Do I Need a Permit to Remodel My Kitchen?

A permit is more than just a way for your local government to collect fees, they help to ensure safety and with conserving energy by regulating construction. Proper permits are essential when you need to sell your home. Not having them can make the sale process more complicated and can even cancel it in some cases. Failing to get the proper permits can cause issues during a remodel including work delays and the need to redo work that has already been completed.

When do you not need a permit?

If a remodel is primarily cosmetic — such as replacing a faucet or installing a new countertop — you probably won’t need a permit in most parts of the US. Basic work that usually won’t require a permit includes painting, replacing existing windows and installing new countertops. You won’t need a permit to remove and replace cabinets in the same location. Keep in mind that unscrupulous contractors will often claim that certain jobs don’t require permits. If your contractor claims that your kitchen or bathroom remodel doesn’t need a permit, be wary. They may be willing to sacrifice safety and quality to lower the cost. If you are working with a licensed contractor, they should know which permits are needed. Some permits may be issued right away; with others, plans must be inspected first so it may take weeks to get a permit. While permits are often connected to the expense of a project — low-cost changes and alterations usually don’t need permits — this is not always the case. Sometimes small alterations do need permitting. If you need to work on load-bearing supports or the building envelope, you might need a permit. Similarly, you might need one if your kitchen remodel involves reducing light or ventilation.

Kitchen Remodel Projects that Require Permits

Windows and Doors

Egress is an area that requires a permit in many places. You will need one if you are adding a new window or a door, or enlarging an existing window or door.

Electrical Work

If you are repairing or installing electricals like lighting or ceiling fans, you will need to get a permit. You will need a permit for rerouting electrical wires. Due to the risk of electrocution and fire, there is a lot less flexibility when it comes to electrical permits as compared to something like plumbing. You can replace electrical lights and outlets if the outlet is going into an existing outlet box. Other alterations are forbidden such as installing a grounded outlet into an ungrounded box and moving electrical outlets. If you need GFCI outlets installed, you will need to call an electrician.


The installation, repair or alteration of HVAC or gas lines will require a permit as will some plumbing work. You will most likely need a plumbing permit with a major remodel that requires moving a sink from one part of the room to another. You will also need a permit if you want to change your pipes from galvanized to another material like PEX or copper.

Walls and Floors

Any work requiring an electrical or plumbing permit will probably need a building permit as well. Major kitchen remodels require walls to be opened up and the removal of flooring and tile. All of this will require you to have a building permit.

Permits and Cost

You should always factor the cost of permits into that of the job that you are doing. Learn how much you will be expected to pay. The costs vary by municipality and there are no federal or state standards. This is one area where a little research can save you money.

Applying for a Permit

To apply for a permit, you will need drawings of the property in its current state. You will use those drawings for plans showing your intended alterations. Depending on where you live, the city might have to review your plans before you are granted a permit.

What to Expect From Inspections

After you get your permit and start the project, you will need to have it inspected periodically. If you are working with a contractor, he or she will be the one who handles inspections. Keep in mind that this part of the process tends to cause delays because your contractor will have to make an appointment with the inspector and then stop working until the inspection. If the inspector has a problem with something, they will fail it and your contractor will need to correct the issue before making another appointment. Your contractor should be able to handle the permitting process for you. They can take care of scheduling appointments and filling out the paperwork. If you need help with the process of remodeling your kitchen, we can help to make things less complicated. Contact us today using our contact form.

The Benefits of Natural Stone for Kitchen Remodeling

The Benefits of Natural Stone for Kitchen Remodeling
Natural stone not only has beauty but it carries lots of options and benefits that are conducive to most styles and designs used in kitchens today. Renovation or remodeling projects can be easily upgraded and enhanced with most any natural stone selection. You can’t go wrong with a natural stone choice as it’s not only an enduring material but it’s one that provides a lasting and redeeming value to any home. So, just what are some of the many benefits that the use of natural stone can bring to a kitchen remodel?


Let’s face it, natural stone is desirable and popular because of its appearance. Whether granite, marble, soapstone, quartz, quartzite, limestone or slate, all of them have a textural, earthy and elegant quality that sets them apart from other countertop materials. Most homeowners today want both luxury and quality in a kitchen countertop material and if they are remodeling or updating a kitchen, natural stone can be a standout feature in a kitchen space. If you’re counting on an exceptional material, natural stone is a sure bet.


Natural stone is distinctive. No slabs are going to be identical or entirely alike. Any kitchen remodeler will love the idea of a unique and unusual slab no matter whether it’s marble, soapstone or granite. You can literally create your own out of the ordinary kitchen space with a natural stone selection. One way to assure a distinctive countertop is to consult with a fabricator about color and pattern choices that mesh with an exact design for a specific kitchen space. Anything is possible with natural stone.

Color Choices

Color choices in natural stone can be a big factor in kitchen design and of benefit to a particular or specialized kitchen remodeling project. The colors offered in say granite slabs or tiles can vary from almost white to deep and rich greens, maroons, golds, total blacks and even blue hues. The swirls in marble and the warmth of limestone offer endless possibilities for more neutral choices. Again, natural stone colors are going to vary with each slab, so it is best to preview any stone ahead of time to make sure that there is some degree of continuity with the slab or slabs used.

Unending Style

One other substantial benefit in using natural stone is that most potential kitchen remodelers know that natural stone is going to remain in style indefinitely. With the different natural materials and color selections available, there will be no shortage of something to choose from that coordinates with the style and design chosen for a remodel. There will always be a natural stone that is going to please most any homeowner/remodeler.


One more great benefit of natural stone is its versatility with design options. Natural stone slabs can be cut especially for any part of a kitchen remodeling layout. If you want or need a specific or different shape for an island or a bar, a fabricator can cut it to your specifications. Natural stone offers the necessary flexibility to make any kitchen remodel design outcome possible. In addition, there is even more versatility with sizing as natural stone is available in both tiles and slabs as well as different sizes within tiles and slabs. A dream kitchen truly can be yours with natural stone.

Home Value

One of the most important benefits of natural stone is the value that it brings to a home. Any kitchen remodel that involves the use of natural stone is going to immediately create added value to a home. Even if you are doing a remodel on a rental property, you can command considerable more in rent for a property that has natural stone countertops. Also, homeowners are aware that a kitchen area and natural countertops can become the focal points of an entire home and are of benefit to both renting and selling a home at a later date.


Another benefit of natural stone is its durability. Natural stone is extremely hard-wearing, particularly granite and quartz. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, they are two of the most durable of natural stone choices. Both are designed to last a lifetime and can endure daily wear and tear from most anything. Granite or quartz are stain resistant and are impervious to most any food or liquid. Whether red wine, soda, coffee or other stain-makers, natural stone can resist stains.

Minimal Maintenance

Maintenance issues with natural stone countertops are usually minimal, which is a great benefit for any homeowner pressed for cleaning time. Like any other countertop, natural stone should be dusted with a lint free, white cotton cloth on an everyday basis, or cleaned with a pH-balanced cleaner and tepid water. Sealing will, however, be imperative at least once a year with granite and quartz. If properly cared for, even refinishing, replacing or polishing should not be necessary. Again, natural stone should last indefinitely and will continue to last with simple cleaning and sealing updates.


In the long run, the use of natural stone with a kitchen remodel really can be affordable. If you assess the cost factor, and take into account the limitless lifespan of natural stone, any costs will be outweighed. You have to think about repair or replacement expenses as well, which will likely come with a lesser quality material or faux stone material. You also need to consider the durability of natural stone, its uniqueness and its unending value to a kitchen and overall home. With all that in mind, natural stone is affordable. If you’re questioning the benefits of natural stone, yet are still contemplating a full kitchen remodel, or just have questions in general about natural stone materials, complete the online contact form, and an expert will get back to you with the answers you need to make the best choice in a natural stone material for your kitchen remodel.

How To Prepare For A Kitchen Remodel

For the homeowner, kitchen remodels are among the most challenging forms of home improvement. The kitchen is often said to be the heart of the home because of how central the room is to family life. Family life tends to be disrupted when it is out of commission.

A kitchen remodel should involve a plan to manage the period of construction ahead. How long it will take depends on the project’s scope. How much do you intend to change? Do you want a new kitchen with the same footprint or do you want a completely new design?

If you are keeping the footprint, remodeling shouldn’t take more than six weeks at most; if you are making significant alterations, it might take up to three months. In either case, you will need to get yourself and members of your household ready for it. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a kitchen remodel:

Look at Designs Before the Project Begins

Consult an architect before you start moving walls. You need to make sure that your kitchen will function correctly. Your design should include adequate storage space and account for the ways to position appliances for maximum efficiency. Your architect will be able to spot any problems in your design. You should also get a timeline for the project from your contractor. Before your remodel begins, you should know exactly how long it will take. A timeline will also tell you how long you will have tradespeople going in and out of your home.

Choose the Right General Contractor

Your general contractor will be responsible for hiring the tradespeople for the project. You will be communicating with them about the project, so you need to find someone who will return calls and texts quickly.

Make Plans for Meal-Times

One option for living without a kitchen is to cook some or all of your meals in advance of the project’s start.

If you and your family normally eat in the kitchen, decide where you are going to eat once the remodel is underway. Consider your living-room if that’s what you’ve decided to use as your temporary kitchen. If you have a patio or deck, that can work too.

Get paper plates, plastic cutlery and cups so that you don’t have to wash your regular cutlery and dishes in the bathroom.

Come up with a budget for eating out at least a few nights a week while your kitchen is being remodeled. Planning ahead is important since this can get expensive quickly, especially if you have a large family. Factor the cost of eating out into the overall cost of your remodel.

Make Another Room Into Your Interim Kitchen

If you have space, use another room in your home as a short-term kitchen. Options include moving your refrigerator to your living room or your dining room. If space is limited, get a smaller refrigerator and microwave and plug those in somewhere else in your home. If you can’t devote a whole room or even half of a room, consider distributing essential kitchen appliances throughout your home.

Get an electric griddle to stand in for your stovetop, or invest in a hot plate. Plan a few meals that you can cook in a crockpot. All of these appliances can work wherever you have an electrical outlet. Another option is to use your outdoor grill. You can grill food on it and you can use it as a stove.

If you have a lot of small appliances and other items that you don’t plan to use before the remodel is finished, pack them away in boxes. Remember to use packing peanuts or bubble wrap for items like china and glasses. Store the boxes away in your spare bedroom or basement and be sure to label them. Labeling makes unpacking easier and reminds you which boxes contain breakables.

Seal Off the Kitchen

Anyone who has ever lived through a remodel will tell you that they are not tidy. You will need a plan for keeping the rest of your house clean all the way through until the project is complete. Sealing off your kitchen can help to minimize the spread of dust and dirt to the rest of your home.

Get the Kitchen Ready

If you plan on doing the demolition yourself start with the following: disconnect the gas from your range and electricity from any of your hard-wired appliances such as ovens and dishwashers. Do your light fixtures have glass covers? If so, remove them. Remove covers over your electrical outlets as well. Heat register and window covers should all be removed.

