Monday, September 24, 2012

Quartz Countertops ~ Overview

Courtesy of RSW Countertop Guide

Quartz surfaces come in a broad range of colors and styles and feature a clean, safe product that is nonporous, making quartz a very popular, hygiene-friendly choice.

The flexibility of a quartz countertop allows many variations in its composition and stone makeup, which features homogeneous patterns and selections of varying-size quartz gemstone particulars.  Similar to quarried natural stones, quartz is a durable surface that can be fabricated to custome specifications while featuring a unique appearance different from granite surfaces.

Almost all quartz products on the market are manufactured using between 90 to 95% quartz particulars.  Quartz is an extremely hard, durable surface, and does not require sealing or suface conditioner.  Quartz countertops are stain-resistant, and because they are nonporous--quite resistant to bacteria as well.

What's the difference between natural stone an quartz?

Natural stone is a 100% natural material that is quarried out of the ground, cut into blocks, then processed into slabs for fabrication.  With all natural stones, what you see is what you get from Mother Nature.  Stone variations and colors can vary from slab to slab.  Quartz, on the other hand, is a crystal that is mined out of the ground as opposed to quarried.  Raw quartz crystals are then processed into aggregate for end-use products. Quartz surfaces are produced from a man-made, engineered process, in a factory, using pure quartz crystals and particulates.

Why is quartz sold as a stone product if it's man-made?

Quartz falls into the same category as a stone surface because quartz products are made using at least 90 to 95% quartz stone aggregate in their composition.  A quartz surface is made by combining quartz crystals with polymers and resins, and then formed under intense heat and pressure to form an extremely hard and durable surface.  Since it's man-made, this allows total flexibility and control with styles, colors and patterns during manufacturing.  Engineered quartz surfaces allow consistent colors and variations from production process to production process.  Even though finished quartz surfaces are non-porous giving consumers a hygiene-friendly material, some quartz products also contain addded built-in antimicrobial protection providing additional peace of mind against germs.

Once the manufacturing process is complete, quartz surfaces are not much different from a quarried natural stone.  Quartz products susch as Silestone, DuPont Zodiaq, HanStone, and LG Viatera are simply other product offerings to choose from.  They all offer different patterns, textures, color choices, styles, and pricing.  Quartz surfaces are typically priced similar to a "mid-range" granite.

Quartz Summary:

General Care:  Warm water and mild soap

  • Various product brands to choose from
  • Many styles, colors and patterns
  • Very hard and durable
  • Use for a wide variety of applications
  • Perfect for active households
  • Perfect for food preparation and food serving areas
Cons:  Heavy weight.  May need to reinforce cabinets.

Beware of:  Potential chipping around corners and edges

Sealing Needed:                      No
Polishing Needed:                   No
Stain Resistance:                    Excellent
Heat Resistance:                    Very Good
Scratch Resistance:               Very Good
Bacteria Resistance:             Excellent
Mold/Mildew Resistance:     Excellent
Impact Resistance:              Very Good
Chemical Resistance:          Excellent
Durability:                           Excellent
Porosity:                              Non Porous
Fabrication Versatility:      Very Good
Functionality:                     Excellent
Repairability:                     Very Good
Cleanability:                       Excellent
Visible Seams:                    Yes, consult with installer
Green Sustainability:        Yes (DuPont Terra Collection)

Composition:  Made with 90-95% pure quartz crystals with polymers and resins.

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marble Countertops

Courtesy of RSW Countertop Guide

Marble Countertop Summary

Marble is a natural stone formed from fossil sediment deposits, which have been placed under the earth′s tremendous pressure for a long period of time. The combination of the natural materials in these deposits, along with natural geologic events, produces unique veining with a richness of depth and intensity. Marble material is generally softer, therefore scratching can occur. This characteristic should be considered when making your stone selection.

Marble is available in a multitude of colors from light to dark, and generally boasts beautiful flowing veins. This unequalled beauty makes marble a natural choice for countertops, bath vanities, wall and floor tiles or slabs, and tub and fireplace surrounds.

General Care:  Warm water and mild soap

  • Exquisite beauty, patterns and veining
  • Most marble used for more elegant, formal decor styles
  • Good for bathroom vanities, fireplace surrounds, desks, tables, and wall cladding
  • Not as durable
  • Susceptible to damage and chipping
  • Susceptible to stains and scratching
  • More apt to cracking during fabrication
  • Typically not suited for active households
Beware of:  Potential cracking from impacts

As beautiful as marble is, stone experts suggest marble is not the best choice for active households, where countertops are subjected to more abuse and wear and tear.

Sealing Needed:                      Yes
Polishing Needed:                   Possible
Stain Resistance:                    Fair
Heat Resistance:                    Excellent
Scratch Resistance:               Fair
Bacteria Resistance:               Very Good
Mold/Mildew Resistance:      Very Good
Impact Resistance:                Very Good
Chemical Resistance:            Very Good
Durability:                              Good
Porosity:                                 Minor Porosity
Fabrication Versatility:          Very Good
Functionality:                        Excellent
Repairability:                        Good
Cleanability:                         Excellent
Visible Seams:                     Yes, consult with installer
Green Sustainability:           No

Composition:  100%

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road,  Medina, OH 44256  ~ 330-239-3630

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Soapstone Countertops

Courtesy of RSW Countertop Guide
SoapStone Countertops
Quarried like granite, soapstone is a heavy, mineral talc composition with a high heat retention characteristic.  Used for years in fireplaces, wood stoves, and ovens, soapstone has recently made its mark with interior designers, homebuilders, architects, and countertop fabricators.  The beauty of soapstone can achieve a rustic, early American look, yet is versatile enough to be used in modern and contemporary interior designs.

Soapstone has become a popular design choice due to its unique, deep, rich marbling features and flowing veins.  Soapstone is a versitile product that can be used for sinks and outdoor applications as well.

Another appeal of soapstone is its natural beauty without polishing or surface treatments.  However, when oiled, soapstone exhibits an even more dramatic color variation and richness.  Soapstone is practically indestructible, requires almost no maintenance, and adds elegance and enduring value to any project.

Soapstone Summary:

General Care:  Warm water and mild soap

  • Unique exquisite look
  • Rich with dramatic characteristics
  • Solid and durable
  • Very easy to repair and buff out scratches
  • Integrate soapstone sinks
  • Very heavy - may need to reinforce cabinets
  • Somewhat limited color choices
  • Susceptible to scratching
Beware of:  Oxidizing and patina over time

Sealing Needed:                           No (can use mineral oil)
Polishing Needed:                      No
Stain Resistance:                        Very Good
Heat Resistance:                         Excellent
Scratch Resistance:                    Good
Bateria Resistance:                    Very Good
Mold/Mildew Resistance:       Very Good
Impact Resistance:                     Very Good
Chemical Resistance:                 Very Good
Durability:                                      Excellent
Porosity:                                         Minor Porosity
Fabrication Versatility:            Very Good
Functionality:                                Excellent
Repairability:                                Very Good
Cleanability:                                   Excellent
Visible Seams:                               Yes, Consult with Installer
Green Sustainability:                  No

Composition:                                    100% natural

*About Oiling:  You have the option of leaving soapstone in its natural state, however soapstone turns dark when exposed to liquids, grease, and oils.  To aviod inconsistent color or tone, treating your soapstone with mineral oil will keep your stone uniform across the entire surface.  In addition, mineral oil will also bring out the richness of your stone's natural color, creating a deeper and more dramatic appearance. 

Cabinet-S-Top is located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 - 330-239-3630