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Things to Remember During Template Formation (Measure)
Published May 27, 2015
Once you have chosen a granite type (or any other natural stone) for your countertop, the next few steps would be concerned with the finalizing of the total cost related to granite slabs, templating, and installation. There are many unexpected costs that may pop up related to electrical work, plumbing, working on uneven substrate surface, etc. which are in most cases unavoidable. Templating forms the basis of installation and if any crucial information is missed here, then you would not be able to get that perfect granite countertop that you have dreamt of.
Templating refers to the process of using a material (mostly plywood) to project the spatial arrangement present in the installation area onto this material taking into account all the spatial variables present or that will be present once the installation is complete. It is important that you are present at home when the fabricator or supplier’s reps are measuring the countertop space. At the end of the process, they will ask you in written to authorize the templates so that there is no dispute later.
During measuring, it is important to discuss irregularities present in the surface (leveling required) or on the wall as well as if the wall is completely straight or curved at some point. Edge work needed should also be discussed so that the details such as overhang, thickness required, and the type of edge profile (square, bullnose, ogee, etc.) desired are clear and well-understood. When it comes to backsplash, length, height, and interruptions present should be taken into account. Once the sink cutouts for the top are created, the type required (under-mount or top-mount) should be discussed with the fabricator. Also, you must discuss the positioning of seams on the granite countertop depending on the appliances or other accessories that will be put consequently on the top. It is imperative that the cabinets are fitted before the measurement takes place because their positioning can alter the setting of the top.
The Weird Relationship Between Staining & Sealing
Published April 20, 2015
Staining & etching are two familiar words that go with the granite & marble countertops. Many natural stone sellers and experts recommend to seal the surface to arrest staining and that too every year or in every 3-5 years. However, not all types of granite (especially) have the same porosity. Some variants are so dense that they don’t require sealing ever. In fact, they don’t absorb sealers at all and the sealer just sits on the surface giving it a dull look. Depending on the absorption rate of the surface, even the layers of sealers required do vary. Hence, the so called ‘rule of thumb’ that every granite surface requires sealing and that too quite often is somewhat imprecise.
The primary constituent of a granite countertop is silica and in the case of a marble top it is calcite. These substances (silica & calcite) when come in contact with anything acidic, a chemical reaction takes place which corrodes or dulls the surface; this is what we call etching. It must be noted that etching is quite different from staining and sealers only help with the staining issues but are ineffective against etching. Staining happens when a liquid is absorbed through the surface and leaves a dark colored spot (against dull marks with etching) on the surface.
You can easily infer whether your granite countertop requires sealing or not with the help of a test. This simple test could be done with water but to check the extent of staining & etching it is better to do a lemon juice test. To start with, put some lemon juice on a small area (which is generally covered or unnoticed) and observe how quickly it darkens the area. If the darkening happens immediately, then the top is extremely porous and must be avoided. In the event the dark spot comes after 4-5 minutes, then the stone is reasonably non-porous and a sealer could be applied with three to four layers. If the darkening happens after 10-15 minutes, then the stone is quite dense and the sealer could be used but with a single layer only. If you see no darkening or perhaps after 30 minutes or so, then you have got a quality granite slab which absolutely doesn’t need any sealer.
Granite being made up of silica shows high resistance to etching; however, these days calcite is mixed in the granite slabs which may expedite etching. After the staining test, wipe the lemon juice and check for any dullness (etching). If there is excessive dullness on the tested area in comparison to the rest of the top, then it is better to avoid such countertops.
Granite or Quartz: Which One is the Better Countertop Material?
Published April 14, 2015
Many people who are remodelling their kitchen generally do get stuck with the question that whether they should go with granite or the engineered quartz for their countertop. In a recent blog, we outlined some basic differences between the two in terms of composition & physical properties. However, the problem regarding the superior of the two when compared w.r.t. cost, design, and performance in ever day situations, is still unsolved. Marketers as well as avid fans of both materials sometimes exaggerate or conceal certain important attributes which makes the correct choice quite difficult. Let’s try to objectively understand the salient features of both materials.
The range of quality granite slab per square foot could go from $ 30 to around $ 200, though for most remodelling plans the range from $ 45 to $ 100 is optimal. Quartz, on the other hand, ranges from around $ 50 to $ 100 but could be more expensive than this. It must be noted that the final installation charges may be significantly higher than what quoted, if you keep on including additional features such as complex edge work, cut-outs, etc. From the above price bands, it can be inferred that cost in both cases is quite similar and either of the materials could be chosen.
