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Considerations When Picking Backsplashes

Match colors, mix materials. Having a tough time deciding among tiles? Live with them for a while. Tape color and tile samples to the walls to see what they look like throughout the day as natural light changes. Choose one main color and a couple of accent colors to use throughout the kitchen, including the backsplash.

Countertops often dictate the backsplash color and style. Also consider fixtures like your lighting and hardware.

Try mixing metallic tiles in different shades with various finishes, such as brushed stainless steel, oil-rubbed bronze or even an antique brass. By including small tiles of marble or granite, you can pull in the countertop color without being boring with a panel of granite that extends up from the countertop, check out some of the newer tiles with a bit of crackle or frosted finish.

Invest in the high-impact zone. There is more square footage of wall space above the range and sink, so you can play with tile design. That area gets a lot of visual attention. Consider a neutral field tile for the rest of the kitchen, then bring in a funky glass tile to create a showy centerpiece above the stove.

This is the place to play up pattern. Some options include installing tile on the diagonal, or applying a staggering brick pattern with slim subway tiles (now they come in sizes like 1-by-2 inches or elongated 4-by-12 inches). Often, we will use different tiles in this space, or we’ll take the same tile and turn it differently or create a border with a contrast tile.

Don’t be afraid to spice it up in this typically 2-by-3 foot area. Even as one of the larger swaths of tile space, it’s still small. So if you choose a bold color or trendy tile pattern for this zone, you can always change it down the road without tearing out your entire kitchen backsplash.

Avoid common mistakes. If you plan to order your own tile from a supplier, be sure to ask about these important components:

  • Primary (field) tile should be thicker than decorative tile.
  • Remember trim pieces.
  • Ask if the tile you want is in stock.

Ask about wear and tear. How easily can you clean the tile, and what is the best way to seal it? Ceramic tile doesn’t need this extra step, but natural tile does if you want to maintain its appearance.

Be budget savvy. When on a budget, avoid trendy tile and revisit classic white ceramic. Flexibility is important if you’re working on a budget— Where are you willing to compromise? Choose based on priority.

Hand Scraped Hardwood Floors

Hand scraped flooring was considered the norm in the past, before machines were available for sanding and finishing the planks down to a smooth shine. This method required master craftsmen to hand plane every board by hand. The result was certain uneven pockets, scratches, and marks on the wood that made each board look unique.

This is why this type of flooring is often found in older structures that pre-date the Industrial Revolution. Today, hand scraped flooring is considered the exception rather than the norm and those who provide this type of flooring are thought of as artists. This is due to the distinct, rustic appearance this method provides. Learn more about the pros and cons of this option here.

Pro: It Provides a Rustic, Antique Appearance

There are many homeowners who believe a hand scraped wood floor will add authenticity to a home or room. They are also able to restore an older home or building to its former look, match antique furniture, cabinets or even add to the style of a room. When you are trying to achieve that “old” or “worn” look then scraped hardwood flooring, either machined or created by hand, is likely the perfect option. This flooring offers a unique, older look that will withstand the test of time.

Con: The Cost

Due to the craftsmanship required to create this beautiful type of flooring, the planks don’t come cheap. The act of hand scraping and distressing the planks is no easy feat. Those who provide this type of service by hand have to spend years learning the trade, which means their services don’t come cheap. While there are machine scraped options, they often don’t have the same character of the manually scraped selections, but both options are growing in popularity.

Pro: Provides a Durable Finish

When you opt for hand scraped wood flooring in your home, you don’t have to worry about treating it with kid gloves, the way that machined flooring with a mirror finish has to be treated. Homes that include children and pets can benefit from this type of flooring since dents, scrapes, blemishes, and scratches tend to blend in. No more unsightly marks and scars is a huge benefit that many homeowners find quite appealing when selecting the hardwood flooring for their home.

Con: More Challenging Installation Process

This type of wood floor can be more difficult to install, especially by a novice. It is a good idea to hire a professional to install this flooring as a result. Since the planks are often more expensive, you don’t want to take the chance of messing them up, or damaging them during installation.

