Honed or Polished Granite? Which is Better for Your Home

Selecting your countertops can be a daunting task with the variety of colors, stones, edges and finishes available. If you have narrowed down your options to granite, you now must consider the finish.

Honed granite is a more matte/low sheen finishes with a smooth touch. It fits in perfectly with more modern homes due to its more understated appearance, which is achieved by stopping the grinding process before the shine is achieved. However, you can add a color enhancer if you desire a more robust coloring. This adds to honed finish’s recent popularity.

Polished granite is more traditional with a high degree of shine resulting in an almost reflective look. It does not need to be sealed as often as honed granite, and due to the individual characteristics of each finish, they do require different care.

Identify which finish fits your family’s needs and looks better, and you are one step close to selecting your dream countertops!

Fall for Fireplaces

While it may be the first day of fall, the temperature is still hot, but that doesn’t mean it is too early to be thinking about cozy winter nights by a fireplace. Not only do fireplaces provide warmth, they also set the mood and ambiance for a space and provide a focal point. Your fireplace should be a beautiful centerpiece of the home as well as functional design, which is what these ideas provide:

  1. Marble or granite slabs can add a modern touch to the space and also provide a bit of timeless design. It is a seamless, cohesive focal point that could work in bedrooms, kitchens or living rooms.
  2. Marble tile now comes in a wide range of sizes and designs. This look could range from farmhouse to traditional to modern based on your selection, which highlights its versatility.
  3. Traditional fireplaces can be created with mantles and smaller pieces of stone, including granite or marble, surrounding the actual fireplace. This look opens the option to have a mantle with decor above it.
  4. If none of these options speak to you, call us today and we can discuss other options to design your fireplace, indoors or outdoors!

Countertop Edges

Not all edges are created equal, and not all edges cost the same. Understand your edge options:

Straight or Eased Edge

This a square edge that is rounded very slightly to prevent damage to the countertop or injuries. This a simple option that fits in all spaces.

Half Bevel Edge

This edge is subtle, yet more interesting and dynamic than the previous option. The rounded edge protects the counters and is a very popular option.

Quarter Round Edge

This edge’s versatility makes it the perfect option for all kitchens- classic or modern. It also works well in bathrooms and adds a bit of depth to the countertop.

Half Bullnose Edge

The curved upper portion turns into a straight ledge for the half bullnose. Similarly to the half bevel, this protects your countertops below and makes the surface appear thicker.

Full Bullnose

This is one of the most popular edges, known for its timeless look and sophistication. Its timeless aesthetic makes it a great option for any space.

Ogee

One of the premium edges, the Ogee style is the most popular selection for homeowners due to its unique shape and use in classical kitchens.

Double Bullnose

A bit more premium and dynamic, the double bullnose is a combination of two bullnose edges. This is great for those who want an interesting edge.

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Granite

Pros:
  • It is extremely durable,
  • The high density makes it more resistant to scratching and staining as well.
  • The sealant makes it easy to clean.
  • Granite is easily resistant to heat up to temperatures of 480°F.  However, to prevent possible damage, avoid extreme changes in temperature and do not intentionally place hot pots or pans on granite- it is still best to use pot holders.
  • They add value to your home since they are a sought after material.

Cons:

  • It needs to be sealed to make it more resistant to staining since it is somewhat porous.
  • It is more expensive than some of the other manufactured options.
  • There are not as many color variations as manufactured stones.

 

What’s the best way to keep granite countertops in good

Most of all, don’t stress over your countertops, says Epstein. “Natural materials don’t all look identical to one another and don’t remain factory-perfect over the course of their lifetimes—and they’re better for it.”

 

What should you consider when selecting a granite slab for your countertops?

It may sound obvious, but when selecting a stone, make sure you like the look of it. “The largest part of this decision is aesthetic,” says Epstein. “No matter what countertop you install, you’re going to need to care for it and live with it. You should choose the slab you like most.” Some granite slabs have more “movement”—or natural pattern—than others, so take time to consider what style suits your kitchen or bathroom.

Once you settle on the right aesthetic, make sure the slab you select isn’t cracked or filled excessively, she says, both of which cause structural weaknesses that lead to future problems.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Soapstone

Soapstone is a beautiful countertop option that does not require a sealant and is generally less expensive than the other stone options. Unlike the other natural stones, it darkens over time due to a process similar to oxidation, and will thus develop a patina. There are steps that you can take to ensure a consistent patin, and this can be a beautiful look of contrast in your home. So what are the benefits and negatives?

  • It has the most impenetrable surface making it the most resistant to bacteria, which is a benefit for your bathroom and kitchen.
  • It is extremely heat resistant, which is why it is frequently used on fireplaces. You can set a hot pan on soapstone countertops and it won’t crack, though that is never recommended.
  • Though not as strong as quartz, it has a similar hardness to marble, but makes up for it in its density, making it easier to clean the surface.
  • The largest negative to soapstone is the ability to chip and scratch with heavy wear.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Quartz Countertops

Quartz has been the rising star in the countertop world due to its range of colors, durability, and its ability to resemble the natural stones. However, to create quartz slabs, manufacturers combine 93% ground quartz with 7% resins, polymer and color pigments. Since it is a manufactured stone, there is a large range of color options and those similar to natural stone.