Engineered quartz doesn’t need sealing as it is a non-porous material so maintenance is assumed to be negligible. Granite even being a porous natural stone doesn’t require sealing in every case and if required it’s extremely easy. However, both materials require regular cleaning as any other top material would. Granite is highly heat resistant but engineered quartz though quite efficient in handling hot objects may get damaged with persistent heat. Quartz which is also found in granite is the fourth toughest material on earth and therefore has exemplary scratch resistant properties. In fact, granite for most practical situations also offer the same scratch resistant properties. Unlike granite, quartz may show signs of discoloration when exposed to sunlight for a long period of time.
Designing including movement and veining differ in granite & engineered quartz. Granite being a natural stone has unique movements and patterns that differ from one granite slab to another. Engineered quartz is more preferred by those who want to have uniform patterns rather than uneven natural movements. Hence, the choice here comes down to individual preferences. Engineered quartz, though, could replicate the natural patterns of granite through the customized manufacturing process.
There was a time when quartz used to be appreciably more expensive than granite but huge improvements in the manufacturing technologies have reduced the price gap between the two. Even the physical properties during normal kitchen activities do not differ significantly. So the final decision is more contingent on the individual preferences than anything else.
Experiment with Different Edge Profiles to Add Panache to Your Countertop
Published April 3, 2015
With the season of spring well & truly arrived in Missouri, many kitchen remodelling enthusiasts are looking for new ideas to enliven their kitchen space. As complete makeover of your kitchen will cost you a fortune, the more prudent option would be to go for a countertop change. Countertop being the cynosure of any kitchen, could dramatically change the entire aesthetic of your kitchen. As the options in the material, design, and price galore when it comes to tops, you will surely be spoiled for choices.
Most people think that edge profiles are purely for aesthetic purposes with no other value; however, they are critical with regards to cleaning, safety, and maintenance of the top. There are different types of edge profiles available with several variants within the same type. Rather than approving a profile by checking sketches or online samples, it is recommended to visit a store or a fabricator shop to go through tangible samples and feel the edge designs. Granite & quartz countertops being quite hard, allow various profiles to be used for the design.
Square edge profile is the simplest one which is devoid of curves; though to make tops safe for use, installers do slightly curve the edges. To give an appearance of extra-thick edges, square edge profiles could be mitered. Eased & mitered profile provides marginally eased edge with rounded corners that makes cleaning the top easier and minimizes the chipping as seen with the traditional square profile. Bullnose is the most used and famous edge profile in which the entire edge as well as the corners are rounded thus lending a smooth finish to the top. Demi-bullnose on the other hand is rounded from the top and straightened at the end. Ogee edge profile, another traditional option used with granite, marble & quartz countertops, has two continuous semi-rounded curves that add to the elegance of the top.
There are numerous edge profiles available within the aforementioned designs as well as completely different ones too. The cost of these profiles also vary and generally increases with the increase in the design complexity.
Know the Fundamental Differences Between Granite & Quartz Countertops
Published March 16, 2015
Granite and quartz are natural stone that offer various desired properties which make them a popular choice for kitchen & vanity tops. There are many misconceptions about these two materials that eventually hinder the selection process. It is imperative that you are well aware of their different properties such that you can make an informed decision about which of these two natural stone would be ideal for your kitchen space. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, we thoroughly discuss merits & demerits of various materials with our clients so that they could make the right selection when it comes to granite & quartz countertops.
The basic distinction between them comes from their composition which also in many ways affect their properties and appeal. Granite used for making tops is the same as quarried and nothing else is mixed into it. Hence, you could not find two slabs of granite that are replica of each other and therefore while choosing it, you must inspect the entire slab rather than just a small part of it. Quartz on the other hand, which is also a key ingredient of granite, is not used in its natural form to create countertops. Typically, quartz slabs have around 93-95 % natural quartz which is mixed with 7-5% of resins. Because of this reason, commercially used quartz is known as engineered quartz. The color pigments added to it are bound together with these resins which also provide a smooth surface to the stone.
