Author Archives: TheCountertopFactory

How to Tell If Countertop Is Granite or Quartz

best quartz countertop

When homeowners are looking to remodel their homes, the popular debate is whether they should install granite or quartz countertops. The experienced homeowners know the difference between the two, but the new ones are always asking how to tell if the countertop is granite or quartz.

Before we tell you how to tell the difference, let’s start with knowing about each countertop material.

What is quartz?

Quartz is a manmade material made up of 90-95% quartz and 5-10% resin. Often referred to as engineered stone, the material is made from leftover quartz that is ground and mixed with resin.

Quartz occurs in a variety of colors ranging from whites to purples and blues. You can leave the countertop material naturally colored or enhance it to achieve a particular color or pattern. Since quartz is manufactured, it comes in a variety of slab sizes and shapes.

What is granite?

Granite is a 100% natural occurring rock formed over some time by the cooling of molten lava. As lava cools and compresses over centuries, it forms flecks and striations that give the countertops its character.

The granite stone is made up of several minerals that give each slab different colours and characteristics.

Granite is harvested in a quarry where it’s later cut into manageable slab sizes. From there it’s sent to the supplier where it’s polished to achieve its characteristic shine. The supplier then cuts it again to fit your bathroom countertop or kitchen island size.

How can you tell if a countertop material is granite or quartz?

For you to tell the countertop material you are dealing with; you need to look at several factors that include:

Appearance

Since granite is natural, it has an earthier texture that results from mineral crystals which often bear microscopic fissures.

Quartz is bound with resin which means the countertop doesn’t have the crystalline structure or natural fissures similar to those you find in granite. Due to this, quartz has a smoother texture. You should note that the more finely ground the quartz is, the glossier and more polished the overall appearance is.

Price

Just like any other countertop material, the cost of granite and quartz varies depending on the slab thickness, color, edge profile, and whether the countertop will house a sink.

Regardless of all this, quartz is generally cheaper than granite. The extra cost of granite is due to the months, or even years it can take to locate and quarry granite. It’s also expensive to transport granite from India, Russia, and Brazil, where most of the world’s supply is found.

Quartz is abundant and often mined in the United States (primarily Arkansas) hence the lower costs which are passed on to you.

Size

A standard granite slab measures 105 by 54 inches which is narrower and shorter than standard-sized quartz slab that measures 120 by 55 inches or the jumbo-sized quartz slab at 129 by 65 inches.

While the smaller size makes it easier to install granite slabs as the granite installers have an easier time handling the slabs, the slabs cover a smaller area; hence you have to purchase many of them. It also means you have many unsightly seams to deal with.

Wider and taller quartz slabs allow you to cover small and large countertop areas with fewer slabs. This means more savings and fewer seams.

Maintenance and durability

Although, both materials are durable, granite is relatively porous hence requires sealing after installation, then periodic sealing on an ongoing basis. Granite slabs also tend to have natural flaws that make them prone to cracking.

Quartz doesn’t require any sealing and its uniform throughout, which means it rarely cracks.

The resins in quartz slabs makes them highly resistant to staining compared to granite. The resins also make quartz less susceptible to harboring bacteria.

Which one is better?

Your choice between the two is solely dependent on your preferences. You might be attracted to the natural veining and beauty of granite slabs or be drawn to the consistency of quartz.

Regardless of the material you choose, you should note that none is DIY friendly so you will have to hire granite contractors Durham to help you with the installation.

6 Inexpensive Kitchen Countertops

Everyone wants to install high-end kitchen countertops in their home, but sometimes due to financial constraints, they are unable so they have to think about the next best option. Luckily, there are several inexpensive countertop options you can go with. The most common ones being:

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are cheap, easy to find, easy to cut, easy to install, and come in different varieties. While they are great, they come with their fair share of flaws: they are difficult to maintain as you have to keep on sealing them, they are hard to clean unless you add a layer of epoxy, and some homeowners feel they are unhygienic.

While this is the case, they are a great alternative if you aren’t in a good financial position.

