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Common Characteristics of Marble Countertops

Published February 4, 2015

Marble is quite different from other natural stone and its appeal through many past centuries has only augmented. There are other natural stone such as granite and quartz that are more durable and non-porous than marble (every natural stone wholesaler/distributor would unequivocally tell you this); however, the aesthetics of a marble top still trumps over these natural stone. Before you choose marble as your countertop material there are certain things that must be aware of beforehand. If you are living in the St. Louis, MO area and planning to buy marble countertop for kitchen or bathroom remodeling, then we can help you to choose the best variant at highly competitive prices.

As marble is formed naturally, there are obvious variations found from one slab to another in terms of color, veining, design and movement. No matter how careful you are with your top, marble will stain, etch, chip and scratch. You can have marble in two different variants namely honed and polished. Honed finish is deprived of shininess and reflective features thus making it difficult to locate scratches and etching on the surface. However, it makes it more susceptible to soak up spilled liquid on its surface. Polished finish provides a shinier and glossier look to the surface which would make locating scratches easier through reflection. Though the polish used makes it less porous. Located in the St. Louis, MO area, we could help you to decide the best finish for your marble countertop.

 

Since marble is a limestone, it has abundance of calcium in it which when comes in contact with anything acidic will go through a chemical reaction that will etch the marble. In general terms, etch refers to an area on the marble surface which is slightly more dull or grayish in appearance than other parts. Most people don’t even remember how their top got etched. In fact, as the time progresses, all these scratches and etching on the surface would soften up and become extremely difficult to spot and marble will develop a smooth appearance which is known as patina. This patina developed on the surface is the number one reason for many marble lovers to choose it as their countertop material.

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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.

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Things to know about Kitchen Cabinets

Published January 8, 2015

Kitchen cabinets differ by the choice of material used for their construction. Wood, by far is the most common material used, however, there are many wood-like variants available in the market that give more durability to the cabinets as well as are substantially cheaper than wood variants. When it comes to wood types, the major factors that influence the buying decision are color, graining pattern, cost, durability and availability. Many manufacturers in the St. Louis, Missouri area provide several options in material used for making kitchen cabinets.

 

In general, veneered cabinets provide better grain-match than pure hardwood variants because natural wood grain patterns are not consistent over the cabinet’s surface. Staining is often done with wood variants to add more style to the finished product. It is a process of covering wood with a solvent that contains dyes & pigments which helps in augmenting the natural grain or color tone of the original product. A wood type can be stained in such a way that it will replicate another wood type as well as different colors that are not available with that particular wood type.

 

Apart from natural wood and veneered variants, cabinets are also made with laminate and thermo foil which through various manufacturing processes are applied to a wide range of substrates.  Laminates have three different layers to them which include a base layer of paper, a colored layer that imitates natural wood color and a transparent protective layer which in some cases could provide the same durability as of a countertop surface.

Another option used to produce a wood-like appearance is thermo foil. It is a vinyl film which is applied to a substrate by subjecting it to varying levels of heat and pressure. This manufacturing process helps it to imitate wood better than laminates and makes it less prone to chipping. Laminates and thermo foil options are quite popular in the St. Louis, Missouri area as they provide a cheaper alternative to natural hardwood kitchen cabinets.

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Quartz: The Newest Fad in the Kitchen Countertop Market

Published January 6, 2015

Over the years countertop market has changed a lot and increasingly improving manufacturing technology has made new materials quite affordable to be used for residential purposes. Shifting from immemorial marble tops, to granite variants and now to quartz, the choices available for remodeling of kitchens and bathrooms are astounding. Cost, that used be the primary deterrent for using natural & engineered stone at homes, has quickly moved southwards and major quartz manufacturers such as Silestone & Caesarstone have been exporting these quality products all across the world at highly competitive prices.

In the St. Louis, Missouri area, you can find quartz countertops from both Silestone & Caesarstone brands.

 

There are some variants of quartz tops that are made out of quarried slabs of natural quartz but to lend them some other desired features, most tops are made up of engineered quartz which is manufactured by mixing a certain percentage of natural quartz (found in the earth’s crust) with a lower percentage of resins. In general, 93-95% of natural quartz is mixed with 7-5% of resins for the manufacturing of engineered quartz. Most of the engineered quartz variants used for making tops contain two commonly used resin types namely polyester resin and epoxy. To give captivating colors to quartz slabs, these resins are mixed with color pigments that bind the particles.

 

There are several advantages provided by engineered quartz over natural stone such as marble and granite, most notable of which is its high durability that makes it nearly indestructible. Due to its high durability, most manufacturers offer 10-15 years of warranty on them which is not possible with natural stone tops. You can find these slabs in various designs & colors and unlike granite there is no significant difference between the two engineered quartz slabs thus providing uniformity. There are some renowned suppliers in the St. Louis, Missouri area that offer numerous types of

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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.