Because of this manufacturing process, engineered quartz happens to be more durable and flexible than granite. Also, it is non-porous such that staining and bacterial growth are absent in quartz tops. Whereas, granite surfaces being porous are needed to be sealed periodically. Unlike granite, engineered quartz slabs can be replicated such that you can match your kitchen and bathroom space seamlessly. Though, due to the presence of resins, engineered quartz should not be exposed to direct sunlight (UV rays) as prolonged exposure might lead to discoloration and breakdown of the resin binder. Granite on the other hand doesn’t have this problem and it also exhibits way better heat-resistant properties.
Cost, once a primary distinguishing point between granite and quartz, has ceased to be the most relevant demarcator today. Traditionally, quartz used to be appreciably more expensive than most of the granite varieties but with the advent of highly efficient manufacturing processes the prices of engineered quartz have become comparable to third & higher levels of granite. You can visit our production facility/showroom in St. Louis, Missouri and we will provide you with the best prices possible for granite & quartz countertops.
Create Riveting Contrasts in Your Kitchen with Absolute Black Granite Countertops
Published March 12, 2015
Granite for quite some time now has been the darling of the countertop industry. It is seen as a favorable natural stone alternative to both quartz & marble because it seamlessly incorporates the best properties of these materials. Absolute Black, a famous variant of granite, lends an astounding contrast to the kitchen space when used against the lighter shade cabinets & accessories. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, we offer quality Absolute Black granite countertops at best possible market prices.
Absolute Black is available in polished as well as in honed finish. Both options have their own advantages and characteristics; however, honed finish is more preferred (as with marble too) because it allows the natural aesthetics of veining & movements to become more pronounce. This also gives the top a more subtle & sophisticated look which is similar to the patina developed by marble overtime thus providing the best of both worlds to the customers! Though the dark shade of the top does cleverly camouflage dirt on the surface but you still got to be very careful as without polished finish granite is quite susceptible to staining.
We also provide other types of black granite countertops in the St. Louis, Missouri area such as Impala Black, Labrador Golden Flake, and New Brazil Black. The best place to find black granite is India which has almost half of all known granite varieties; though, you can also find the black variant in places such as China, Zimbabwe, and Uruguay. Granite is quite popular choice for tops because it can provide high durability as given by quartz and at the same time could be as captivating as marble. Also, it has exemplary heat resistance properties and if sealed well, it exhibits remarkable immunity to both, etching as well as staining.
Different Options Available with Granite Countertops
Published January 16, 2015
Granite finds more customers than any other natural stone due to its many desirable features such as high durability, excellent heat resistant ability, availability in myriad designs & colors and different levels to choose from. It provides the same elegance as a marble top would but with added durability and a plethora of unique designs to play with. Many suppliers of granite countertops in the St. Louis, MO area offer four different levels of slabs so to provide as many options as possible to the customers.
You can find a granite slab in almost any color to match the aesthetics of your kitchen. Starting with the traditional white & black colors to cool gray tones or red & gold hues, the color options available are virtually limitless. Though it must be kept in mind that there is a natural variation in color among slabs of same type; hence, you must check the entire slab rather than just a sample at the stone supplier’s shop.
Most suppliers offer three widely used patterns when it comes to granite slabs: solid, marbled, and speckled. Solid pattern slabs show negligible variation in graining, movement and veining as the pattern is uniform throughout the surface of the slab. This is sometimes desirable if the kitchen space is limited and too many variations in the top may give a cramped look to the kitchen.
Marbled pattern slabs, as the name suggests, provide the same look as the high-end marble tops and have smooth transitions between veining and colors. Speckled pattern slabs are quite different to their counterparts as they exhibit appreciable variations in terms of colors and veining patterns which give a lively look to the entire space around them. In the St. Louis, MO area, some renowned suppliers do offer all these patterns as per the customers’ preferences for the fabrication of granite countertops.
Important things to know about Granite
Published December 23, 2014
When it comes to countertops, granite undoubtedly is the first choice of most people. It has become the most widely used natural stone for making tops due to its unique graining, movement and intricate veining. It has many desirable chemical properties such as excellent heat resistivity, high durability, and high immunity to etching & staining.
It must be noted that a sample of a granite slab does not give the true representation of the slab that you are planning to buy and therefore it is imperative that you must check out the entire slab before making the purchase. There are inherent variations in color and design of these slabs as they are mined from the quarries block by block. These natural variations in slabs are responsible for giving numerous choices within the same type of granite slabs.
