  Smooth is so simple that it can compliment any other texture in the house, including popcorn.  So, if you’re remodeling your bathroom and don’t want to convert ALL the ceilings in your house, smooth is a good, durable way to go.

Downsides – it’s typically the most expensive way to go, and it shows the most.  If you have any inconsistencies in your ceiling, like most homes, you’ll see the waves and bumps.  It’s the simplest and cleanest, but also the most unforgiving in an imperfect house (which is, like, all of them). 


Orange Peel

My personal favorite for remodels, but I’m biased.  Orange peel is the silent underdog that’s got the best of all worlds.  It’s the underdog because it might seem to look a little too much like acoustical popcorn.  But, it’s not.  Similar in process to knockdown, there isn’t actually a knockdown process for this texture, but it requires a little more time and a little more finesse.  A light spraying of mud to create a subtle stipple makes it look similar to a flattened, subtle popcorn.  The stipple is so light that from afar it can look a lot like a smooth ceiling, but up close looks a little more like popcorn.  We like it because we do remodels.  If you’ve got one room that’s popcorn, and one that’s orange peel, they won’t look so insanely different like popcorn and knockdown.  And, if you have a large ceiling area and smooth won’t cut it, then orange peel will help hide the junk. It’s still durable, and still gets paint. 

Downsides – it’s the most expensive of the bunch, but not by much!