Move all of your appliances out of the kitchen. If you have a vessel sink that sits above the countertop, lift it out and remove the faucet. Take out the backsplash and countertop. If you have wall tiles, those have to go too. Use a drill or pry bar to remove cabinets. Use a pry bar to pull drywall off the ceiling and walls but be careful around electrical wiring and ductwork. If there is no asbestos in the floor, pull up the linoleum of other flooring and then finish it all up by cleaning up the waste and dust.

Make Plans for Pets

A remodel can be stressful for pets. Not only will they kept out of the kitchen while it is under construction, but there will also be new loud noises and strangers going in and out. You may want to find them temporary homes or at least kennel them as far as possible from the kitchen.

If you are planning to remodel your kitchen, planning and preparation are crucial for getting through the process. We can help. Use our contact form to reach out to us.

How to choose the right contractor for my kitchen remodel

Thinking about a kitchen remodel can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a plan in place. One sensible and organized way to solve any kitchen remodeling dilemma is to choose the right contractor for the job. Finding the right one can be frustrating as it seems that almost everyone has horror stories about dealing with contractors who leave remodeling projects unfinished, or abandon them altogether. Fortunately, there are reputable contractors out there. The question is how do you find one who knows what they’re doing. Here are some ways to locate the right contractor for your kitchen remodel job.

Plan it Out

Before you even connect with a contractor, know exactly what you want done with your kitchen remodel. Be specific with a general written plan and layout of the space or spaces that will be affected as well as what you want the area to look like, and what materials will be needed. Whatever your lifestyle, and how it relates to your kitchen should play a major part in your plan. You want a kitchen remodel that is going to accommodate the kind of time you spend in the kitchen.


Sometimes the best sources for reliable contractors are recommendations and references found through family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, social media connections or those working in construction or related building trades. Ask them what their experiences have been with contractors who have either done work for them, or for others. Hardware and home store employees may also be able to be of help in providing referrals for local contractors.


Once you find contractors and company names, do some research online or through the Better Business Bureau, and any other reporting agencies as well as any disciplinary boards that govern contractors. Also, check on general contractor licenses and subcontractor licenses in your area along with any possible complaints or litigation proceedings that may have occurred with any of them.

When you do engage a contractor, get a copy of his or her license and copies of licenses of any of the major subcontractors who will be on the job. Also, concerning subcontractors, ask the general contractor what work will be done by subcontractors and other company employees. Ask for a listing of employees who will be working on your remodel so you know who is coming and going from your home.


One important aspect in your contractor search is connecting and communicating with one who not only specializes in kitchen remodels but converses with you easily and comfortably. You want to know as soon as possible whether a particular contractor is going to be the right fit for your remodeling situation. Since you are likely to be working closing with him or her, you want to be on the same wavelength and interact without major conflicts or difficulties during the remodeling process.

Contractor Contact

Once you have found at least three reliable and verifiable contractors, set up a consultation/interview with each one. Have a list of any questions that come to mind concerning your kitchen remodel. For added assurance as to the quality of a contractor’s work, ask each one for samples or a portfolio of their past work, particularly with previous kitchen remodels.

After the interviews, get a bid in writing from all three. Compare the bids and make a point to include any and all materials and actual tasks to be performed. That way you can compare all thee and determine any discrepancies among them and make an informed decision as to the contractor you want to use. You can negotiate as to the bids made at this stage, but any serious changes will likely occur once you secure a bid and before you sign a contract.

Busy Contractor

Other indications of an expert and trustworthy contractor are not only their verifiable references and expansive portfolios, but their level of business. Most better than average contractors are busy on a regular basis and would likely be unable to start your remodeling project right away.


Now that you have chosen a contractor, you’re ready to get down to brass tacks in a signed contract, but before signing on the dotted line, you want to make sure that every aspect of your contract specifically states what will be done with your kitchen remodel. Deadlines should be included as well as payments for work completed and exact materials for use. A comprehensive contract is important but if you feel that anything has been omitted or changes need to be made, write up your own additions or change orders to include any other work, costs and materials. Whatever you do, don’t sign a contract for the entire amount of the remodel budget. There are almost always going to be added costs that will pop up during the middle or end of a remodel. So, you want to be prepared for at least a 10-15% increase over your contract.


At the beginning of your contract you don’t want to advance more than 10% of the total costs for the remodeling job. Your original contract should include a progression of payments and a payment schedule. You want your money to remain on your project and not be used to complete a contractor’s job elsewhere; however, if more costly materials are needed right away, a larger advancement (of up to 30%) may be necessary.


One really important job responsibility of your contractor is to acquire any permits that are required with a kitchen remodeling project. Most any renovation or remodeling jobs do require permits. Some contractors will suggest overlooking the permit process because of the cost, but that means violating ordinances and making yourself subject to fines. Any work completed needs to be inspected by a city or country inspector to make sure that the work has been completed according to code. You don’t want your kitchen remodel to be under violation because of work that hasn’t been permitted. The lack of permits can be problematic when a homeowner thinks about selling or leasing their home.

Documents and Receipts

Always get any receipts for materials and other products from your contractor, and keep a record of them. Also, acquire copies of lien releases from the general contractor and any subcontractors before you make any progress payments, or other payments. If a contractor doesn’t pay subcontractors or other employees, a lien could be placed against your home for nonpayment.


Before initiating any remodeling project, confirm insurance coverage through your own homeowner’s policy as well as what would be covered through a contractor’s business insurance. Always get a copy of the contractors company insurance policy.

Final Payment

Obviously, it is critical that you don’t make final payment on your remodeling project until the job has been finished. Some contractors are known for moving away from one job and going on to another before the previous job has been completed. Make sure that the lien releases and receipts are in your possession as well before making final payment.

Your kitchen remodel can go smoothly if you choose the right contractor, and can verify their work and credentials. With a plan in mind and direct “contractor to homeowner communication,” you can have a successful kitchen remodeling experience. If you are still unsure of procedures to follow in acquiring an experienced and trustworthy contractor, complete the online contact form and an expert will get back to you with the answers you need to make an informed decision.

Things to Consider Before Buying New Cabinets

Things to Consider Before Buying New Cabinets

Cabinets are among the major features in kitchens and bathrooms and could account for about 50 percent of the total cost of your total remodeling budget. The cost and the fact that they are key components of your design is why setting a budget should be at the top of your priority list.

How much you invest your cabinets depends on factors like how long you will be living in your home. If you don’t plan to live there very long, you can choose a basic cabinet style; however, you may want to choose a more premium version if you are installing them in your dream home. If you plan to spend a lot on your cabinets, you should ensure that they have features like:

  • Solid frames
  • Soft-close drawers
  • Reinforced corners and backs


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Before you make a decision, find out what you like. Look on home improvement websites and magazines to learn what’s available and what you like.

Factors to consider when choosing cabinets include:

  • Sink and appliance sizes
  • Wood quality
  • Cabinet color
  • The style of the front
  • Hardware style and color
  • Cabinet depth
  • Countertop color and material
  • Whether you want a backsplash or not
  • Whether you want to pay for installation or demo
  • Drawer organizers and other extras

How to Order Your Cabinets in a Home Improvement Store

Before you go to the store, you will need to gather some information so that you can order the right cabinets for your kitchen or bathroom. You will need to provide some measurements. You can get help from a professional or you can measure the space yourself. Note that some stores will measure the space for you at no cost if you agree to buy cabinets from them.

When you shop for cabinets at a home improvement store, you will usually meet with a store associate to discuss your kitchen plans. You will get to see their cabinet selection up close before they proceed to the next step, which is to bring your plans to life. Make an appointment for this consultation ahead of time to ensure that the store associate can give you their undivided attention.

Give the measurements to the associate at the store where you will purchase your cabinets. Having precise measurements means you will get a better understanding of how your cabinets will look once installed and how much they will cost.

Expect the associate to ask questions about the cabinets you are ordering. The answers you provide enable the associate to give you an even more accurate digital representation of your design along with a cost estimate.


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Stock vs. Custom vs. Semi-Custom Cabinets

Stock cabinets are the most affordable because they are fabricated in standard dimensions. If you decide to go with stock cabinets, your choices will be limited. Choose a style that complements your home’s interior design. The finishes you can choose from include natural wood in multiple colors as well as painted, stained or laminated cabinets.

You will get a greater range of options with custom and semi-custom cabinets. With a stock cabinet, you get drawers and cupboards but not much else. With custom and semi-custom cabinets, you have numerous storage solutions including lazy Susans and pull-out bins. Semi-custom cabinets offer a wider range of designs and you get to choose from a wide range of configurations, but they are still constructed in standard dimensions.

Custom cabinets are built to a designer’s specifications and can come in your choice of material.

Choosing Cabinet Materials

The most common materials are:

When it comes to cabinet doors, you can choose from wood and exotic wood. Common woods include oak. Cherry and maple. You can paint or stain wood cabinets. You can also choose from exotic woods like bamboo and mahogany. The differences in the woods include density and color. You will also have to decide whether you want a cabinet that looks like wood or you want a painted one.

The two wood options for the cabinet box are plywood and engineered wood with plywood being the more durable (but also more expensive). If you are working with a designer, get their input as to which would be better in your kitchen.

Acrylic cabinets consist of an acrylic veneer over a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) core. You can choose from a vast variety of colors and they are typically durable. Drawbacks include the fact that they can be pricey and you may have trouble keeping them clean. Acrylic doors are available as flat panel only.

Like acrylic cabinets, you can find laminate in many colors. They are an affordable option but not as durable as other materials and only flat panel doors are available in laminate with no style variations.

With Thermofoil, you get another cost-effective material that gives you an array of color options. Thermofoil consists of a vinyl veneer over MDF. The finish is easy to clean and you won’t be limited to flat panel.

Stainless Steel
While stainless steel does have a few cons such as cost and the potential for denting, they offer a long list of pros. Stainless steel can be attractive, durable and can make your kitchen look like a professional one. If treated, stainless steel will not corrode.

Cabinets greatly enhance the functionality of kitchens and bathrooms but shopping for them can be difficult. For help with your kitchen or bathroom renovation, use our contact form to get in touch with us.

The Best Kitchen Color Schemes

Warm neutral, bright and earthy colors are supposed to make kitchens feel more comfortable. Grays and whites are popular as well. Having the right color palette in your kitchen accomplishes many things; the color scheme helps you to coordinate your cabinets, reflects light for a more cheerful space. Perhaps most importantly of all, the right colors make your house more attractive to potential buyers.

The Rules of Kitchen Colors


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The rules of kitchen design state that blues, greens and purples are among the cold colors that do not promote hunger. As a result, many experts believed that they don’t work for kitchens. Keep in mind that the conventions also dictate that black doesn’t work in kitchens, but it can if you implement it correctly. For example, ways to use black include combining it with white and a pale gray to make your kitchen into a light and airy space. You can use matte black to offset light browns and create an effect to complement natural wood. Ultimately, any color can work as long as you recognize that you have an immense number of gradations to work with. It’s all a matter of your taste.