Terms such as movement and veining refer to the natural patterns and waves that are formed on the surface of the granite slabs as a result of other minerals that get combined with granite during the formation process. Many natural stone suppliers in the St. Louis MO area provide quality granite countertops in numerous movement and veining patterns.
Another term which is used regularly with granite is fissures which are described as weak points developed by natural stone during their formation that could be susceptible to cracking. It’s extremely rare to find a granite slab breaking through the fissure because these slabs are contiguous along fissures, hence, there is no separation developed over the surface and fissures run along smoothly without creating any depressions.
Because of the natural variations in design and color, granite prices vary over a broad range. As with any other natural stone, the availability and demand determine the price of a particular granite type. Though, rarer or exotic granite types would always be priced higher due to their exclusiveness. In the St. Louis MO area, many suppliers offer granite countertops in different levels, colors and designs.
Spoilt for Choice: Types of Countertop Materials
Published December 19, 2014
There was a time when the only natural stone countertop available in the market was of marble. However, because of economies of scale and technological advancements, countertops made up of granite, quartz and other extremely expensive materials have become quite common these days. Some suppliers in the St. Louis, MO area offer marble, granite and quartz countertops at highly competitive prices making it possible to use them at home. These countertop materials that are widely used today are discussed below.
It’s the timeless beauty that is mostly used for its elegance than any other feature. Its gradually developed patina and distinctive veining makes it a number one choice for high-end facilities. Marble’s heat resistant property makes it highly immune to hot objects such as hot pans and pots. It could be easily found and installed than any other type of natural stone. Being a poor conductor of heat, it naturally remains at lower temperatures thus making it an ideal choice for kneading and baking.
It comes from the family of igneous rocks and due to variations in its formation process, granite slabs differ from each other in terms of graining, movement and veining. Granite exhibits high durability, exceptional heat resistant properties, comes in various colors & designs, and if sealed properly, shows quite high resistance to stains also. Granite tops are relatively more expensive than the marble ones but they provided many benefits that are absent in marble tops. In the St. Louis, MO area many suppliers provide different levels of granite countertops.
Though it’s a natural stone but the variant used for making countertops is known as engineered quartz which is 93 % quartz and 7 % resin. This modification allows manufacturing of quartz slabs in numerous designs & colors. It has higher durability than both marble and granite tops and since it is non-porous, you don’t have to seal it. Quartz is the most expensive of these three materials but comparable to higher-end variants of marble and granite.
Create Unique Kitchen Space with Stylish Silestone Countertops
Published November 24, 2014
Silestone is a variant of engineered quartz that consists of 94 percent natural quartz and 6 percent resin. In general, engineered quartz uses two different types of resin namely polyester resin or epoxy. These resins when mixed with color pigments bind the particles together and allow different color choices within the manufactured quartz. Cosentino, a major quartz manufacturer, offers Silestone brand which is known for its quality countertops and affordable pricing throughout the world.
As it has 94 percent natural quartz it scores over other countertop materials as it is maintenance free, extremely resistant to scratching, etching, staining, and heat. You can find this alluring material in numerous colors and finishes which is not possible with natural stone tops. Silestone is available in over 60 colors and many textures that provide plenty of choices for kitchen remodeling. There are some excellent suppliers of quartz countertops in the St. Louis, Missouri area that offer quality Silestone products.
There are various benefits offered by engineered quartz especially the high durability that makes it nearly indestructible. Silestone advanced manufacturing technology takes it to the next level and provides 15 years certified warranty on its various products. You could not find such assurance with natural stone tops made of marble and granite.
The non-porous ability of Silestone makes it extremely resistant to staining. This makes it impervious to etching caused by acidic substances such as wine, vinegar, coffee, fruit juices, soft drinks and other sources of stains. Due to its non-porous property, there is absolutely no need to seal it. Many quartz countertops suppliers in the St. Louis, Missouri region provide both Caesarstone and Silestone products.
Silestone is the only brand in the world that has its own bacteriostatic formula which makes use of highly advanced silver ions technology to arrest the bacterial growth on the surface of countertops. This cutting edge silver ions technology provides an added layer of protection against the bacterial formation caused by spillage and left over food on the surface.
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