10 Reason’s Why You Should Choose Quartz

10 Reason's Why You Should Choose Quartz

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

Many Options

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


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


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

Anti-Bacterial Qualities

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

Low Maintenance

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

Scratch Resistance

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

Heat Resistance

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

Stain Resistance

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


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

Kitchen Uniformity

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

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

What Is The Difference Between Silestone and Quartz?

What Is The Difference Between Silestone and Quartz?

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

Silestone Consistency

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

Silestone Uses

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

Silestone Advantages/Disadvantages

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

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

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

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

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Quartz

7 Facts You Didn't Know About Quartz

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

Price of Quartz

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


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

Wide Range of Colors

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

Environmentally Friendly

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

Low Maintenance

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

Less Heat Resistant

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

Multiple Uses

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

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

Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: How Are They Different?

Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: How Are They Different?

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

What is Porcelain Tile?

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

What is Ceramic Tile?

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

Advantages of Porcelain Tile

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

Disadvantages of Porcelain Tile

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

Advantages of Ceramic Tile

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

Disadvantages of Ceramic Tile

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

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

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

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

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

Granite Trigger

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

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

Increase in Imports

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

Other Reasons for Granite Availability

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

Computerized Control

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

Granite Trends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Cleaning

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

Supplies and Process:

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

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

2. Disinfecting

Supplies and Process:

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

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

3. What Not to Use for Cleaning Granite

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

4. Stains

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

Food, Oil and Hard Water Stains

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

Poultice Application

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

5. Sealants

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

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

Sealant Process

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

6. Chips

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

7. Kits for Repair

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

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

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

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

1. Off the Grid or your Way to Energy Independence

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

2. Heat Source

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

3. Fire’s Comforting Ability

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

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

4. Cooking with Fire

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

5. Power Outages

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

6. Romance with Fire

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

7. Home Value

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

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

Outdoor Trends In 2019

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


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

Water Features

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

Lighting Systems

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

Combined Outdoor Spaces

Combined Outdoor Spaces

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

Outdoor Kitchens

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

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

Serious Countertops For Serious Cooks

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

What Serious Cooks Look for in Counter Tops

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

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

Ideal Countertops for Serious Cooks

Ideal Countertops for Serious Cooks

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

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

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

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

Other Top Serious Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything You Need To Know About The Countertop Fabrication Process

Everything You Need To Know About The Countertop Fabrication Process

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

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

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

Slab Inspection

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


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

Stone Cutting

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


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


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


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

Seam Phantom

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


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

QA & Finishing

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

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

What Is A Stone Fabricator?

What Is A Stone Fabricator?

Maybe you’ve never dealt with a stone fabricator and aren’t sure what the fabrication process entails but if you are about to venture into a kitchen or bathroom remodel or makeover, you may need a fabricator to help you. So, exactly what does a stone fabricator do?

Stone Fabricator

Stone fabricators are experts with various types of stones, and one of their main specializations is the selection of a stone piece or slab. The actual cutting process involved with natural stone is another factor that relates to a master fabricator. They are also trained to be able to differentiate between different grades of stones and determine the better ones from the not so good ones. In addition, a good fabricator is able to find a specific kind of stone that is required for a project.

Actual Fabrication Process

Stone fabricators help home or business owners in the selection of the right piece of stone for a particular use. They will determine the type of stone needed as well as the amount or quantity required for the job as well as where the stone or slab can be found and ordered. Experience and business affiliations will point fabricators in the direction of stone quarries with the best selections and the top vendors for ordering.

Once a slab is ordered and received, good fabricators will inspect the stone for any defects and imperfections. If there are fissures, fractures or other faults, the stone’s value and quality can be lowered. After inspections, fabricators will size the stone slab and shape it in the configuration requested and will use the necessary tools to complete the piece. The piece will then be refined and polished before it is installed by either the fabricator or an installation crew.

Finding and Choosing a Stone Fabricator

Finding and choosing a stone fabricator can take some searching, but there are qualified ones out there who are able to take a stone slab and transform it into an elegantly shaped final product.

One important aspect is locating a fabricator who is experienced and able to work on specific stone pieces, whether granite or some other type of natural stone. A good, well-rounded fabricator will be able to quickly determine what a homeowner or business is looking for in a stone piece. They should also be able to help a customer in the acquisition process, from choosing the right slab through a reputable quarry, to inspecting the piece for flaws, to transferring it through a vendor and then cutting it to specifications. Finally, a good fabricator should be able to perfect the slab through prepping and finishing the slab’s surface. Installation is the final phase and can be completed by the fabricator or qualified installers.