Warm Neutrals


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If you tint it enough, you can make any color into a warm neutral. You just have to add red, orange or yellow. If you want to cool them down add one of the cold colors.



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Not everyone will want a red kitchen, but it can work if you want to make your kitchen look livelier. If you have a lot of dark colors, you can use reds to make the space less gloomy or as a counterbalance for the grayness of stainless steel appliances and other elements.



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Browns evoke the earth that produces all of our food. If you don’t want to use neutral colors, brown can be a safe option. Warmer reddish browns can make an attractive pairing with darker brown cabinets. You can also pair it with green, another color associated with food. You can use white to lighten a space dominated by the brown from a dark natural wood flooring. White works well with quartz or marble elements such as countertops and tiles.



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Dark gray can be a striking option in a kitchen design that lets in a lot of light. Gray also plays well with white, especially a very light gray. Use light gray in combination with white and aqua to create a lighter palette to offset darker countertops.

All White


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Kitchens with white walls, cabinets and ceilings are a distinctive style of kitchen. White-on-white is separate from all other styles. Making everything white — including floors, light fixtures and appliances — is an established aesthetic choice dating back to the early 20th century. If your cabinets are already white, why not go all the way by getting white countertops and chairs? If done well, the result can be a modern and sophisticated look.



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The general consensus among homeowners and designers is that yellows that have been toned down are great in kitchens. Pale yellows are subdued enough to not be distracting but will also blend nicely with all kinds of woods. Yellow reflects a lot of ambient light and can help to dispel gloominess without making a space feel sterile as it might with white. A yellow that is pale enough to be called cream is a perfect complement to white elements in a kitchen such as a china display. Darker, more intense yellows bring to mind a more traditional kitchen but will reflect enough light to give a deeper tone.



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You won’t see blue on most lists of the best kitchen colors because it is not typically associated with food. There are not many truly blue foods. That said, you can use it to give your kitchen a retro look or as an accent. You can also use gradations of blue or teal to help your kitchen to fit in with the color scheme used in the rest of your house. You might find that a very light blue will change color throughout the day with the variations in exterior light. The blue color can transform from greenish-gray to a more silvery gray depending on the time of day.

The kitchen is one of the rooms that sell homes. Whether you are planning to sell your home or to live it in for a while, your kitchen’s color is important to how the room looks and feels. If you are planning to remodel your kitchen, choosing the right color is crucial. If you need help with planning the colors for your kitchen, reach out to us via our contact form.

How Long Does A Kitchen Remodel Take?

Few things can delight a homeowner as much as the prospect of remodeling their kitchen. Because of how much time we spend there, new appliances and finishes can make a significant difference in our quality of life.

The time it takes to complete a kitchen remodel project can vary considerably depending on how much you plan to do and a variety of other factors. Excluding the time it takes to plan and design the new kitchen, the average kitchen remodel lasts between four and six weeks. This is if the remodel is mostly cosmetic and involves no changes to the footprint.

A full renovation that requires that your plumbing and wiring be rerouted and changes to all appliances and finishes can take up to five months if the kitchen design is particularly complex.

Why do kitchen remodels take so long?

Each kitchen remodel is one-of-a-kind due to the coordination of various subcontractors, some of whom will be able to start work only after other tradespeople have performed their work. Much of the work will involve large and heavy materials that will be difficult to move. You can also expect the timeframe to change based on if you plan to change the footprint or not.

The Planning and Design Phase

Have a carefully considered plan for remodeling your kitchen before you go shopping for cabinets. Take a look at a variety of kitchen designs so that you can form goals and priorities and develop a vision for your kitchen. You will also need to calculate a budget for your remodel.

You should take your time with the planning and design of your new kitchen. Make sure that you are fully comfortable with it, which means that you should think carefully about what you want. Go over every detail ranging from cabinet styles to hardware. Your designer should be able to show you design options along with the associated costs so that you can decisions with your budget in mind. It is best to make changes during the planning phase instead of when the remodel is underway.

Designing your kitchen is the most enjoyable part of the remodeling process as this is when you get to choose your countertops and paint colors. You get to look at new appliances, flooring and cabinets as well.

The Steps Involved in Remodeling a Kitchen

The time frame for a kitchen remodel has to do with what is involved. The process of remodeling a kitchen (after completing planning and design) can be broken down into the following steps:

In this step, you remove all elements of the old kitchen. Countertops, cabinets and flooring will all be taken out. The walls, ceilings and floors will all be checked. If no part of the structure needs to be corrected, the builders will move on to step 2.

Electrical Layout:
Outlets, wiring for appliances and the lighting will be positioned. All of the locations are measured and clearly marked for the electrician who will handle the installation.

Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical Installation:
The installation of pipes, ductwork and wiring can take several days since it involves multiple tradespeople.

Drywall, Insulation and Flooring:
Once the mechanical phase is over, insulation should be installed followed by the drywall.

Cabinets and Countertops:
The cabinets go in first and measurements for the granite countertops sent to the fabricator. The slab is prepared for installation and then delivered.

Finishing and Painting:
Plumbing fixture and backsplash installation are handled at this stage and finishes for hardwood floors are applied. This is also when the walls get painted.

Appliances and Cleanup:
The final stage involves hooking up appliances and cleaning up. Any necessary touch-ups can be handled at this point.

How to Expedite a Kitchen Remodel

The best way to speed up the process is to set a realistic budget from the start. Order all of the materials and products early in the process and provide your designers and contractors with the products before you start demolishing the old kitchen.

Homeowners should understand and accept that renovations will be noisy, messy and generally inconvenient. They involve strangers going in and out every day. The project will take longer if crews have to delay work because their presence is disrupting the homeowner’s lifestyle.

You should get your new appliances as soon as possible after you have decided on your budget. Your cabinets and the layout of your remodeled kitchen will be based on the appliances. If you get new appliances after the project has begun, this can cause serious delays since the layout will have to be adjusted.

In most cases, the period during which the kitchen will be unusable is fairly short. You shouldn’t have to go without your kitchen for more than six months; however, you should still make plans in case you are without a kitchen for longer than predicted.

Learn which products have long lead times such as custom cabinets, tiles and stone countertops. Order those products early so that they will be delivered to your home in time. Stock cabinets can be at the site within a week, custom cabinets take about eight weeks but it can take up to four months to build and ship custom cabinets to you.

If you want granite countertops, order them from a retailer where you can pick out the slab with the color and pattern that you like ahead of time.

If you are interested in having your kitchen remodeled and want to find out how to have the project completed as quickly as possible, communicate with us via our contact form.

Will A Kitchen Remodel Add Value To My Home?

The question posed in the title of this article can be answered very quickly, and the answer is yes. A kitchen remodeling will probably add value to your home. In fact, a kitchen remodel is one of the more efficient ways to do so. Unfortunately, there is no way to give you accurate numbers that will apply across all markets. Instead, let’s just take a general look at the subject so that you can decide if this kind of thing is worth your trouble. We will assume that this remodel is intended for a house that you are going to sell.

Use Good Business Sense

So, if you’re going to upgrade a home before selling it, you are obviously doing so for business reasons. You want the house to sell easier and for a higher price. However, you should remember these two key principles of business if you want to use these renovations to make a profit.

First, make sure that you know how much to mark up the cost of your home. For instance, if you spend $6,000 on a kitchen remodel, you should add at least $7,000 to the cost of the home. This is how you make a profit instead of just recouping your losses. If you don’t make a profit, there is truly no point in renovating.

Secondly, think more about appearance than substance. In order to justify the extra cost, the kitchen needs to look stunning. If it is impressive enough, people probably will generally be willing to pay a little bit more. Without this “wow” factor, they are unlikely to lay down the extra cash.

A Good Example

As we already mentioned, there is no way for us to give you accurate numbers across all housing markets. However, we can give you some approximate figures that will at least give you a ballpark estimate. We might start with this report from the National Association of Realtors.

We can learn a few good things from this report. First, we see that a majority of Americans say that they would rather remodel their home than buy a new one. This tells us that most homebuyers don’t mind a little bit of repair or maintenance. That’s even more reason to concentrate on the visual appeal of the place.

When we finally get to the important part of this report, we see that they have made a top ten list-two of them, actually. The first list ranks various home upgrades in terms of their general appeal to buyers. The other list ranks them by the amount of value they will add to your home. You will be happy to know that a full kitchen renovation is number one on both lists. This tells us that a full kitchen renovation will add more value and appeal to your home than any other. Bear in mind that this list was created based on a survey of many professional realtors, making it pretty trustworthy.

The Importance Of ROI

These three letters stand for return on investment and represent a common term in the realty industry. When you invest money into home renovations, you want to get that money back when you sell the home…preferably with a little extra! However, this will not happen if you spend too much on your renovations, and that is the main danger to avoid.

Let’s look at some more research. This one tells us that homeowners spend between three and four billion on home improvements every year. While these numbers are conflated to represent the entire nation, it gives you an idea of just how expensive these repairs can be.

You should only do renovations that have a high ratio of investment and return. If not, you are likely to lose money. Even if you only see a slight profit from a particular renovation, it probably wasn’t worth all that extra trouble. We have already seen that a total home renovation tops the list in this department, but let’s go back and see what else is on that list:

  • Kitchen Upgrade
  • HVAC Replacement
  • Wood Flooring
  • Bathroom Renovations

This is where we can truly see that kitchen improvement really is the best when you want to add value to your home. Even if we remove number one from the list, kitchen upgrades still come out on top. That means that a partial kitchen renovation is going to add more value than a complete HVAC replacement or a complete bathroom renovation.

How Much Will Kitchen Upgrades Cost?

Now you know how much value this kind of thing can add to your home. So, let’s try to get an idea of just how much your kitchen upgrades might cost. Obviously, the cost will mainly depend on the options and materials that you choose. However, we should be able to find some average figures. According to this estimate, you are looking at anywhere from $13,000 to $35,450. Of course, those who know how to make good use of their resources can probably get those numbers down a little bit lower. The use of secondhand materials might be an option, and you might also save some money by doing a portion of the labor yourself.


As we stated from the beginning, this is a hard subject to research. Every locality has a distinct housing market, and these markets are not often steady from year to year. Just trying to get accurate figures on a subject like that is mind-boggling, but we hope that we have at least given you the information you need to decide whether or not this particular investment is worth the money. As near as we can tell, remodeling or upgrading a kitchen is probably the single biggest way to add value to your home. If you have enjoyed this article, and if you would like to read more of our work, please feel free to fill out the contact form below.

What Is The Best Countertop For Your Money?

