Do Quartz Countertop Brand Names Matter?

Do Quartz Countertop Brand Names Matter?

With the abundance of quartz countertop brands in the marketplace, it can be difficult to know which ones are actually rated any higher or lower than others and whether the brand aspect of quartz even matters. As most quartz materials are identified by their brand name rather than just a color name, a little research into general quartz specifics will give an overall picture of what to expect. Knowing the differences with quartz countertop brands does have some importance simply in determining what quartz choice works best with a particular situation. So what differences should a consumer examine with quartz brands?

Quartz Brands in General

Generally, quartz is going to have similar characteristics. Technologically and historically speaking, quartz production is derived through Bretonstone technology, which is a patented system developed some 50 years ago by Marcello Toncelli. The system process and the machines used in production are licensed throughout the world, so other quartz manufacturers today continue to utilize the patent.

Quartz Brands Similarities

1. Quartz is going to have a similar mineral content of a little over 90 percent. The minerals are what provide quartz with its characteristic appearance and feel.

2. Hardness is attributed to quartz because of its mineral composition and elimination of other impurities.

3. The low porosity rate of quartz sets it apart from other materials and makes it a nonabsorbent material, which resists water absorption and creates a hard and durable surface.

4. Heat resistance with quartz is only good up to certain temperatures (360 degrees Fahrenheit) for a short duration of time. The minerals can stand the heat but the other materials and resin within quartz are what can trigger heat damage.

5. Any seaming that occurs with quartz will likely be visible. Usually, more than one slab has to used with a quartz countertop installations so any seam is going to show unless the installer is extremely adept at diminishing it.

Quartz Brands Differences

1. Designs and edging with quartz brands are two of the biggest differences with brands. Actual designs have to do with the appearance of a quartz slab along with its size, shape, mineral composition, color, and any textural aspects within the slab. The edging aspect has to do with the actual contours or profiles that are formed at the time of production in a factory.

2. Most quartz brands either come with warranties or different warranties are available. The differences in warranties deal with any limitations as well as with the time period of the warranty and whether the warranty can be transferred.

3. Prices are going to vary between quartz brands. The slabs themselves are usually priced at wholesale and are limited to the availability with the manufacturer and validated dealers and installers. Quartz prices through dealers are usually negotiable and can vary.

4. Color differences are going to occur with quartz brands as are color ranges within brands. Some brands will have minimal color selections while others will have innumerable choices.

Quartz Brand Specializations

Certain quartz brands do have distinctive characteristics within the brand. Top-of-the-line brands include the following specializations:

  • Cambria – is the largest manufacturer of quartz and is well known for its striking and lively designs that are interspersed with large luminous mineral clusters.
  • Silestone – provides different quartz textures through suede and polished categories as well as Volcano.
  • Caesarstone – focuses on one-color or monochromatic looks with pure white and even concrete inspired designs.

Whether you are comparing quartz brand names or are simply looking for a quartz slab that meets your color and size specifications, complete the online form and a quartz expert will get back to you with the information you need to make an informed decision concerning your countertop needs.

What Is A Wet Bathroom?

We all know the biggest woes of a bathroom – water, water everywhere. Sometimes, our shower curtains don’t close perfectly, and without our realizing it, we’ve saturated the floor and surrounding area with water. In the case of an enclosed shower, sometimes seals give way, causing the same problem.

Still other times, we get out of the shower, instantly a little chilled in spite of the stream enshrouding us, eager to get toweled off and retrieve that invigorating cup of morning coffee. Unwittingly, we slough off seemingly a gallon of water off ourselves as we do. This water is actually harmful to your bathroom, believe it or not.

Water does a lot of damage, eating away at caulk, drywall, the baseboard, cabinets, you name it. There is, after all, a reason for carpet not being a common element in bathrooms due to the destructive nature of water. Pretty much the only things it doesn’t damage are tiled walls, tiled floors, and the porcelain of the commode and sink.

One would think that a fully waterproof bathroom could be pretty easy to design in the modern world, with our wondrous materials and engineering. Well, the fact of the matter is, we have. The wet bathroom has been a fairly common sight in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia for some time now, but is much more rare in the Americas for the moment. However, if you do spend time in higher-end hotels across the country, you’ve probably experienced one at least once, as they slowly creep into popularity by the more risk-taking architects and designers out there.

What’s a Wet bathroom, Anyhow?

A wet bathroom is precisely what you’d expect – a bathroom entirely waterproofed. The furniture (cabinets, drawers etc.), the walls, the floors, even the ceiling in most cases, are made of water-tight and waterproof materials such as ceramics, porcelain, stainless steel, stone, and laminates.

The floor has a slight grade from corner to corner, allowing all water into one or more central drains, often nearest to the shower. There will be an absence of enclosures around the shower and/or tub. In the absence of a tub (more and more people prefer just a shower), the shower will simply occupy a corner of the room in a rather unceremonious way.

Something you will notice straight away is that most wet bathrooms are on the smaller side, and this is for a few good reasons, which we’ll talk about now, with the pros and cons of this concept.

Pros and Cons of Wet Bathrooms


There are advantages to a wet bathroom, the primary one being that, obviously, water damage isn’t an issue with these, provided everything is sealed and placed correctly. Gone are the days of worrying about dripping water hazardously across delicate surfaces, and the claustrophobic nature of enclosures and shower curtains can be done away with as well.
This also adds some convenience. If you forgot something on the counter, or find yourself, mid-shower, in need of the commode (it happens to us all), you needn’t worry about the water mess this would usually create.

The absence of that enclosure also provides better light, which is always good. Shaving in the shower – especially a regular struggle for women or athletes who go beyond just facial grooming – is much easier in an open environment like this.


Of course, this is a tradeoff, because this does have its downsides. Implementing a wet bathroom in a larger space brings the problem of a chillier showering experience, as the steam isn’t contained. Anyone who’s had to shower in a more open, spacious environment (such as open-air stalls at campgrounds, or when the shower curtain is broken) can vouch for the fact that the contained steam is pretty integral in the warm experience we all take for granted.

Even in a smaller space, you may notice it being less warm for most of your shower, though in these small spaces, the difference is mild enough you’re likely to acclimate within a week or two.
Another issue is, this provides far more surface to clean soap scum, mildew, and hard water deposits off of. Imagine if the whole bathroom was like your shower walls.

Finally, this can produce more risk of slipping and falling, as the whole bathroom is slick with steam condensation and temporarily-pooling water. Bath mats aren’t very practical, as the environment would destroy them quite rapidly.

Is a wet bathroom right for you? Only you can tell, but weigh the benefits and downsides carefully before making the definitely not cheap investment in this idea, and be sure your space isn’t too big for it.

Natural Stone Flooring: What You Need To Know

Natural stone creates a stunning look in flooring, giving your room a sense of luxury that other types of flooring cannot. There are several types of natural stone that can work in flooring, including slate, marble, limestone, travertine, granite and sandstone. Before choosing a type of stone, however, it is important to understand the various properties of each type.

Absorption Rating

The more absorbent a stone is, the more likely it is to stain. In addition, porous stone may be more likely to crack than non-porous stone, especially if it is subject to extreme cold. Sandstone is the most absorbent type of stone flooring while granite is the least porous. Non-vitreous stone has the highest absorption level and should not be used in any damp areas. Semi-vitreous are less absorbent, but they will require more maintenance when exposed to liquids too often. Vitreous flooring are generally appropriate for most flooring areas with low- to mid-level traffic. Impervious flooring resists absorption and are perfect for high-traffic areas.

Floor Grading

In some cases, you may see that stone flooring has a grade which determines the thickness, size and shape of the flooring. Grade 1 is the highest quality while Grade 2 flooring has minor defects. This may include chips, scratches or a surface that is irregular. Grade 3 flooring has major flaws and should only be used as accent pieces or in certain application where a rustic look is desired.

