Define the feel of your home
The counters in your kitchen, bathroom and elsewhere define the look and style of your home. But beyond that, as the element your hands will touch the most, your countertops quite literally define the feel of your home. Andrew Lauren Interiors understands how important this is to you and we are dedicated to making sure you’ll love your new countertops. Below are some of the choices you’ll have.
Engineered quartz is the style chameleon of countertops. Whether you love modern or traditional, subtle tones or vibrant colors, honed or polished, flecked or patterned, quartz’s myriad options will have you covered. Engineered quartz is also easy to maintain, nontoxic and nonallergenic — there’s not much to dislike about this stunning man-made material.
Engineered quartz is a man-made product formed from roughly 90 to 95 percent ground quartz and 5 to 10 percent resins and pigments. Commonly found brands include Caesarstone, Silestone, Zodiaq, Cambria, Technistone, HanStone and Q. Several manufacturers have upward of 40 options, like colors from bright red to earthy linen and patterns from crocodile to concrete.
Why choose quartz?
- Exceptional durability
- Highly stain-resistant
- Very hygienic
- Large selection of colors and textures
- Product consistency
- Highly versatile
What to know about engineered quartz
Engineered quartz has many bragging rights. Thanks to the quartz content, it’s tough like granite, and the resin makes the material malleable and impact resistant. Both materials offer stout durability. Engineered quartz is also nonporous, making it resistant to stains and scratches. And this material has a leg up on natural stone when it comes to large installations: Because it can flex, engineered quartz can be fabricated in larger pieces and with fewer joints.
Quartz countertops are great for indoor air quality, as they emit few VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and are nontoxic and nonallergenic for humans. For these reasons, many quartz countertop products are certified by the GreenGuard Environmental Institute, an independent agency that verifies claims of low chemical emissions.
Quartz gets the green thumbs-up too for being a durable counter that can last a lifetime, and because several manufacturers offer products with recycled content.
Granite slabs are both a decorative and practical option, bringing the beauty of nature right into your home. Making the selection of granite is both a stylish and intelligent decision! Due to its hardness, its resistance to heat and other forms of stress, as well as the versatility offered by granite, making this investment will add value to your property and will be the source of tremendous pride.
Why choose granite?
- Natural beauty and uniqueness
- Choice of edge detail
- Heat resistant
- Large variety of colors and patterns
- Highly durable
- Resistant to bacteria
What to know about granite
Granite is a natural product found deep in the earth. It is the result of tremendous heat and pressure applied over thousands of years. Minerals become trapped in the granite during the slow cooling and solidification of magma or liquid rock when the granite is being formed. For a rock to be defined, in geological terms, as granite it must be comprised of at least 80% quartz, feldspar and mica. Other minerals found in granite are muscovite, biotite, hornblende and pyroxene. Granite is an igneous rock, the hardest of all rocks, surpassed only by the diamond.
Granite is found in mountain ranges throughout the world. Each piece or slab comes from a different area of the mountain or quarry; no two quarries in the world yield the same color. Most common quarries are found in Brazil, China, Mexico and Italy to name a few. No two slabs are ever exactly alike. Each slab will have unique characteristics such as pitting, veining, color variation, shading, texture etc.
What to consider when choosing granite
- There are two slab thicknesses most commonly chosen when selecting/fabricating granite; 2 CM is ¾” thick & 3 CM is 1 ¼” thick.
- With 2 CM material an underlayment of plywood is normally used for added support.
- If a larger edge is desired with 2 CM or 3 CM, lamination is necessary. This is done by attaching an apron to the face of the slab, leaving a micro thin seam. After lamination is complete, the edge can then be shaped. If lamination is needed the job takes longer and may cost more.
- Standard overhang with 2 CM will not exceed 6”
- Standard overhang with 3 CM will not exceed 9”
Choosing an edge detail
There are many edge details to choose from. During your selection process you will be shown your edge detail options. The pros and cons will be discussed to allow you to make an informed decision that will best meet your needs and style.
Given the hardness of granite and the harsh origins that make it extremely resistant to certain types of wear, many of the things you would have to worry about with a lesser material are simply not an issue. For instance, many people choose granite for kitchen countertops because slab granite is highly resistant to abrasion caused by cutlery. Granite is also extremely heat resistant, making it a worry free surface when it comes to hot pots being placed directly on the countertop.
However, despite how durable granite is, it does require your attention in terms of care. One thing to consider is the application of an appropriate sealant. A sealant is required to protect your granite from moisture. The porosity of granite is very low; however, if a spill is left on the surface for long periods of time some residual staining may occur. The stain may dissipate over time or may be able to be removed. To protect and prevent staining, we recommend sealing the surface once every 1-3 years with an impregnator. An impregnator penetrates the surface, while allowing it to breathe and provides for an easy cleanup of future spills. How often you choose to seal is up to you and can vary from one household to another.
**Never seal granite with urethane or wax… this would prevent the stone from breathing, causing potential deterioration of the stone.
Keeping a granite surface clean is easy. Gently remove any loose debris from surface with a dry cloth. Simply wipe countertops with warm soapy water to remove any residue. You may follow this with an ammonia free Windex and dry with a terry cloth towel to get maximum shine. Buff with a “000” steel wool to remove difficult grime.
Due to size and bonding issues, as well as variation in kitchen layouts, seams on a granite slab countertop are necessary. The placement of these seams will be left up to the discretion of the installer/fabricator and may not appear exactly like a comparable model. Great effort goes into achieving a seam that is as smooth and inconspicuous as possible.