Laminate

There are two types of laminate countertops: cheap and expensive. The expensive type looks good for a long time, looks better, and handles more heat and height. While some people might frown upon the cheap variety, it isn’t that bad as long as you are cautious about how you use it.

You will find fairly cheap and still in good condition laminate countertops from your local store. The countertops might not be the prettiest or the sturdiest, but they will get the work done.

The most popular option you can go with is Formica. If you don’t like the brand, there are plenty of others such as: Pionite, Bevella, CustomCraft, Wilsonart, Corinthian, Hampton Bay, and many others.

Tiles

Many people know tiles when they are installed to the floor, but they aren’t limited to only here. You can also install tile countertops on the ceiling, swimming pool, balcony, vanities, walls, and of course, on the countertops.

The beauty with tiles is that they are waterproof, elegant to look at, and low maintenance. They are also easy and quick to install, so you can even install them by yourself even with basic skills. While this is the case, it’s always wise to hire a professional as the contractor does the work better.

Granite remnants

If your kitchen isn’t too big, you can give the countertops an elegant appeal using granite remnants. For those that don’t know, granite remnants are bits and pieces that are left over after completing the previous projects.

Visit the local stone store and buy any remnants that might be there. If you know a friend or family member that recently had a granite project, approach them and ask them for the remnants that the contractors left behind.

You can combine the remnants to make a beautiful countertop. While the countertops will have a strange look, they won’t be too bad, especially if an expert does the work. The contractor will fix the pieces together, glue, and seal them, ensuring there is no risk of the liquids seeping into the cracks.

One of the best places to install the remnants is in the kitchen islands. When you install them, you should note that you have to reseal them more often than the traditional countertops, so you should be ready for it. For example, if you reseal the regular countertops once a year, reseal the remnants twice a year.

Wood

Wood is elegant looking, works excellently, lasts for a long time, and its fairly inexpensive. There are plenty of wood varieties you can install in your home. For example, you can install walnut, cherry, mahogany, pinewood, or any other variety that you love.

If you are on a budget, consider balancing a plain wooden countertop with other cool elements. Since you are strapped for cash, you should find the wood variety that is the cheapest in your area and find out whether it will look good for your countertops.

When you find the right wood, install and seal it.

Paint

If you are looking to revamp old wooden countertops, paint makes such an excellent option. You can do the painting by yourself or hire contractors such as granite contractors Raleigh to help you out.

As you are painting the countertops, you should note that they don’t look stylish or expensive, but they sure do look neat. When choosing the paint, go for a high-quality one that blends with your kitchen design.

What Are Laminate Countertops Made Of

Although laminate has been around for a long time, many people still don’t know much about them, so you will often hear them wondering what are laminate countertops made of. If you are one of the people asking this question, here are a few things you should know about the countertops:

What are the countertops made of?

The countertops were invented in the early 1900s by engineers from Westinghouse Company. They invented the product from phenolic resins that serve as an industrial insulator. The engineers later left Westinghouse and created the Formica Company that popularized the material.

The countertops are made by combining layers of resins and paper into a single, semi-rigid plastic sheet. The manufacturers use Brown Kraft paper for the bottom layers. The layers are pressed together while cooked, which forces all of the resins and papers to chemically bond into one plasticized sheet.

The countertops come in different grades, often referred to as “grades.” The most popular grades are: horizontal and vertical. The horizontal grade is the thickest type engineered for heavy use and high impact. Since it’s the thickest, it lasts for a long time. Unfortunately, it’s stiff hence difficult to form.

The vertical grade is often used for backsplashes and other areas that can’t withstand a lot of abuse as the other countertops.

Why should you buy a laminate?

Laminate comes with plenty of attractive features that make it a great choice. Some of these features include:

It’s affordable: If you are strapped for cash, laminate is one of the most affordable materials in the market that you can go for.

Elegant appeal: While the countertops materials are cheap, they resemble their more expensive, premium competitors such as granite and marble. This means you can give your home a high-end look at a meager price.