How Slippery is the Floor

You will probably see notations on flooring called “coefficient of friction.” This indicates how slippery a surface may be and is critical in areas where water will be present. If you plan to use stone flooring for a commercial building, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that the floor have a minimum of 0.6 dryness coefficient.

Outdoor Areas

It is possible to use stone for an outdoor area, such as an outdoor kitchen or patio. However, some stones are not designed for outside use. Non-vitreous stone may stain more easily and could crack should they be exposed to freezing temperatures. Choose an outdoor floor that has a high coefficient of friction so they do not become slippery during rain or snow. Because natural stone is formed under the Earth, they are made up of many different elements. If you choose a stone with a high concentration of iron, which often appears as red or amber in the stone, the iron can oxidize and rust. This can case the flooring to degenerate over time.

Advantages to Stone Flooring

Stone is created by natural forces which means every stone floor is unique. They provide a more natural look to any room and they are eco-friendly. Try to choose stones that are quarried locally to reduce the ecological impact of transportation.

Disadvantages to Stone Flooring

Granite and slate are non-porous but other types of stone are not. This means you will need to seal the flooring periodically to avoid stains. Marble, although luxurious and beautiful, scratches very easily. It is important to keep dirt swept from marble to avoid small scratches that can damage the surface. If you are placing the stone in a high-traffic area, choose one that is resistant to chipping and breaking.

If you are considering stone flooring in your home, contact us today by filling out the simple online form or give us a call to learn more.

How To Clean Quartz Countertops

How To Clean Quartz Countertops

If you are considering adding quartz countertops to your home, it is critical that you know the best way to take care of them. Whether you want the counters in your bathroom or your kitchen, you will find that quartz countertops are extremely low maintenance but they do require the proper care to remain beautiful for many years to come.

Mild Dish Soap and Soft Rag

The first step in cleaning your quartz countertops is to use a soft cloth or sponge dipped in a mixture of mild soap and warm water. Use the cloth or sponge to firmly but gently wipe down the countertops. You can and should wipe them down as often as possible. It is also important to wipe up spills because, even though quartz resists staining, some substances could cause stains if they are left to dry on the counter.

Dried Substances

If something dries on your countertop, use a putty knife to gently pry the hardened material from the counter. It is suggested that you purchase a putty knife just for this use and keep it in a kitchen drawer so you can grab it when you need it.

Grease Splatters

No matter how hard you try not to, you will get grease splatters on your counters. It could be from cooking bacon for breakfast or a spilled plate filled with grilled meats. Choose a degreasing agent made specifically for quartz counters and spray it generously on the countertops. The spray should also be free of bleach which could damage the surface of your countertops. After you spray, wipe the area quickly with a soft rag or sponge. You may then want to polish the counter with another soft cloth to avoid any streaks.

Gooey Stains

If it appears something has stained your countertop, use a cleaner like Goo Gone directly on the stain. Allow it to stay for five or ten minutes before wiping. Once you have wiped the cleaner off, wipe the area again with a clean cloth with warm water. Another option if you do not have Goo Gone is to use caramel. Although this sounds unusual, caramel has qualities that may cause the other gooey stain to release from the countertop.

Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol

Some stains on quartz counters may be removed using isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Use a wet rag with alcohol added and rub the stain. Once the stain has been removed, rinse it again with warm water. You can do another application if the stain does not lift immediately.

Glass Cleaner

There are mixed thoughts on whether you should use glass cleaner on quartz. Some manufacturers believe that it is fine to use on the surface. The best option is to speak to your quartz installation company to see if glass cleaner is recommended on the type of quartz you choose.

If you are considering quartz countertops in your home, contact us today to learn more. You can reach us by calling or filling out the easy form online.

10 Reason’s Why You Should Choose Quartz

10 Reason's Why You Should Choose Quartz

When it is time for a kitchen or bathroom remodel, deciding which countertop works best for your family can be confusing. Today, many homeowners are choosing quartz countertops due to their look and durability. These ten reasons may explain why quartz is the best option for your remodeling needs.

Many Options

One of the benefits of quartz is that there are many color and texture options available. Because the counter is created by mixing ground quartz with colorings and binders, you have many more color options with quartz than with other types of stone.


Quartz countertops are actually engineered stone created with over 90 percent natural stone. This engineering process creates a surface that is extremely strong, even stronger than other types of natural stone.


Although quartz is often less expensive than other types of stone, such as granite or marble, the price depends on the thickness of the slab, the style and the brand of quartz you choose. Overall, however, quartz is more reasonably priced than most natural stones.

Anti-Bacterial Qualities

Because quartz is non-porous, it resists bacteria better than other types of natural stone. This makes it the perfect choice for a surface where you will prepare your family meals. In fact, many quartz options are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation due to their anti-bacterial features.

Low Maintenance

Quartz can be cleaned easily with mild soap and water. In fact, you should not use abrasive cleaners on quartz counters to avoid harming the surface. In addition, quartz does not need to be sealed as other types of natural stone making them virtually maintenance free.

Scratch Resistance

Unlike other types of stone, like marble, you can cut directly on the surface of a quartz countertop without worrying about scratches. Sliding a pan or dish across the counter will not result in scratches either. However, it is recommended you use cutting boards, not to protect the counter but to protect your knives from getting dull.

Heat Resistance

Hot pans directly from the stove can be placed on a quartz countertop without damage. However, because quartz counters have polymers which may have some type of plastic in them, most manufacturers do recommend that you use trivets or hot pads to protect the surface.

Stain Resistance

There are stone surfaces that are not as stain resistant as you may think. For example, acidic materials like citrus fruit can stain a marble countertop as can red wine or coffee. With quartz, you don’t need to worry about staining due to the non-porous nature of the surface. It is recommended that any spills be wiped up quickly but there is little chance that you will stain your quartz counter.


Some countertop materials will fade over time but quartz keeps its color well. However, it is not recommended for use in outdoor kitchens as direct rays from the sun can cause the counter to fade.

Kitchen Uniformity

Because quartz is engineered, all the slabs are the same which gives your kitchen a more uniform look than other types of stone with variances in slabs. If you have a very large kitchen, this can give a more connected look between your counters than using natural stone. No two slabs of granite or marble are the same so if your kitchen is large, you may find that different sections of the counter have a completely different look than other sections.

If you are considering natural stone counters for your home remodel, contact us today by calling or filling out the simple online form.

What Is The Difference Between Silestone and Quartz?

What Is The Difference Between Silestone and Quartz?

If you want to know the difference between Silestone and quartz, you won’t have to look far and wide as there are really none. Silestone is simply a brand name for quartz materials. In fact, many quartz aficionados interchange the word Silestone for quartz.

Silestone Consistency

Silestone is a distinctive manufactured quartz product. It consists of natural quartz crystals and other materials that include polyester resin, color factors, and properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and microorganisms. The binding of the quartz with the polyester resin is what holds the crystals intact and produces its smooth, sparkling and stylish surface. Though Silestone is an engineered material, it is comparable to granite and marble, and it is brighter overall than the other two because of its quartz crystal content.

Silestone Uses

Silestone is usually used in countertop production for kitchens and bathrooms, but it can also be made for floors, sink basins, shower enclosure trays, and decorative wall coverings. Silestone is best suited for homes that are contemporary, new and modern in design. It also coordinates well with rustic, vintage and traditional American and Scandinavian designed kitchens. Whatever the size of the area to be covered in a kitchen, bathroom or other areas, Silestone works extremely well in adapting to and accommodating most any space.

Silestone Advantages/Disadvantages

Silestone has a number of advantages over other natural countertop materials. It is durable and non-porous as well as resistant to stains, scratches, bacteria, and viruses. Because it is dense and non-porous, sealing is unnecessary, which is not usually the case with materials like granite and other natural stone materials. In addition, Silestone is nearly maintenance free and only requires minimal cleaning. A quick wipe with a mild household cleaner or soapy water keeps overall cleaning to a minimum and should be done on a regular basis. Any spills should be removed as quickly as possible, but no hard scrubbing or pressure is needed to do that.

