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Know your stone.


Popular Countertop Surfaces The table below outlines the 9 most popular choices for countertop surfaces. We have included details about the benefits and maintenance recommendations for each type to assist in customer's selection of the best surface for their project. Choosing Your Countertop Surface


GRANITE is a natural material that is both distinctive and durable for a beautiful kitchen. Granites may have some white in the background, but mostly they are found in colorful shades with striking flecks – reds, greens, golds, creams, rusts, blues, silvers and even blacks are colors you can find in granite. Granite has a lower porosity than some natural stones, and many types of granite do not need to be regularly sealed. Some types of granite may need to be sealed at the time of installation.


QUARTZ is a marriage of a natural mineral and modern technology. The natural mineral quartz is, by itself, not much more than a sandy powder. Bonded together with manmade polymers, it becomes a highly durable countertop selection with the sparkling beauty of a natural looking stone and the wherewithal to hold up in the kitchen. As a manmade product, it can also be produced in a variety of colors to meet the demand for the most popular looks – it is even available in options that look like granite and marble. Quartz is available in pure white and other solid colors giving projects a more monochromatic and minimalistic designed for contemporary designed homes. Quartz is non-porous, does not require sealing, and is also heat resistant, chemical resistant, and fends off etches and scratches.


MARBLE is also a natural stone that is easily recognizable. Its characteristic veining and bold, white backdrop makes it a classic option that can achieve modern looks. Marble is most commonly known as a bright white or grey look, but it also comes in other shades like pinks, blacks, oranges and reds. Marble is a porous stone and it is known to absorb spills as well as scratch and etch. With proper care, a marble countertop will stay beautiful so don’t rule it out. Sealants and cleansers for marble have come a long way!


QUARTZITE is often confused with quartz, but it is not the same. Quartzite is a natural stone that originated as sandstone and also includes the mineral quartz, which is what gives it sparkle. In essence, quartzite is a fusion of marble and granite, creating the elegant look of marble, with the durability of granite. Like quartz countertops, quartzite doesn’t etch, but does require sealing to protect its natural beauty.


ONYX countertops are a rare option – they are striking and luxurious and often used for vertical surfaces as bold statement walls in high-end residential and commercial designs. As a flat surface in the kitchen, onyx can be a functional piece of art you get to see every day, especially with under-counter lighting, as onyx has a transparent quality like no other. Onyx generally comes in swirling and pastel color patterns, and each piece is as unusual as the last. It is most suited as an accent countertop or bar area that does not see as much traffic, though with proper care, polished and sealed, onyx performs similarly to marble.



Buying|Tips


Function First.

Because every household is different, you won't find a one-size-fits-all material. Are you an enthusiastic chef who slices and dices five nights a week? Do you host cocktail parties at the bar area or serve family dinners around the island? Do your kids spill orange juice and smear jam most mornings? Rank the importance of factors such as durability, stain resistance and ease of maintenance.

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Know your stone.


LIMESTONE is usually found in soft beiges and tans similar to its sister stone, marble, and is a subtle and comforting option that adds warmth and a welcoming nature to a room. It is a stone softer than granite and marble, which means it should be used as countertops in lower traffic areas or in a kitchen where hard objects will not be dropped on it to avoid cracks or chips. In terms of porosity, like granite and marble, with proper sealing, it can be protected from most kitchen culprits.


SOAP STONE is a classic choice that is coming back into popularity for both indoor and outdoor applications, as well as for kitchen countertops. It is a durable stone that is not very absorbent, so stains do not penetrate easily. It can be sealed or oiled, and owners who enjoy ageing a stone will see it darken with a lovely patina over the years. Soap Stone is also easily refinished and restored, so it can be updated over time if desired.


TRAVERTINE, like quartz and granite, is a durable countertop solution, and highly versatile. The creamy neutral beiges and browns of Travertine lends itself to classic Old Word style; transforming kitchens into warm, inviting spaces. It comes in both slabs and coordinating tiles that can be used for flooring and backsplashes to create a muted look.


VENETIAN MARBLE countertops are an affordable, sophisticated, and durable alternative to cultured marble, tile, and natural stone. Venetian marble is recycled natural stone that is pressed and heated to create an environmentally friendly countertop option. This engineered marble surface gives you all the benefits of traditional marble slabs but at a fraction of the cost. Its engineered strength also makes it much more resilient than cultured marble. Easy to clean and highly sustainable, Venetian marble countertops are an ideal option for those looking for the elegance of marble and granite stones but desiring lasting durability and longevity.



Buying|Tips


Establish Your Budget.

This part isn't the most fun, but it's the only way to determine your options. Along with material costs, take into account any fees for delivery and installation, as well as any custom details such as edge treatments, integrated sinks and backsplashes.