There is no doubt that natural stone is one of the most beautiful materials that you can use to decorate your home or place of business. However, there are a lot of people who can’t afford high-end stones like granite and marble. As we have discussed in the past, these materials are very expensive, but there are a number of other stones that are available. There are also various substitute materials that can give you a similar look at a fraction of the price. For this article, we will be discussing these less-sought-after materials and attempting to determine which one gives the best value for your money.

The Contenders:

First, let’s take a look at the stones and their basic qualities:


  • Hardness Rating (Mohs Scale): 7 out of 10
  • Average Price Per Sq. Foot: $55-$155
  • Beauty Rating: 9 out of 10
  • Impact Resistance: Pretty good

Quartz is one of the most common stones in the world, although its hardness makes it a little bit difficult to carve. Still, this might be described as the “poor man’s granite.” The most common type of quartz is clear or milky white, but this stone can be found in all sorts of colors. In fact, it’s one of the most variable stones on earth. Its semi-translucent nature also allows for the use of a backlight, which is truly an awesome visual effect.


  • Hardness Rating (Mohs Scale): 3 out of 10
  • Average Price Per Sq. Foot: $15-$40
  • Beauty Rating: 5 out of 10
  • Impact Resistance: Extremely good

This is an artificial covering made from plastic sheets. While it may not look as nice as the real thing, it offers an extremely low price. It’s great for those who need something easy and cheap. Also, being plastic, it resists impact and liquids better than any natural stone ever could. To be fair, most people won’t be able to tell that it’s artificial until they look closely.

Ceramic Tile

  • Hardness Rating (Mohs Scale): 7 out of 10
  • Average Price Per Sq. Foot: $18-$35
  • Beauty Rating: 7 out of 10
  • Impact Resistance: Not very good at all

This is basically fired clay, and it is one of the oldest and safest choices. Since clay is everywhere, clay also tends to be cheap. Clay can be found in a variety of different colors, but that doesn’t matter because ceramic tiles will always be painted and glazed. The fact that you can get them in literally any color or finish is great, and they aren’t terribly hard to install either. In fact, you can even get plain tiles and decorate them yourself for a personal touch.


  • Hardness Rating (Mohs Scale): 5.5 out of 10 (some varieties differ)
  • Average Price Per Sq. Foot: $50-$65
  • Beauty Rating: 10 out of 10
  • Impact Resistance: Average


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A little peek of a fun kitchen install #slatecountertops

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Slate is another contender for the title of “poor man’s granite,” and it might be a better contender for that title because it’s cheaper. At the same time, it can be hard to tell high-quality slate from granite unless you have the knowledge to see the small differences. Slate comes in so many colors that you should have no problem matching your home’s decor.

Recycled Glass

  • Hardness Rating (Mohs Scale): 5.5 out of 10
  • Average Price Per Sq. Foot: $50-$125
  • Beauty Rating: 8 out of 10
  • Impact Resistance: Decent


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This detail!!! Thanks @emg_charleston and @polishedrenovations & Lynne W. for your collaboration!

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You have certainly seen these counters before. The surface is mostly made of little glass shards that have been suspended in an acrylic substance. Obviously, this is an artificial material, but its secondhand nature makes it a lot cheaper than most others. Some people really like the look of these surfaces while others may not.

The Battle:

So, let’s compare our surfaces one category at a time. In each category, the winner will get a point. At the end of our little game, we should be able to tell you which of these materials provides the best quality at the lowest cost.


When we take a look at the hardness of all these substances, we find that all of them are substandard to the quality of the high-end stone. However, quartz and ceramic tile have the two highest values and are tied at 7. As such, both of them get a point. Both of these materials are very hard and able to resist pretty much anything that would ever be found in your kitchen. For instance, both quartz and ceramic will do a good job of resisting acids.


In terms of value, ceramic tile and laminate come in the first place and are more or less tied. One of them has a better high number while the other one has a better low number, and so they both get a point. At the same time, it should be noted that slate is only a little bit more expensive and is almost as good as high-end stone. Thus, the slate gets a point as well.


For beauty, the slate is unquestionably at the top of the pile. However, quartz is a very close second. Recycled glass counters are attractive, but some people do not care for the recycled look, and that keeps them from being a serious contender in this category. Quartz and slate will both get a point here.

Impact Resistance

Hardness and impact resistance are not the same. Ceramic tile is a great example of this. While it is technically harder than most stones, it has very little resistance to impact. This is because of its coarse grain structure, which makes it much easier to break. Modern ceramics are a little more durable than natural clay, but ceramics still can’t compete in this category. The same is also true of recycled glass. In this category, the clear winner is the laminate, with quartz being a close second.

The Aftermath:

So, the scoreboard looks like this:

  • Quartz: 2
  • Laminate: 2
  • Ceramic Tile: 2
  • Slate: 2
  • Recycled Glass: 0

This is a very interesting result. What we can see here is that recycled glass does not take the prize in any one category. If it were a little bit cheaper or a little bit more durable, it would be worth getting, but it’s not. Quartz is beautiful and tough, but almost as expensive as high-end stone. Laminate is the best choice if you need the absolute cheapest, but it doesn’t look that nice.

In the end, we have to give the win to the slate. It offers the beauty of high-end stone at a cost that is extremely low. It doesn’t have the same durability as granite, and it absolutely will require the use of a sealer due to its porousness. Still, it offers the greatest number of benefits at the lowest cost. If you have found our research to be helpful and informative, we hope you will fill out the contact form below.

The Difference Between Onyx And Granite

When you are renovating your kitchen or bathroom or home bar, one of the best things you could do for the overall look and feel is to install a natural stone countertop. People commonly think of granite for their homes, but there are other options that are just as, if not more, beautiful. Onyx, for instance, is a competitor for stone countertops and looks incredible anywhere it is placed.

But which option is right for your home? Let’s put granite and onyx head to head and find out.

Overview: Granite vs. Onyx

When it comes to figuring out the best stone for your home, it’s all about knowing the specifics. Here are the details about each kind:


Granite is dense, coarse igneous rock that is comprised of mica, quartz, orthoclase, and microciine. The mica is what gives granite its glimmer.

Cooks love granite because of how resilient the stone is to damage in the kitchen. Hot pots and pans, as well as knives, will not damage granite countertops as quickly as other types. This durability has made granite a popular choice in households for many years, and now you can find granite in hotels, luxury homes and condominiums, and even in commercial buildings.


People assume onyx is always black, like obsidian, but that’s not always the case. Onyx is actually a variant of marble that also contains calcite. This gives onyx a translucent quality that homeowners can play up with lighting.

Onyx is a natural stone but also rare, so it is usually available in smaller slabs. It is also more fragile than granite and cannot endure as much stress.

Look of Granite vs. Onyx

Although both stones come in a variety of colors, only one might have the look you’ve been searching for.


The colors granite can come in are vast. Sometimes granite is one single shade or a swirl of hundreds of colors. You might see blacks, reds, blues, greens, and much more. Some stone is flecked while others have large veins of color. Granite differs from piece to piece, but some stones are not as wild looking as others.


Onyx is light and can be translucent, so under-counter lighting is always an option for showing off its beauty. Onyx can range in multiple shades, such as pinks and golds, reds, blues and greens. Since onyx is variable, some pieces might be solid colors while others are streaked or flecked.

Care Instructions for Granite and Onyx

Let’s look at the differences in upkeep between these two stones.


You should always use stone cleaners on granite and sealant to stop any staining. Granite is rather dense, so you may not need sealant. Also, granite is strong enough to withstand strong impacts, knife blades, and even direct heat from pots and pans—but you should not subject the granite to this all the time, as it can break.

Never let acids or vinegar sit on granite for an extended period of time, as it will weaken the stone. Clean up spills as soon as possible.


Unlike granite, onyx is not resistant to heat and blunt force. It will mark up with acids and can also be stained by cleaners. Therefore, onyx is best placed in locations with low traffic. Any liquids should be wiped up quickly, since the stone may stain.

Onyx needs to be cleaned with stone cleaner often and be sealed up regularly to avoid discoloration.

Cost Analysis

Sometimes, the deciding factor is price. Neither are cheap, but one might be a better investment than the other. Please keep in mind that the prices listed are estimates and do not reflect all contractors.


Depending on the kind of granite you select, you will potentially pay anywhere between $80 to $175 per square foot (give or take). Some companies may charge additional installation feeds or extras for certain types of edging, so consider that as well.


Because onyx is rare, you may have to spend upwards of $250 per square foot. Plus, the pieces are much smaller than granite. Don’t be fooled by pieces that are $40. It will not be as high quality as more expensive pieces.

Granite vs. Onyx: Which Should You Choose?

Both countertops have their advantages and disadvantages. Choose wisely! Do you want something more affordable and resistant to damage? Or do you want an exotic piece that becomes the center of attention in your home?

Granite countertops are the correct choice if you want functionality, while onyx can be a breathtaking highlight in kitchens, bathrooms, and bars.

Still having trouble deciding which stone is right for you? Or do you have a renovation project in mind? Fill out the contact form to get in touch with us! We’re more than happy to answer your questions or send you a quote.

Is Natural Stone the Best Option for your Kitchen?

Is Natural Stone the Best Option for your Kitchen?

When it comes time to remodel your kitchen or if you are building a new home, deciding the right countertops for your family can be difficult. Today, natural stone is one of the most popular types of counter materials yet even deciding which type of stone can be difficult. These advantages and disadvantages of natural stone as well as descriptions of the various types of stone countertops you can get, can help you make a better informed decision.

Resale Value

One of the biggest advantages to natural stone countertops is the luxurious look it gives your kitchen. When it comes time to sell your home, natural stone will be attractive to buyers due to its durability and minimal maintenance. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home soon, you want to create a kitchen that buyers will fall in love with so that when it is time to sell, you not only recover your investment but sell your home more quickly as well.

Durability and Food Prep Safety

When maintained properly, natural stone counters such as granite or quartz may actually last longer than any other feature in your home. Stone outlasts solid surface, laminate, tile and butcher block, retaining its beauty with very little maintenance. In addition, natural stone can handle even the busiest kitchen without looking worn or damaged. Most natural stones are heat and scratch resistant, unlike solid surface, butcher block or laminate. Because most natural stones are non-porous, they are highly sanitary as bacteria cannot accumulate in the surface. Even stones that are more porous than others, like marble, can resist bacteria if it is sealed properly and the seal is maintained. In addition, if you enjoy baking, marble is the perfect choice as the coolness of the stone works well with pastry.

Low Maintenance

Natural stones are very easy to maintain, requiring only mild soap and water for cleaning. There are some types of stone that require sealing, such as marble and soapstone. The sealant needs to be reapplied every few years. This is not a difficult task and it is possible you can apply the sealant yourself. There are special stone cleaners available that you apply periodically and buff until dry to keep your granite looking brand new. Although stone counters are difficult to scratch, it is important to always use cutting boards as the stone can actually damage your knives.