Silestone’s surface is able to tolerate oils, vinegar, lemon juice, wine, coffee, and even cosmetic spills, but in cleaning any stains, the use of harsh or abrasive cleaners and any scratchy sponges or pads should be avoided. Stubborn stains, like hard water rings or another build-up, can be treated with a paste of baking soda and white vinegar. Allow the paste to remain from 10-20 minutes and remove it with cold water and a non-abrasive sponge or soft pad. Dry with a soft cloth.

One thing to avoid with Silestone is dropping heavy or sharp objects on it. Though Silestone is resistant to most anything that may be dropped on it, major force can likely cause cracks and noticeable scratches, which can lead to replacement or major repairs. Also, it is advisable to use cutting boards for food preparation and hot pads, trivets and coasters should be used for any placement of hot cookware, pans on other hot items on countertops. Though Silestone is resistant to heat and scorching, it is not totally free from heat damage. Rings can appear as well as surface color changes, so it is advisable to use protection to stop any permeation of heat from pots, pans and other heat retaining utensils.

Now that you know Silestone and quartz are very much the same, you may want more information as to how Silestone will look in your house and how well it will perform for your situation. If you are interested in finding out more about Silestone, complete the contact form and a Silestone expert will get back to you with the information you need. A sleek, shiny and high-end Silestone countertop just might be part of your kitchen’s future.

What Is The Difference Between Silestone and Granite?

In today’s home remodeling or building trends, the two most popular options in kitchen countertops are granite and a brand of quartz known as Silestone. There are several differences, some of which may surprise you.

Sealing Silestone

One main difference between granite and Silestone is that granite must be sealed periodically while Silestone does not. Because granite is naturally porous, you must protect the surface from stains and bacteria by sealing it periodically. Because Silestone is naturally non-porous, you don’t need to seal them. Silestone is also bacteria and stain resistant.

Different Manufacturing Methods

Another difference between Silestone and granite is the way they are manufactured. Silestone is created by missing crushed quartz with silica and other stones as well as resin and coloring. Granite is a natural stone created by nature. It is an igneous rock that is quarried in large blocks before being transported to be fabricated into slabs.

Heat Resistance

Granite is more heat resistant than quartz. Pots taken directly from the stove should not be placed directly on the surface of the counter as the resins used to bind the countertop are less heat resistant than the quartz included in the material. Granite is literally forged in the fire inside the Earth so it is far more heat resistant than Silestone.

Bacteria Resistance

Silestone is more than just resistant to bacteria. When it is manufactured, microbe killing agents are baked directly into the countertop. The purpose of the agents is to prevent bacteria and viruses from growing, something they can do by the millions in just a matter of hours, thereby keeping your family. Granite does not have the same microbes and, if the countertop is not properly sealed, bacteria and viruses can seep into the surface where they are able to multiply. This makes Silestone a much better choice for surfaces where you will prepare foods for your family and friends.

Stain Resistance

The same surface that keeps bacteria out of the counters helps make Silestone more stain resistant as well. Acidic materials, red wine, coffee and tomato-based sauces can stain granite countertops, especially if they are not sealed properly. You must be careful to wipe up some stains as quickly as possible. Although you should also wipe up stains quickly on Silestone, it is not as urgent as it is on other types of stone. If your child spills a cup of red juice on the counter and doesn’t mention it until the next morning, you will probably see no noticeable difference on your Silestone counter while a granite counter may stain. Even if something does stain your Silestone counter, a little elbow grease and soap will lift the stain fairly quickly. You may also check with your Silestone fabricator to learn about specific quartz cleaners that are available for difficult stains.

Damaged Counters

No matter how careful you may be, your countertop could suffer from a chip or scratch. Home improvement stores sell products designed to repair granite counters. You simply fill the damage with epoxy, let it cure and the problem is virtually undetectable. Unfortunately, Silestone requires a professional to repair any damage. Even fabricators are reluctant to make repairs as the resin makes this difficult. It is difficult to polish the repair and blend it properly, even for experts. Often, so much heat is generated during the polishing process the resin in the countertops melts.

Cost of Materials

Although prices vary depending on the type of quartz countertop you select, granite often costs less than Silestone. It Is sometimes possible to find quartz counters that are less expensive than granite, but it may take some shopping around and choosing a thinner slab or different style.

Color Fading

Granite can withstand direct sunlight so it works well in outdoor kitchens. However, Silestone is not as sun-friendly. Direct sunlight can lighten dark colors and turn whites yellow in Silestone. This is because the resin and pigments do not tolerate UV rays well.

If you are considering either Silestone or granite for your home improvement project, contact us today by filling out the easy online form or give us a call today to learn more.

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Quartz

7 Facts You Didn't Know About Quartz

It was not that long ago that when people chose countertops for their new home or a remodeling project, they leaned toward granite because of their durability and the resale value once they were installed. However, in recent years, quartz is gaining in population for countertop material. These seven reasons will explain why more homeowners are choosing quartz for their remodeling and new home needs.

Price of Quartz

One reason more people are choosing quartz than other types of stone is that it is often less expensive. Like any construction material, the cost is based on quality and brand purchased but the average cost of quartz is $30 per square foot for low-grade options. High-grade options can run as high as $150 per square foot. Overall, quartz is less costly than granite based on quality and can be significantly cheaper than marble. It is more expensive than solid-surface or laminate, however.


One benefit to using quartz is that it is a non-porous surface. This means that substances cannot seep into the countertop. This also makes quartz resistant to bacteria and staining. Other types of stone must be sealed to prevent them from being porous but quartz does not.

Wide Range of Colors

Granite and marble colors are limited to what can be created in nature. This means that it may be difficult to find the color that works best in your home. Because quartz is engineered stone where crushed granite is mixed with resins and pigments, you have a much wider range of colors available in quartz countertops than you do with other types of stones. It is even possible to get quartz countertops that mimic the look of marble or granite.

Environmentally Friendly

Homeowners are choosing environmentally friendly options for their home in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Because quartz is made from waste products from other countertop materials, it is considered a “green” option in construction. Marble and granite also require significant resources to quarry and transport making them less environmentally-friendly.

Low Maintenance

Because quartz does not need to be sealed periodically, it requires less maintenance than granite or marble. In addition, cleaning quartz is very easy as it can be cleaned using warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth.

Less Heat Resistant

Although the non-porous nature of quartz makes it stain resistant, the polymers used to bind the crushed quartz make it less heat resistant than granite. Quartz is also extremely hard so you can cut items directly on the counter without risk of damage but doing so could dull your knives. For this reason, cutting boards are recommended.

Multiple Uses

Not only is quartz a good option for your kitchen, it is also a great choice for your bathroom, a fireplace surround or even in flooring. It is not recommended for outdoor kitchens, however, as direct sunlight can cause the colors to fade.

If you are considering quartz in your new home or for a remodeling project, contact us today by filling out the simple online form or give us a call today.

Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: How Are They Different?

Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: How Are They Different?

When you are planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel or are in the process of picking out flooring for a new home, there are so many options available it can be difficult to choose the perfect one. Tiles, both porcelain, and ceramic, are a growing trend when it comes to flooring but it is important to understand the differences between them before choosing the perfect one for your family’s needs.

What is Porcelain Tile?

Porcelain tile is created from refined clay and other natural elements. The tiles are kiln-fired and then either left in a natural state or transformed to look like stone, wood, concrete and other decorative options. They are extremely durable and you have the option of choosing glazed or unglazed tiles.

What is Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic tiles are kiln-fired at a lower temperature than porcelain so they are more porous. The clay used to create the tiles is also less refined making it much less expensive than porcelain. Tiles are available in a wide range of colors and styles.

Advantages of Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is harder and denser than ceramic tile. It also has a very low absorption rate so it is extremely resistant to water damage. This makes it an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms as well as for outdoor use on patios. It withstands heavy traffic so you can use it in entryways and on countertops as well. Porcelain is very forgiving when it comes to spills and it is very hard to scratch. Once each month, use a vinegar and water solution or tile-friendly cleanser to clean the tile. If the tiles are glazed, use a mop but if they are unglazed use a soft-bristle brush.

