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Love Your Countertop? Check These Maintenance Tips

Stone countertops like granite are designed to take the punishing action common in kitchens. This means withstanding heavy cookware, hot pots, liquid spills, and sticky ingredients. A good countertop is, therefore, one that lets you do what you want to make in the kitchen–quiches, casseroles, sweets, pastries—without having to worry about damages and broken tiles.

However, not all countertops share the same strength and resilience. Marble, for instance, is more prone to cracking and staining than granite; but marble is a good countertop for baking. If you want your countertop to last a long time, here are several tips to prevent major damages.

For Marble

As mentioned before, marble is perfect for baking but cracks and stains easily. Regular sealing is a good way to keep the surface workable for kneading dough and other baking processes. In addition, keep kitchen appliances on the countertop to a minimum, and avoid placing heavy-duty kitchen appliances, such as the mixer, on them.

For Quartz

Experts laud quartz for its many strengths and few weaknesses. However, a quartz countertop is no place for a scalding pot as quartz isn’t as resistant to heat as other stone countertops like granite. When putting a hot pot on a quartz countertop, use a pot base to prevent the heat from damaging the quartz. 

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Granite Stones: From Quarries to Countertops

Among the many materials used in home and building construction, granite is one of the most durable and aesthetically pleasing. Its sturdiness, strength, and resistance to heat, water, and dirt make it perfect for kitchen and bathroom uses. Made of a variety of minerals, like quartz and feldspar, bonded together by extreme heat and pressure, granite is one of the most beneficial materials to have come out for construction use.

Granite stones are mined from quarries. Raw granite is cut into slabs at sizes suitable for construction use. Because of the stones’ toughness, power tools are needed to cut and shape them.

Handling granite needs to be done with precision. Careful measurements have to be made before they are cut. Special blades are also needed in cutting granite to avoid rough edges and chipping. The latter can happen from too much vibration of saw blades, particularly when the cutting is done by an amateur.

Granite slabs can also be shaped to go with various application needs. For example, they can be curved or rounded to go on countertop corners or edges. Careful methods must be practiced in shaping a piece, using special contour blades.

Once granite is installed, it is advisable to seal it to keep liquids from seeping into its pores. By nature, granite is moisture and dirt resistant, but sealing enhances these qualities even more, and makes the surface easier to clean.

What Affects the Price of Granite Countertops?

Granite is a popular material for kitchen countertops. Considering the higher price of granite compared to other countertop materials, this material’s popularity only speaks of its many desirable qualities, such as durability and beauty. Those who are looking into getting granite countertops should know, however, that certain granite types are actually more expensive than others for various reasons.

The first factor that affects granite prices is the size of the slabs. Obviously, larger slabs are more expensive not only because they need to be extracted from a proportionately larger chunk of granite rock, but also because large granite pieces are more difficult to work with. Color is another issue because this attribute also pertains to the availability of the rock. For example, much of the granite slabs that are mined in the U.S. have brownish hue, but the ones that have various shades of grey are usually mined from European quarries. As with most other commodities, the rarer a granite color is, the more expensive that variety becomes.

The fact that the rock is mined from various places across the globe also means that granite slabs can vary in terms of composition. Some of them contain traces of quartz while others have alkali metals. These small additives can change the durability, appearance, and weight of a piece of granite, which in turn influence its price. 

Considerations in Buying Granite Countertops

First things first: granite is a rock that is harvested from different quarries. This means that one piece of granite may be very different from another piece, even though the two pieces may have more or less the same strength, durability, and texture. This also means that those looking to buy granite countertops in St. Louis should look for consistency in their choices, ideally purchasing granite slabs that were mined from the same quarry.

Another point to consider is fabrication. Granite slabs are fabricated either by machine or by hand. Machine cutting is faster and more convenient, but it tends to leave a few edges of the slab uneven. Hand-cutting, on the other hand, espouses precision, thereby making it preferable for homeowners who want consistency on their countertops.

Polishing is something that many people tend to ignore when buying granite countertops. The quality of polishing is actually very important in bringing out the character of a granite slab. Good polishing is a mark of excellent workmanship: if a slab isn’t shiny enough then there’s a good chance that wax was applied on its surface. This is an attempt to hide imperfections like scratches and chips, which are likely to have happened during the fabrication process.

No Two Granite Countertops are the Same

You can have the same granite countertop from the same manufacturer, as well as the same color scheme. In the end, however, no two countertops are alike.

Granite is a hodgepodge of minerals, mostly feldspar and quartz, which more or less influence the outcome of a granite slab’s pattern. Except for sealants to protect its porous surface from spills, granite countertop manufacturers never put anything to influence its color. They simply cut the slab as is into usable pieces. Read More…

Choosing the Right Granite Color

Adding a granite countertop to your kitchen will instantly make it more appealing and functional. After choosing the right countertop size and style though, you’re probably wondering what color you should get. Countertops are a major focal point, so you don’t want its hue to clash with the rest of your kitchen or disappear meekly into the background. To help you find the perfect shade, here are some tips to consider:


Picture This
Before heading out to a retailer, use a camera or your smartphone to take pictures of your kitchen. Make sure to snap photos of your walls, floors, windows, cabinets and your dining set. When you get to the store, hold up the pictures against the displayed countertops to get a better idea of what color works for your kitchen.


Light or Dark
If you want a sleek, sophisticated look, go for a darker countertop. You can pair a black countertop light-colored cabinets, for example. Do note that darker colors can make a room feel smaller. If you want an open, inviting feel on the other hand, lighter colors like cream or beige are great choices.


Try it Out
Many countertop manufacturers have virtual tools that help you visualize what their countertop would look like in your home. Cycle through the various shades they offer till you find one that you love.

Granite Choices for Your Countertop

Granite is the classic countertop choice, usually installed as either stone slabs or tiles. It comes in three possible patterns, various finishes and in almost every color imaginable, rendering it flexible to homeowners’ design preferences. Patterned granite can accentuate a bland-looking kitchen, while granite with either a glossy or honed finish can mount illusions that accentuate the room and top’s true look.
Pattern

Granite can have solid, marbled or speckled patterns. Solid patterns are ideal for homeowners who wish to retain a plain yet unified design in the kitchen. Marbled patterns, as its name suggests, resemble marble; the interplay between color and texture can lend a high-end feel to the countertop by looking like real marble. On the other hand, speckled granite has an interesting spread-out design. This provides a visual dimension to quiet and neutrals-dominant kitchens; it also complements cabinetry and stainless steel appliances.

Finish
Honed countertops give off a matte look. This sometimes visually transforms granite into a different material. Polished, glossy granites are ideal for small kitchens as it reflects light, making the space seem larger than it actually is.
Granite can be styled and installed in different ways and places.Contact a fabricator experienced in handling granite countertops at St Louis, MO.