Granite Countertops

When deciding which stone to use for your counters, it is important to understand what some of the disadvantages of each stone may be. Granite, by far the most popular kitchen counter material, is extremely hard and difficult to scratch. It is porous, however, so it does need to be sealed periodically. If the seal is compromised, some foods could stain your counter. Granite is also only available in colors that can be created by nature and every slab of granite is different. If you have a large counter area, this could mean counters have different veining depending on how you stand in the room.

Quartz Countertops

Another countertop material that is growing in popularity are quartz counters. These are engineered stone countertops created from crushed quartz mixed with coloring and resins to create an extremely hard surface. Because it is engineered, it is available in a wide range of colors. Quartz does not need sealing like other types of natural stone. However, because the stone is mixed with resins, it is not as heat resistant. It is recommended that you always use hot pads and trivets to protect the surface. Many homeowners choose quartz over marble or granite because the stone has a warmer feel than other types of stone.

Marble Countertops

Marble has been used as a building material for centuries. It has a cooler feel than other types of stone which is why it is the perfect surface to work pastry. However, marble is a much softer stone than quartz or granite so it is susceptible to scratching and staining. Red wine, coffee, juices and citrus can damage the counter so spills need to be wiped quickly. Marble also needs to be sealed regularly as well.

Family Lifestyle

One thing to consider when choosing natural stone countertops is how the stone will work with your family. If you have a busy family, granite may be the best option due to its versatility and durability. Choosing a darker granite counter will also help hid stains and small scratches. If you have small children but really love the look of marble, you can find quartz counters that mimic that look but don’t have the staining or scratching issues that marble may have.

Choosing a Finish

Once you have selected the stone that will work best for your family, you will have to choose a finish. Polished stone requires the least maintenance and keeps its beauty the longest. Honed or brushed finishes can be difficult to maintain, especially if you are a busy cook. Some homeowners like the changes that occur in honed or brushed counters over time, thinking that the slight changes make the counters more unique.

Ask to See Individual Slabs

Keep in mind that, other than quartz, which is engineered, each natural stone slab will be different. You can ask to view several different slabs to get a feel for what will work best in your kitchen. A good installer will be able to place the slabs so the veining works well together. By having you look at individual slabs, the fabricator will get an idea what you are looking for when it is time to install.

If you are considering natural stone for your kitchen, contact us today to learn more. Our helpful customer service staff will walk you through the process so you know what to expect every step of the way. With decades of experience, we can create a kitchen that you will love for many years to come. Schedule an appointment today by filling out the easy online form or giving us a call.

Limestone vs. Marble: Which Is Better For Your Bathroom?

Limestone vs. Marble_ Which Is Better For Your Bathroom_

Natural stone is truly a great choice for a bathroom countertop. It offers a mix of strength, beauty, utility, and uniqueness that is hard to refuse. However, there are some very important differences between the various types of stone, and it is very important that you understand those differences before attempting to choose the best type of stone for your bathroom surface.

For today’s article, we will be comparing limestone with marble. These are two of the most popular stones, but they are quite different from one another. By examining their various qualities, we can determine which one is the better all-around choice.


Durability is a very multifaceted thing, as a countertop must be able to resist a lot of things. For a bathroom sink, this factor is even more important. If we compare the chemicals that are commonly used in the bathroom with the chemicals that are commonly used in the kitchen, we will probably find the bathroom chemicals to be the harsher of the two. So, let’s start with resistance against chemicals.

Right away, we have a hard decision to make. We can see from this government report that both limestone and marble are affected by the problem of acid rain. Both limestone and marble tend to react with acidic substances by forming a gray or black crust of gypsum crystals. Thus, we can safely assume that acidic substances will stain both of these stones.

In terms of pure hardness, we can consult the Mohs scale again to check the relative hardness of these substances. So, we checked the properties of both marble and limestone. Guess what? It’s a dead tie. Both of these stones are composed mostly of a mineral called calcite, and so both of them have a hardness of three.

Upon looking a little more closely, we see that calcite itself is a form of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is one of the most abundant substances in the natural world. Seashells, chalk, and your fingernails are all composed of this same mineral. As you can see, calcium carbonate has many forms, and this is one of them.


In the beauty department, there is no doubt that marble takes a point. Let’s not forget that this stone was one of the most prized building materials of the ancient world. As we have already seen, marble was not chosen for its hardness. In fact, it is believed that the ancients used marble for so many buildings because it was not that hard to carve. Trying to build a Roman palace out of granite blocks would have been far more difficult.

It’s easy to see why marble became so popular for decorative purposes. When presented with a stone that is both beautiful and easy to use, people in the past must have felt that they discovered something truly wonderful. However, it should be noted that the original facing stones of the great pyramid were made of white limestone and that those stones might have been mistaken for marble.

Limestone, however, does have a certain beauty of its own. While it cannot match the high-class look of marble, it can offer a rustic beauty that goes very well with certain styles. In fact, those who prefer a more natural look will probably be more likely to choose limestone. There’s something about polished marble that just doesn’t fit with more primitive decor.


When it comes to cost, the limestone wins a definite victory. Marble is one of the most expensive decorative stones on the market (if not the most expensive!), while limestone is one of the cheapest. To get an idea of how much the difference might be, let’s make a price comparison.

This limestone tile is exactly one-foot square and costs about $10. Now, let’s look for a similar piece of marble. This piece here is the same size and costs about $17. We are surprised to see that the price difference isn’t as big as we would have expected. After all, limestone is a lot easier to find than marble.

Need For Sealing

So, we should ask ourselves: Do either of these stones require sealing? Based on what we have already learned, it is safe to say that they both do. We already know that these rocks have the same hardness and that both are porous stones that can absorb liquid. When we dug a little deeper, we found that limestone is actually more porous than marble, which means that limestone will not do as good a job at resisting moisture.

For this reason, limestone will probably require more sealing than marble. Both are porous, but limestone will absorb much more. That means it will “drink” more sealer than marble and will thus require more product to do the same job. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that marble stains easily. Thus, we must assert again that both stones require sealing and that this round is a tie.


So, let’s review the results of this epic contest and see who has emerged victorious. In terms of durability, we had a dead heat. With an equal hardness and an equal vulnerability to chemicals, neither marble nor limestone could claim victory here. It’s worth noting at this point that limestone and marble are just two forms of the same mineral (calcite), and that’s why they are so similar.

In the beauty category, marble takes the point, even though some varieties of limestone are almost as beautiful as the finest marble. In fact, pure white limestone looks a lot like marble when polished. Limestone definitely gets the win on cost-effectiveness, as it offers very similar performance for a much lower price. Finally, we come to the sealing factor, which was also a tie. As you can see, this contest is a draw. We hope that you have enjoyed this epic matchup and that you will fill out the contact form below to receive more of our expert research.
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The Pros and Cons of Sandstone

The Pros and Cons of Sandstone

Sandstone is known for being a popular building material for paneling, doors, pillars, fence posts, arches, and more. It has been utilized for both residential and commercial construction, but as of late many homeowners and interior designers are understanding the advantages it has for indoor applications. Due to this recent shift, sandstone is back in the spotlight as a popular countertop material that’s spanning the globe.

When it comes to installing any type of indoor countertop material, there are certain criteria that it should meet. For those undergoing new construction, you want a product like sandstone, especially in your kitchen or bathrooms that can hold up and last for decades. Homeowners who are considering a replacement countertop?

Where Does Sandstone Come From?

The earth can be described as the potter and its minerals are the clay that shapes the world in which we live. Our plant contains a wide variety of dimensional stones that includes basalt, marble, granite, sandstone, and others that encompass the earth. The top three countries that produce and export sandstone are Norway, Brazil, and India with the latter being the largest.

The sandstone industry as a whole has emerged into many building components such as structural slabs, land garden stones, swimming pool patio blocks, and floor tiles. Knowing the top countries that produce sandstone is good information, but in order to understand what makes it so desirable, it’s also important to know what it is.

What is Sandstone?

Sandstone is a rock that contains minerals formed by sand. The stone rock is formed by deposits that form in rivers, lakes, and oceans, and it takes centuries for it to develop into a product that can be quarried and manufactured. These deposits form together with calcite or mineral quartz and compress. Sandstone is quite unique because the colors in each slab are specific to the minerals it was mixed with as it was forming.

The Benefits of Sandstone Tiles

Sandstone countertops benefit many residential homes, commercial buildings, and municipalities with a durable product that enhances their overall aesthetics. Sandstone can also be used in other construction projects such as cladding, paving, arches, and more. The colors for sandstone range from maelstroms to medium white tones with a variety of hues to choose from. Finding a replacement tile is quite easy because all sandstone tiles are individually unique.

The appearance of sandstone not only has the look of sophistication and elegance, but it’s also timeless. Sandstone doesn’t go out of fashion or become outdated, which is an extended benefit because there’s no need to replace your floor just to keep up with the latest trends.

Sandstone is oftentimes used by interior designers to create an environment to look bigger than it really is. When you use sandstone tiles in any room or throughout the house, it can make your space look more inviting and open it up. This is an added benefit for those who live in smaller structures and want the appearance of a larger space.

Pros of Sandstone Tiles:

  • Adds Property Value: Sandstone is not affected by the latest housing trends because it’s a timeless stone that makes everything else around it look good. Sandstone drastically raises property value because realtors understand its resale value and appeal to potential home buyers.
  • Durable: Sandstone provides a durable floor that holds up against heavy foot traffic and can be used in both residential and commercial kitchens, bathrooms, hallways or living quarters.
  • Natural Aesthetics: Sandstone offers unrivaled natural beauty, and its natural aesthetics enhance any room as it adds a classy and stylish look. Since each tile is different and never identical coupled with unique colors and characteristics, sandstone creates a timeless floor covering.
  • Flexibility: Stone floors are known for being flexible for different weather conditions. They keep floors cool in the summer, which is a great solution for those who live in hot climates. For those who live in colder weather environments, adding radiant floor heating is a good idea because sandstone is a great heat conductor, which means you’ll save money when heating your floors.
  • Low Maintenance: A sandstone tiled floor provides low maintenance and hygienic surface that doesn’t store pet hairs, skin or dust, which makes an ideal flooring material. Additionally, sandstone floors are very easy to clean. A soft broom and quality mop are all you need to clean a sandstone floor.

Cons of Sandstone Tiles

  • Absorbs Water: Sandstone is a porous material; therefore, it can absorb water if an accident should occur. If an excessive amount of water is spilled onto the sandstone, you should clean it up immediately to avoid mold and bacteria from forming.
  • Routine Sealant: Sandstone that’s installed in kitchens and bathrooms where it’s subject to water should be sealed every three to six months.
  • Scratches: Sandstone is a soft stone when compared to other rocks. It can dent and scratch over time from things being dropped on them to chairs being drug across them or someone wearing high heels. A little extra care is needed with sandstone floors when concerning such things.

The Final Verdict

Sandstone floors can cost the average homeowner between $5 to $10 per square foot, and they’re more affordable than installing marble or granite floors. Sandstone tiles come in different textures and colors, and each tile generally has a different pattern. The final verdict is, when compared to other types of natural stone floors, sandstone offers consumers a more affordable and durable flooring solution.