One more important detail relates to the specific fabrication of certain stone materials. If a homeowner or business is looking for a special stone, a fabricator should be selected who is able to deal with the kind of stone in question. Not every fabricator is going to be able to work magic with a every single stone, so it is important to be specific in a choice when searching for a fabricator.

Whether you are looking for a stone fabricator or just want advice on how to go about the process of selecting a particular type of stone, complete the online contact form and a specialist will be happy to answer your inquiry.

What Is EMT Conduit?

What Is EMT Conduit? | Flemington Granite

Homeowners with the grit and determination to take on DIY projects many wouldn’t, often find themselves confronted with aspects and materials that they never gave much thought to before. Conduit is one such example. We’ve all seen conduit running through commercial structures, and in our own homes, be it in the basement through the floor/ceiling, or along brick, cement, or stone walls.

Why Conduit Matters

Conduit is important. It doesn’t just reduce the eyesore that would come from exposed wire bundles, it also serves to protect these wires, prevent them from breaking under their weight, it insulates them, and it keeps things organized and clean.

Conduit makes such a difference that in most cases, where wire isn’t properly run through enclosed ceilings and walls, building code requires the use of it where wires are run.

Why EMT?

There are a few different kinds of conduit, made of a variety of materials. Some conduit is made of PVC, baked clay, copper, aluminum or advanced synthetic materials. EMT, however, is made of galvanized steel. This is an affordable material, as it’s been in use for over a century for various applications.
The advantages of this type of steel are that it’s strong yet relatively light weight, it’s resistant to corrosion or rust, it holds up against significant temperature variations, and it’s easy to manipulate.

Flexibility – Bending EMT

EMT conduit has an advantage of being relatively easily bent. When working on your project, you will quickly encounter a situation where straight lines and right angles aren’t an option – right angles aren’t good for wires and cabling. This means you’ll need to bend your conduit along smooth arcs and curves. This isn’t difficult, after some practice with a conduit bender and a chart for calculating angles and ratios – something we’re happy to provide.


Another advantage with EMT conduit is the modularity of it. It comes in small and large sizes and gauges, and can easily be connected together with clamps. If you cannot find a small enough size, or cannot get the precise size you need from available lengths, it’s also very easy to cut, despite its toughness.


Along with having a variety of sizes and lengths, it’s available in a wide array of colors, making it easy to color code your lines.

Is EMT Conduit Right for You?

EMT is mostly used as a high-volume material for commercial projects. But, given it’s durable, affordable, and easy to cut/bend, it’s also very good for residential projects. To learn more about EMT conduit, weight and bending calculations and any other concerns with conduit in general, fill out our contact form or call us today!

What’s The Difference Between Sheetrock And Drywall?

What's The Difference Between Sheetrock And Drywall?

Anyone in construction, whether they’re a beginner or an expert, knows that drywall is usually the standard bearer of any home building or renovation project. It’s what gives the original framework of most any interior room a firm backing, while it provides essential structural support. It’s also known as wallboard, is usually thin and fairly lightweight, though any thickness used will depend on the type of application utilized for both interior walls and ceilings.

Drywall Consistency

Most drywall is made from a kind of rock called gypsum that is ground into powder consistency and pressed into board form. It is available in varying thicknesses and weights, which will depend on its width and height, and the specific application for its use.

Difference between Sheetrock and Drywall

Even those that work in construction and potential homeowners have a tendency to confuse drywall with sheetrock and want to classify both of them in the same category of building materials. The difference is fairly simple as sheetrock is a name brand of drywall that is considered to be a reliable one that many contractors depend on, trust in and use as opposed to more general types of drywall. Sheetrock is also available for specific purposes that provide structure for customized projects that require fire and water resistant applications.

There are consistency differences between sheetrock and more general brands but sheetrock seems to outweigh the others because of consumer awareness of the name brand and the support network provided to its customers. There are those who choose to go with other drywall brands that may be less costly and possibly more convenient.

Types of Drywall Available

There are numerous types of drywall available to choose from that cover most any remodeling or renovation project. Fire, moisture and mold resistant drywall sheets come in different thicknesses to cover certain spaces in a room that would be subject to extensive use and possible damage, such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry areas.

