Tag Archives: granite tips

What Is The Most Durable Countertop? It’s Quartz Countertops

When looking for countertops for your home or business, one of the most important things to consider is the durability of the material. After all, you don’t want a material that will come apart after a few months. Due to the gravity of the issue, you must be asking, what is the most durable countertop?

After analyzing dozens of countertop materials, we can confidently say that quartz countertops are the most durable countertop materials in the market. They aren’t susceptible to knife cuts, don’t chip or crack and they are stain resistant. The countertops are almost indestructible to regular kitchen use.

Why quartz is the most durable countertop material

Quartz is one of the hardest countertop materials you will come across. As mentioned above, it doesn’t scratch or chip so you won’t have to worry about damaging it in your daily use. Quartz is also heat, bacteria, and stain resistant making it the perfect surface for kitchens and bathrooms.

You should note that while quartz is heat resistant, avoid exposing it to extreme heat. When placing hot pots and pans on it, always use a potholder or trivet.

Quartz is made to last

Most quartz counters are designed to last as most manufacturers incorporate excellent touches such as mirrors, colored glass, pearls, and small pieces of semi-precious stones.

It’s easy to maintain

Unlike marble or granite countertops, quartz is non-porous so you don’t need to seal it to prevent stains and other forms of damage from occurring. This means you don’t need to do much to keep the countertops in tip top shape.

Cleaning the countertops is a breeze as all you need is mild soap and water.

Other countertop options

Although quartz is the most durable material, it’s not for everyone. Luckily, there are other options you can go for. While they aren’t as durable as quartz, they can give you the same service, but they will need some extra care. These materials include:

Granite

Granite is often the first choice for most homeowners as it’s extremely popular. You have two options when it comes to granite countertops: natural and engineered countertops.

While both are durable and heat and stain resistant, engineered granite countertops take it a step further. They come in a variety of colors and patterns and come in a more uniformed and consistent look. To keep the surfaces from staining, you need to seal them with a high quality sealing product.

Crushed glass

This is a new entrant in the countertop marketplace and it’s loved by many due to its diversity and many color choices. While glass is naturally tough, crushed glass is tougher especially when engraved in a clear and durable acrylic or cemented onto concrete.

When properly done, acrylic gives the look of glass segments floating in water while crushed glass embedded onto concrete gives a mosaic look.

Besides being durable, crushed glass countertop is stain resistant, easy to clean, eco-friendly and unique. While the glass is tough, it’s brittle around the edges so when you install it, avoid placing too much weight at the corners.

Soapstone

You might think I’m absurd placing soapstone as a durable countertop material. While it’s not as tough as granite, it’s more pliable. Soapstone is made from quarried stone and it’s a steatite stone made up of dolomite, magnesite, and chlorite.

Other stones contain some talc that is responsible for the milky or powdery look and feel.

Unlike granite, soapstone is non-porous so it’s less likely to stain. It’s also easy to clean as it doesn’t require any sealing or re-sealing.

Since its smooth, avoid cutting directly on it. Also, avoid dropping heavy glass objects or iron pan on it as it can lead to serious damage.

Marble

Whether pure white or streaked, marble is one of the most beautiful countertop materials you can install in your home. While it’s beloved by emperors and artisans, it’s extremely prone to scratches so you have to replace it after a few years. This makes marble countertops NC the least durable countertops in my list.

If you have always dreamt of installing the countertop, install it for its beauty. Not durability.

What To And What Not To Put On Your Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertops

Did you know not everything is ideal to be placed on your kitchen countertops? In this article, we are going to look at the things you can place on the countertops and those you can’t. Read on to know more:

What to place on the counters

Some of the things you can place on the counters:

Coffee maker: If you make coffee every day, there is no better place to place your coffee maker than on your kitchen counter. To give your counters a great look, set up a coffee zone. This calls for you to gather everything you use to make coffee with and store it above and below the counter where your coffee maker sits.

Some of the things you should include with the coffee maker include mugs, coffee filters, coffee, and to-go cups.

Mixer: Only a few drawers and cabinets can store large appliances such as a mixer, and the large size and weight of the appliance will damage the cabinets. One of the best places to put the mixer is on the counter.

Tools: You should keep the crock right next to the stove together with spoons, tongs, ladles, spatulas, and other kitchen equipment. Having these items at your disposal makes it easy to reach them when the need arises.

Canisters: Large or small canisters are pieces you store on the counters for decoration or to contain small items. You use them to contain grab and go snacks, napkins, and other small odds and ends that will keep the counters from getting cluttered.

Dish rack: A dish rack is a must-have whether you have a dishwasher or not.

Salt and pepper shaker: Since you are going to be using these all the time, it makes sense to have them on the counters all the time.

Fruit basket: You are rarely going to refrigerate most of the fruits and vegetables—you are most likely going to eat them. To have an easy time reaching out to them, isn’t it wise to have a fruit basket on the counters?