If you’re interested in adding a sandstone floor to your home or place of business? Please fill out the contact form below and get ready to start your next flooring project.

How to Care for a Marble Fireplace

How to Care for a Marble Fireplace

Marble may be one of the most recognizable natural stones available and the fact that it has been used as a building material for thousands of years attests to its durability and beauty. Marble fireplaces can be found in homes built hundreds of years ago but they have made a comeback in recent years. Although marble is durable, it is very porous and much softer than granite or other types of stone. It is prone to staining unless it is maintained properly. These tips will help you keep your marble fireplace clean and looking as stunning as it did the day it was installed.

Oil-Based Stains

If you have noticed dark stains on your marble fireplace, you may be seeing the results of an oil-based stain. This could be grease, tar, cooking oil, milk or cosmetics, some of which may be the result of burning the fireplace and others due to spills from people near the fireplace. Oil-based stones need to be cleaned quickly to avoid staining. Use a soft, liquid cleaner and bleach, household detergent, ammonia, mineral spirits or acetone to pull oil-based stains from your marble. You can also create a poultice of baking soda and water or purchase a commercial poultice material that may be mixed with mineral spirits.

Organic Materials

Your fireplace can be stained by organic materials as well. Coffee, tea or food spilled on the fireplace or the use of tobacco near the marble can lead to staining. The color of the stain may depend on what type of substance caused it. Food like tomato based sauces or wine may leave a pink-colored stain while coffee, tobacco or tea will leave a stain that with brown coloring. Create a solution of 12 percent hydrogen peroxide, water and a small amount of ammonia to remove the stain. The hydrogen peroxide should be the same strength as that used in hair dye.

Water Stains

If someone leaves a glass sitting on your fireplace or spills water across the surface of the granite, it can leave a stain. The stain will look very similar to a water stain on wooden furniture. You can remove the spots with a dry 0000 steel wool pad. Be careful not to scrub too hard to avoid scratching the surface of the marble.

Markers and Ink

If your child decided to decorate your mantle using felt-tip markers, Biro pens or other types of ink, your marble may still be salvageable. If your fireplace is of light marble, use bleach or hydrogen peroxide in small quantities to prevent stripping the color. If your marble is dark, you can use acetone or lacquer thinner to remove the ink.

Paint Drips

No matter how careful you try to be when you paint, you inevitably drip paint from the brush or roller. If you neglected to see the paint in time to wipe it up while it is wet, you can still remove it from your marble fireplace. You may be able to simple scrape the dried paint with a blade or a small amount of acetone. If the spill is fairly large, you will need to use commercial paint stripper with lye or caustic soda. Never use acid or flames to remove the paint from marble. You may want to seek the help of a professional if the paint spill is significant, especially if it is oil-based paint as this may cause an additional stain even when the paint itself is removed.

Soot and Fire Residue

Burning a fireplace causes soot and other fire residue to be dispersed throughout the room. Black or gray streaks could mean your marble has soot stains. These can easily be cleaned using mild soap and warm water on a regular basis. If you had an incident with your fireplace that has led to burns in your marble, you will need to seek the assistance of a professional who may use special smoke and burn removers to bring your fireplace back to its original beauty.

Rust or Other Metal Stains

Decorative fire tools look beautiful sitting next to the fireplace, but they can lead to staining. Metal can lead to rust from iron, copper or stainless steel. Nails and screws near the fireplace can also lead to rust stains. Iron and rust appear to be orange or brown while copper and bronze have a green or muddy brown tint. To remove metal stains, create a poultice using a liquid cleaner mixed with a white absorbent material to form a paste. Copper stains can be removed using a poultice of commercial poultice powder mixed with ammonia while iron or rust can be removed using a poultice made from diatomaceous earth and rust remover. It may take several treatments to completely remove the stain although a deep stain may require a professional to remove it.

Mold and Mildew

If the room where your fireplace is located is damp, like in a basement, you may notice powdery brown or green substances on the surface. This can be mold, mildew or fungi. You can create a solution of ½ cup ammonia, bleach or hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of water to remove the stains. Never mix ammonia and bleach as it can create a lethal toxic gas. Choose only one of the three options for your solution.

Regular Cleaning

You can keep your marble fireplace looking beautiful with some simple tips. Always use a soft microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt. Only use warm, not hot, water and lightly rub any stains with the cloth, increasing pressure if the stain is difficult. Rinse the cloth often to prevent streaking. If possible, use distilled water as impurities can lead to staining as well. Once it is clean, dry with a soft cloth as air-drying can lead to streaks or water spots. Do not use white vinegar or limescale removers. These products contain acids that may damage the surface. Baking soda should be used carefully as it is abrasive and could damage the finish. Marble wax can be added to bring out more of the shine as well.

Using a Poultice

Your poultice should be the consistency of peanut butter or toothpaste. Dampen the stained area with warm water and spread the poultice over the stain. You will want it to be about a half-inch thick and overlap somewhat over the sides. Cover the poultice with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and seal with tape. Let it dry for between 24 and 48 hours. You can lift a corner of the bag and wipe a small spot to see if the stain is still there after 24 hours. If it is, replace the small amount of poultice and cover it again, waiting another 24 hours. Once you feel the stain is gone, remove the poultice and clean the area with warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process as it may take several attempts to get stubborn stains out.

If you need assistance getting stains out of your marble fireplace, contact us today. We can help guide you through the process and get your marble fireplace back to its beautiful condition. Call or fill out the easy online form today.

Are Soapstone Countertops Right For Your Kitchen?

Are Soapstone Countertops Right For Your Kitchen?

Stone countertops are an elegant and stylish way to accent your home with the beauty of nature. In most cases, a slab of polished stone looks much better than a slab of wood. More importantly, it will probably last much longer. But that still leaves us with one question: Which kind of stone to use?

Today, we will be taking a look at soapstone, which is one of the more popular choices. Our purpose is to help you determine if this kind of stone is right for your home. We will do this by evaluating the stone based on a set of important factors.

Factor 1: Price

Most of the time, soapstone tends to be cheaper than other stones like marble or granite. There are several reasons for its reduced cost, but most of it probably comes down to availability and convenience. Soapstone is very common throughout the world, much like granite. Unlike granite, it is fairly easy to cut and shape. This makes the mining process easier and cuts down the price.

But how much of a difference are we talking here? Let’s make a quick price comparison. We can search for prices on stone slabs, which will give us a good idea of the price per square foot. So, let’s compare marble, granite, and soapstone.

Here is a marble countertop that measures about 1×6 feet. Its cost is about $170. That comes out to $28 per square foot. Here is a granite countertop that measures about 2×9 feet and costs $485. That equals about $27 per square foot. Finally, here is a site that sells soapstone countertops for $14.00 per square foot. Thus, we can see that soapstone is about half the cost of granite or marble.

Factor 2: Durability

When it comes to durability, soapstone is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, soapstone does a much better job of resisting moisture, staining, and heat damage. On the other hand, soapstone is much more vulnerable to scratching and chipping. All of these qualities come down to the properties of the stone itself.

Soapstone is a non-porous stone, which means that it presents a completely smooth surface. Liquids cannot penetrate the surface because there is simply nowhere for them to go. Granite, marble, and many other types of stone are porous, which is why they absorb moisture and stain. This is why those types of stone require a good sealer product to obtain maximum longevity. Soapstone doesn’t have that problem.

However, soapstone is a relatively soft stone. The hardness of all substances is measured on the Mohs scale, and soapstone ranges between 0 and 1. Soapstones that are used in countertops will usually be on the high end of that spectrum, but that is still a very soft stone.

Because of this, you will need to be careful not to use your soapstone counter as a cutting board. Get a separate cutting board, as steel will quickly scratch and gouge a piece of soapstone. In fact, it’s good to keep sharp objects off the stone as much as possible. You should also be careful not to slam heavy objects on a soapstone counter, as this can also break them. Thankfully, it is often possible to repair a damaged soapstone slab with epoxy or other methods. Also, soapstone is very easy to sand, which makes it easier to sand away those ugly little scratches.

Factor 3: Appearance

When it comes to beauty, soapstone can hang with the top contenders. Like granite and marble, soapstone comes in a huge variety of patterns and colors, although black and grey are the most common colors. Different types of soapstone are found in different localities. For instance, take a look at Gala Red soapstone, which is one of the most beautiful varieties.

For some people, the relatively small color palette of soapstone could be a problem. Most soapstone is not brightly-colored, so it may not go with your decor if bright colors are what you prefer. Still, dark colors tend to go with anything. Surprisingly, soapstone will actually change color over time. As soon as you pull this stone from the ground, it begins to oxidize much like iron or steel. This normally causes a darkening of the stone that some people really find attractive.

Factor 4: Maintenance

Soapstone requires far less maintenance than most other stone countertops. While granite and marble require sealing, soapstone does not. We have already mentioned the non-porous nature of this stone, which means that you don’t need to spend money on a sealer. Since most sealers have to be re-applied, that also cuts down on maintenance.

The short version of the story is that soapstone requires no maintenance whatsoever. It might require repair if damaged, but that isn’t the same thing. There is only one maintenance process that you will ever want to do on this kind of stone, and it is an optional one. If you want to accelerate the natural darkening of the stone, you can rub it down with mineral oil or wax to darken the surface.


Overall, soapstone has quite a few benefits. It doesn’t stain, and it is immune to water, chemical, and heat damage, and requires no maintenance. Not only that, but it tends to be a lot cheaper and is just as beautiful as any stone on the market. However, it doesn’t hold up well to hard use. Knives, heavy cooking pots, and other steel implements can really do a number on this kind of countertop if you aren’t careful.

Overall, we advise you to base your decision on your kitchen habits. If you like to move fast and throw things around, this might not be the right kind of countertop for you. If you are one of those “slow and steady” types, the lack of durability should present no real problem. We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that we have given you all the information that you need and more. If this is the case, please fill out the contact form below to receive more crucial information like this.

How To Restore Your Countertops

How To Restore Your Countertops

Restoring your countertops can mean several different things. It might involve cleaning and polishing a dull and scratched granite countertop, or it could mean totally resealing, resurfacing, refinishing or even replacing a countertop. So, what are some of the approaches or options to countertop restoration, particularly when you are thinking of rejuvenating your granite countertops?


There are polishing techniques that will give granite a completely new and refreshed surface. In comparison to cleaning, this type of restoration or resurfacing allows the removal of a small surface area or layer of granite. This layer can be dull, stained or scratched. Once that layer is removed, a new, fresh and smooth stone is revealed.

How Often Polished

Granite countertop surfaces should usually be polished within a five to 15 year period, but the time frame depends on the amount of use the countertops have received. Once they are polished, granite countertops should also be sealed to protect them from scratches, stains and other possible damage. Granite experts recommend that countertops should be resealed by a professional every two to four years.