Disadvantages of Porcelain Tile

Because it is very durable, the cost of porcelain is much higher in cost than other types of tile. In fact, the average cost of porcelain is 60 percent higher than the average cost of ceramic tile. It is also very difficult to cut, requiring a wet saw with a diamond blade. Professional installation is recommended due to the difficulty of cutting the tiles. Oils, waxes, abrasive scrubbers, bleach and ammonia can seriously damage porcelain tile so you must use caution when choosing cleaning products. Porcelain is much heavier than other types of flooring. If you want to install it on a second floor, you may need to reinforce the sub-base to be sure it is strong enough to support the extra weight.

Advantages of Ceramic Tile

The biggest advantage of ceramic tile over porcelain is the cost. Even elaborate ceramic tiles can be relatively inexpensive. Ceramic tile is also very easy to install as the tiles can be cut with a simple tile cutter. Ceramic tile gives your room a clean-line finish and tiles with a glazed finish can be customized in a wide range of colors or patterns. In areas where temperatures remain high most of the year, the coolness of ceramic tile can feel nice on the feet.

Disadvantages of Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is far less durable than ceramic and it is critical that any spills be wiped up quickly due to its high absorption rate. Ceramic tiles do not do well in areas exposed to high moisture such as showers or patios. Like porcelain tiles, ceramic is also heavy so extra support may be needed under your floors. You need to clean ceramic tiles at least once each week rather than once each month due to its porous surface. Although the coolness of the tile may feel nice when the weather is warm, in cold months it can be uncomfortable. If glazed tiles chip, the clay underneath will show. Because it is less durable, ceramic tile is not recommended for areas of high traffic. Ceramic tiles also take a bit more maintenance than porcelain tiles. Once each week, tile floors should be swept or vacuumed. Using a mild detergent and water, the floor should then be cleaned using a string mop, starting at one end and working down to the other. Once finished mopping, dry the floor with a soft towel or microfiber cloth.

If you are in the market for flooring for a home remodel or new build, contact us today to learn more about porcelain and ceramic tiles. Our helpful associates will help guide you through the entire process so you get the right flooring to meet your family’s needs.

Quartz vs. Quartzite: What’s Better for Countertops?

Quartz vs. Quartzite: What’s Better for Countertops?

It can often be difficult to decide what type of stone countertop to choose when you are undergoing a home remodel or new house construction. You want to choose the right material since your counters are where you prepare the food for your family. Two options you may want to consider are quartz and quartzite. Although they have similar names, there are several differences.

What Are Quartz Countertops?

When you talk about natural countertops, quartz is often mentioned but the fact is that quartz is a natural-looking stone countertop. It is a synthetic surface made from crushed quartz mixed with resins and pigments. Slabs are created from the mixture that can be used for countertops, flooring, decorative tiles or even fireplace surrounds.

What is Quartzite?

Quartzite is a completely natural stone that was once sandstone. Over the years, the stone metamorphosizes into quartzite that is mined in large quarries. Once it is removed from the ground, it is sent to a processing plant where it becomes thin slabs of stone that can then be used for flooring, tiles, walls, backsplashes or countertops. The natural veining in gray and white make quartzite a sought-after stone for many uses.

Advantages of Quartzite Countertops

Quartzite offers a wider variety of veining, coloring, and patterns between slabs. This is because quartzite is a completely natural product and all patterns are created in nature. No two slabs of quartzite are the same which can give your kitchen or bathroom a unique look depending on where you stand in the room. Although both types of countertops resist scratching, the natural veining in quartzite makes it more difficult to see any damage that may occur. Quartzite is more heat resistant than quartz as well. You can place a hot pan from the stove directly on the surface with no concerns about scorching a quartzite counter.

Benefits of Quartz Countertops

Because quartz countertops are manufactured, each slab is exactly the same. If you have a very large kitchen or bath, you may want a more uniform look in your counters. With quartz, you can get that look easier than you can with other types of natural stone. Quartz is extremely hard and does not scratch easily. In fact, you can actually cut directly on the surface of the counters. It is still recommended that you use cutting boards in order to protect your knives more than your counters. Quartz counters also come in a wider array of colors since pigments are added to create the countertops. You never have to seal quartz counters like you do other types of stone which makes it virtually maintenance free. Many people also feel that quartz counters have a “warmer” feel than quartzite or other types of natural stone which sometimes feel cold to the touch.

Disadvantages of Quartzite Countertops

Quartzite is only available in colors that can be created in nature which may limit your options when it comes to decorating style. Quartzite is also not quite as resistant to staining and must be sealed periodically in order to protect the surface. In most cases, quartzite costs more than quartz although this depends on the style you choose and how much square footage you need to cover. Quartzite must be mined and transported to a fabricator which makes it less environmentally friendly than quartz as well.

Disadvantages of Quartz Countertops

Because there are synthetic materials in quartz counters, however, it is not recommended that you place hot pans directly on the counter as they could cause damage. Quartz countertops are not as easy to repair as quartzite should they chip or crack. In addition, because there is often less veining in quartz counters, any damage is more noticeable than in more natural stone counters.

If you are considering natural stone countertops for your home or business, contact us today by filling out the easy online form or give us a call to learn how we can help guide you through the entire process.

Quartz VS Solid Surface: Which Is Better?

Quartz VS Solid Surface: Which Is Better?

During a kitchen or bath remodel, choosing a countertop can be one of the most exciting parts of the process. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right one. Two types of counters available, solid surface and quartz, may seem very similar but they actually have their own pros and cons.

Solid-Surface and Quartz Countertops

Solid-surface countertops are created when mineral dust, which usually has a high concentration of marble, is mixed with resins and pigments to create the counters. It is easy to create and can give you completely seamless countertops even if you have a large counter area. The product was introduced by duPont in 1967 under the brand name Corian but there are now other brands available. Quartz countertops are created when ground quartz, one of the strongest substances on Earth, is mixed with resins and pigment. Although the counters are made in a similar fashion, there are several differences between them that you must understand before choosing it for your family.

Ease of Installation

Neither is easily installed by the average do-it-yourselfer. Although solid-surface materials can be cut with ordinary tools it is almost impossible for the average person to find sheets of solid-surface materials. Quartz requires special tools that most people don’t have lying around their home or garage. It is possible to purchase ready-made vanities or small sections of counter designed for bathrooms or small kitchens that may be able to be installed on your own.

Heat Resistance

Both counters contain polymers which make them less heat resistant than granite but most solid-surface counters have a lower heat resistance rating than quartz. It is possible to damage quartz counters with extremely hot pans although it does take significant heat to do so. Damaging your solid-surface counter with a hot pan could actually void the warranty.

Scratch Resistance

Quartz is far more scratch resistant than solid-surface materials. Cutting on a solid-surface counter will result in scratches although they can be buffed out fairly easily. It is recommended that you use cutting boards for quartz more to protect your knives than the surface of the counter.

Neither quartz nor solid-surface materials need sealing and the cost for the two products is similar. If you are looking for countertops for your kitchen or bath remodel, contact us today by filling out the easy online form or giving us a call.

What Are They Saying About Granite Countertops In 2019?

What Are They Saying About Granite Countertops In 2019?

Though granite has had its name in forward motion since the 1980s, it is more in the limelight now than it has ever been. Originally, granite was used in more luxurious kitchen and bathroom settings and was one of the more expensive choices for the rich and famous, as was marble.

Granite Today

In 2019, granite is considerably less costly, available on a wider scale and has progressively gained popularity because of its enduring quality, beauty and value. The changes and upgrades with granite in 2019 continue to make it more desirable and appealing. Here is some of what is currently occurring with granite counter tops.