Drywall Thicknesses

Drywall thicknesses are also important, particularly for ceilings and areas that require coverage for a smoother and easier installation. Sagging and sound transfer are also important particularly if drywall is applied on a level where foot traffic and other noises will be occurring. Both 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch boards can be used with ceilings to avert sagging. Also, acoustic drywall will help considerably with preventing sound transfer. This type of drywall is made with dense gypsum that is also coated with materials resistant to moisture. Most sounds will be kept within the walls and should not resonate to the opposite side

Standard Thickness

The standard or regular drywall thickness is usually 1/2 inch with a width of 4 feet by 8 feet. This is the size that is readily adaptable and the most widely used for basic remodeling and construction projects. There are thinner sizes with 1/4 inch being the most narrow. The quarter inch size up to 5/8 inch is available through home stores, hardware stores and direct orders from drywall manufacturers and suppliers of construction materials.


Knowing the weight of drywall sheets and thicknesses can also be determined by online drywall calculators. They can help a contractor or homeowner determine both weight and drywall thickness as well as both standard and lighter weight sheets for uses in most any project.

Understanding the difference between sheetrock and drywall is a fairly simple one, but if you have further concerns about the right kind of drywall for use on various projects, complete the online contact form and an expert will get back to you with the answers you need to determine what kind of drywall best fits your needs.

Popular Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons

Popular Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons

It truly can be confusing choosing a countertop material for use in a bathroom or kitchen area, especially with all the choices available today. Long ago you were limited in choices such as ceramic tiles, plastic laminates, faux marble-like materials and butcher block.

Yesterday’s Materials

The old-fashioned ceramics and laminates of yesteryear have been replaced with updated laminates and ceramic tiles. They still remain popular choices, but there are now a host of other materials that homeowners can select from that are a far cry from the bathrooms and kitchens of times past.

Numerous and New Materials

There are any number of materials that can be used in bathroom and kitchen countertop areas. Some are unusual, such as concrete, stainless steel or various wood selections but most popular countertops today are made from the following materials. Each one has its pros and cons and a rundown on that is included as well.


Granite continues to be one of the top choices for countertops. Its durability, innate beauty and natural stone features make it a choice among many homeowners. Granite selections and the variety of color combinations, shading and patterns make granite irresistible. There are both positives and a few negatives with granite that include:

– Pros

  • Stable and durable
  • Resistant to scratches, stains and heat
  • Resistant to water (when surface is sealed)
  • Exclusive selection of patterns and colors

– Cons

  • Requires maintenance and upkeep
  • Requires intermittent sealing


Laminate countertops are a far cry different from any vaguely associated material used in the past. There are hundreds of laminate product lines in the marketplace that manufacturers have introduced to consumers that really do appear to be replicas of granite, marble, wood, leather, stainless steel or, believe it or not, concrete. Laminate materials today consist of layers of plastic adhered to a core pieces of particleboard to create a solid surface. Laminate can either be cut to size or customized for special design configurations. As with any other countertop material, laminate has its good and bad features, such as:

– Pros

  • Budget friendly material
  • Enormous range of patterns, styles and colors
  • Favorable to do-it-yourself installation with non-custom work
  • Good for quick fixes with remodel work and potential home sales

– Cons

  • Often thought of as a lower level material
  • Though lightweight, laminate materials lack the bulk or mass of other materials
  • Laminate materials utilized in custom work will require an experienced installer
  • Not the best choice for larger areas that require a designer’s edge

Ceramic, Porcelain and Glass Tiles

Ceramic, glass or porcelain tiles have been standard fare with more traditional home decor and designs, and they have currently seen an upsurge in use because of innovative material upgrades. Popular colors, styles and surface looks have given ceramics a new life. Most ceramic tiles consist of clay with a surface that is glazed. that is glazed, while porcelain is made of a finer clay that provides a more solid and heavier consistency. Glass tiles are not actually ceramic, but they go through a similar installation process, plus they are available in numerous designs and style choices.

– Pros

  • Affordable, even with higher end choices
  • Fairly easy installation with do-it-yourself options
  • Literally hundreds of available selections

– Cons

  • Can be brittle and easily breaks or cracks
  • Discoloration and stains can occur with grout seepage
  • Requires maintenance and upkeep with cleaning and intermittent sealing
  • Professional installation will increase costs


Quartz is not a solid quartz stone as it is an engineered material that is made of approximately 90 percent quartz, which has been ground, along with other minerals that are combined with pigments and resins to form large slabs for countertops.