Options with Granite Polishing

There are options with polishing that include using wet or dry material, as granite can be polished with either one. There are differences as to which is better, but both are beneficial. There are positives and negatives with both that include:

  • – Polishing powder that is dry is less costly than paste formulations.
  • – Powder polishes are adaptable as they can be used wet or dry.
  • – Wet polishing can be messy and create spray when power tools are used in the polishing process. Plastic covering is necessary to protect kitchen area appliances and cabinets. In addition, protective clothing should be worn to avoid any over-spray.
  • – Any pads used with wet polishing will limit heat buildup along with wear and tear on the pads themselves, plus they are less costly than dry pads.

Polishing Powder

Polishing powder that is used on granite is also referred to as stone polishing compound. Using this type of powder or compound is a fast and simple way to give granite a fresh look while getting rid of any small stains or scratches. When it is used in dry form, a buffing pad is necessary to get over the granite in the right pattern. If a wet form of powder is going to be used, a muslin wheel should be the major tool of choice.

Choosing a Compound

Most stone polishing compounds, or polishing powders, can be used on both new and used granite countertops. These powders are usually available in formulations designed for dark and light granite. The main thing to consider is the color of the granite and which compounds are most compatible with either lighter or darker toned stone. Whatever formulation is used, avoid heavy pressure during the polishing process as the compound is the workhorse. Also, follow any product directions carefully and closely. You’ll have good results whether you are maintaining granite countertops or restoring them.

Polishing Creams

Polishing creams are usually designated for use on granite countertops that are either engineered or natural stone. They consist of less heavy abrasives that are suited for high end manufactured granite with rich finishes. Many cream combinations are perfect for restoring original granite finishes as well as bringing back their shine and original luster. Buffing out with these creams is usually done with either pads made of hog hair or comparable materials.


Resealing is another option when it comes to restoring your granite countertops. If both cleaning and polishing are not doing the trick, you might want to check to see if resealing is required. You can test to confirm whether you do need to reseal. Just sprinkle some water onto your granite countertops and wait for the water to either dissolve or be absorbed. If the water has passed through the surface, you probably need to reseal the countertops yourself or consult with a professional about doing it. Without the proper sealing process, the granite beneath any older sealer will likely continue to show stains and damage.

Resealing Process

The resealing process involves using a permeating type of stone sealer that reaches deeply into the granite and will fight off stains and keep bacteria at bay. This kind of sealer will also make cleaning a lot easier. Food and liquids can simply be wiped away without any trouble.

If you do decide to apply the sealer yourself, you should completely clean your countertops first. It is advisable to use a cleaner that is specifically designed for granite. Once you have used the cleaner, allow the countertops to thoroughly dry before applying the sealant.

Sealant Application

Once your granite countertops are prepped, utilize a clean, white cloth that is free of lint to apply the sealant. You don’t want to pour out too much of the sealant as you’ll experience drips and accumulation of it on your countertops. Just make sure that coverage is complete on all edges and backsplash areas. Apply the first coat and allow it to thoroughly dry before any second coat is applied. Once the second coat is applied, wait at least 24 hours before using your countertops.

Repairing Granite Countertops

If your granite happens to have small dings and scratches, there are epoxy fillers or resins that can help repair them. Home improvement, hardware and remodeling stores usually carry these type of repair items for purchase. Once the epoxy or resin is applied, allow it to dry. Then, sand the areas and reseal them. Any larger kind of cracks or other repairs should probably be left to an expert.


Even with polishing and resealing, and constant care, a granite countertop may not acquire a totally restored condition, especially if the countertop has gone past the 15 year mark. Replacement may be one of the few options available to obtain a finished and restored appearance, which can be costly. If you don’t want to go to the expense, refinishing material may be a less pricey route to take. Also, replacing your granite countertops doesn’t have to be a total loss if you research and find wholesale dealers, styles that are discontinued or leftover pieces and remnants that will make any replacement a lot less expensive.

If your granite countertops are starting to take on a dull and scratched appearance even with faithful cleaning and polishing, it may be time to think about restoring them to their original finish. The ideas presented here will give you a jump start on bringing back your granite countertops to what they once were. Complete the contact form here to find out more about granite countertop restoration. An expert will get back to you with the answers you need to start your countertop restoration.

The Ultimate Guide To Slate Countertops

The Ultimate Guide To Slate Countertops

There are many reasons to buy a stone countertop, as opposed to the many other substances that one might use. If you look at all the oldest monuments from the ancient world, all of them are made of stone. That’s because only a stone can last through the ages after everything else has rotted away. Of course, there are many different types of stone. It is important to pick the right one, and the purpose of this article is to help you do just that.

We will now examine one of the more common options: Slate. This is perhaps one of the most useful stones in the world, due to its unique tendency to split into flat pieces. It has been used for roofing tile, chalkboards, and a lot of other things, but today we are concerned only with its use as a countertop material.

Factor 1: Price

Slate is a fairly inexpensive stone. It may not have the classy appeal of marble, but it will definitely save you some money. To give you an idea of how cheap this stone is, let’s compare some prices. We will start with this slate tile, which sells for about $6.30. Since the piece is 12 inches by 24 inches, that means we would be paying $3.15 per square foot. That is amazingly cheap, but we need to remember that not all slate is the same.

For instance, here are some tiles made of green slate, which is easily one of the most attractive types. In this case, you get a box of tiles for about $127. In the end, you’re paying about $13.50 per square foot. However, green slate is probably the most expensive type. Thus, you can plan on paying somewhere between $3.15 and $13.50 per square foot of slate.

Let’s compare it to some of the other options. Marble tends to be the most expensive, so let’s examine these marble field tiles. As you can see, these things will set you back about $26 per square foot, though not all marble is that expensive. Granite prices will vary a lot depending on the type, but the better kinds are almost as expensive as marble. For instance, these granite tiles will cost you about $22.50 per square foot.

Factor 2: Durability

When it comes to durability, slate is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it presents a non-porous and waterproof surface, which explains the long history of slate being used for roofing tiles. Thus, you won’t need to worry about sealing this one. Not only that, but the non-porous surface of this stone cannot absorb liquids. Anything that is spilled upon it will just roll off the surface rather than soaking into the stone. This eliminates nearly all danger of staining.

Slate is also chemically neutral. This means that you don’t have to worry about spilling acidic substances like orange juice or wine on your counter. For this reason, slate has often been used for laboratory counters. If you really want to get a good idea of how tough this stone is, take a look at this old book of building standards. According to this, slate roofing tiles should last from 20 to 100 years.

Let’s consider the hardness of this stone, as that will have a lot to do with its durability. As we can see from this well-sourced article, slate is hard enough to scratch glass and steel. Scientists rate the hardness of a substance using the Mohs scale. For comparison, soapstone usually has a Mohs value of 1. Slate, by contrast, has a Mohs rating of 5.5. That’s harder than marble, limestone, or travertine, and nearly as hard as granite.

When we look at this report, we can see why slate is so hard. For one thing, it’s composed of a mixture of hard materials like feldspar, muscovite, and quartz. For another thing, it has a very fine grain structure. You see, all stone has a natural grain just like wood, and the structure of this grain has a lot to do with its strength. Large grains make for a brittle substance, while a fine-grained substance like this will be stronger. This same rule applies to stone, wood, and metal.

Factor 3: Appearance

In terms of appearance, slate offers a plainer surface than most. Sometimes, it will just be a single flat color, but some people like that kind of look. If you want something a little bit more colorful, it is possible to find slate that has striations, marbling, and other surface variations. However, you are likely to pay more for such stone.

We have to be honest here: Slate does fall short in the area of beauty. Although it does look nice, it’s not quite as beautiful as the competition, which has a lot to do with the reduced price.

Factor 4: Maintenance

Under most circumstances, slate countertops will require little to no maintenance. This is one of its main strengths. According to this respected home builder, slate requires no maintenance other than basic cleaning.

However, we should mention that importance of getting a good slate slab. There are multiple grades of slate, and some of them are less durable than others. Low-grade slate will generally be more brittle, but this isn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the fact that low-grade slate can absorb water. The waterproof nature of slate is one of its main selling points, so don’t negate it by getting bargain-basement stone.


As you can see, slate has a few significant upsides to offer. First of all, it might be the best choice for those on a tight budget. Of course, the higher-grade slate should be avoided in such a case. At the same time, you have to be careful about the grade of your slate counter, but you can get around this problem by ordering a sample first (which is common practice in this industry).

As for downsides, a relative lack of color and beauty are the only reasons that this stone is not more commonly used. So, if you aren’t that worried about having a colorful surface, and you want something that will do a good job at a low price, this might be the perfect choice for you. If you would like to know more about this and other fascinating subjects, please fill out the contact form below.

What Makes Calacatta Different from Other Stones?

What Makes Calacatta Different from Other Stones?

Marble countertops have grown in popularity over the past decade, creating rooms that make a statement. Marble sends a message of luxury and sophistication, but with so many options to choose from, you may be confused about what is the best option. You may even wonder why a marble countertop is a better choice than other types of natural stone. Understanding marble, especially calacatta marble, and knowing its advantages and disadvantages can help you choose the perfect stone for your kitchen.

About Calacata Marble

When you are looking at some types of countertops, like Corian, Silestone or Caesarstone, a sample gives you an idea of what your counter will look like once it is installed. It is much more difficult with marble, however, as every slab of marble is different. Nature creates a wide range of patterns and colors so veining in one slab of marble could look completely different in another slab, even if they are quarried at exactly the same time. Marble is quarried in many different parts of the world but the marble found in Carrara, a town in northern Italy, is one of the most readily available in the United States. Italian marble is found in three different types which include Calacatta, Carrara and Satuary.

Differences from Other Types of Marble

The first thing you need to do is to compare the three types of Italian marble to decide what will work best for you. Carrara marble is the most commonly found in this country. It has a gray background, or field as experts call it, with light gray veining. Often, the stone leans toward blue-gray and the veins are soft and feathery. Statuary, also quarried in Carrara, has a bright white background with little color variation. Veins are normally dark gray, giving the stone a distinct contrast between light and dark. Calacatta also has a bright white background but it offers a wider range of vein coloring. The veins in Calacatta are thick and dramatic, ranging in color from golds, browns, beige and dark gray.

Pricing Differences

Carrara is normally less expensive than the other types of marble quarried there. The average cost is $75 to $100 per square foot and it is plentiful. Calacatta and Statuary are much rarer and the supply is not as plentiful as Carrara so the cost is higher. There are slabs that cost as much as $250 per square foot. It is important to remember that costs vary by supplier as some are considered exclusive so they will charge more. They may also have more distinctive marbles to offer than the big box outlets who offer fewer options. Thickness also has an impact on how much marble costs. Countertops are cut to one or two centimeter thickness with one centimeter the most popular option as it is much less heavy to install.