1. Finishes

Finishes are what have given granite a renewed appearance today. Polished granite is at the top of the list of choices as it is the most appealing to current homeowners. Its glossy surface is mirror like, luxurious and brings a fluid look to a kitchen or bathroom space.

Other available granite choices include a honed finish which brings a matte or dryer look to granite. Minimalism is a trend and a matte finish granite helps to pull off an uncomplicated and streamlined kitchen design. Honed granite is also a nice touch for a more rustic and industrialized look in counter top selections and appeals to those who like the concept of a laid back look in kitchen counter tops.

There are also other granite finishes in sumptuous leather looks that are conducive to modern, natural and old-world features that can enhance almost any type of home today.

2. Patterns

Granite patterns run the gamut from whirls, veins, and specks and are all part of 2019 trends in granite pattern choices. Many of these patterns are present in the varying types of granite that are available to homeowners and businesses. Patterns can resemble veined marble or be more contained with minimal speckling, while whirls create a modern art and spatial effect that gives contemporary homes today a grand and open appearance. With all the versatility in patterns presented in 2019, there is a pattern style that fits any home design and is adaptable to most any homeowner’s taste.

3. Colors

Granite counter top colors that are trending in 2019 appear to be of the deeper and darker variety. Dark bluish-green and blue predominate while other colors that are emerging include gray, white, orange, red, beige, black, green and brown. Many of these distinct colors are actually due to the formation of crystals within the granite pieces themselves and every piece or slab is different in coloration.

Both black and gray granite are appearing in 2019 and blend very well with modern and contemporary kitchen spaces and usually correlate well with lighter wood cabinets. Beige and brown granite counter tops are also favored and are quite a bit easier to integrate with most kitchen designs as they can be combined with almost any cabinet and fixture choices. White granite is a bold choice and usually has different flecks of color yet blends well with cherry wood and is great choice to enhance small kitchen spaces and open concepts.

In viewing the various aspects of current granite counter top offerings, it is obvious that finishes, patterns and colors are what defines granite counter tops in 2019 and with the number of choices and combinations available, there is no limit to what can be achieved with a granite counter top selection. If you really want granite counter tops but aren’t sure what choices to make, complete the contact form and an expert will get back to you to help you fulfill your granite counter top dreams.

How Did Granite Counter Tops Become America’s Obsession? Find Out

How Did Granite Counter Tops Become America's Obsession_ Find Out

You have to wonder how granite has continued to sustain such a level of popularity over the years, but it has truly broken barriers as to what a countertop material should consist of and it how it should be used. As granite has been around for centuries in various structures and monuments throughout the world, there is no reason to doubt its usability in any area of design.

Granite Trigger

Deborah SussmanThe more current obsession with granite was triggered in the mid-1980s through a native New York graphic designer. The late Deborah Sussman decided to use a more earthy choice (in granite) for her kitchen countertops. She was lauded for her innovative design ideas by the New York and Los Angeles Times, which led to her artistic and environmentally friendly notoriety on both coasts.

Her visionary insight in graphic and environmental design helped pave the way for use of granite in more moderate homes. At the time, both the granite that Sussman loved and its competitive marble material were considered luxuries. Though both granite and marble weren’t as readily available as they are now, the media coverage concerning her design ideas caught on and put granite on a whole other level.

Increase in Imports

What further stimulated the wider range use of granite was its increased availability and affordability through imports into America. Italy was the original leader in granite processing and importing. By 2000, other countries, like Brazil India and China dominated granite quarrying and processing. Though America has granite sources, these top three countries have abundant supplies at lower costs. With a greater number of sources in the import marketplace, the demand for granite by businesses and everyday homeowners steadily increased over the years and thrust its use to the forefront. With the expansion of the supply of granite, consumers found that granite was a good option for their countertop needs, not to mention that it was beautiful, durable and more readily available.

Other Reasons for Granite Availability

The access to granite has gone from more local suppliers to those on a global level, which has made it more affordable for contractors, homeowners, and businesses. Shipping granite in slabs that have been prepared, packaged and transported through large shipping containers has also helped lower the costs of granite for consumers worldwide.

Computerized Control

Once granite has arrived at its destination, it is taken to a shop and is sized and rough cut. It is either shaved by hand or finished with a specific grinder designed for granite. Much of granite today is quickly cut through with a computerized program that directs cutting saws to make necessary sizing cuts as well as other exacting cuts for openings to accommodate sinks and other fixtures.

Granite Trends

The surge in granite popularity has also been aligned with housing booms in the early 2000s. Builders were turning to granite as a standard in countertop use for newly built homes, and the idea caught on that granite should be part of any new building project as well as renovation projects with older homes.

What was once a deluxe option became traditional fare. Though granite has had its ups and downs during intermittent periods of housing starts and stops, it has continued to remain in the forefront of kitchen countertop use. Advances in varieties of granite colors and patterns have also helped to feed the granite obsession and propel it from the 1980s into the 21st Century.

This craze seems to have passed the point of no return. Granite counter top use may fluctuate, but its association with luxury and lasting quality at a reasonable price point makes it unlikely that granite will disappear from the countertop scene anytime soon.

Granite does have its advantages over other materials like marble, quartzite, quartz and similar natural and engineered stones. Granite is considerably more durable, resistant to stains and etching, and it radiates a feeling of luxury at a cost that most middle-income consumers can afford. So, if you have an obsession for granite or just have general questions, fill out the contact form and an expert will get back to you with answers to your questions

How To Protect Your Granite Countertops – 7 Ways You Can DIY

How To Protect Your Granite Countertops - 7 Ways You Can DIY

Protecting your granite countertops involves more than just admiring them, but you probably want to keep them looking new for as long as possible, so you can continue to relish their useful beauty. Though granite is low in upkeep because of its hardness and resistance to heat, scratches, dings, and dents, it does require some care to remain pristine. Caring for granite is really pretty straightforward and involves a few easy do-it-yourself steps, and here are 7 ways that you can DIY.

1. Cleaning

Just ordinary cleaning can go a long way in protecting your granite countertops. There are professional products out there that are specifically designed for granite, (both cleaners and polishes) but if you don’t want to go the specialty cleaning route, here are a few simple steps to do it on your own. One thing to remember, if possible, is to quickly take care of any spills. Blot the area as opposed to scrubbing it. Scrubbing can cause etching and you want to prevent that.

Supplies and Process:

  • Dish detergent, paper towels/soft cloths and hot water

For actual cleaning, apply a few drops of dish soap to a wet (hot water) paper towel or cloth. Lather well and wipe over the countertop areas. Once clean, dry the countertops with paper towels or a soft cloth.

2. Disinfecting

Supplies and Process:

  • Alcohol (isopropyl), dish detergent, spray bottle, soft cloth and water

Another way to protect your granite countertops is through disinfecting them after a thorough cleaning. You want to get rid of any remaining bacteria or viral material on countertop surfaces. Just use the spray bottle filled halfway with the alcohol, add a few drops of detergent and fill the remaining half with water. Spray on the already dry counter tops and allow the mixture to remain for 3-5 minutes and then wipe the sections dry with paper towels or a soft cloth.

3. What Not to Use for Cleaning Granite

Granite countertops can’t tolerate cleaning products like vinegar, bleach, wipes infused with bleach, scratchy pads, powdered cleansers, ammonia-based cleaners, and brand name products like 409, CLR and Windex. When in doubt with any cleaner, think soap and water, soft cloths, specific granite cleaners and the alcohol (isopropyl)for disinfecting.

4. Stains

With granite being a porous natural stone, it can absorb any number of food-related items that are often found in a kitchen area. If granite countertops haven’t been correctly sealed, stains can appear. There are DIY stain removers that you can make to help remove those stains, and one simple and old-fashioned device is a poultice made from flour, along with an absorbing agent to pull out the stain.

Food, Oil and Hard Water Stains

  • For food stains, make a thick paste of flour and peroxide and apply as a poultice.
  • For oil stains, combine flour and dish detergent in a paste and apply as a poultice.
  • For hard water stains, simply use mild dish detergent with a soft brush.