They are easy to install: Since the countertops are lightweight, they are easy to install. You can easily install them on your own without requiring the services of a professional.

Easy to clean: When you pour a potentially staining product on the countertops, getting rid of it is easy. You only need a clean, moist material. When cleaning, avoid using chemicals and abrasives as they can dull the surface or even destroy the resin.

Unlike marble and granite countertops, the countertops are practically maintenance-free as you don’t need to seal or oil them.

Stain-resistant: Since the countertops are made from plastic, they are waterproof. This means they easily repel stains, so you don’t have to worry about them getting stained and looking ugly.

Versatile: The countertops come in a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns. It’s all up to you to choose the ones that are ideal for you. The beauty of it is that you can even get the countertops customized to your liking.

Cons of the countertops

While the countertops are excellent for use in your home, they have several setbacks:

Easily get damaged: Since they are made from layers that are glued together, they easily get damaged when you aren’t cautious when handling them. When you place hot pans or a cigarette on them, you can easily melt them.

The top of the countertops is also highly susceptible to scratches from sharp knives and other items. Unfortunately, unlike other materials that you can easily repair, the countertops are difficult, so you have no option, other than to replace them.

Don’t have a huge impact on the resale value of the house: Compared to granite and marble countertops, laminate doesn’t add much resale value to the house. So you can’t invest in the countertops with the hope that you will recoup your money once you sell your house.

How do you take care of the countertops?

For you to prevent the countertops from getting damaged, you should take good care of them. As motioned above, when you are cleaning the countertops, always ensure that you don’t use abrasive cleaners. You also should avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach.

Since you can only hire countertop replacement NC professionals to replace the damaged countertops, you should be ultra-cautious what you place on the surfaces. As a rule of thumb, never place hot pans on the surfaces. You also should never place any hot material on the surfaces.

How To Cut Granite Countertops By Hand

granite countertops

One of the prime reasons you may want to cut granite countertops by hand is if you have small granite blocks that were left behind by the contractor, and you would like to use them in other applications such as making stools or other surfaces.

There are plenty of tools you can use to do the cutting. The most common one is the wide-bladed chisel. When cutting the countertops, you need to consider plenty of factors that include:

Safety tips

You need to be safe when cutting the countertops. To do it:

  • Ensure that your hand is out of the way, so you don’t hurt yourself.
  • Roll up your sleeves and tie your hair back, so it doesn’t hurt you.
  • It’s wise you wear safety goggles and a dust mask. This keeps granite from getting into your eyes and silica dust from entering your lungs.
  • You should wear ear protection.

Set up the work area

The work area should be sturdy such that it can effectively hold the granite in place. To have an easy time cleaning once you are done, cut the granite outdoors. If cutting the granite indoors, lay drop cloths on the floor to cover the areas of interest. It’s also wise you have a shop-type vacuum in the area to help you with the cleaning.

Mark the area you want to cut.

Measure the desired length and width you want to cut on the granite then place three strips of painter’s tape on the area you are looking to cut. You should note that you don’t have to be precise when placing the tape as the purpose of the tape is to protect the surface and reduce the risk of chipping.

Before you begin cutting, double-check the measurements, and ensure they are correct.  Remember to add an extra 1/6 of an inch for the chisel and saw blade width and mark the measurements with a pencil.

Once you are sure that the measurements are correct, position the granite section directly in front so that it’s visible. You should then put on your safety goggles and position the carbide-tipped point chisel directly in the top edge of the marked line.

The line should be at one of the edges of the granite section. Hold the grip of the chisel with the point resting against the granite, and using your other hand, gently tap the head with a mallet.

Chisel a groove

At one corner, chisel a groove at least ½ inch in depth. You should then chisel marks directly along the straight line you drew across the granite section. When making marks, ensure they are in a perfect line. Continue until you have chiseled at least six inches along the line from the end of the countertop.

Insert a blade into the groove

After completing making grooves, place the chisel and mallet aside and insert the blade of your handsaw into the groove. Cut the granite with a sawing motion until you successfully cut the entire section.