There are any number of styles and varieties of quartz available that can take on the appearance of natural stone products. Often quartz countertops can be purchased with incorporated sinks and other related fixtures. Quartz has its advantages and disadvantage that include:

– Pros

  • Can be configured in varying shapes for countertops
  • Sealing is not necessary
  • Coloration is well balanced in comparison to natural stone
  • Stronger, sturdier and not as fragile as natural stone
  • Less susceptible to stains because of its nonporous nature
  • Can be best used in many areas of a home, such as shower walls, bathroom vanities, surrounds for tubs, kitchen countertops, flooring and fireplace surrounds
  • Scratch resistant
  • Inhibits growth of mold, mildew and bacteria
  • Easy maintenance and upkeep

– Cons

  • More expensive that other materials
  • Seaming can be apparent
  • Less heat resistant than natural stone


Marble is a metamorphic natural stone that is characterized by its white color and veining patterns, but this elegant and classic stone is also available in color variations such as cream, green, grey, charcoal, rose and other selections. Advanced technology has made marble more affordable and available to those who love its look. Marble is a rather soft material and porous stone that does require intermittent sealing and proper maintenance. There are positives with marble and the negatives really have to do with its care.

– Pros

  • Classic, elegant and luxurious surface
  • Can be used in a number of areas in a home
  • Endless style selections, unique patterns and colors
  • Ages beautifully with patina/lustrous effects
  • Naturally cool stone
  • Widely available product

– Cons

  • More porous material
  • Does not conduct heat well
  • Requires sealing
  • Susceptible to stains and etching, particularly red wine and fruit
  • High maintenance – daily cleaning recommended


Concrete countertop use has come into its own due to its popularity for use in more modern, industrialized and rustic design looks in kitchens and other home spaces. Concrete countertops are made from a combination of mortar, sand and varying pigments. Customization does require the hand of an expert as forms usually have to be constructed for proper configuration and sizing. Concrete use can be complicated but here are the pros and cons of this newly popular material:

– Pros

  • Sturdy, durable, lasting
  • Can be recycled
  • Resistant to heat
  • Can be customized through addition of pigments for surface changes that resemble natural stone

– Cons

  • Sealing is a necessity
  • Easily stained
  • Hard on glassware and dishware
  • Requires sealing
  • Porous and likely to retain moisture that can be damaging
  • Not for the do-it-yourselfer – requires fabrication and professional installation

Crushed Glass

Another newer and innovative material for countertop use is crushed glass. It comes from recycled glass materials that have been infused in concrete or clear acrylic. It is a unique and stunning look that has a designer style appeal, and it is usually custom made with no countertop exactly the same in appearance. Crushed glass countertops are both modern in appearance or more standard or traditional. Either way, they can fit into almost any countertop design. Crushed glass countertops may seem fragile, but the pros and cons of their use may say otherwise.

– Pros

  • Strong countertop choice, particularly those that consist of acrylic
  • Acrylic crushed glass is easy to maintain.
  • Numerous varieties, styles and designs are available

– Cons

  • Crushed glass embedded in concrete can be brittle
  • Cracks can appear with concrete and repair is not possible
  • Crushed glass is best used in high-end stylized spaces

With the number of countertop materials available today, there is no reason to not find what you like that fits your needs, taste and budget. Weigh the pros and cons with any of these materials and if you are still unsure of what is right for you, complete the online contact form an expert in countertop materials will get back to you with answers to your questions.

How Long Do Granite Countertops Last?

If you’ve ever been faced with having to choose a kitchen countertop material, you know it can be a confusing process, and it can be even more perplexing when you have to determine which type of countertop is going to last the longest. For many homeowners, granite comes to mind as a natural stone material that would be lasting, so how would they come to that conclusion? Well, here are some likely reasons why granite has earned that distinction.

Hard and Resistant

It’s pretty much been shown that granite is hard as well as dense. Hardness and denseness are indicators of longevity. With granite consisting of varying minerals, some slabs can be harder than others. On the Mohs Scale of Hardness, designed to indicate the strength, hardness and resistance to scratches for different minerals, the scale is set at 1-10. A one (1) indicates softer materials while the ten (10) indicates the hardest of materials. Granite comes in at between 6.0 to 7.00 on the scale. Other average countertop surface materials are not exactly in the same league as granite concerning their strength and hardness factors. For example, different grades of marble can rate from three (3) to five (5) on the scale, making it less durable than granite.