Poultice Application

Whatever poultice blend you choose to use on granite stains, you’ll want to make any poultice approximately 1/4 inch in thickness and spread it a little beyond the stain. Cover the area with plastic wrap, puncture the plastic in a few spots and anchor the area with blue painter’s tape. This process will allow for slower drying time and will give the poultice time to absorb the stain. Allow it to remain overnight or up to 24 hours before removing the paste. Repeat the process if the stain is not completely removed.

5. Sealants

Sealing your granite countertops is pretty much a necessity because of the porosity of granite. You can leave your countertops unprotected but that can eventually lead to all sorts of unforeseen stains and more complicated problems. A good sealer will prevent spills from coming in contact with the granite and will establish a protective shield.

Sealing counter tops involves the use of different types of sealing products. A regular topical or coating sealer is made to be removed easily and reapplied on an intermittent basis (every six months). Other sealants, such as penetrating sealants are more permanent and require application at longer intervals (once a year or longer). They are meant to penetrate deep into the granite and cover any areas that are unseen. Enhancing sealers are another sealant type that gives granite more of a darker and wetter look that highlights the coloration and patterns of the stone.

Sealant Process

Before applying a sealant, clean your countertops then apply the sealant. Sealers or sealants can be in a spray, polish or liquid form and applied through a spray bottle, foam brush or cloth. Consult with a granite expert as to which sealant type is best for your countertops and your situation before purchasing one. There are varying sealers to consider.

6. Chips

Protecting your granite countertops from chips is important as any open area leaves granite susceptible to staining, plus your sealant protection has been compromised. Chips can be repaired through an epoxy resin, which can be found through home or hardware stores. Any chips should be pinpointed and blue painter’s tape applied to identify the area. Combine the epoxy resin and the hardener and place it on the chipped area with a spackle or flat knife. Smooth out the area and get rid of any excess. Allow the spot to harden. Once dried, reseal the area.

7. Kits for Repair

Repair kits made for granite are handy to have around when dealing with chips, cracks, breaks and related problems. A number of kits utilize epoxy resins that are activated by light, which helps to set the epoxy quickly and is good for smaller cracks and chips. Following instructions with any kit, no matter how they are activated, is extremely important. Your granite countertops will only be aggravated by a poor application that will result in unprotected areas that will be subject to stains and further damage.

Do-it-yourself ideas to protect granite countertops are useful; however, there are likely to be more involved problems with granite counter tops that show deep scratches, gouges, chips, breaks and associated issues. At that point, it is somewhat risky to tackle these more involved problems on your own. If that is your situation, or you just have questions, complete the contact form and a granite specialist will get back to you with solutions for protecting your granite countertops.

The Benefits Of Fireplaces: 7 Things That May Change Your Perspective

Having a fireplace definitely has its benefits. From comfort to warmth, a fireplace can change your mood and outlook on life in a matter of seconds. Never mind the possible inconveniences of getting a fire going or the efforts involved in installing an updated and modern fireplace appliance. Just think of all the pluses with a fireplace as opposed to the negatives. There happen to be 7 benefits that just may change your perspective on fireplaces.

1. Off the Grid or your Way to Energy Independence

If you already have a fireplace, you may be reaping the benefits of lower utility bills or no utility bills at all. Maybe you live off the grid or own or live on property that has immense reserves of various trees that are easily accessed and can be used as your bottomless firewood supply. Energy independence is an excellent benefit of a fireplace. If your fireplace is in fairly continuous use, it is extremely important to not allow it to become a possible fire hazard. That means cleaning your chimney fairly regularly or having a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney at least once a year.

2. Heat Source

Wood burning appliances today are efficient enough to generate heat for several rooms in a house and any duct work associated with the appliance can allow heat to be evenly transmitted throughout an entire house. In addition, most top-notch appliances with wood burning capacity have high emission standards and can even be identified as smokeless heating systems. They are also environmentally friendly with no carbon emissions. Many of these appliances resemble the look of a fireplace as well and with wood being a highly sustainable source of energy, there is no end to the clean and comforting heat that can be produced.

3. Fire’s Comforting Ability

No one can deny that a fireplace and its hearth area provide a comforting and cozy warmth and ambiance that few can describe. Other ways to experience the comfort and coziness of a fire can be found through pellet stoves, stand alone fireplaces, stoves or fireplace inserts.

Sitting in front of any fireplace is an enjoyable and cheerful way to experience fellowship with family, friends and guests. Children and big children love to watch the fiery flames knock the chill off a blustery day or evening. The smell of burning logs and the crackling and popping of a fire also add an element of surprise and fun, and are reminder of a real outdoor campfire. Solitude is not such a bad thing either. Just settle into your favorite chair, get a good book and enjoy a cup of cocoa or take a catnap in front of a slow burning fire.

4. Cooking with Fire

A wood burning stove comes in handy and is beneficial when you want to provide both warmth and a open top for cooking. If you need to heat liquids or canned foods, a stove top is perfect for that, plus you can use the heat from the stove to stay warm. If no electricity is available or is out of service, a fireplace itself can be used to cook food items in cast iron pots or enjoy marshmallows, hot dogs and other foods that can be put on grates or metal skewers.

5. Power Outages

When power outages occur because of bad winter weather or other conditions, a fireplace or wood burning stove is a great energy producer for both light and heat, even if just for a limited time. When you don’t have power, a fireplace is a welcome relief. You do want to plan ahead before winter sets in and find a firewood supplier or cut enough wood of your own to keep a fire going during episodes of power loss.

6. Romance with Fire

When you and the one you love are in need of an instant escape, a fireplace or even an electric or gas fireplace with real heat and flames is a wonderful spot to sit in front of to enjoy one another’s company. Put on some soft music or an old movie and relish the time together. Grab a warm or cold drink and simply relax in comfort. A fire can do that for you.

7. Home Value

Another important benefit of a wood burning fireplace or any other type of fireplace whether it’s electric, gas, or a stove type is the value it adds to a home. A fireplace can be an instant focal point and selling point in almost any room of a home, whether large or small. Though a traditional fireplace does require a bit of work with keeping the chimney and hearth clean and maintaining a supply of wood, there are alternatives in electric and gas fireplaces that are easier to maintain, and they are available in a myriad of styles to coordinate with your home’s design scheme.

Many of the benefits of fireplaces presented here will capture your attention and they definitely have the potential to change your perspective on the uses of a fireplace. If you have questions about different types of fireplaces, or just need some answers on what type of fireplace would work in your home, simply fill out the contact form and a representative will get back to you with the information you need.

Are You Making These 4 Common Granite Countertop Mistakes?

Are You Making These 4 Common Granite Countertop Mistakes?

There are mistakes that can be made with granite counter tops and in order to steer clear of them, awareness of the pitfalls with granite are important. Mistakes can be avoided and four of the more common mistakes with granite countertops include:

1. Think Wholesale

If you are planning on purchasing granite for countertops, there is the option of utilizing wholesale sources as opposed to paying full retail. Granite countertops offered at wholesale prices are of similar quality as retail, but they can be considerably less expensive.

2. Choosing a Color/Design/Edging and Thickness

Once you have found a granite slab at wholesale or retail, make sure both the color and pattern design are going to coordinate with your kitchen and surrounding spaces before any installation occurs. You don’t want your choice to create a color clash with kitchen cabinetry, fixtures, appliances and any other items in a kitchen area.

Another consideration that goes along with color choice and design is edging. Choosing the appropriate type of edging should be decided on before any countertops are installed. Once both a granite slab and edging are in place, no changes can be made to either one without removing the granite slab itself and reinstalling the whole works.

You also need to think about granite thickness or width as granite is usually available in different widths of 3/4 inches and 1-1/4 inches. The only way to gain greater thickness is gluing slabs together, and that is not a solution for thickness that works out well.

3. Utilize a Professional Installer

After you have made a granite choice and require installation, you want to ensure that the persons (or person) completing your installation are experts and have the credentials and experience to follow through with all phases of the job. An installation improperly executed can affect the look of your countertops as well as their lasting ability.