To cut down on dust accumulation, wet the blade as desired, then continue cutting until you cut the entire line of granite.

Polish the countertop

If the cut end of the granite slab or countertop will be facing a wall or another object, you should polish it. To smoothen it, fit an angle grinder with a diamond grinding wheel, then smooth and shape the edges to your liking.

Tips when cutting granite with hand

To avoid injury, avoid wearing gloves, especially when using a saw. This is because groves will weaken your grip on the saw.

When cutting or polishing the countertop, ensure you use the right blade. As a rule of thumb, use blades designed to cut natural stone. In addition to the wrong blade putting you at the risk of getting hurt, you can also damage the saw or blade.

Parting shot

This is what you need to know when you are cutting a granite slab with your hands. The process is risky, so if you aren’t ready for it, hire granite contractors Raleigh to help you out. The good thing is that the contractors will come with specialized tools, so they will get the work done fast.

Thinking About Undertaking Countertop Replacement? 7 Valuable Tips You Should Consider

soild surface countertops

If you have had your countertops for a long time and don’t like the current look, the countertops have worn out, or you are looking to sell the house, it’s time to think about replacing them. For the countertop replacement process to proceed smoothly, you need to understand how to go about it. Here are 7 valuable tips you should follow:

Pay attention to the flooring and cabinets

The nature of the cabinets and floor will not only influence the color of countertops you should install, it also will determine the type of countertops you should go with. Different countertop materials have different weights, and by installing countertops that are too heavy, you will damage the floor or the cabinets.

If you had previously installed plastic laminate countertops and you want to change to stone countertops, pay close attention to the integrity of the floor and cabinets and ensure that it can carry the weight.

If your cabinets aren’t strong enough, you have two options: replace the cabinets or settle for lightweight countertop material.

Know your countertop options

If you installed your countertops over a decade ago, you should know there are plenty of countertop options you can go with. From manmade materials to natural stone, you have a whole array of materials to choose from.

You need to do your research and find the best material to go with. If you aren’t sure how to go about it, consult an expert contractor to help you out.

Change the backsplash

Many people replacing their countertops forget replacing the backsplash, which gives their kitchen a confused look. The backsplash is the kitchen wall material. When the new countertops don’t blend naturally with the backsplash, you give the impression you didn’t think through the kitchen design.

Just like kitchen countertops, backsplashes come in different designs. There are small ones that cover only the sink area, midsized backsplashes, and even large ones that span the entire wall. They also come in different colors and textures.

It doesn’t matter what your dream kitchen should look like, but for a cozy, rustic, and modern look, ensure that the backsplash matches the new countertop material. You can buy a new material that blends flawlessly with the backsplash or replace the backsplash to match the countertop.

Don’t neglect the old appliances

The large kitchen appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher are expensive. If you have the budget, you can replace them, but if they are still in good order, you don’t have to.

Instead, simply think about their color, and when buying the new countertops, buy countertops that are close to the color of the appliances. This way, the appliances don’t look out of place, so the kitchen has an elegant design.

Think about the lighting

What is the nature of the lighting in your kitchen? Under-cabinet lighting is excellent for dull surfaces, but it creates glare on the polished stone. If you have stone countertops, you may not even need to install under cabinet lighting—overhead lighting is enough.

A modern kitchen needs to be properly lit. To have an easy time doing it, consult a professional who will recommend the best lighting options to go with depending on the size of the kitchen, and installed countertops.

Take note of the sink and other plumbing appliances

Unless you have an under-mount sink, in most cases, when you install a new countertop material, you have to install a new sink. Even if you have an under-mount sink, you may have to change the faucet so that it matches the new countertops.

Work with an experienced countertop contractor

You are bound to make plenty of mistakes when you opt to go at it alone. To have an easy time and ensure you are making the right choices, have reputable granite contractors Durham or any other professionals by your side.

The contractors will help you choose the right material that your cabinets can carry. If the kitchen needs any design changes to match the current countertops, the professionals will also help you come up with the new designs.

The contractors will also help you scout for the new countertop materials that will give your kitchen a look you have always dreamt about.