To learn more about hand scraped hardwood flooring, it’s a good idea to speak to your local flooring specialist. Also take the time to look at the different types and find the right design and style that will match your home.

Thinking About Wool Carpet?

Wool is durable, resilient, affords comfort and safety – and wool is a renewable resource! Wool fibers are naturally superior to synthetic fibers, as well as longer lasting, inherently flame retardant and resistant to dirt and crushing.

Performance

  • SUPERIOR TEXTURE RETENTION & RESILIENCE… Due to the natural crimp that is inherent in wool fiber.
  • SUPERIOR WEAR — Ask previous wool purchasers… Wool looks better longer and “Wears Gracefully”.
  • NATURALLY SOLID & STAIN RESISTANT… Protection that won’t deteriorate like the temporary additives that are used on synthetic fibers.
  • SUPERIOR DYE FASTNESS… Due to wool’s natural ability to take in dyes.
  • NATURALLY FIRE RETARDANT and wool is self extinguishing. Wool is the fiber of choice for casinos and airlines for this reason alone.

Value

  • Slightly higher initial cost massively offset by product longevity and ease of maintenance. WOOL CARPET ACTUALLY COSTS LESS!!!!
  • WOOL CARPET ADDS VALUE and is the ULTIMATE STATEMENT OF STYLE, SUCCESS, AND COMFORT.
  • WOOL IS WARMER IN THE WINTER AND COOLER IN THE SUMMER. Wool naturally feels better, is more resilient, and helps moderate temperature and humidity in the home by absorbing and releasing moisture as needed.
  • Wool’s natural soil and stain resistance allows for wool to require LESS CLEANING THAN SYNTHETICS.
  • Wool is a renewable resource and is biodegradable. Wool is a way to be kind to Mother Earth. WOOL IS GREEN AND IS RECYCLABLE.

Comfort

  • WOOL’S SOFT & NATURAL FEEL to the hand and beauty underfoot simply cannot be achieved with any synthetic fiber.
  • Wool is a NATURALLY DELUSTERED FIBER that is appealing to the eye and allows for a soft and comfortable appearance on the floor.
  • Wool’s natural luster and gentle light reflection characteristics give a home or office an ELEGANT AND PEACEFUL BACKGROUND.

Quality

  • WOOL CARPETS ARE CAREFULLY TESTED for consistency, performance, and overall adherence to strict product specifications.
  • The yarns are TRIPLE SCORED to enhance soil resistance and extend the life of the carpet.
  • HIGH TWIST YARNS equal higher performance and the fabrics utilize higher than normal twist multiples to insure customer satisfaction.
  • All wool carpet products are PERFORMANCE TESTED and TRAFFIC RATED to insure performance and proper utilization.

Thinking of Going Back to Carpet?

Well, you are not alone! Our friend Emily at Shaw Floors says their company is seeing more and more people who miss the comfort and quietness of carpet.

So, if the thought of hardwood makes your feet hurt, here are some reasons to choose carpet for your home.

1. Softer

While nylon carpet fibers have long held a well-deserved reputation for stain resistance, the sixth-generation nylons, known as Nylon 6 and Nylon 6.6, are the softest yet. They’re made using an increased number of smaller-diameter, toe-coddling fibers per square inch.

They’ll resist stains and abrasions for 20 years and more. Not surprisingly, these latest-gen nylon carpets are among the most expensive of the synthetics, up to 20% more expensive — but still cheaper than hardwood, which leads us to reason number two …

2. Less Expensive

Economic realities are motivating people to take a second look at carpet. You can install a high-end quality carpet for about half the cost of hardwood.

Lets compare the costs for a hypothetical 12-by-12 room:

Materials:

  • Hardwood: $1,150 to $1,750
  • Carpet: $300 to $600

3. More Quiet

Got children? Definitely carpet their rooms! Carpeting is a great sound blocker; in fact, it’s one of the most efficient building materials available when it comes to absorbing noise. With a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of .40 to .50, carpet easily bests hardwood’s NRC of .05 to .15.