Longevity also plays a part in a stone’s resistance. Granite is resistant to damage because of its hardness, which makes it less likely to experience scratches and cracks that can weaken countertops.

Countertop Materials Comparison

In comparison to other countertop materials, granite has the capacity to last longer than other materials. Most granite and other natural stones can last anywhere from 100 years or more; whereas marble countertops last an average of 20 years. Tile, if properly cared for and maintained will also last for 100 years and beyond. Laminates, though handy for use and less expensive than other materials, will only last 20 to 30 years.

Increasing Longevity

Granite requires limited maintenance and upkeep. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a constant challenge when you have granite countertops, as they can withstand everyday wear and tear, but countertops shouldn’t be totally neglected as problems can, and likely will occur, particularly with stains.

In order to increase the longevity of granite countertops, there are preventative measures to assure that they last. With granite, utilizing sealants is important, as granite is a porous material and is susceptible to stains from juices, wine, oil and other food substances. Sealing is essential to prolong the life of granite. Any major stains can be difficult to remove and without periodic sealing, any previous sealant will probably wear away and the granite will weaken. This will set up granite countertops for absorption of stains. Also, lower quality granite can be affected by the growth of bacteria and if a sealant is improperly applied, any bacterial growth could increase.

Cleaning and Cautionary Care

In spite of granite’s easy care, keeping it clean is definitely a simple way to extend its longevity. A soft cloth and warm water is a start, and a cleaner made specifically for granite would also be of help. Everyday cleaners should be avoided, particularly those that are abrasive, as they can wear away at any sealant and leave countertops open to stains and damage.

Protecting granite from possible damage is another way to add to its longevity. A word to the wise is caution. Keep any super heavy objects away from granite as they can cause cracks or dents if they happen to fall, which can ruin entire areas of a countertop. You may be looking at replacement if care and caution are not considered. In addition, when preparing food on granite surfaces, be sure and use a cutting board to prevent any possible scratches or stains. Though granite is resistant to heat, it is also important to use trivets or pot holders for placement of hot cookware or casserole dishes on it. Staining and damage can occur from extremely hot sources that are allowed to be continually placed in the same area on a countertop.

Proper initial installation of granite is also important to its longevity. Installers should be prepared to utilize the right support systems in order to properly hold granite in place, as it is heavy and will require bolstering to keep it positioned during installation.

In order to insure that the granite you choose is going to last, be sure to research the strength, density and consistency of any slab that you consider. If you aren’t exactly sure how to evaluate those aspects of granite, complete the online contact form and a granite expert will get back to you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Quartzite But Were Afraid To Ask

Everything You Wanted To Know About Quartzite But Were Afraid To Ask

You’re probably wondering, is quartzite related to regular quartz or some other natural stone, like granite or marble, and why haven’t I heard about it before? You might have heard about it in passing, especially if you are looking for a newer and innovative way to update your countertops. So, knowing more about quartzite is probably important to you. So, here is a little bit of everything you might want to know about quartzite but were afraid to ask.

Quartzite Fabrication

One reason why quartzite is not as prevalent in the marketplace could be due to its limited availability. In the past, the time involved with fabricating quartzite was anywhere from 16-20 days. Also, with quartzite being an extremely hard material, it was not easily processed for exportation from various overseas suppliers.

Today, because of improved technology, fabrication of quartzite involves 16-20 hours of preparation time as opposed to the 20 days. With that in mind, quartzite is more readily available.

Quartzite Origins

You’re also probably wondering how quartzite formed and what it actually is in geological terms. Quartzite comes from grains of sand that have been compacted and fused together over a long period of time. These grains and layers of sand experienced transformation. The original grains (of actual quartz stone) were subject to high heat and pressure that caused a change in their physical appearance and chemical makeup. The process turns the sand into an extremely hard, dense and heavy, yet compact stone, identified as quartzite.

Metamorphic Stone

Quartzite is categorized as a metamorphic stone, which means that it has undergone change over time. It is further categorized as a non-foliated metamorphic rock, which means that the stone does not exhibit a layered or banded consistency or appearance. Quartzite will show deep veining which was caused during the high pressure stage of its transformation. With such an extended period of change, much of quartzite is white in consistency, making it similar in appearance to white marble.