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Granite

Quartz
Surfaces
CaesarStone
Zodiaq

Solid Surface
Corian
HiMacs

Laminate
Formica
Wilsonart

Ceramic
Tile

Butcher
Block

Scratch/Abrasive Resistant

****

****

***

***

****

*

Stain Resistant

**

****

***

***

***

**

Heat Resistant

****

****

***

**

****

*

Mold & Mildew Resistant

**

****

****

***

***

*

Food Safe

**

****

****

***

**

**

Care Free

**

****

***

***

**

*

Warranty Years

1yr/Install

10yr/Product

10yr/Product

1yr/Product

Varies

1yr/Product

Professional Installation Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Price

$$$$$

$$$$

$$$

$

$$

$$

Buying|Tips


What about the sink?

A top-mounted sink can be used with any countertop material and is dropped in after the counter is installed. An under-mounted sink is placed under the countertop and works best with waterproof countertop materials such as concrete, solid surfacing, stainless steel, stone, or quartz. Some materials, such as solid surfacing and stainless, can be used for both the sink and counter, creating a seamless look.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Countertops


Like most people who have looked into buying and installing countertops, you probably already know it will add beauty, comfort, and value to your home. But questions may come to mind about how to maintain your investment and keep it looking beautiful for years to come. Read on for the answers to our most frequently asked questions about countertops.


WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING GRANITE OR MARBLE?

Granite and marble are creations of nature that have a unique natural beauty that has been used in architecture throughout the ages.  Since granite and marble are made by nature, each piece is unique and matchless.  Customers who may not be familiar with these materials may expect the granite or marble they order to be identical to pictures or samples they have seen.  Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the material, the granite or marble quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample.  Moreover, even a single granite or marble slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other.  These slight irregularities are what will make your project unique and different from any other.

SHOULD I USE GRANITE OR MARBLE FOR MY KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS?

Marble is typically used for bathroom vanity tops, Jacuzzi tops and fireplaces.  It is not usually recommended for kitchen countertops due to the fact that it is easy to scratch and acidic substances such as vinegars, ketchups, citrus beverages, etc. can affect it.  Also, the high-gloss of the marble countertop may be partially lost as many chemicals etch its surface.

Granite, however, is considered the second hardest stone. Most granite is not subject to etching by household acids or scratching by knives and pots or pans under normal use.  It is also not affected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans.

IS IT NECESSARY TO SEAL STONE?

Since stone surfaces are quite porous they will absorb liquids, which may result in discoloring and staining.  Although there are many commercial grade products available on the market that may bring the stone back to its original luster, taking simple precautions and regular maintenance can save a lot of trouble and cost.  All granite and marble countertops are sealed during fabrication.  This impregnating substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making it quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oils.  Over time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, this sealer may wear off.  It is recommended that your marble should be sealed at least once every six months and your granite should be sealed at least once a year.  If the countertops are heavily used, it is recommended to seal them twice a year.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN GRANITE AND OTHER STONES?

Granite is sealed before it is installed.  This will ensure lasting life and beauty.  Granite may be cleaned with a mild phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dish soap, soap flakes or powder, which contains aromatics.  Granite should always be cleaned and sealed with cleaning products specifically designed for natural stone.

CAN I CUT ON MY GRANITE COUNTERTOP?

Cutting on your Granite countertops will not harm your granite.  Granite is actually harder than your knife and will quickly dull your blade.

CAN MY GRANITE COUNTERTOP BE DAMAGED?

Granite is a very durable stone.  It is much harder than marble.  Granite has been used in the past in the commercial industry and will withstand almost any element it comes up against including cold and heat.  High impact blows can harm granite just like any other solid surface.  Because of its crystalline structure, granite can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture. Granite that is not sealed properly may absorb stains such as oils, which may cause dark spots or discoloration.  Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not harm granite under normal conditions.

 WILL MY GRANITE COUNTERTOP HAVE PITS ON THE SURFACE?

Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits (spaces between the various mineral crystals).  You do not see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like.  Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure that formed the granite ages ago.  These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of the stone and will not impair the function or durability of the granite.

DOES GRANITE STAIN?

In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show any moisture.  A few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact.  For example, a puddle of water left on the counter may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. Usually, no evidence remains once the liquid is removed and the granite dries.  Most granite is sealed before installation and with proper maintenance staining should not be a problem.

ARE SEAMS NECESSARY ON GRANITE COUNTERTOPS?

Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 10 feet long, you may have a seam.  The visibility of seams depends on the granularity, color and pattern of the granite.  A small uniform grain will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain.  A seam in a dark color will be less apparent than a seam in a light color.  A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern.

HOW ARE SEAMS MADE?

Seams are made where two pieces of stone are put together.  The seams are joined with an epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone.  Then the joined area is smoothened, leaving only a very thin line visible.

WHAT IS ETCHING?

Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction, which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Green marbles, such as the “jades” from China are resistant to etching, and granite is impervious to any common household acids.

CAN GRANITE CRACK?