Besides that, you can hush baby’s nursery, any bedroom, media room, and reading room.

4. Personality

Carpeting has options, lots of them: Textures, different types of yarn systems, hundreds of colors, patterns, tone-on-tone prints, looped carpet, tip shears — just about anything you dream up. That’s good news for those who like their homes to have personality.

Fashionista alert: Rich golds and elegant greys are on the rise, as are brighter hues in general. “We’re expecting to see very bold and graphic patterns in carpet,” adds Emily.

5. Eco Friendly

The wool and sisal carpets of today are eco-friendly options for carpet-lovers. They are much more earth-friendly and low-VOC than their predecessors because of their all-natural fibers and non-toxic dyes.

 

Oak Wood Floor

Out of all the wood flooring choices available today, oak seems to be at the top of everyone’s list. If you are considering investing in a wooden floor, take a look at some of the specific benefits that oak offers:

1. Oak is a hardwood and is extremely hard wearing. It has been used for centuries now in the building trade and has established extreme credibility for durability. This is born out in that fact that 200 year old reclaimed oak can still be purchased and looks beautiful.

2. Oak actually improves with age like a good red wine. If you were to look at some 200 year old reclaimed Oak you would not doubt this. Even within a couple of years the colour will get richer and if you look after your floor it really will just get better and better.

3. Oak provides a very attractive grain that is ideal for flooring. The one thing that wood flooring can’t really offer, which carpet and linoleum can, is decorative patterns and styles. Therefore, wood buyers rely on the grain to replace this and help define the look of their room. Oak is an ideal alternative to patterned carpet and linoleum, thanks to its attractive grains. Prime grades are very clean cut whereas rustic or character grades have lots of knots and grain patterns.

4. Because of its popularity and abundance Oak has been made available in an astonishing array of styles grades and dimensions, giving the consumer the opportunity to almost certainly find the look they are after.

5. Above all other woods Oak takes very well to staining and colouring therefore adding to the already vast choice available. It is available in shades from limed white to natural colour to very dark, and from a contemporary clean cut look to an old antique appearance.

6. Oak is remarkably resistant to fungal and insect attacks. What this means for you is less money spent on repairs and damage to your floors.

7. Oak has been used as a sign of opulence in the past due to its attractiveness and still has a prestigious flair due to this distinction. So, if you are looking for a way to give your home that old, sophisticated, and prestigious look, then oak is the way to go.

All in all, if your priority is getting a high-quality wood with a timeless look and feel, then oak will exceed your wildest expectations. It is the filet mignon of wood flooring, which is why it is in such high demand.

Honed VS Polished Granite

Regardless of the finish, granite will impart a unique and elegant look to the ambience, enhancing the overall appeal and value of your home. All you need to do is decide on the type of finish that will better reflect your designer visions and aesthetic ideas.

Polished Granite

If you are looking for a classy, sophisticated appearance, polished granite is your best choice. It reveals all of the granite’s natural beauty and results in unparalleled grandeur and elegance.

Polished granite has a glossy, mirror-like shine that reflects light well and manifests the unique character of your stone. The surface appears smooth and flawless and the colors seem richer and darker. In fact, the polished finish highlights the depth of the stone and makes the colors look crisp and vibrant. You can choose from a great variety of hues, including shades of gold, black, white, and gray.

The polished surface finish is considered the finest finish available. It greatly enhances the richness and elegance of the interior décor and has rightfully become a symbol of opulence and splendor.

Honed Granite

Honed surfaces offer a softer, more natural look and feel than polished ones. They evoke a relaxed and casual vibe while still retaining the high class character of the elegant natural stone.

Honed granite can vary in appearance from a matte surface to a low sheen. Its surface is very smooth and velvety to the touch but lacks the shine and the high degree of reflection characteristic of a polished finish. Therefore, it does not show the color and texture of the granite stone as well as a polished finish. Many homeowners, however, prefer this more subtle appearance over the glossiness of polished granite. Besides, honed granite is not as common as its polished counterpart, so it gives your home a unique, cozy look.