4. Sealing and Maintenance

Another important issue with granite is to not take its durability for granted. Though granite is extremely hard-wearing, it is vulnerable to heat damage as well as harm from chemicals, wine, sharp instruments, and various oils.

Sealing is important as granite is a porous material and can be stained or damaged. Without a coat of sealant applied intermittently, granite countertops are subject to the wear and tear of everyday use that can quickly expose granite to different mishaps, such as the spilling of acidic fruit juices and other foods that can wear down the sealants on granite.

Granite’s maintenance hinges on using wooden cutting boards to prevent countertop surface nicks. Trivets or potholders should also be used to shield the countertops from high heat produced through cookware, other utensils, and small appliances. Oil spills should also be avoided as they can stain granite counter tops. The key to maintaining spills is to take care of them quickly before they are absorbed. As far as cleaning granite is concerned, avoid glass cleaners, chemical, and solvent-based cleaners, and acidic cleaners (vinegar and lemon). Daily cleaning can be accomplished with mild dish detergent and a moistened cloth. There are also cleaners specifically designed for granite that can be used.

Simply following through with the solutions given here to alleviate common granite counter top mistakes will help in the prevention of any number of problems. Whether you are purchasing, installing or maintaining granite countertops there are simple solutions. If you have any questions or concerns with granite counter tops and mistakes that can occur, fill out the contact form and a granite expert will get back to you as soon as possible with the answers you need.

The Simple Ways To Avoid Bathroom Renovation Mistakes

The Simple Ways To Avoid Bathroom Renovation Mistakes

There are simple ways to avoid bathroom renovation mistakes. In reality, it all rests on being super organized and aware of the pitfalls that come with any renovation. In order to avoid mistakes and setbacks with bathroom renovations, here are some simple ways to steer clear of them.

1. Detailed Plan

Before actually initiating a bathroom renovation and going full force with demolition, either draw up a detailed plan of your own or consult with a contractor or designer to help you configure a plan or layout. Measurements are crucial. Measure walls, flooring areas, and other spaces that may require expansion, enclosure or other changes.

You want your plan outlined on paper or in a software program that displays what you want to accomplish renovation wise. If there is involvement with framing, relocating or moving walls, windows and doors as well as redirecting electrical wiring and plumbing, all these critical particulars need to be considered and included in the plan. Also, allow for the placement of exhaust fans, infrared heat lamps, fixtures, lighting, a toilet, tub, shower enclosure, vanities, shelving, mirrors, and any other decorative features.

Just remember, if you plan on relocating showers, sinks, toilets, and tubs from their original placements, your renovation costs will immediately increase and your plan will have to include those changes. If at all possible, keep these fixtures in place to simplify your plan and save on new plumbing costs.

Detailed Plan

2. Budgeting

A bathroom renovation budget goes right along with a workable design plan. You don’t want to make the mistake of being short on funds when your renovation is in full swing mode. Bathroom renovation costs have soared and are averaging anywhere from $15,000 and up, so planning for a bathroom renovation involves saving the funds, applying for a home improvement loan, or a personal loan. Doing the work yourself (if you are able) will help save on costs, but even if you do that, you still may have to contend with permits and other safety precautions as well as unforeseen setbacks with the renovation that will add to the expense.

In order to avoid the problems with budget overruns and unanticipated expenses with your renovation, plan on setting aside at least 10 to 15 percent more into your total renovation budget. This reserve amount should cover any additional expenses that may or may not arise.

3. Contractors

If you plan on using a contractor to complete your bathroom renovation, make sure you establish a contract that is fixed-price. You don’t want to make mistakes as to what is expected of the contractor and what has been agreed on to complete in a certain amount of time. Make sure the contract includes the contractor’s fees to do the work along with a listing of the materials and costs. Also, include a change order which constitutes any work that may be added or removed, along with any changes in project completion dates. A contract will help avoid those issues and protect your interests. You don’t want to get caught with unexpected construction glitches and increased material prices that require totally different renovation changes before the original work has been finished.

In reference to contractors, you may think that you are saving money by going with one who provides you with a low bid. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the low bidder is the best candidate for your renovation. They may lack the experience with bathroom renovations. They may also lack reliable references, licensing, insurance, and business ethics, plus they are likely to produce low quality work that requires a second go-around with a true professional. Don’t make the mistake of hiring unlicensed individuals, particularly for electrical and plumbing installations. Their work requires permits and must be performed to code.

4. Materials Acquisition

If you are renovating a bathroom on your own or if you have hired a reputable contractor, you definitely want to acquire the most suitable and high-quality materials for your bathroom space. You don’t want to make the mistake of utilizing materials that are unable to withstand exposure to moisture. They will likely deteriorate, corrode, warp, rust and peel over time. A good contractor or design consultant will recommend bathroom fixtures and furnishings that are both rated for bathroom use and are resistant to moisture. The culprit with all bathroom areas is moisture and humidity buildup, so it is important to also include an in-ceiling exhaust fan that has a strong enough pull to eliminate accumulated moisture.

One more important aspect of material selection is jumping on products that are cheap and poorly made for the sake of saving money. If you can find top-rated and cost-saving materials at a lesser price through discounts and returned materials, that’s a viable alternative, but don’t skimp on materials that will degrade over time. In addition, just because a material is less expensive and looks attractive doesn’t mean it is going to be functional in your bathroom space. You might find an in-sink vanity that looks great on the outside but is made of cheap fiberboard that will weaken from moisture and break apart over time, plus it may just not work in the space where you want it to fit. So, be cautious with your choices. Think functionality above price and looks.

With the average costs of bathroom renovations running in the tens of thousands and up, mistakes can add to those costs. Planning is essential for any renovation. If you are unsure of where to start with your project and want to avoid the pitfalls of it all, fill out the contact form and an expert will get back to you with the answers you need to make your bathroom renovation successful.

Outdoor Trends In 2019

Outdoor Living has taken on a whole new perspective in the last decade or so. Gone are the days of a couple of patio chairs and a charcoal grill sitting on a back porch area of a home patiently awaiting the arrival of family and friends for a weekend barbecue. Today, comfort is the key. Moving an indoor comfort area to the outside is a big design and decor trend and here are a few others that are making headway in the world of the fashionable outdoors.


Pavers for walkways, pool areas and patios are a continuing trend in 2019. They are made in various modular shapes and sizes as well as innovative styles, finishes and textures with smoother looks being even more current. Larger and more linear and plank-like pavers appear to be trending the most for coverage of expansive areas. Colors range from monochromatic shades of grey to earth tones with hints or pops of brighter colors. They continue to move upwards in popularity and use as they are able to cover considerable area in an outdoor space, plus they are well made, durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Water Features

Outdoor water features are another ongoing and popular trend. Water feature structures integrated in backyard and patio spaces have become focal points in and of themselves. They add substance and beauty to an outdoor area and may look complicated to operate but are really quite simple to set up and maintain. They simply enhance any patio or lounging space as the running water is music to the ears along with being soothing, comforting and cooling. A water feature definitely adds value to the backyard area of home without added expense and maintenance time.

Lighting Systems

Lighting is essential when many outdoor activities happen on the weekends and at night. With outdoor spaces trending as true living spaces at all times of the day and night, lighting systems are an important asset for evening and weekend activities. Most lighting systems that are designed for exterior use are installed with new home construction. Both LED and phone applications technologies have made automated lighting in exterior areas an easy process. Lighting for landscaped areas also continues to be a trend as do string LED lighting that can be placed in almost any outdoor space or structure.

Combined Outdoor Spaces

Combined Outdoor Spaces

One trend that has recently taken off is the combination of backyard porches, decks and patios. New design development has coordinated a flow of these three areas through the coordination of decks with porches, patios or all three. The possibilities for these types of living spaces are endless. A deck serves as an area to enjoy the sun and food, while a patio or porch below deck can serve as cover from the heat and bad weather as well as proximity to a pool or gaming area.