Quartzite Aspects and Features

  • very dense and compact stone – making it difficult to stain
  • hardness factor of 6.5 on the Mohs scale
  • marble-like appearance with incredible durability
  • nominal veining for soft and simplistic design
  • comparatively new and innovative material
  • exclusive and limited stone product
  • higher retail price point due to overseas quarrying, fabrication and production costs
  • harder consistency that permits in depth polishing and surface smoothing
  • higher light reflection factor, glossiness and depth
  • heat, scratch and etch resistant
  • true quartzite lacks calcium carbonate, which deters etching issues
  • increases the overall value of a home
  • fairly easily maintained – repels even acidic food and products

Real Quartzite as Opposed to Marble

Quartzite products can often be confused with marble and occasionally they are mislabeled. Inappropriate labeling can lead to marble materials being offered as quartzite. Several examples of inappropriately labeled stones include:

  • Dolomitic marble – not a quartzite product
  • Iceberg Marble – not a quartzite product

In order to determine what is real quartzite as opposed to marble, or some other material, try the scratch test. Simply scratch the stone using one of your car keys, a piece of granite, glass, or something made of steel. Actually try to chisel or carve away on it. If steel damages the stone, the stone is not genuine quartzite, which likely makes it marble. If a car key is ineffective in scratching or carving the stone, it probably means the stone is quartzite.

True Quartzite Products

Some genuine quartzite products include the following:

  • Caracas
  • Naica quartz
  • Quartzite Cielo
  • Renoir quartzite
  • Taj Mahal
  • Tempest
  • White Macaubas

With design trends seeming to indicate a move towards the use of quartzite, there are going to be increasing numbers of homeowners and others interested in what quartzite offers. if you are curious and are contemplating using it, you simply need to remember its origin as well as its noted features and aspects, its cost for budgeting purposes and whether it is the genuine article, not to be confused with marble. If you need further explanations as to quartzite’s features and characteristics, complete the online contact form and a representative will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Before Gutting Your Home, Read This!

Before Gutting Your Home, Read This!

So, you’ve decided to gut your home and reinvent the space. This isn’t uncommon, and if the house is in bad enough disrepair, or is significantly enough out of date, it may just be a necessity to gut the entire structure and redo it. But, this is an expensive, work-intensive commitment that, once started, can’t really be backpedaled.

This isn’t something we point out to discourage you – far from it, in fact. But, before you start this process, we want you to consider some very important things. When making a major decision about your house like this, you should always look before leaping, and have a solid, well-worked-out plan ahead of time.

If you don’t, your project can run over time, over budget, and result in something very far from what you had in mind. You’ve seen this happen to other people, and you don’t want to be in that situation yourself. So, today, we’re going to look over some important things to consider before you actually take a hammer to any walls or pull up any carpet. If you follow these points closely, and use your head, your project will go smoothly, and you’ll wind up with the newly-remodeled home you envisioned.

Space is Important

Remember, you’re not likely adding space to the total area of your house, when you gut it. Unless you’re doing additions, you’ve got the space you have, and if you plan on moving walls or otherwise changing the floor plan, you need to consider space allocation for different things.

Make sure that you’ve provided sufficient space for bathrooms, bedrooms, the kitchen and so on. Shrinking any of these rooms is going to diminish your home’s value in most cases, so measure, remeasure and triple check all of your intended changes here. If you’re sacrificing space in one of the rooms, make sure it’s a room that doesn’t matter as much.

Inspect, Inspect, Inspect!

Be aware of any structural and foundational problems with your home. Because, once you start knocking down walls and changing your floor plan, these problems can result in disaster if not addressed, fixed, or in the very least, accounted for.

Structural weaknesses can cause houses to collapse, foundations to crumble, and much more. Fix these problems, and be aware of them. Ignore this at your peril!

Shop Around, Let Professionals Help

You might consider yourself handy, but a project of this scope and importance needs professional help. You want contractors and carpenters who know their trade like they know the back of their hand. Don’t settle for the first contractor that sugarcoats their projections and estimations.

Shop around, get lots of quotes, and compare.

Know Your Area

What do people look for in a house in your area? Know the local culture, what people want in a home. Apply this to your renovation, because even if you plan on living in this remodeled home, and not selling, your house is an investment. You never want investments to depreciate in value. Go look at open houses, see what people like, and implement your own take on it.

To learn more about renovation, and how to plan it wisely, fill out our contact form or call us today!

How to Set a Home Renovation Budget

How to Set a Home Renovation Budget

Renovating your home is a scary idea. But, sadly, sometimes it’s necessary. Homes age, trends come and go, and your resale value depends on keeping up with the basics of style and standards. Fail to mention, as things age, they do need replaced. Even antique landmark homes are constantly being renovated, merely with the materials and styles of the time whence they originate.

