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.
Useful Tips for Marble Cleaning & Maintenance
Published May 15, 2015
Marble is the only natural stone which is more popular because of its aesthetics than the physical properties it exhibits. Apart from its looks, there are many other desirable qualities that make it a fierce competitor to granite & quartz countertops. However, it requires more care than its counterparts. As discussed in a recent blog post, marble is made up of calcite which goes under a chemical reaction when it comes in contact with anything acidic thus leading to etching. Also, being a porous material, it absorbs liquids which could leave dark marks on the surface. However, with a little bit of precaution, these problems can be minimized.
In previous posts we have seen that etching and staining are quite different and consequently the methods used to remove them from your marble countertop also differ. It is possible that the same spot on the top goes through etching as well as staining. In this scenario, etching is removed prior to staining due to the reason that etching facilitates the staining process and must be dealt first.
Etching on a polished marble countertop can be easily removed with a help of a good etch remover which will through the abrasion process restores the polish of the top. Until and unless the etching is so pronounced that you could feel the roughness with your fingers, you can remove the etching on your own by following the instructions given on the etch remover. These etch removers though are not meant for honed marble types because they will provide a shiny texture to the marble. In fact, honed marble is preferred over polished because it is hard to notice etches on a honed surface and after a while these etches just became a part of the beautiful patina developed by marble.
Staining, on the other hand, can easily be avoided by sealing the marble countertop thus blocking liquids from permeating the slab. In the case of a polished marble, there is a good chance that staining would not be a problem as the polishing material itself acts as a sealing agent. Even then if staining occurs (honed or polished), then make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the stained area in a circular motion and cover it with a plastic sheet for about a day. Remove the plastic sheet and clean the paste with a wet cloth. Instead of a paste of baking soda and water, you can also use hydrogen peroxide. Though, hydrogen peroxide should not be applied to a dark marble type as it will lighten the area on application. Caveat: These methods may not work on your marble type or may damage the surface as different marbles are honed, polished, and sealed differently.
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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.
Popular Marble Types from Italy
Published September 11, 2014
The rare veining and smooth color contrast makes marble an obvious choice for elegant countertops. There is no other natural stone that lends the same panache as a white marble countertop does and the patina that marble acquires overtime is savored by those who have marble countertops in their houses. The intriguing and distinctive veining of marble tops make them to stand out as the best choice for luxurious countertops.
The mesmerizing beauty of marble comes from the way it’s formed beneath the earth’s surface. Marble is formed when limestone or dolomite rock is subjected to extreme heat and pressure. This process is responsible for giving marble its color and unique veining. Italy has a long and rich history with marble and some of the best marble in the world have come from here. Some of the more famous types of marble coming out of Italy are discussed below.
It differs from other varieties of marble with respect to veining. It has finer veining and an overall grayer look to it. This marble type is suitable for creating a subtle and sophisticated look which could match the other objects in the room. Veining on Carrara tend to be linear than on other marble types. It is also more readily available than other marble variants. Nowadays, it’s possible to buy Carrara marble countertops online at highly competitive prices.
People often get confused between Calacatta and Carrara marble types as they might look similar at first glance. Adding to this confusion, Calacatta comes from a place in Italy known as Carrara. Calacatta marble is rarer than the Carrara marble and has more white than gray tinge to it. The veining is also broader and patterns are larger and thicker. It also comes in brown & gold undertones and considered as a luxury stone. Calacatta marble countertops can be bought online too.
It is one of the rarest and the most precious marble variant found in Italy. It is predominantly white in color and has darkish gray veining. Due to its limited availability and high demand, it is generally used in the high-end projects.
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