Monday, December 10, 2012

Vessel Bowls in Granite

I love the look of a beautiful vessel bowl on a granite countertop! This client wanted their bowl partially recessed. We carefully measured and recessed the bowl so that the faucet was just one inch over the bowl. It turned out stunning!

You can also put a vessel directly on the counter, and not recess it at all. When doing this, you will need to buy a faucet that is specifically for vessel sinks. This faucet will come much taller than a regular faucet. I have found the best place to find this type of faucet is online, or you have to special order them in at Lowes or Home Depot.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Granite Countertops with Corbels

Sometimes my customers really want granite countertops, but do not want corbels (the supports for the overhang). When 3cm granite overhangs over 8", we recommend the use of corbels. This generally occurs on islands, and peninsula overhangs. These corbels should be placed every 3 feet, and be supported at each end.

If no corbels are used, there is a chance of the granite breaking. Children love to hang and swing on the overhanging edge of a countertop. Or it is also a great place for "Uncle Joe" to half sit on while telling a great story.... whatever the case is, corbels really should be used.

This is a picture of a kitchen that we put the corbels in. Corbels can be wood, cast iron, or granite. This customer wanted wood corbels to match his oak cabinets. To save on money, we purchased pine corbels and stained them with an oak finish. They turned out beautiful, and the customer is happy, and saved money.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting Ready for Granite

We just got the job for a local hotel. We are excited to show you the progress as the front desk and prep area are completed. These first photos show the cabinets ready for granite! We will be showing the process and the completed work as it unfolds. We expect to have this project completed in 2.5 weeks :).

You can see the white templates on the cabinets, this is what we use to cut the granite. This customer has chosen Caesar Stone Baja Quartz. I highly recommend quartz for any commercial project because of the low maintenance. Quartz never needs to be sealed, and has all the benefits of granite. It is a mid-price stone to put in, but well worth it, especially in the commercial area :).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Outdoor Granite Barbeque

Custom outdoor barbecues are a great way to enjoy afternoons with family and friends! This customer built his own barbecue area with plywood, and is planning on using stucco for the final finish. We used "Exotic Forest" granite from Brazil with a 2" apron edge. Our shop pays particular attention to detail, if you notice the lines that run vertical follow through on the horizontal plane. These details are important and add immensely to the finished product.

I find that you get what you pay for. Often the "cheaper" shops do not pay attention to these details. The "cheaper" shops also often have poor seams. I have also heard customers complain of these shops actually fabricating in their driveways. Be leery of these types of granite shops. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Simple Yet Sleek Kitchen

Using granite in your kitchen does not have to be expensive. This is a basic color, which adds elegance and design to this vacation condo. The earth tone colors allow you to decorate with a wide range of paints or add a splash of color with towels. Using a burgundy or navy accent in this kitchen would draw a wow factor to an already sleek kitchen style. The white cabinets give a clean feel and the granite ties in the beautiful hard wood flooring. I would recommend doing a full high tile backsplash to add some pizazz, or an antique finish on the cabinet doors.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Caesar Stone Quartz!

This is fun studio kitchen! The customer chose Quartz for the benefits of low maintenance, like never having to worry about re-sealing or staining. This countertop is a chocolate truffle Caesar Stone, and turned out very modern for this beautiful condo. Notice the undermount sinks, and how the stone flows. Also, to add a little more countertop in a smaller bath, we added an 8" shelf over the toilet!

Overlay Over Existing Tops

This granite was able to be placed over the customer's existing concrete countertops. We fabricated the edge to the same width to cover the countertops, and re-used the customers existing topmount sink. The project turned out absolutely stunning!
Radius work in kitchens is absolutely beautiful! Our customers love a large edge showing the granite radius work!

This is also a great example of a kitchen that we did not have to take out the existing countertops, and just laid the new ones over the top!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Granite Fireplace Surround

A great way to tie in your kitchen to the living room is to do the fireplace surround in the living room in the same color as the kitchen countertops. You can also choose a different color to help accentuate that they are different rooms. Either way, granite around the fireplace is a beautiful touch to any room. Many of our customers just do the hearth, when the fireplace is elevated.

Sorry my pics are sideways, couldn't figure out how to get them rotated :)! I'll have to work on that!

Friday, August 31, 2012

2cm Granite Countertops

We have started offering 2cm granite countertops at an extremely discounted rate! These countertops are still granite, with all the benefits of granite, but the edge is 2cm rather than 3cm or a built up 4cm edge profile. One thing to be careful with, with 2cm granite, is that it cannot do the average overhangs without several good, supportive corbels.

Many customers love the new option because they want granite tops, but want to keep the look of the kitchen simple. It also is a great option in bathrooms!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sealing Your Granite Countertops

Light and medium colored granites should be sealed yearly. We recommend that our customers pick a date, like New Years, and re-seal their countertops. This process can be quite simple, or difficult, depending on the state of your stone.