Nothing lasts forever, even the most well-built home needs to be remodeled from time to time. But, setting a budget for home renovation can seem like a daunting task. You’re no accountant or contractor, how could you even approach setting a reasonable, informed budget for such an undertaking?

Take a deep breath, it’s not nearly as bad as you think.

Cost Estimations

Decide first what it is you need/want done to your home, ideally. What do you envision your renovated home to look like? Determine from this what the materials are going to cost. Shop around, talk to people whom have done similar renovations, and itemize the costs.

To determine if you’re over budget, it’s all about percentages. You never want to spend more than 10-15% of your home’s value, in renovations. Anything above that is excess to the extreme.

Loan Options

So, you know what your materials are going to cost, and you’ve gotten it well within that percentage said above. But, this is still an expensive thing, and most people just don’t have the liquid assets to pay right out of pocket to have something like this done. There are options to approach this, depending on your situation and what ramifications you’re comfortable with in the long run.

  • Home equity loans, which are one of the more common approaches, are commonly referred to as “second mortgages” and require you to borrow against most or all of a given value – sometimes the entire home’s value, or in the least, the renovations’ value. If you’re stable, this isn’t as problematic as it seems.
  • Refinancing can extend and broaden existing home loans or mortgages, to pull a bit more liquid finances out to do what you need, but this is often looked at as deepening a hole you’re in.
  • HELOC, or home equity line of credit, is similar to an equity loan, but in manageable amounts that don’t result in you being any deeper in than needed. These aren’t possible without good credit scores, most of the time.
  • Cash-out refinancing is possible if you have sufficient equity, which allows you to extend your loan to a higher value than what is currently owed.

These are all big moves, so think long and hard about which of these you decide to do, if any.


Now, get quotes from multiple contractors. Like any other business, shop around and get multiple opinions. Some contractors extend pad expenses, or opt for materials more expensive than you need. Others might cut corners to pocket differences.

This isn’t to say “most contractors are dishonest” – far from it. But, shop around, because like any business, you’re not going to get the best possible quote right out of the gate most of the time.

Stick to Your Plan

Stick with your plan once you commit to one. Don’t add new things to the list, don’t settle for half-completion, stick with your guns. Adding new ideas or extending the scope of the project will quickly run you above budget, and is a common pitfall for many homeowners.

Similarly, getting cold feet and stopping short results in a lot of wasted money on failed renovations.

Account for Hidden Costs

Surprises happen. You never know when hidden wear and tear need to be accounted for. New wiring, skeletal structural repairs, or damage during a project can add hidden, unexpected costs. That said, factor a couple percent of your budget for hidden costs, and undershoot that when planning.

To learn more about financial strategies for home renovation, fill out our contact form or call us today!

How to Brighten a Dark Home

How to Brighten a Dark Home

There are many reasons why your home may appear to be dark. You may have a large home with a dark interior left behind by previous owners or you may live in a tiny studio apartment with just one window. If you are looking for a way to bring more natural light into your home or simply want to lighten up rooms throughout the house, there are options without emptying your wallet.

Light, Bright Paint

White reflects light as it hits the surface and this can give the illusion of light in a room. However, to make a room look brighter, you don’t have to go with stark white. You can choose many different light colors that will saturate the room with light but give the room your own distinctive look.

Create Contrast

A room with white walls, white cabinets, white upholstery and white accents may be very bright, but it can look boring. If you choose to paint your walls white, add contrasting bright colors for throw pillows, furnishings, cookware and other decorative items. In your kitchen, add a creative mosaic backsplash. In your living room, add some dark furniture and picture frames to offset the stark white of the walls.

Use Reflection

Mirrors are an excellent addition to a room that may get a little natural light. Mirrors will not brighten a room on their own, although they can make a small room look larger. If you have a room that gets a little natural light, strategically placing a mirror where it will catch incoming light will reflect that light around the room. Large mirrors may not work in a dim hallway or bathroom, however, as the mirror will simply duplicate the dimness. Instead, replace large bathroom or hallway mirrors with small, decorative framed mirrors to catch small patches of light.

New Windows

If your home is so dark that you must keep lights on in rooms during the day, you may want to invest in new windows. Although this may be expensive, using artificial light during the day can affect your mental well-being and will take a toll on your energy bills. Therefore, the cost of new windows could be offset by the savings on your electric costs. Consider a skylight or light tubes to bring in more light if adding a window is not possible.