In case you like neither the gloss of polished granite, nor the dullness of honed granite, you can use a color enhancer on your honed stone to give it depth and richness.

You can choose from several variations of honed granite finishes, such as satin finish, velvet finish, diamond smooth finish, and machine smooth finish. When shopping for honed granite, have in mind that the degree of honing can vary from slab to slab.

Honed granite is your best option if you are looking for a subtle, contemporary appearance.

Honed Granite vs Polished Granite: Maintenance and Use

The strength of a granite slab does not depend on its finish – regardless of whether you opt for polished granite or honed granite, you will still have durable and valuable stone countertops, backsplashes, stairs, flooring, etc. that will last for many years when properly taken care of.

Polished Granite

A polished finish seals or closes most of the pores on the stone surface, making it very sanitary, easy to clean, and stain-resistant. Since polished granite is not as porous as other surface finishes, it won’t require frequent resealing.

The polished stone easily repels moisture and doesn’t harbor bacteria, so it is an exceptional choice for food preparation areas, such as kitchen counters and tabletops. Polished granite surfaces are not only beautiful and practical, but also quite versatile – a polished-granite island, for example, is the focal point of the kitchen because of its elegant and impressive appearance, serves as an excellent meal preparation surface because of its resistance to heat, scratches and stains, and can be instantly converted into a serving or dining space whenever necessary.

Apart from countertops and vanities, polished granite can also be incorporated into flooring to impart a more formal and elegant style to the surroundings and elevate the richness of your home décor.

Polished granite is an excellent choice for areas that receive a lot of daily use and heavy traffic, as the finish requires little maintenance and is very likely to resist stains and other signs of wear and tear. In fact, polished granite is nearly impervious to weather and chemical wear.

Honed Granite

Honed surfaces are smooth but much more porous than polished ones. Therefore, even when treated with a sealant, honed granite is quite susceptible to staining – when spilled on the surface, strongly colored food and drinks can leave stains and lead to dark spots or discoloration. Acidic liquids like fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, and soda may even etch the surface. To prevent honed granite from absorbing water and staining too easily, you need to reseal it rather frequently – preferably, every few months.

All in all, honed granite requires more maintenance than its polished counterpart. Have in mind that dust, grease, and hand imprints will be very apparent on the honed surface and quite difficult to remove (a color enhancer can help minimize the dark spots and fingerprints). Be careful to use only safe and recommended cleaning products to clean the honed granite in your home. Remember to wipe the surfaces daily with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly with a towel to prevent water spots.

Honed surfaces are less slippery than polished ones, so honed granite is mainly used for floors, stairs and other areas where water might be present and pose a risk of falling. Honed surfaces are also preferred for high-traffic areas where heavy foot traffic may cause a polished finish to wear off or deteriorate too quickly (a honed finish is less likely to show evidence of traffic patterns or wearing).

In addition to flooring, honed granite can be used for countertops and backsplashes whenever a more subtle appearance is preferred over the shiny look of polished granite.

Honed vs Polished Granite: Cost

Is honed granite more expensive than polished granite? Is the cost of polished granite higher? The price of granite varies depending on a number of factors – availability, place of origin, type of finish, rarity of colors and patterns, etc.

Polished granite requires more grinding than honed granite, so it makes sense for the polished stone to be more expensive than its honed counterpart. However, polished finishes are very popular and therefore – very likely to be in stock. As a result, polish granite tends to be cheaper than honed granite because of its high availability. An uncommon finish that requires a special order may cost more, even if the production process is simpler.

What Is Better – Honed or Polished Granite?

So, honed or polished granite? There is no definite answer – both types of finishes have their pros and cons. The choice depends entirely on your personal taste and the specifics of your home environment.

By selecting granite, whether honed or polished, you get the durability and longevity of a high-performance natural stone. The different types of finishes allow you to capitalize on the beauty and functionality of granite in a way that perfectly suits your needs and aesthetic preferences, as well as your overall home décor.