Step 1. Clean the stone with a washcloth and mild soap.
Step 2. Scrape any rough parts on the stone with a razor blade to scrape off old food, or water deposits. Be careful to not scrape parts where crystals may be loose, you don't want to scrape crystals out of the stone.
Step 3. Use acetone to wipe down the stone. Make sure you use gloves, and keep the area well ventilated.
Step 4. Use the Granite Sealer (of your choice). This should be applied in a 2' by 2' area only. Wipe the sealer on with one white cloth, and wipe the sealer off with a dry white cloth in a buffing motion until all the sealer is removed from site, and you only see a shiny top. Repeat until the whole countertop is complete.
Step 5. Let the countertops set for 6-7 hours

If you let the sealer sit too long, or you don't buff it off thoroughly, it will leave a dull finish on the stone which is VERY difficult to remove. But if you follow these steps, you should have beautiful countertops for years to come!

If you are nervous to do this yourself, you can always call us to seal your countertops for you. Sealing of countertops is generally charged per sq. ft.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Granite for your Kitchen!

 A trend I have been noticing is people putting granite or quartz of different colors in the kitchen. For instance, the stone on the outer walls of the kitchen may all be in a solid stone color, and the island in an exotic granite or marble. This is a fun new look, and allows the customer to be very creative! I am just cutting the stone for my showroom, and will be utilizing this fun trend. Using a dark brown Cambria Quartz, and beautiful Lapidus granite for the island. When doing this, you can also use different edge profiles.

The above picture shows a lapidus island, similar to the one I will be putting in the showroom, but the other countertops for this trend would be in a solid dark chocolate quartz to tie in the chocolate of the island.

Stay tuned for pictures of the new showroom stone next week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Granite and Quartz Radius Work

Granite and Quartz can be made into a radius with a lot of effort and patience. The crew just completed an amazing reception desk in Chestnut Quartz, with Smoky Quartz Zodiaq  columns. I wanted to share some images of the process and final project! Really beautiful desk! More gradual radius work with a 3cm or 4 cm edge can be cut into a solid radius, but when the profile is thicker than 4cm, sections must be made, glued, and polished together.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Estimating your Granite Job

In order to determine the square footage needed for granite countertops, draw the kitchen and measure the back walls, and front of the counters. Square footage is determined by multiplying (in inches) the length times the width, then divide by 144 to get the sq. ft. When multiplying the width, make sure you add about 2 inches for granite overhang.

Backsplash should be measures the same way. For instance, if you have a 48 inch cabinet and want backsplash on the back wall of 4", you would take (48 x 4) / 144 - 1.3 sq. ft.

You can then take this sq. ft. and multiply it by the square foot price that the shop offers for stone and installation. Other costs would include undermount and topmount sink cutouts, cooktop cutouts, outlet cutouts, and the such.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Exotic Granite Countertops

Golden Lapidus

Jupurana Bordeaux

Tyramasu Granite

Ocean Fantasy

River Bordeaux
As business has picked up, we have completed some beautiful granite countertops! We would like to share some photos of some June jobs completed. Interesting to note is that people are beginning to buy exotic more expensive colors. During the recession, our customers almost all only purchased discounted or basic colors of stones. We have seen a change this year to customers choosing more expensive stone and being more concerned with getting what they want, then getting the least expensive color of granite.

Also, we are doing more whole houses, including tubs, steps, vanities, and fireplaces! Granite in a home is a great way to make it very custom and natural.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Granite vs. Solid Surface

When purchasing countertops it is often difficult to choose between Granite or Solid Surface such as Corian. Let me preface by saying that our shop fabricates and installs both Granite and Solid Surface countertops. Each have their pros and cons. I also should admit that I am pro-granite and as such, my post will most likely come across a little biased.

The main benefit of Solid Surface is that it is seamless. The seams are heated together, and are virtually invisible. Also, the countertops can be re-surfaced as the scratches become prevalent. The main cons of Solid Surface is that it scratches easily, and melts. We have replaced many Solid Surface Countertops that have warped over dishwashers, or under crock pots. We have had better luck with the actual Corian product, rather than a knock off brand.

Granite's main benefit is that it does not scratch or stain, and heat does not affect it. While we recommend using coasters, I have set many hot pans directly on my stone and have never had an ill-effect. I haven't tried it with glass, because I know you must be careful with glass and temperature or it could fracture. The granite stays looking new for much longer than Solid Surface as long as it is taken care of correctly. The main con of Granite is that much of it should be sealed every couple years. However, if Quartz is used, Quartz does not need to be sealed.

Chestnut Zodiaq Quartz desk
If you really like to uniform color and look of Solid Surface, Quartz can offer the same color tones, with all the benefits of granite.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Copper Sinks with Granite Countertops

Rainforest Brown Marble with Antique Copper Sink
More and more popular are undermount copper sinks with granite countertops. Copper bowls can be found for vanity sinks and kitchen sinks. Full copper tubs make a nice addition to copper bowls in a vanity. We use Smithy's copper sinks. They are affordable and beautiful, and come in both antique and brush finish. This picture is the antique finish, the brush looks more bronze.