Indirect Light

Harsh overhead lights can create glare which will actually reduce the quality of light in the room. Try to create the diffused light of an early morning. Put lights near walls or place LED strips under shelves or cabinets so the walls are coated in a layer of diffused glowing light. Place brighter task lighting over workspaces, like your kitchen counters or desk but keep the rest of the room bathed in diffused light.

Window Treatments

Wooden shutters, room darkening shades and heavy drapes may block natural light from the room. This may be great in a bedroom when you want to sleep in on a Saturday but not in the family room or kitchen. Switch to sheer or semi-sheer window coverings that give you the privacy you want during the day but let in plenty of natural light. If you want to keep the room darkening option, simply switch to drapes or curtains with tie-backs that you can open during the light of the day to bring in some natural brightness.

Trim the Trees

Trees help keep your energy costs down but they can also block the light from your home. Keep tree limbs near windows trimmed back as much as possible. Cut back bushes that may have grown up above the window ledges. If you can, replace bushes near your home with plants with variegated or silver leaves. These will reflect sunlight into your home rather than block it from coming in.

If you are considering a home remodel, contact us at Flemington Granite to learn what options are available. You can reach us by phone or by filling out the easy form online.

Focus On These Two Rooms To Increase The Resale Value Of Your Home

Focus On These Two Rooms To Increase The Resale Value Of Your Home

As a homeowner, you have increased or sustained resale value on your mind at all times, even if selling your home isn’t something you necessarily have on your agenda any time soon. A home is an investment, and as a result, you want to keep that investment more than equitable.

Given that fads come and go in home décor and materials, you often find yourself looking down the barrel of what can seem like a massive remodel, to keep your house contemporary and our value up. But, this isn’t actually necessary. You needn’t spend a small fortune on a massive remodel to up your house’s value and keep up with the times.

For one, there are choices you can make that remain timeless and future-proof, and this is especially true when you consider that when remodeling our house, there are only two rooms that matter above all else. When you looked for a house, which two rooms did you spend the most time scrutinizing for their practicality and materials involved? Was it the bedroom, or the living room? No, it was the kitchen and the bathroom(s), was it not?

These are the two rooms you need to put the most effort into remodeling, as most other rooms are pretty superficial to renovate when the house is purchased. The real elbow grease would have to go into these two key areas of the house. Let’s take a look at things to consider when remodeling these two most important parts of your home.

The Kitchen

The kitchen’s importance isn’t just that meals are prepared there. Oh, this is a crucial factor in size and layout, but it goes beyond that. The kitchen is the social hub of most homes, especially in the post-television, modern world where the family no longer convenes in the living room for evening broadcasts.

Many people even have their family meals in an area of the kitchen, entertain company there, and much more. As a result, it tends to be one of the places most homeowners like to express themselves in their décor, schemes and the like. This is understandable.


Kitchen flooring is important. You need an attractive, durable material which is easy to clean, is scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, mildew and mold-resistant, and very easy to clean. It helps if it’s also capable of the most diverse aesthetic and design capabilities.

Ceramic tile checks off all of these boxes entirely. You can get ceramic tile that looks like linoleum, hard wood, marble, or any number of creative patterns that match the motif you want. It lasts a long time, and it’s very affordable.

Backsplashes and Counters

Backsplashes defend your walls from, well, splashes, steam and other abuse. You’ll want a similar material to flooring that is resistant to mold and mildew, is easy to clean, and can look the way you want. Ceramic or porcelain tile works excellently here, and various creative patterns achieved with this are all the rage today. They can look timeless, and match any type of scheme you’re after.

Amazingly, it works just as well for countertops.

The Bathroom

The bathroom is actually a bit simpler, but you’ll care about the same slip-resistance, durability and resistance to mold/mildew and bacteria. You’ll want to plan your flooring with walk-in showers in mind, ad they are the new, modern standard.

Ceramic tile, once more, works excellently for bathroom walls, floors, countertops and much more. You can create a neutral, welcoming and timeless bathroom that’ll last the lifetime of the house if properly cared for.

Sustainable and Buyer-Appealing

Using ceramic and porcelain tile like these for your kitchen and bathroom provides a green, affordable, low-maintenance option that buyers look for in modern times. Meanwhile, it’s attractive and future-proof and should they wish to make changes, modifying tile is so much easier than just about any other material application out there.

To learn more about the versatile wonder that is tile, fill out our contact form or call us today!