Maintenance of Marble

The three stones require the same amount of maintenance as they have the same porosity. It is important to note that marble is not low-maintenance like quartz or granite. It is not acid-resistant, requiring the surface to be sealed when it is installed and then resealed periodically. This prevents it from being stained or etched by substances like red wine, tomato sauce, fruit juices or citrus fruits. Marble is also not as hard as granite which means it will chip if struck by a heavy skillet or other heavy object. It is also softer so it is prone to scratches or cracks if you don’t use a cutting board to protect het surface.

Choosing the Right Marble

As mentioned before, each slab of marble is different even if it has been quarried together. You will want to go to a showroom to compare colors and patterns on each slab to find those that fit what you need. If you have a small countertop, you may not need to worry about the differences in the slabs but large counter areas will require you to work with the experts to blend the slabs that work best together. It makes it difficult to shop around because showrooms often only have three or four slabs on premises. Most companies that work with natural stone will show you photographs of additional slabs to let you see what options you have.

What About Your Kitchen?

Because it is much less expensive, Carrara is probably the best option for the kitchen. It offers darker backgrounds and veining which will help you hide food stains, discolorations and marks from hot pans. The natural markings will be more obvious. However, if you have a larger budget and you’re a stickler for cleaning up any spills, Calacatta or Statuary may be the right option. Keep in mind that if you enjoy baking, marble is the perfect choice for a kitchen countertop. Pastry dough works well on the coolness of marble counters which is why many cooks now install marble insets in other types of countertops simply for pastry work.

Why Choose Marble?

Marble has been used as a building material for centuries and the fact that buildings with marble flooring, stairs, railings and more still look as stunning as they did when they were installed is a testament to the sophistication, beauty and durability of marble. Homes in Europe often have stone countertops due to their durability and cooking benefits. Even though marble can stain easily, many people like the patina that develops over time and find the slight stains to make their counters unique from other marble counters.

If you are considering marble countertops, it is important to understand the difference between marble and other types of stones, including quartz, granite, soapstone and more. We can help you choose the right natural stone for your family’s needs. Contact us today by giving us a call or filling out the easy form online to speak to a customer service representative who can guide you through the process and help you select the perfect natural stone.

What Is Taj Mahal Quartzite?

Introduction To Taj Mahal Quartzite

Taj Mahal quartzite is a beautiful stone that has become very popular in recent years. It offers an elegant and classic look with a durability that is hard to match. This stone is mostly white in coloration, but it contains many bands and striations of darker colors like brown, blue, or gold. Because of this, it has a look that is similar to high-end granite and marble slabs. For those who have never heard of this stone, let’s take a quick look at its qualities.

Quartz Vs. Quartzite

You may have read our previous article on the subject of quartz countertops. If you assumed quartz and quartzite to be the same thing, you have made an understandable mistake. Although they are very similar in name and properties, quartz and quartzite are two different stones.

It is quite easy to tell these stones apart based on their appearance. Pure quartz is normally transparent and crystalline, like this example. Quartzite, on the other hand, has a wide variety of colors and textures. In essence, quartzite is nothing but quartz that has been mixed with something else.

However, there is a more significant difference for those who are interested in buying decorative slabs. Quartz countertops, as you may remember, are a conglomerated material made of powdered quartz, quartz chips, and epoxy resin. Quartzite slabs, on the other hand, are usually cut from a solid chunk of stone.

Where Does Taj Mahal Quartzite Get Its Name?

If you know what the Taj Mahal is, you know that it’s a historical building located in India. However, this stone does not come from India. Rather, it comes from Brazil, which is one of the biggest producers of quartzite slabs.

So why the name? Well, if you look at the surface of the Taj Mahal, most of it resembles the look of Taj Mahal quartzite. It is mostly white, with bands of other colors creating an appealing pattern. Thus, this stone is named only for its resemblance to the famous Taj Mahal.

How Is Taj Mahal Quartzite Used?

This type of stone can be used in a variety of ways, much like a slab of granite or soapstone or any other. The list is nearly endless, but here are just a few of the many ways that this stone can be used:

  • Countertops
  • Sink tops
  • Floor tiles
  • Backsplashes
  • Desk tops
  • Wall decor
  • Decorative slabs
  • Cutting boards
  • Table tops

How Expensive Is Taj Mahal Quartzite?

This type of stone is definitely on the higher end of the price spectrum. Many people have remarked on this, but we want to give you a more exact picture. Let’s look at this big slab here. This is a large piece of Taj Mahal quartzite that measures 55×110 inches. That’s 4.5 feet by 9 feet, with a thickness of 2-3 centimeters. Total price is about $3,100, which is quite a bit. When we break that down to dollars per square foot, it comes about to about $76.54.

Properties Of Quartzite:

We are looking at this material from a practical perspective. Therefore, we need to look at its physical qualities so that the reader (you) can determine if this material will be the right choice for you.

First, let’s talk about hardness. Like quartz, quartzite has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. The scale stops at 10, so that is extremely hard. Granite usually has a rating between 6 and 6.5, with marble being much softer at 3-4. In terms of durability, this stone is well worth its cost.

That brings us to the only significant problem with the use of this stone. As we saw already, it is quite expensive. You certainly won’t save any money by going with this option, but you will get a stone of unsurpassed beauty and durability.

Let’s talk a little bit about porosity. Porosity is simply the ability of a stone to absorb liquids. For most purposes, you want a stone that does not allow any liquids to soak through.

A greater amount of porosity will make allow more liquid because the material is not so densely packed. There are tiny gaps that allow moisture to pass into the stone. While some varieties of quartzite are porous, Taj Mahal quartzite is one of the least porous. It could very well be described as a waterproof stone because its material is so densely packed. This means that you won’t have to use a sealer

In terms of beauty, you could not ask for a better choice. This video gives you a very up-close look at a particularly beautiful example of this stone. When you watch this, you can see why it is so expensive. Another upside of this stone is the relative lack of maintenance required. You won’t have to seal it or buy any special cleaners, and you won’t have to take any special care when using it due to its extreme hardness. You will need to wipe it down from time to time and keep it from building up dirt and grime, but that’s about all.


Overall, Taj Mahal quartzite is one of the best premium decorative stones in the world. You should now be a little more familiar with the properties of this stone, and thus, you should now realize why it is so costly. It offers the beauty of the finest white marble, but with a hardness that puts nearly everything else to shame. Unless you can afford a countertop made of diamonds, you aren’t going to get anything tougher than this.

We hope that this article has been helpful to you, even though it is too short to cover all the benefits and uses of this beautiful stone. If you would like to read more articles like this, please fill out the contact form below.

Is Fantasy Brown Granite Really Granite?

Is Fantasy Brown Granite Really Granite?

As the title question asks, “Is Fantasy Brown Granite Really Granite?” Well, the answer is actually, no. Geologically speaking, Fantasy Brown consists of calcium carbonate which makes it akin to marble. It’s also related to quartzite, which is a natural metamorphic rock that is derived from quartz sandstone. Heat and pressure below the surface of the earth compacted this sandstone and transformed it to quartzite. Both marble and quartzite are metamorphic stones; whereas, granite is an igneous rock.

Confusion Abounds

Confusion abounds with Fantasy Brown’s name, calcium content and its relationship to marble, though this stone’s consistency leans more towards a quartzite type of rock because of its extreme hardness and resistance to stains and etching. So, with those points in mind, many in stone fabrication consider Fantasy Brown to be categorized as quartzite. This duel combination of minerals in marble and quartzite seems to have brought about a separate geological creation that is an entity unto itself and is, ta-da, Fantasy Brown.

Fantasy Brown Analysis

A more concise analysis of Fantasy Brown is in its direct relation to its mineral content, which affects its density. It consists of both quartzite minerals along with calcite. Calcite is a softer mineral while quartzite is a harder one. Durability of Fantasy Brown depends on the percentage or proportion of quartzite and calcite. If quartzite is dominant, durability is significantly increased.

A predominance of the softer component in calcite, which is the main mineral found in marble, will give a Fantasy Brown piece or slab a softer consistency. As Fantasy Brown is technically categorized as marble, it may likely be more susceptible to scratching and etching over time, particularly when exposed to acidic liquids and foods; however, the hardness factor with this type of marble that makes up Fantasy Brown may offset most of the negative effects associated with a softer marble.

Relationship to Granite

As far as the alluded to association with granite, Fantasy Brown does have characteristics similar to granite, in the sense of its mineral content. The stone has a one hundred percent Indian marble origin yet it continues to be identified with a granite name recognition. This is all in spite of the fact that its consistency is a very hard marble. The inconsistencies in name recognition with Fantasy Brown can be confusing and mind boggling to the average consumer, but Fantasy Brown is a conglomeration of minerals compacted in various degrees.

Both quartz, mica and other minor minerals are present in granite as well as with the mineral content found in Fantasy Brown. Hardness, strength and durability along with certain patterns and variegated colorations are other features that are similar in nature to granite. Both granite and Fantasy Brown are hard yet they can be porous, which means that liquids are able to penetrate them. Sealing will be necessary with either one of these stones to prevent any type of damage.

Popularity of Fantasy Brown

Fantasy Brown has risen in popularity and appears to have become a top favorite among homeowners and home renovators. Not only does its durability attract consumers, but its more neutral color combinations bring an updated, fresh and modern presentation to most any kitchen counter space.

The stone is characterized by diagonal swirls in gray and brown hues that are showcased within a white backround. Striking mineral configurations define the stone as do other faint shades of rose and green. Some slabs even contain specks of black. Every piece is, of course, varied and unique, and the neutral color coordination allows for use with light or dark cabinetry, and most any design scheme. Fantasy Brown countertops can become one of the main focal points of a kitchen, yet their distinct appearance won’t create diversions from the other areas of a kitchen.

How Fantasy Brown is Classified

To avoid some of the continued confusion associated with Fantasy Brown, the slabs or pieces produced are classified and distinguished according to their percentage of mineral content and durability. As Fantasy Brown does functionally deliver or perform like a quartzite or granite, and also has the mineral makeup of marble, each piece should be judged on its performance outcome. As these different types of Fantasy Brown consist of a multitude of minerals, there are going to be inconsistencies in their hardness and long-term durability. So, whether geologically categorized as a marble, quartzite or even a granite, the proof will be in how the stone will endure and withstand normal everyday use, along with any wear and tear.

Fantasy Brown is a hard working, lavish and adaptable stone that is an excellent and beautiful countertop choice. Whether the slab you choose is classified or given a quartzite, marble or even granite label, its overall hardness, durability and extended usability are the features to look for in any of the stone offerings. Research the possibilities with Fantasy Brown, whether the stone is called quartzite, marble or granite. You won’t be disappointed in what you find. Sealing will likely be necessary to preserve the beauty of the stone as well as to prevent etching, staining or scratching but, overall, you will find its performance unbeatable. If you want to know more about Fantasy Brown, complete the online contact form. A Fantasy Brown expert will return your inquiry as quickly as possible. You just may find Fantasy Brown to be a part of your kitchen fantasy future.