6 Questions To Help You Decide On New Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertops

In addition to being beautiful, kitchen countertops need to be durable and economical. For you to buy countertops with these features, you need to ask yourself several questions that include:

How will you be using the countertops?

How you use the countertops depends on how you cook. Do you cook more often? Do you bake a lot? Do you chop a lot? Do you have multiple people using the kitchen at the same time? All of these will determine how you use the countertops and how long they last.

If you use the kitchen a lot and you have the luxury of space, consider going for countertops made from different materials. If you chop things when cooking, go with butcher’s block as it creates a better cutting board.

If you bake a lot or you handle a lot of dough, go with marble countertops.

Mixing and matching different countertop materials helps you save more as you spend less on the countertops. For example, if you have a kitchen island, instead of installing premium granite countertops there, install a cheaper material then spend more on the adjacent areas that take up fewer feet.

Do you lead a busy life?

We are different and can withstand different types of maintenance. Some have a lot of time and can clean the countertops several times a day while others are busy such that they don’t have time to clean their houses even once.

Your lifestyle will significantly determine the type of countertops you should go for.

If you are busy, consider going for non-porous materials such as quartz. These require a simple wipe down, and you are good to go. Other materials such as limestone, marble, granite, and other porous materials are easy to maintain, but you have to oil and seal them once a year.

If you are still confused about the right type of countertop you should go for, get the input of a professional.

What is your ideal kitchen look?

We all have a way we want out kitchens to look like. Some want a high-end look, while others don’t mind a simple look. How you have always envisioned your kitchen will significantly determine the countertop materials you choose.

Do you love a particular color? You should go for it. As you are making your choice, remember that preferences change over time, so you should go with materials with veins or splashes of color as they will keep your options open.

Have you always wanted a premium look? Granite countertops are your go-to pieces. On the other hand, if you want a simple countertop, wooden countertops aren’t bad for you.

How big is your kitchen?

The size of your kitchen influences plenty of things, including the design of the kitchen, your material of choice, and other things. If you have a large kitchen, you can get away with more than one material, but if your kitchen is small, you have to stick with one material to avoid giving your kitchen a confused look.

What is your budget?

Different materials go at different prices. High-end marble or granite countertops cost much higher than butcher’s block. If your pockets aren’t deep enough, you will be limited to the types of countertops you can go for.

Many people shy from the material of their dreams because they think it’s going to be too expensive for them, but this isn’t always the case. Before you give up on the material of your dreams, check with the countertop stores. Visit a few stores and compare the prices.

It’s not surprising to find the prices low enough for you to afford the pieces.

While this is the case, you should note that how you maintain the countertops is the most important thing. If you don’t give good care to granite, it won’t last long.

Which materials match your home design?

While it’s always wise to think ahead about the material you are going to install as you are designing and constructing your house, in most cases this isn’t possible. Of course, you should choose the countertops that match your home design.

If you aren’t sure about the right material to go for, get the input of granite contractors Raleigh or any other professional.

Granite Contractors: 7 Ways You Might Be Ruining Your Countertops

When you install granite kitchen countertops, you want to keep them looking good for a long time. While this is the case, granite contractors note that some homeowners destroy their countertops without even realizing it. Here are some of the ways you might be ruining your countertops:

You place a lot of weight on the countertops

While they appear tough and indestructible, you will destroy the countertops when you place a lot of weight on them. When you place heavy objects near unsupported joints or edges, you will cause cracks, fractures, and ruptures that are expensive and difficult to repair.

Homeowners are more likely to place a lot of weight on the countertops when they are preparing food. Take care not to place a heavy microwave or any other heavy appliance on the countertops. You also should avoid standing on the countertops.

You constantly expose the countertops to high heat

When you repeatedly expose the countertops to high temperatures, you put the countertops at the risk of cracking or even discoloring. Regardless of how tough the countertops are, avoid exposing them to high temperatures. Instead, cover the surfaces with towels, placemats, and hot pads.