  • Since quartz countertops are a combination of stone and resin, the resulting slab is very hard and durable, like granite, but also non-porous, so no stain concerns.
  • Many people are attracted to it for its color variety, especially those wanting something that cannot be found in nature.
  • There are two leading brands of quartz countertops: Silestone and Cambria. Milestone has all the aforementioned benefits (strength, durability, low maintenance, stain resistant and wide color variety) and is the most well-known brand name. Cambria is the other popular brand that offers all the benefits of quartz, however, its largest differentiator is that it is the only brand made entirely in America.
  • Despite the strength of quartz countertops, you should still avoid abrasive cleansers and harsh chemicals, and refrain from placing hot pans on the countertops. The resins are not indestructible.

Everything You Need to Know About Caesarstone

When you have looked at Granite, Marble and Soapstone but can’t decide, it is time to consider caesarstone.  What is Caesarstone? It is a brand of quartz countertops. They have been in business since 1987 and were the inventor of quartz surfaces.  This material is engineered from a combination of crushed quartz mineral, crushed stone  and polymer binding agents.  It truly looks outstanding and its performance rivals that of granite in terms of durability and functionality.  Caesarstone designs retain the cool tactile qualities of nature’s strong minerals making it very scratch resistant.  It is also very hard and the seams can be made almost invisible.  The benefits of Caesarstone are:

–High Quality Appearance

–Very Durable

–Highly Versatile

–Non-porous

–Non-absorbing/VERY Hygienic

–Simple to Maintain

–Array of Colors

Quartz is simply an outstanding option when you are considering a countertop and Caesarstone is the best material with the highest quality of any that are available.  It can be used in the kitchen, bathroom vanities,  backsplashes and more.  Come in today and see what is available!

 

Everything You Need to Know About Porcelain Countertops

There is a reason porcelain countertops are taking over the commercial and residential space. They are designed to create a beautiful, durable space, which is why they can be used in all spaces of your home or commercial space. Discover why they’re taking over the marketplace:

DURABILITY

Porcelain is designed to last, meaning it does not stain, crack or yellow. The surface is can withstand detergents and chemicals, and it is highly scratch resistant.

VERSATILITY

Not only does it fit any design style, being available in both polished and unpolished finishes and able to replicate multiple finishes (concrete to marble- all are possible!), it can also be used in a variety of settings. These include kitchen countertops, commercial receptions, bathrooms, or even outdoor bars! Since it is resistant to extreme temperatures, humidity and UV light, this is the perfect option for outdoors.

MAINTENANCE

Porcelain never has to be sealed, can be easily cleaned with water and a towel, and no special cleaning products are required. What could be easier?!

Local Stones for Conscious Consumers

Some of the most exquisite stones in the world come from Italy, Brazil, Turkey and other countries, but did you know some pretty amazing stones are quarried here in the United States? Conscious consumers are purchasing more domestic products whenever possible. The benefit to our local economy has been well documented, in addition to the environmental benefits of reducing shipments and reliance on fossil fuels. Below are some of the products we can be proud to say are “Born in the USA”:

Virginia Mist Granite – is quarried in Culpeper, Virginia and is growing in popularity. It truly looks like it sounds with its dusty black background and swirls of gray.

Granite– in general is produced mostly in Texas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Georgia with these states comprising 64% of the market share.

Soapstone – made analyst prediction list to increase in popularity in 2020. It is quarried allover the US, including Texas and can be seen on countertops, around fireplaces and even used for sinks.

Marble – remains a popular choice and is found in Vermont with Danby being the most popular, Augusta White Marble found in Georgia, and Calacatta Lincoln Marble found in Colorado.

Regardless of their origin, some of the most amazing stones in the world are actually fabricated right here in the USA, so remember to include stones in your next renovation project and shop local!

New Year, New Trends

While granite remains a timeless option, there are some newcomers on the scene that goes from the eco-friendly to the luxurious and will take your kitchen or bath to a whole new level. Predictions for 2020 and the upcoming decade are full of options available as homeowners make their kitchens and bathrooms a design priority.

Quartz – an engineered, highly durable stone, is all the rage in countertops and is believed to not only continue but expand to more modern looks, include overhangs, in the coming year.

Dark Stones – are predicted to return this year and beyond. They not only add contrast, but can create the chic look you long for.

Tile – is no longer reserved for floors or backsplashes, but is back in countertops as well. It is a cheap alternative that can add both the charm and accent needed for a modern or classic look at a fraction of the cost.

Veining – is all about adding eye catching interest to any space. We saw it explode in water fall designs creating the statement piece for open concept designs. 2020 predictions are it will expand to backsplashes and much more.

Marble – is a hot trend that is showing no signs of slowing down. It adds value to a home, coordinates well with virtually every cabinet and flooring, is heat resistant, and ages gracefully acquiring a patina over time.

We think everyone is united with the open concepts popularity continuing making your kitchen truly a vital part of your entertainment space, which deserves the upmost attention. We looked at a few of the 2020 predictions, but welcome the opportunity to explore even more with you!