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.