What to Consider When Choosing Carpet

Room Use

Be prepared for your dealer to ask some of the following questions:

  • How is the room going to be used?
  • Is there light or heavy room traffic in the room?
  • Is the room the center of activity for family or entertaining?
  • Is there direct access from outside?
What You Should Know:
By asking these questions, the dealer is trying to gauge which grade and style of carpet would work best for your home.

Try to give a detailed picture of your expectations for the carpet. Is it important that the carpet stand up to pets, running children and bustling activity? Or are you mainly concerned about how it will look and feel in a formal living room that doesn’t get a lot of use?

Color and Style

Typically, a dealer might ask:

  • How much use will the room get? (This is a consideration because a heavily used room may not be the best place to install white or very light-colored carpet.)
  • Are kids going to be playing down on the floor? Or is it a formal room that doesn’t get much use? (Again, lighter colors my create more maintenance but another factor the dealer is trying to consider is whether you should choose carpet made with BCF fiber like STAINMASTER® so that children playing on the floor will not find themselves covered in loose fibers shed from staple products.)
  • Is it a small room or a large room? (Smaller rooms can be made to feel larger by selecting a lighter colored carpet while larger rooms can be made to feel cozier by using a mid-to-darker colored carpet.)
  • What are the lighting conditions in the room? (Rooms with plenty of natural light will show the true color of the carpet while rooms on the north side of a house may need a lighter shade of carpet to keep them from feeling darker than they are.)
What You Should Know:
You should always remember to bring swatches of fabric from drapes and furniture, wallpaper samples, and paint chips with you when you are selecting carpet. That way you can consider a range of colors that will match your existing décor. Remember that color can also affect your mood. Warmer colors often make you feel energized while cooler tones provide a sense of calm.

When considering color, remember the lighting in the carpet store is not the same as the lighting conditions in your home.

Cost

Typically, a dealer might ask:

  • Are you installing this carpet for the purposes of selling the home or are you re-decorating it for your enjoyment?
  • What is the size of the room to be carpeted?
What You Should Know:
The dealer is trying to determine what style of carpet you might be interested in. A home seller is going to want to select a neutral toned carpet in a simple style, like a cut pile texture. But a home owner who is re-decorating will want to explore the many varieties available to them. Either way, STAINMASTER® carpet is a good choice.

STAINMASTER® warranties are transferable to the new owner, a great selling tool, while home owners who will be living with their carpet selection will want the long-lasting durability and beauty of a STAINMASTER® carpet. Also, the dealer needs to know the approximate size of the area to be carpeted in order to give an estimate on total cost.

Come prepared with a rough estimate of the size of your room and the layout. Check out our handy Carpet Calculator if you need help measuring. When you’re ready to buy, the dealer will send a professional to take the final measurements.

Quality

While in the store, it may seem that many carpets look the same. But not all carpets perform the same.

6,6 Nylon Technology
With this patented fiber technology, STAINMASTER® carpets resist crushing, abrasive wear and color fading. The unique molecular structure of 6,6 nylon make it much more resilient than carpet fiber made from polyester, polypropylene and other types of nylon. Plus, this specially designed fiber keeps soil and stains from penetrating.

DuPont Advanced TEFLON® Protectant
This superior soil resistance technology enables SM carpet fibers to push dirt away, allowing it to be removed more easily with a vacuum cleaner. And the Stain Protection reduces the fibers ability to absorb liquids, greatly limiting its ability to become stained. This unique soil and stain protection lasts much longer than other carpets’ protection, which must be re-applied after each cleaning in order to maintain their warranties.

Anti-Static Technology
The fibers in every STAINMASTER® carpet contain a special carbon compound that act like thousands of tiny lighting rods, deflecting static shock for the life of the carpet. Most other carpets are sprayed with anti-static protection that can wear off with foot traffic and successive cleanings.

Why is anti-stat protection important? With our homes filled with expensive electronics these days, the last thing you want is to short circuit a computer or audio system simply by walking on your carpet and touching a device. Anti-stat protection offers peace of mind for homeowners where their electronic investments are concerned.