Cutting board: Who doesn’t love large cutting boards on their counters? Unfortunately, most of us don’t have enough space for them, but if you love chopping, you should highly consider having them on your counters. This way you don’t cut directly on the counters and end up damaging them.

What not to place on the counters

Just as there are some items you can comfortably place on the counters, there are some you can’t. They include:

Papers: Papers on the counters gives them a cheap look, and you don’t want this, do you? If you aren’t using them, you should store them in a message center contraption. Preferably on the wall above the counter.

Appliances you rarely use: Are there appliances you rarely use? If you got them and you don’t use them every day, they are better off placed away from the counters as they will not only be giving your counters a cheap, dirty look, but they also will be putting a lot of unnecessary stress on the counters.

Collections: It’s normal to be attached to valuables. Whether its teacups, photographs, or figurines, it’s tempting to display them on the counters, but don’t do this. Instead of having them there, mount them on the wall.

Serving pieces: Only have these on your counters if you entertain daily. If you don’t, they will be taking a lot of space on the surfaces, and you are better off with them in the cabinet. You can also mount them on the wall as décor.

Other ways of taking care of your kitchen countertops

Other than being cautious of the items you place on the counters, there are plenty of other things you can do to prevent your countertops from getting damaged. Some of these things include:

Clean the countertops regularly: You must keep your countertops clean all the time. How do you do this? By cleaning them regularly. This way, you get rid of harmful materials on the surfaces. While cleaning the surfaces is vital, avoid using harsh materials as they will etch the surfaces and cause serious damage.

Cutting directly on the counters:  One of the things you should have on the counters is a cutting board, and you should always use it when cutting meat and other materials. Whether you have marble or granite countertops Durham, always use a cutting board to protect them from damage.

Do Granite Countertops Stain?

granite kitchen countertops

Granite is one of the toughest countertop materials in the market, but it’s not impervious to damage. So if you are asking, do granite countertops stain? Yes, they do stain. While the countertop is tough, it’s porous, and liquids can penetrate the surfaces and cause stains.

Types of stains

The countertops can be affected by different types of stains that include:

Water stains: Water stains are temporary and when they happen, they darken or lighten the countertop material. The good thing is when water evaporates, the color of the stone returns to normal.

Organic stains: These are brought about by organic materials such as mustard, soda, tea, and others.

Inorganic stains: They result from dyes, dirt, ink, and others.

Oil stains: Butter, cooking oil, and mineral oils will damage the countertops when they land on them.

Biological stains: Popular biological stains include: mold and mildew.

Metal stains: Metal stains include rust, copper and many others.

What should you do when your countertops stain?

To retain the elegant look of the countertops, you should remove the stains as soon as they happen. How you remove the stains depends on the nature of the stain. To remove the stains, follow these steps:

Begin with creating a thick paste of hydrogen peroxide and talc powder. For ideal results, ensure the paste has a consistency of putty.

You should then apply the mix to the stained area while taking care not to apply it on the unstained areas. Experts recommend you keep the layer of paste one-fourth of an inch thick and should overlap the stain by about half an inch.

After applying the paste, cover the area with a plastic wrap and tape the edges. Let the paste sit for 24 hours after which you should remove it only leaving the poultice in place. Let the poultice stay on the stain until it completely dries up.

You should then use a plastic scraper and scrape away all the paste. If any paste remains, wipe it with a clean cloth. Follow up with cleaning the countertops normally and dry it with a clean cloth.

In most cases, this will remove the stain, but if it doesn’t, repeat the process and the stain will go away.

Can you prevent stains from coming about?

Yes, you can do it by taking good care of the countertops.  When you are in the kitchen, take care not to spill products on the countertops. Even when spills happen, hurry and clean them up.

To prevent water spills, seal the countertops. For ideal results, follow the right sealing procedure:

Begin with cleaning the counters with water and allow them to dry out completely.

You should then shake the sealer and apply it liberally to every part of the countertop using paper towels, paint roller, or paintbrush. When applying the sealer, ensure you have a thin film on the entire surface of the stone.

After applying the sealer, let it soak into the counters for at least 15 minutes after which you should wipe it off with a clean cloth.

If your countertops are white or have another color susceptible to staining, apply a second sealer coat. Upon applying the first coat, wait for at least 48 hours then apply the second coat.

Once done, wipe the counters with clean towels and paper towels, making sure you wipe away excess sealer. Before you start using the countertops, leave them for at least 24 hours.

Other ways to protect granite

Other than sealing the countertops, there are plenty of different ways you can protect them from stains and other forms of damage. Some of these ways include:

Protect them from UV rays: Most granites are combined with resins susceptible to UV-ray damage that leads to fading and dulling of color. In addition to keeping curtains closed when it’s sunny, talk to your granite contractors Durham and understand the best product to provide maximum protection.

Use pH-neutral cleaners: Granite is sensitive to acidic and alkaline-based cleaners so only use pH-neutral cleaners.  Using the wrong products not only stains the surfaces, but it also etches them, so you have to replace them, which is expensive.

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.

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.