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Types and Features of Stock Kitchen Cabinets

Published December 22, 2014

The two most important parts of kitchen remodeling that determine the aesthetics of the entire space are kitchen cabinets and countertops. There is a plethora of choices available in the market when it comes to cabinets and you may feel overwhelmed with these choices. To strike a perfect balance between the budget and looks, it is imperative to understand the differentiating features of these cabinets.

 

In general, kitchen cabinets can be divided into three different categories namely custom, semi-custom and stock types. Stock cabinets are available in certain standard sizes and shapes only since they are pre-manufactured as opposed to custom variants. There are some kitchen cabinets suppliers in the St. Louis, MO area that offer quality stock cabinets.

 

As they are pre-manufactured, their width and height also come in standard measurements. Most manufacturers offer these cabinets with width starting at 9 inches and increase it incrementally by 3 inches and in most cases this width goes up to the maximum of 48 inches. In terms of height, the standard measurement is 30 inches or 33 inches but it is not uncommon to see taller cabinets that are specifically made for bigger kitchen installation. Because they are pre-manufactured, they provide economies of scale and thus are more cost-effective than the other two types.

 

Stock cabinets are of two types: ready to assemble (RTA) and pre-assembled. RTA cabinets are similar to any other cabinet types that you will find at kitchen or bath stores. The only differentiating feature is that you need to assemble and install them on your own. Earlier, these cabinets were offered in limited designs and materials such as medium density fiberboard (MDF) cabinets with covering of melamine or thermo foil. In the St. Louis MO area, you can find some renowned kitchen cabinet suppliers that provide RTA as well as pre-assembled cabinets.

 

Not all types of stock cabinets require assembly as pre-assembled cabinets require only installation thus appreciably reducing the amount of work done in overall installation. You just have to unbox and install them in a pretty straightforward manner. However, they tend to be slightly more expensive than RTA cabinets.

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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.

 

Marble

 

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.

Granite

 

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.

 

Quartz

 

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.

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Different features of Granite Countertops

Published November 27, 2014

Countertops and kitchen cabinets are two important variables that decide the cost of kitchen remodeling as they take the major chunk out of your remodeling budget. People have always shown a propensity to buy natural stone tops for their kitchen & bathroom and granite is the most popular option at the moment that triumphs over both marble as well as quartz. Because of its various benefits and still affordable pricing, it has emerged as the number one contender for the title of best countertop material.

 

Granite belongs to the family of igneous rocks and has a crystalline formation and texture. Its primary constituents are feldspar, quartz, and mica. All granite slabs are not same and they differ from each other in terms of graining, movement and veining. More complex these three aspects are in a granite slab, more expensive would be the cost. You can find some excellent granite countertop suppliers in the St. Louis, Missouri area that offer a wide variety of granite tops.

 

Granite has high durability, excellent heat resistant properties, available in various colors & designs, and if sealed properly, shows quite high resistance to stains also. Granite is porous as any other natural stone would be and therefore allows liquids to penetrate its surface which may produce stains if acidic products are spilled over its surface.

 

Well-sealed granite tops do not allow this to happen as seal would add an extra protective layer on the surface so that there is a minimal absorption of liquids. It must be noted that not all granite countertops require to be sealed, though a seal may increase the resistive capability of the surface against water and acidic products.

It is generally assumed that the different levels of granite slabs are markers of the quality of these slabs. On the contrary, granite slabs are more and less of same quality only differing slightly due to natural variations. These levels in fact are markers of availability, design and price variations associated with these slabs. In the St. Louis, Missouri area, many granite suppliers provide countertops in different levels that are sourced from various places across the world.

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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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Granite Countertops and Natural Fissures

Published October 21, 2014

Granite and quartz countertops have progressively replaced marble tops and have become more common in kitchen and bathrooms because of the numerous advantages they provide over marble. Before we go into what fissures actually are, it is important to understand that they are completely different than cracks. A fissure is a naturally occurring characteristic developed by natural stone during their formation which can be described as weak points that are susceptible to cracking. Though, it is extremely rare to find fissures cracking during normal usage.

 

Natural stone are contiguous along fissures, hence, there is no separation developed over the surface and fissures run along smoothly without creating any depressions. It is possible to see and feel these fissures but as long as the stone’s surface is finished correctly there will be no depression or canal of significant depth evident on the surface. Hence, they will not affect the performance of the countertop in any way possible and you have nothing to worry about the bacterial growth.

 

A crack on the stone’s surface is a physical separation which is easily perceptible. It might be a hairline crack which doesn’t appear to have any significant separation. This hairline crack would not affect the stone in anyway unless you put the countertop through some heavy wear or because of some reason a lip is formed around the crack. It is only when a lip is formed you will find dirt etc. collecting on the surface which may result in bacterial growth.

 

In case of small cracks along the surface of your granite or quartz countertop, you can use a resin to fill it but it is important to make sure that the resin is absorbed into the stone uniformly. In some cases you can also apply permanent surface coatings of adhesives such as acrylic and epoxy.

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