Outdoor Kitchens

One trend that has developed over the years and follows on into 2019 is the outdoor kitchen. More and more homeowners are seeing their deck areas and large covered patio spaces as food preparation and cooking stations. They want full kitchen equipment with counter tops, good storage cabinets, grills, sinks, encased refrigerators, ice makers and even ovens for bread and pizza making. When all the appliances and water and cooking access are at their fingertips, cooking and grilling become ongoing and enjoyable activities for families and friends.

If you are a follower of trends and would love to experience the luxury of outdoor living at its best, simply complete the contact form and a knowledgeable outdoor living expert will get back to you with answers you need to be on your way to an outdoor adventure in your own backyard.

Serious Countertops For Serious Cooks

Gourmet chefs, aspiring culinary artists, and committed homemakers love to cook the right way and that usually means having all their bucket list kitchen necessities at hand. Most any avid or serious cook has a preference for top-of-the-line kitchen equipment and that usually includes kitchen countertops that are going to optimize their cooking ability. What kind of countertops should most serious cooks choose to use? Well, here are some ideas on the subject that may surprise you.

What Serious Cooks Look for in Counter Tops

Serious cooks look for and consider countertops that have a number of characteristics, such as:

• Countertops that are made of durable materials
• Countertops that can withstand heat in around an oven and stove top area
• Countertops that can handle hot cookware being placed on them in certain instances
• Countertops that are resistant to stains and are nonporous in nature
• Countertops that are resistant to abrasions, cuts, and impact from various objects
• Countertops that are easy to clean and maintain and are resistant to bacteria and mold formation

Ideal Countertops for Serious Cooks

Ideal Countertops for Serious Cooks

Stainless Steel – When you speak of an ideal countertop choice in a purely professional sense, meaning exclusive use by chefs and cooks, stainless steel is the top contender because of its resistance to heat, stains, and ease of upkeep.

Heat-Resistant Glass – This type of countertop is made of glass that is resistant to heat and is one other top choice that is more in line with in-home cooking and baking. Most glass countertops are usually fashioned in tile shaped designs that are semitransparent. They are available in numerous styles and color choices. Often glass countertops are utilized with LED lighting to bring light to a kitchen space and bring a standout appearance to the glass.

Recycled Glass – Recycled glass countertops are made from crushed glass that has been impacted in a base of resin. These types of countertops are perfect for cooking and have the necessary features to endure considerable use. They are also available in a wide range of colors and combinations of colors.

Tile – Tile countertops are a more traditional type of counter finish, and they have continued to be which have continued to be steady contenders with other types of countertop materials. They are favored by both professional and amateur cooks. Tile is a durable material and it is resistant to heat and stains. When tiles are put in place, they should be set with grout that is water resistant. Also, tiles come in huge selections with limitless color and style options.

Other Top Serious Choices

More home related countertop choices include materials that have positive characteristics. They are highly rated by homeowners who are into more serious cooking, and they include:

Quartz is stone-like in appearance and consists of minerals as well as color and resin that binds the materials together. It is resistant to heat, abrasive elements, stains, and sharp utensils. It is available in a host of colors and patterns that are similar to both marble and granite. It is subject to chips on the corners and edges of countertops and does require professional repair. Quartz requires limited maintenance so it is a good choice for serious cooks.

Granite is, of course, a highly popular natural material and is resistant to heat, scratches, and cuts. When sealed properly its more porous nature can be protected. Colors are unique and granite is available in polished, matte and leather finishes. Periodic sealing is the key to stain prevention and its corners and edges can chip, so professional repair may be needed. A serious cook might not appreciate dealing with the porous nature of granite, but it is still a durable material.

Marble, though beautiful with its veining patterns and colorations, is one material that can be subject to heat damage as well as stains and nicks. Serious cooks would have to use caution with marble.

Laminate – Laminate materials have come a long way and mimic almost any countertop material available today. Most laminate materials are resistant to stains and heat, but cutting on them can cause damage. Cutting boards would be a necessity for serious cooks.

Butcher Block – This is another more traditional countertop material choice and its finish (usually varnish) is important to the resistance of stains. Scratches, cuts, and nicks can easily occur, so any type of food preparation may require protection through a cutting board.

Whether you are or aren’t a serious cook, there are countertops that are more beneficial than others with food preparation, plus there are designs and styles available that correlate with most any kitchen design and decor. If you are a serious cook and need further advice on countertop selections, complete the contact form and a representative will get back to you with the choices that are most conducive to your needs.

Everything You Need To Know About The Countertop Fabrication Process

Everything You Need To Know About The Countertop Fabrication Process

Choosing your countertops is a major decision, both for your bathroom(s), and your kitchen. This doesn’t just go for the material you choose, but also the contractor you pick to have it made and installed. Like any other major choice in dealing with your home, it’s best to be as informed as possible going in.

With countertops, the fabrication process (especially for stone) is actually a very involved mix of art and science, and honestly, it’s quite fascinating to see what goes into this. Understanding how it’s made will help you make proper analyses of quotes, and in fully appreciating the beautiful work that winds up done.

Let’s take a basic look at the step by step fabrication process of stone countertops today. It’s high time the wonderfully skilled artisans whom do this for a profession, had their magic more widely known!

Slab Inspection

To get the beautiful, elegant, organic stone surfaces of modern kitchens and bathrooms, it all starts with a slab of stone, and a very strict inspection. Stone has personality, and the many marks, patterns, colors, and compositions tell a story of where it was queried, and the type of ambience they will provide when installed in a space.
As a customer, you will be shown many slabs of stone, from which you will choose the one that speaks to you the most. But, a skilled expert in this stone will do a follow up inspection, to be sure its initial integrity and solidity is there. Areas that have undesirable markings, weaknesses or blemishes will be marked off as “do not use”, before the next step, templating.


After inspection, a series of templates will be laid out across the slab, which indicate the different sections that must be cut, to form the various pieces for a complete counter system in a given room. This requires a good eye for flow, mark matching, and optimal space usage, so it’s one of the most mathematically-painstaking stages in this process.
It becomes more complex as they must work these layouts, while avoiding those previously marked off areas intended to be rejected. In rare cases, a chosen template, and a chosen stone, may not work due to an excess of rejected sections, and you may be asked to come in and choose a different slab. This is rare, though.

Stone Cutting

Stone cutting has been romanticized in old movies, showing strapping people with hammers and chisels, but times have definitely changed. Your slab will be cut using either a bridge saw, or a water jet. It may be hard to imagine a water jet able to cut granite, marble or travertine, but high-pressure, focused water is a powerful force.
However, bridge saws, which are diamond-tipped, super-strong metal, are the more common approach, and are descended from an ancient two-man saw that used sand as cutting catalyst.


This stage is a bit of a misnomer, as this is actually the stage where cut-outs for faucets, sinks and other special modifications are made. This is done with a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) system, programmed to make cuts in specific places. This requires a skilled operator, as the computer cannot make minor adjustments and judgments on its own. It is the paint brush, not the painter.


There will be some components that are naturally a bit thinner/narrower. Obviously, these will be weaker components, prone to fractures at some point. Strengthening involves drilling rod tunnels through these, through which reinforcement materials can be applied. This will increase the strength of these pieces by up to 400%.


Once all cuts are made, polishing is done, which is done through another CNC machine, through a seven-step process of increasing-grit pads.

Seam Phantom

This process is involves going along edges, removing chipping to produce a seam micrometers in tightness and accuracy. This takes a true artist to do right.


While granite is mostly impervious to stains and absorption, an additional layer of seal can increase this significantly. This does need replacing every couple decades or so.

QA & Finishing

Finally, the work to this point is once more inspected, before the involved process of hand-finishing is done. Using a series of specialized tools, edges and details are applied to the cut pieces, to produce the final aesthetic, ready to be installed in your home.

To learn more about stone countertops, fill out our contact form below!