To avoid discoloring the surfaces, before you use any heat-generating appliances such as toaster ovens and slow cookers, take a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations.

While hot pans are meant to protect the surfaces, sometimes placing them on the surfaces can lead to cracking or even discoloration. Again, check the manufacturer recommendations before using the protective materials.

You place acidic foods on the countertops

Do you have marble countertops in your home? You should take care of how you handle them, as placing acidic products on them can cause them to be dull. The countertops are made of calcium carbonate, which is a base and highly sensitive to any acidic materials.

As you are preparing your food, a simple splash of wine, vinegar, lemon juice, or tomato source will etch the countertop surfaces. To protect the surfaces, always clean up the countertops immediately you spill anything acidic on them.

Cleaning the surfaces isn’t enough. You also should neutralize the stain by sprinkling baking soda on it.

You cut and chop directly on the countertops

If you have granite or quartz countertops, you don’t have to worry too much about damaging them when you cut directly on them as they are scratch-resistant. Unfortunately, you should be concerned about your knives as the tough countertops will damage the knives.

Do you have marble and other countertops that are prone to scratching? Avoid using the knives directly on the countertops as they will scratch easily, giving the countertops a cheap look.

When you destroy the surface sealant, you create holes on the countertops where bacteria can grow in.

You allow water to build up on the countertops

As long as you have sealed the countertops, you don’t have to worry about water accumulating on the surfaces, right? Wrong! Sealing the countertops prevents the liquids from seeping through and stains from coming about.

When you allow spills to stay on the countertops for a long time, you increase the chances of the countertops getting damaged. This often leads to white crusty build-up and stains coming about.

You don’t have to run to wipe the spills, but at the same time, you shouldn’t let the water sit on the surfaces for too long. For example, don’t let the water sit on the surfaces until they evaporate.

You allow a lot of sunlight to get in the house

A bright and sunny kitchen makes the kitchen appear large, spacious, and elegant. While this is the case, having a lot of direct sunlight can be harmful to the kitchen surfaces. For example, if you have laminate countertops, exposing them to a lot of sunlight will make them fade.

The sealant on wood and granite countertops is vulnerable to fading in sunlight. To protect your surfaces, close the blinds during the sunniest hours of the day.

You are using harsh cleaning products

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to use tough cleaning products to keep the kitchen countertops Durham clean. In most cases, you only need water and a piece of cloth.

To keep the surfaces in top condition, avoid supplies containing bleach or ammonia as they will remove the shine and any protective coating that might be present.

Tricks On How To Extend The Life Of Quartz Countertops And Other Countertop Materials

best quartz countertop

Granite, solid surface or quartz countertops are designed to last for decades. If you don’t have money to replace the countertops after this time, you should take good care of the countertops so that they last for a long time.

There are plenty of things you can do to extend the life of your countertops. Some of these things include:

Get rid of spills

Countertops are constantly being exposed to spills and splashes from tipped can of soda to poured milk. When spills happen, you should get rid of them immediately. This is because granite and solid-surface countertops tend to stain when exposed to wine, and coffee.

You also should regularly clean the countertops even if no spills have happened. When cleaning, use a mild solution of water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. To do it, spritz the countertop, then run a clean damp piece of cloth over it, then dry the surfaces with a soft dish towel.

Drying the damp countertop prevents hard water stains that form as a result of letting the water droplets dry on their own.

Seal the countertops with a quality sealant

Granite and marble countertops are porous, which makes them prone to absorbing oils and spills. They also tend to accumulate stains easily. To prevent this from happening, seal the countertops.

Remember to use a high-quality sealant that will last for a long time and give excellent results. You also should hire a reputable contractor who understands how the process is done.

You should note that improper sealing tends to weaken the stone, making it dull and also increases the risk of the countertop developing mold and mildew.

Protect the surfaces

While they are heat resistant, natural stone countertops aren’t designed to hold hot items such as hot pans and pots. To give them long life, always use a trivet, mitt or towel to prevent direct contact of the hot plate and the countertop.