Vinyl Comeback!

The most popular type of resilient flooring, vinyl is durable, low maintenance, and easy on the budget. Vinyl floor has more depth and texture today than it did a generation ago, so it can look like hardwood, tile, and stone, and it comes in a variety of colors. Vinyl is soft underfoot, so it’s comfortable to stand on for long periods. It’s also warmer to the touch than hard surfaces like tile. Vinyl comes in various levels of gloss so you can get a range of looks.

Options

Vinyl is composed of four layers: a protective urethane top coat, a protective clear vinyl layer, a printed design layer, and a felt or fiberglass backing. Vinyl flooring is available in sheets, tiles and planks.

Sheet Vinyl: Vinyl sheets generally come in 6- or 12-foot-wide rolls. Sheet vinyl can often be installed seamlessly, making it ideal in rooms with moisture. It comes in a range of colors and designs, including styles that mimic tile and wood.

Vinyl Tiles: These tiles can be laid in any orientation, from checkerboard to diagonal. Some vinyl tile can be grouted for a more realistic appearance. Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) is primarily made from limestone and is low cost. Solid vinyl tile (SVT) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) contain more vinyl, for better performance and more realistic appearance.

Vinyl Planks: Designed to closely resemble hardwood, vinyl planks come in the same size as wood planks, and boast realistic features such as texturing and beveled edges.

Factors to Consider

How to Clean. Sweep, dust, or vacuum regularly, and occasionally wipe the surface with a damp mop or cloth. For glossy floors, occasionally strip and reapply polish as necessary. Avoid waxing or buffing the surface.

Best for: Vinyl is traditionally reserved for hardworking rooms (kitchens, baths, entryways, laundry rooms, and playrooms) but high-end styles are making their way into living spaces. Some types can’t be installed on stairs.

Pet Friendly? Extremely. Quality vinyl floors stand up to pets’ nails and messes better than many surfaces, and they’re comfortable for pets.

Underlayment. With proper preparation, vinyl can be installed over virtually any flat, dry, clean surface. In most cases, a plywood underlayment is recommended for the best results.

The Lowdown

Today’s vinyl is not your grandmother’s flooring. Improved printing and embossing techniques produce a surface that looks and feels more authentic than ever. You can get vinyl that looks like wood, slate, even leather. Often, vinyl flooring is imbued with antimicrobial protection to resist bacteria, mold, and mildew. It also doesn’t require waxing and polishing as it did in the past. Some vinyl floors contain recycled content, and many manufacturers are moving toward greener practices, such as utilizing low-VOC inks.

Vinyl is an excellent choice for rooms that get a lot of traffic. It withstands water, and it doesn’t easily dent, scratch, stain or fade. It’s quiet and comes in a wide variety of colors and designs and is very quiet.

Because of vinyl’s resilience, it’s warmer and more comfortable to stand on than most hard surfaces, and dropped dishes are less likely to break on it. However, keep in mind that even the best vinyl is unlikely to be mistaken for the material it’s imitating, and it can be cut or gouged by sharp objects.

Granite or Quartz

A brief rundown of quartz and granite

Granite countertops are quarried naturally from the earth as enormous chunks of stone.

After they leave the quarry they are cut and polished into the familiar countertop shape.

Quartz countertops contain crushed quartz mixed with resin in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin. They are manufactured in a variety of different patterns and colors.

An in-depth look at the pros and cons of quartz

As with granite, quartz countertops also have their own sets of drawbacks and benefits that go along with them.

  1. Quartz countertops are just as strong as granite but have the added benefit of being more flexible. This makes them easier to work with during the installation process.
  2. Quartz is non-porous and does not require any sealing – ever. These stones offer a virtually no-maintenance material solution for countertops.
  3. These counters are also very durable but they cannot be considered indestructible either. They are stain-resistant as well so dropping a glass of wine on them simply requires a quick cleanup.
  4. One drawback that you should definitely take note of is these counters can discolor over time when exposed to direct sunlight. If you have a part of your counter that receives some of the UV rays from the sun while another part doesn’t, over time you may see a color difference.
  5. These countertops need to be professionally installed and quartz is even heavier than granite.
  6. You can expect to see seams with a quartz counter but they will be less visible if you choose a slab that’s darker in color. As well, the seams are easier to hide when you choose quartz because the counter has been colored and manufactured. If you buy a quartz countertop in a solid color, it’s much easier to hide the seam to a certain extent.