Not with ordinary use.  Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation.  Normal use will not crack granite.

DOES GRANITE HARBOR BACTERIA?

Granite continues to be used and approved in food and medical applications. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has no records of granite harboring bacteria, and has no reports of people becoming ill from bacteria in granite. With regular cleaning, granite is far less likely to support bacteria than butcher block or even laminated materials.

WHAT IS THE APPROPRIATE THICKNESS FOR A GRANITE COUNTERTOP?

A countertop should be 1 1/4″ thick.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE GRANITE COUNTER TOPS OVER SYNTHETIC MATERIALS?

Granite has become today’s countertop of choice for architects, cabinetmakers, kitchen designers and contractors. A granite countertop is virtually impervious to abrasions, stains and extreme heat. Additionally, the inherent qualities of granite — its color, patterns and shades — compliment any décor.

CAN GRANITE BE REPAIRED?

It is very hard to damage granite.  If any damage occurs it can be sealed with a mixture of epoxy and ground up chips of the granite.

WHAT DO I NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A GRANITE COUNTERTOP?

Granite is a natural stone.  It is very hard and durable, heat and scratch resistant, as well as, easy to maintain. It is also very versatile in the design field.

ARE GRANITE COUNTERTOPS EXPENSIVE?

Improved stone-working technology has made granite countertops very affordable compared with manmade hard surface materials. With granite, the resale value of your property will also increase.

 

What are the countertop surfaces made from?

  • Laminate: Digital images printed on paper and laid over layers of kraft paper sheets impregnated with phenolyc resin bonded to 3/4" particle board.
  • Solid Surface: An advanced blend of natural minerals and pure acrylic polymer.
  • Quartz: Consists of 93% natural quartz and 7% pigments and polymer resins combined together and compacted into slabs by a special vacuum and vibration process at a pressure of 100 Tons.
  • Granite: Granite rocks are igneous rocks also known as "fire rocks" which are formed by slowly cooling pockets of magma that were trapped beneath the earth’s surface.

How thick are countertops?

  • Laminate: The deck is typically 3/4" thick with a 1 1/2" build down of the edge profile.
  • Solid Surface: The material is 1/2" thick with 1 1/2" build down of the edge profile.
  • Quartz: Most manufacturers offer a full 3cm (1 1/4") thick material; eliminating the visible lamination line in the edge profile.
  • Granite: Most fabricators offer a full 3cm (1 1/4") thick material; eliminating the visible lamination line in the edge profile.

Will my countertops have a seam?

Seam placement is determined by the countertop layout and the size and/or fabrication limitations of each surface. We try to minimize seams whenever possible, but most countertops will require a seam(s).

Will the seams be visible in my countertops?

  • Laminate: Yes, some laminate patterns disguise seams better than others.
  • Solid Surface: Yes, but seams are very inconspicuous.
  • Quartz: Yes, all seams are visible and typically 1/16" to 1/8"
  • Granite: Yes, all seams are visible and typically 1/16" to 1/8"

Can I place a hot pot on my countertops?

We recommend that you DO NOT place any hot items such as hot pots and hot pans on any of the countertop surfaces listed.

What are the advantages of Laminate Countertops?

  • Design flexibility
  • Durable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Great value
  • Seamless backsplash option

What are the advantages of Solid Surface Countertops?

  • Many colors to choose from
  • Non-porous, requires no sealing
  • Integral sink option
  • Long lasting value
  • Renewable to original appearance
  • 10-15 year warranty

What are the advantages of Quartz Countertops?

  • Maintenance free
  • Non-porous, requires no sealing
  • Food safe
  • Large color selection
  • Stain resistant
  • Scratch and chip resistant

What are the advantages of Granite Countertops?

  • Extraordinary depth and character
  • Each slab unique with random pattern and movement
  • Heat and scratch resistant
  • Extremely durable

Can I install my own countertops?

  • Laminate: Yes, you can install your own countertops with basic carpentry skills and a simple countertop layout. We do recommend hiring a professional for the more complicated layouts with one or more seams.
  • Solid Surface: No, the manufacturer’s warranty only applies if the countertops are installed by an authorized installer.
  • Quartz: No, the manufacturer’s warranty only applies if the countertops are installed by an authorized installer.
  • Granite: No, we have a specialized template through installation process that we employ on every project. You are ensured professional results from the initial design through fabrication and final installation.

Do I need a sub-top under my stone countertops?

No, both Quartz and Granite countertops are a full 3cm (1 1/4") thick slab material that is installed directly on the cabinets, eliminating the need for a sub-top.

Can you disconnect and reconnect my electrical and plumbing connections?

No,  most fabricators are not licensed for electrical or plumbing work. You will need to make arrangements for this service yourself.

Do I need to be on site at the time of template/measure and installation?

Yes, for us to provide you with the countertops you envisioned the decision maker MUST to be present at both the template/measure and installation.