If you have a sink molded out of solid surface material, be cautious when draining the boiling water as the sinks are also prone to damage. To protect the surfaces, run cold water when pouring the hot water to temper the boiling water and protect the solid surface sink.

You also should always use a cutting board when chopping onions, vegetables and other products.

When you are in the kitchen, it’s normal to sit on the countertops chatting with a family member or friend. Don’t do this as you will damage the countertops.

Quartz is tough and less likely to crack, but granite can easily crack due to the natural fissures running through the stone. Sometimes the fissures are too weak in certain areas and crack on excess weight.

Use recommended cleaning supplies

Cleaning the countertops is one of the ways of giving the countertops a long life, but if you use the wrong products, you will be destroying them. You want high-quality products that will maintain the natural shine of the countertops.

As a rule of thumb, avoid products containing acids as they will etch the countertops and destroy them. For best results, use products recommended for the specific type of countertop you are looking to clean.

Repair the minor flaws

It’s the minor issues that get worse over time, and when you go for a long time without giving them any attention, you will eventually have to undertake countertop replacement. To avoid this, you should repair the minor scratches as soon as you notice them.

Luckily you can get rid of them by sanding the surface down or using a soft type of a scrubbing product that will smoothen down the edges of the scratches. To ensure that you are doing the right thing, follow the instructions that came with the countertops.

You can also ask a contractor to help you out.

Conclusion

These are some of the tricks you can use to extend the life of your countertops. To have an easy time, ensure that you buy high-quality countertops. You also should ensure that the pieces are professionally installed by experienced granite contractors Raleigh or any other experts.

5 Factors To Consider When Buying Granite Countertops

granite countertops

When you ask any homeowner, they will tell you that they want granite countertops. The countertops have been around for a long time, and they are not only durable, but they also significantly improve the look of the house.

For you to buy countertops you will be proud of, you need to be ultra-cautious when making the purchase. Some of the factors you should consider when buying include:

Your tastes and preferences

There is no way you are going to be proud of your purchase if it doesn’t suit your tastes and preferences. So, for you to be happy, ensure that the countertops look good in your eyes.

When you are in the countertop store, ask yourself several questions:

  • Do you love a stable or moving countertop?
  • A light or dark-colored one?
  • When you think about the perfect countertop, what comes to your mind?
  • Do you love straight lines or right angles?
  • Are you a lover of details?
  • What about vein style. Do you like it?

Most of the countertop companies have plenty of countertops that you might be confused about the right one to go for. To avoid this, talk to your fabricator, who will guide you on the right piece. It’s also wise that you carry the slab to your house and see how it blends with the rest of the house.

Remember, you might like the look of the countertop while at the store only for it to be unpleasant at home.

The size of the kitchen

Do you have a large or small kitchen? The size of your kitchen will significantly affect the type of countertop that you should go for. If you have a small kitchen, go for a light-colored granite.

The countertop will make the kitchen look spacious and smarter, even with little natural light.

Are you one of the lucky people, and you have a large kitchen? Experiment with dark colors. Carry a few dark-colored slabs to your home and see how they look in your kitchen.

The pattern of the countertops is also heavily influenced by the size of the kitchen. Three primary patterns that you can go for fare, speckled, solid, and marbled. Solid granite is an excellent choice for smaller kitchens.

Avoid a busy pattern when you have a smaller kitchen as it makes the kitchen look cramped and confused.

For a large kitchen, go with marbled or speckled countertops. You can also try out two granite colors and see how they look.

Quality of the stone

Granite is known for its durability, but there is no way it will withstand the test of time if it’s of poor quality. Luckily, you can easily tell the quality of the stone by looking at several factors such as:

  • Veins
  • Fissures
  • Surface pitting
  • Inclusions
  • Shade variation
  • Color concentrations

Edging of the countertops

There is no right or bad edging for your countertop. Whether you go for straight, bullnose, or beveled edge, you will significantly improve the look of your home. The safety aspects of your home should influence your edging choice. If you have small children, it would be dangerous to have a straight-edged countertop.