With granite, the natural veins and colors in the stone will never allow the seams to appear less visible.

The benefits and drawbacks of granite

Here are some of the most important drawbacks and benefits of granite that you need to know:

  1. The appearance is not uniform. These stones are coming right out of the earth and are not perfectly designed by nature. For some this will be a benefit while others will consider it to be a drawback.
  2. Granite countertops will need to be sealed before they are used and this will need to be repeated year after year for as long as you own the countertop. Granite is a porous stone and can only be considered to be stain-resistant if it has been sealed properly. While some people only seal their granite countertops every 3 years, it’s best to be safe and to do it yearly. If for any reason the sealant on the counter gets compromised, your countertop can get stained.
  3. Countertops made of granite are extremely durable but should not be considered to be indestructible. It is a natural rock and can break or chip if subjected to heavy abuse. For regular day-to-day activities though, and with proper maintenance, this is a countertop that can last for a lifetime and beyond.
  4. The stones are heavy and require a professional installation. Don’t even think of hiring your neighborhood handyman to put in your new countertop to save a few dollars.
  5. It’s impossible to hide the seams in a granite counter. Expect the seams to show up once it has been installed.
  6. The samples that you see can slightly differ from the stone that you receive. Keep in mind that these are naturally occurring slabs so the samples cannot be a true 100% reflection of the stone you are ordering. There may be color variances or occlusions in the stone you receive that gives the slab a slightly different appearance.

If you spend some time browsing through the internet you’ll find a range of different reviews about quartz vs granite. While one homeowner will tell you that you absolutely, positively must get a quartz countertop, another reviewer will insist upon buying granite counters. When you do spend some time reading through these reviews, however, you will notice one point that stands out.

Both quartz and granite countertop owners are defending their own personal choices with a vengeance because they are so completely pleased with their counters. At the end of the day, you can walk away from these reviews knowing that choosing either quartz or granite stones will provide you with a countertop that you’ll love!

Let’s compare the cost

This can be the biggest consideration when it comes to choosing between a quartz countertop and one that’s made of granite. If you’re like most people you have a budget that you’re trying to stick to for your countertop material.

There’s no doubt that with either product you’re going to have to be digging deep into your pockets. A slab of granite is usually priced starting at $60 a square foot but the prices rise quickly from that point on. For quartz countertops, you’ll generally be paying anywhere from $67 up to $95 per square foot. For a 28 ft.² counter made of quartz you’ll have to budget for approximately $2200 – $3100.

In most cases you’ll end up paying more for granite unless you find something in the $60 range that you love. Prices can vary according to the manufacturer, the pattern and the color of the granite slab. Fortunately, during recent years, the prices on granite countertops have come down significantly since they first made their appearance on the market.

Granite can often end up costing a bit more than quartz since it is a natural rock. This means that the complete slab needs to be excavated from the earth as one chunk of stone. This extraction along with the shipping of the product consumes a lot of energy, time and ultimately money. When it comes to granite slabs, you’ll need to be willing to pay the price for a thicker piece. The thinner the granite is, the weaker it will be as well.

All in all, you may have to pay slightly more for granite, but the cost difference won’t be all that significant. The important thing is to choose a budget and then do your best to stay within it by choosing the quartz or granite stone that you think will look fantastic displayed in your kitchen.

When it comes to aesthetics…

This is personal choice only. Don’t let anyone else tell you which one looks better. There are some very beautiful brands that make quartz like Caesarstone and Cambria.

Some people like the look of granite more than quartz because it has a natural earthy aspect to it. Others prefer the sleek uniform look of quartz. The great news is that you can never go wrong by choosing either one!