Copper sinks can also be topmount or vessel in style, but our most popular is the undermount sink for ease of cleaning and sleek look.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Granite or Tile Backsplash

Customers are often concerned about whether to use a granite or a tile backsplash. Both look great, but it is often a difficult decision. I like to have customers consider a few items when deciding this;
1. What is their budget
2. What is the color scheme they are imagining
3. Will the area receive a lot of overspray?

First, budget. Doing a full high backsplash is absolutely beautiful. Each outlet can be cutout and then the cover plate painted to match the color of the stone (look at the picture included). This is beautiful, but expensive. Often the backsplash will cost as much as the countertop. Realize that the wall is generally 18" to the upper cabinet, and the countertop is 24", not a large difference in square footage. Plus you have to pay for each outlet cutout. Using a 4" or a 6" backsplash can still put the granite on the wall, but be much more affordable.
Mountain scape backsplash with painted outlets

Second, color scheme. Do you want the granite everywhere, or do you want to accent with a tile backsplash. Often when we do a quartz countertop in a solid color the customer does an extravagent tile backsplash that brings a new fun twist to the kitchen. These backsplashes often use glass and copper tiles in the splash.

4" backsplash and paint
Last, think of cleanliness. Granite is going to be easier to clean then a lot of grout lines in a tile splash. If the overspray is going to be a problem consider full high granite, or at minimum a 6" backsplash with an easy to clean paint above it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Budget Bathroom Remodel

Sometimes a great way to change the look of the home, for a less expensive price, is to remodel the bathroom. When it comes to the granite, quartz, or marble, most often a remnant can be found to put on the counter top. Choosing a remnant often gives the customer a more expensive stone, for a lower price. Most granite shops sell the remnants at reduced prices.

Some of my customers that are particularly handy will install the counter top themselves. We can template and fabricate the top, we even have the sink adhered to the stone, and the customer can pick up the top and backsplash with some silicone and put the job in themselves saving even a little more.

If you do not want to install the top, we have installers available to install. Also, bathrooms are often smaller and can be fit into an otherwise busy schedule, allowing the customer to not wait as long to get their project completed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cleaning Granite and Quartz

Granite and Quartz are fairly easy to keep clean. I recommend using a mild dish soap, put a little on your cloth, wipe the countertops, and then go back with a rinsed cloth. Do not use soaps with citrus as it can strip the sealer off the tops. If you want some added shine, there are several products sold over the counter. Make sure the product says safe for granite and marble. One I really like is "Method", I have found it at Target stores. This product will safely shine your tops.

If your tops are getting dull, try using a strait edge blade to scrape off the water deposits and soap scum, then clean and shine. If it is granite, you may need to re-seal depending on the color and sealer that was originally used on your stone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Budget Kitchen Remodel

I love before and after photos, but can't get my guys  to remember to take enough of them :)!

Home remodel is a huge part of our business, and it is my favorite! It is so fun to go into a home and change the kitchen and baths to modernize the home, or just to change it up!

One option when remodeling the kitchen is to simply change the countertops. This kitchen had a white solid surface countertop, and we changed it to a beautiful Juparana Bordeaux Granite countertop. This customer kept her original cabinets, floor, and even her sink! She was able to save thousands and still dramatically change the look and feel of her kitchen! She is very happy with the end result.

This can be done in baths as well, where granite remnants can be used saving money on stone, and re-using sinks and faucets save hundreds of dollars.

This small re-model takes less money, less time, and less stress. We took out her old countertops, installed the new ones, and even hired the plumber to re-hook up the plumbing! The install only took one day, so she was only without the kitchen for 1 day!

Large remodels are also fun, but they take more money, time and planning. If you have a budget, but want to make a dramatic change, countertops are a great way to do this! It also has been shown to increase the value of the home when changing laminate or solid surface counters to Granite, Marble, or Quartz.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cutting on Granite

Many clients ask me if it is okay to cut on granite. Granite is very hard, and will not scratch when using it to cut on. However, it will dull your knives. I have a drawer full of dull knives from being a little lazy and not getting out the cutting board, but my granite looks fantastic! In fact, the fabricators use razor blades to clean off the excess glue and debris on the stone from fabrication.
Marble, however, does scratch. Not only does marble scratch, but it will etch if bowls or cups are left on the surface for an extended period of time. I love the look of marble, but I would not put it in my kitchen because the upkeep is much more difficult with marble.
Quartz is also fine to cut on, and will have the same effect the granite has, which is to dull your knives, but not scratch the surface :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Outdoor Kitchens

This is a spectacular outdoor kitchen that we just finished in Hurricane, Utah! This kitchen was done in 2cm Red Dragon with a 4cm chiseled edge. We custom built the kitchen to encircle the metal posts that hold the ceiling structure in place. Two highbars allow for friends and family to eat right where you are cooking and enjoy the atmosphere. This is a covered area, completely outdoor. The customer has added a spectacular outdoor theater close to the barbecue area. Also, a full bathroom is available in a room right off the covered barbecue area. The bath is adorned in travertine tiles floor to ceiling, with granite countertops. This outdoor kitchen area is made with the ease of entertaining many guests in a comfortable outdoor setting.