In such a scenario, you will be better off with a beveled or bullnose countertop edge.

Kitchen cabinets

You can buy the highest quality and most expensive countertops, but there is no way they will look good if they don’t match your cabinets. For a great look, ensure that your countertops match your cabinets.

You can match the granite with the cabinets in two ways: matching the color with the cabinets or pairing the marbling and veining.

When making the purchase, ensure that the counters you choose are the same color as the cabinets with darker veining. For example, pair white spring granite with white cabinets.

Some of the famous pairing examples you can go with include:

  • Dark brown cabinets with green granite
  • Neutral medium-brown maple cabinets with beige, grey and white granite
  • Cherry cabinets with granite such as white, Verde Peacock, and Ubatuba
  • Light to medium oak cabinets with contrasting granite such as black pearl
  • Regardless of the pairing that you choose, ensure that the countertops are installed by reputable granite contractors NC.

Guide To Painting Countertops To Look Like Granite Countertops

granite countertops

Granite is a beautiful addition to your kitchen as it gives the house a premium, modernized feel. Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to install granite countertops in their home. While this is the case, you can still get the granite look by painting your current countertops.

Benefits of painting the countertops

In addition to giving your countertops a high-end look, painting the countertops also hides imperfections they might be having.

The variegated pattern of the painted granite also hides small imperfections that might come about as you are painting. This takes your stress away as you don’t have to be perfect in your work. In fact, if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional to handle the painting, you can do it by yourself.

The granite look works with almost any décor style, so if you don’t like the current look of the countertops, when you paint them, you make them blend in with the rest of the house.

Painting the countertops also allows you to highlight certain areas of the house that you would like people to pay attention to. You can highlight the bathroom cabinets and at the same time, add texture, depth, and warmth to the living space.

For you to properly paint the countertops, you have to follow a series of steps.  To help you out, here are the steps you should follow:

Clean the countertops

You can’t apply paint on dirty counters, so you need to clean them. Use a degrease or a mix of 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap to 4 cups of warm water. You can also use a mix of one part vinegar and two parts of warm water to remove any layers of dust and grease.

Thoroughly wipe down the entire countertop surface and allow it to completely dry. When cleaning, pay attention to the corners and edges of the countertops. Use a narrow scrub or toothbrush to get into the recesses and curves of the countertops that are prone to holding pockets of detritus.

You can also use a small, handheld vacuum with a brush to clean the edges.

Protect the appliances

It’s wise to give the countertops a seamless finish. For you to do this, you have to remove the appliances from their place. You can easily move the stove or any other small appliance but if the appliance is large, leave it where it is. To protect it, cover it with your preferred cover material.

Also, use painter’s tape to block off the sink or any other stationary items that you don’t want to get stained or nicked during the sanding.

Sand the countertops

Once everything is in place, the next action should be to sand the countertops. Use 320-grit sandpaper to go over the countertops. You should note that sanding is a big job and requires you to use a lot of pressure.

If you have a large kitchen, use a handheld sander. The sander is inexpensive and significantly makes the sanding work easier and faster.

When sanding, pay attention to the corners and edges. Ensure every inch of the countertops is sanded to make it easy for the paint to adhere.

You can get away with a single sanding on some countertops, but you are better off sanding at least twice so that you get a rough surface that doesn’t cause the paint to bubble or crack in the future.

Fix the gouges and dings

Once you are done with sanding, carefully go through the surface and be on the lookout for dings and gouges. If present, fill them with epoxy putty. Smooth the epoxy putty over the flawed areas then scrape the excess and allow it dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once dry, sand to match the level of the rest of the counter.

Paint the countertops

Painting the countertops to resemble granite is easy. In fact, you don’t need to hire granite contractors Durham to help you out. After sanding the surface, apply a primer to cover all the parts of the original countertop surface.

Let the primer dry for at least eight hours then sponge three colors onto the dry primed countertop surfaces. Move evenly across the countertop surface in dabbing motions. Take care not to push the sponge too much onto the primed surface as you will make the surfaces look smeared and foggy.