Why does granite seemed to be so much more popular than quartz?

Back in the 1990s, granite officially became a status symbol in the world of countertops. You had “made it” once you owned a counter that was made of natural stone. There’s something about granite and its “back to nature” appeal that simply cannot be replaced by any type of quartz, marble or stainless steel countertop.

It has secured its place as a must-have high-end stone and even nowadays it is deemed to be more prestigious than its counterparts. Granite continues to be the best-selling natural counter that you can find on the market.

The indoor air quality of your home

There has been a lot of concern about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may be present in either quartz or granite counters. Quartz countertops are comprised of approximately 90% quartz and 10% epoxy binder (resin) and acrylic. This means that most quartz tops have more VOCs than countertops made of granite. On the other hand, some granite slabs contain radon in very low levels. For the most part though, both of those countertops are considered safe for indoor use.

Adding to the value of your home

Adding a stone countertop to your home will definitely increase its value. While there are a lot of renovations you can do that will not contribute to the overall home’s value, a good stone countertop will raise the price value. You can expect to get back the value of your purchase when you resell your house later on. Adding a new natural stone counter can also help your home sell faster.

It’s hard to believe what a difference a quartz or granite countertop can make when it comes to selling a home. Some potential home buyers will even ask their real estate agents if the home comes with a granite countertop. As well, if a buyer is looking at 2 homes that are similar and one has a stone counter while the other has a laminate one, the odds are good that the home with the quartz or granite counter will be the chosen one.

Going back to the status symbol effect of a granite countertop, you may want to keep in mind the effect it can have on a potential buyer if you’re planning on selling your home in the not-too-distant future. Granite countertops attract home buyers like honey!

The environmental impact

Today’s consumers are trying to make the best sustainable choices when remodeling their homes. In terms of countertops, quartz materials generally leave less of a carbon footprint. Many of these products contain content that has been recycled and the manufacturing process is more environmentally friendly. Granite needs to be quarried from the ground and then shipped across the world to the manufacturing site. While quartz is also mined oversees and then shipped to the United States, there is one company that does its own processing in this country.

Wood Countertops?

Wood Countertop Strengths

Appearance: The number one reason people choose wood countertops is their beauty. They give any kitchen a warmth that can’t be achieved by any other countertop material.

Variety: There are many types of wood countertops from which to choose. Hardwood continues to be used extensively. Wood types include maple, cherry, oak, birch and teak. Bamboo is a grass, but offers a wood-like appearance. Stains and finishes complete the look, giving each one a customized appearance. Stylistically, your options include butcher black, parquet, face grain or end grain planks, panels and other designs. Edge treatments are also made in a wide variety of looks.

Work with All Design Styles: Wood counters go well with all styles including traditional, country, French country, Mediterranean, Old World, modern, contemporary, transitional and eclectic.

Warmth: Not only is wood warm in appearance, it’s literally warmer to the touch than many materials such as tile, stone or concrete.

Recycled/Recyclable: Most wood countertops are not made from reclaimed wood, but that is changing. Wood is being salvaged and re-purposed for green countertops at a growing rate. Most wood countertops are recyclable.

Excellent Work Surface: Wood is easy on knives – though they may not be so easy on it. The edges on your cutlery will last longer than if working on granite or concrete.

Wood Countertop Weaknesses

Requires Proper Sealing: If a wood countertop is not sealed correctly, it offers a porous surface where germs may hide and multiply.

Water Damage: If the surface isn’t consistently treated with mineral oil or other protectant, damage can occur is water sits on the countertop too long or seeps into seams.

May Need Refinishing: With time, a wood countertop will begin to show some wear and tear. The finish may need to be reapplied, or the entire surface sanded and refinished. Expect to refinish wood countertops after 10-20 years depending on the amount and type of use they get.

Scratch and Dent Problems: Since wood is softer than tile, stone and metal, it can be more easily damaged. Some homeowners consider these blemishes as giving character to the counters. Using a separate cutting board will help save your countertop surfaces.