Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quartz Countertops versus Granite Countertops

Although granite and quartz are similar in look and composition, they are very different products. Knowing the maintenance and benefits of each type of countertop material is vital to making the best choice for each space.

Granite countertop installed by KHI
Granite is a very hard stone found deep in the earth. It is mined at many locations around the world, including areas of Minnesota in the United States and places in India and Italy. The color and pattern of the stone is determined by the minerals found in the area in which it is located.Granite is composed of approximately 50% quartz; the remaining elements are softer minerals and impurities. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals found on earth, second only to the diamond so durability is not a problem. Quartz countertops are actually 93% quartz crystals, with resins and pigments making up the remaining composition.

Countertop Durability

Both granite and quartz countertops create a very durable countertop. However, quartz countertops, because of the way that they are made, are nearly twice as strong as natural granite. Quartz is very dense and free of the invisible fissures (tiny cracks) that can be found in granite. This is what adds to the strength of quartz surfaces.

Heat and Scratch Resistance

Both granite and quartz are resistant to heat and scratching. Although these products can resist heat from hot pans, it is always recommended that homeowners use trivets when setting a pot on the surface as thermal shock may cause damage. Because granite and quartz have countertops are very resistant to scratching, you should still use cutting boards when preparing food to protect your knives from being dulled by the hard stone surfaces.

Food Safety and Staining

Since granite is a natural stone, it is porous and liquids can penetrate it. As a result, staining, as well as the growth of bacteria, can occur. The lighter granite colors tend to be more porous, making them more susceptible to stains. Keeping the granite sealed periodically is the best way to avoid stains, and keep the stone looking new. Quartz is nonporous and is resistant to nearly all staining. Sealing quartz is not required. The nonporous composition also keeps them from harboring bacteria and many homeowners like the low-maintenance benefits of quartz countertops.

Colors and Patterns

Quartz countertop installed by KHI
Quartz countertops have a completely different look than granite. Granite has patterns that range from the very consistent to the extremely wild. Each slab of granite is unique and comes in a variety of color combinations. For home- owners preferring a more regular pattern, quartz may be the product of choice. Quartz lacks the depth of light that natural granite possesses, and can tend to look flat. However, quartz countertops offer colors that are impossible to find in natural granite.

For more information on countertop materials or if you'd like to obtain a quote on a bathroom or kitchen remodel project call Kruse Home Improvement today at 860-584-8784.

source: suite101.com

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top Choices for a Bathroom Countertop

For homeowners facing a bathroom remodeling project, choosing the right finishing materials can be quite a dilemma. The finished product’s appearance, benefits, price, and quality are all major considerations. Below are four popular choices for bathroom countertops.

Granite countertop installed by KHI
Granite - It’s no secret that granite is one of the best types of countertops for a bathroom. Aside from its beauty, granite is long lasting, stain and scratch resistant. It is the most durable material and easiest to care for material of any of the natural stones. There are hundreds of color choices, each and every granite slab is unique. Cleaning granite is easily done with warm water and a liquid detergent (avoid abrasive cleaners). Small chips and scratches can be polished down and very easily repaired if it’s damaged. If you’re looking for a countertop to last a lifetime, you may want to consider granite.

Manufactured Quartz - Manufactured quartz imitates the look of limestone, granite or marble, but is even more resistant to scratches and stains. It is also nearly twice as strong as natural granite and is available in a wide variety of colors and thicknesses. Quartz is the material to choose if you're considering a countertop with a specialized edging. It is a great choice for the bathroom because it is practical, durable, easy to clean, and doesn't require sealing.

Tile - Tile has always been a popular material for bathroom countertops. If you choose tile just be aware that you will need to clean the grout. Though today’s larger tiles eliminate the need for numerous grout lines, you can use a colored grout that doesn't show dirt as easily and which plays off the color of the tile. Although grout lines need regular maintenance and cleaning, tiles can be easily cleaned with any household detergent.

Solid-Surface Materials - Designed to look like expensive natural stone, solid surface is one of the most popular countertop options because it is economical yet extremely durable and crack-resistant. Scratches can be easily sanded out using fine-grit sandpaper and cleaning requires nothing more than a non-abrasive household cleaner and a damp sponge, wipe the surface dry afterwards. Choose a solid-surface material if you're concerned about mold or mildew as the nonporous, hypoallergenic surface discourages the growth of these allergens.

For more information on bathroom countertops or if you'd like to obtain a quote on a bathroom remodel project call us today at 860-584-8784.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hiring The Right Home Improvement Louisiana Contractors

At some point, homeowners will require major renovation or improvement to the house. And for any home improvement or renovation projects, it is important that the right contractor is chosen to carry on the renovation works. This is to ensure that everything in the renovation plan is followed and carried out. Whether it’s a bathroom renovation or changing roof or construction of additional space or structures, an experienced contractor should be able to manage the renovation works professionally and without delay and unnecessary wastage.

Hiring the right renovation contractor from the many Louisiana contractors can be a difficult task especially if it is the first time you are undertaking such a task. But some people can help you. Ask for referrals from people you know. One of them must have done some home renovations in the past and know some contractors as well. You can check local directories or phone books. Online directories can also give you a list of contractors specializing in home improvements. You can check some names and make online research about their background and experience. 

You should look for Louisiana contractors that specialize on the type of renovation work you need for your home. If you are renovating the entire house and not just replacing wood floors or electrical wirings, you will have to find a general contractor. They will be in-charge of providing you with all the services you need for the renovation of your home. They will provide you with the electrical contractor, carpentry contractor, plumbing, etc., and make sure that all the components of home renovation are complied with according the working plans. Essentially, the general contractor will be your supervisor-on-site as they will be managing the daily activities on the construction site.

In order to be assured of the credibility and integrity of the contractor you wish to hire, it is important that you check their licenses, permits and insurance for validity. The contractors should be able to provide you with copies of the licenses, permits and insurance certificates. When all the documents are properly checked, request a written and detailed estimate of cost for the project. Their estimate should include details on specific materials to be used and construction methods used (if applicable) and estimated completion per phase or stage. The estimate or quote should also contain payment terms. There should be no lump-sum payment. Negotiate for payments to be made after completion of each construction stage. And allow for a retention fee that you will keep until a specified time. This retention fee should cover for incidental expenses or repairs that might crop up after the project is completed.
The last part of the process is signing the contract. But before any document is signed, have a lawyer browse through the terms of the contract to make sure there are protection clauses for both parties and not just for one. The contract or agreement should also clearly spell out the specific responsibilities of the contractor with respect to the implementation of the renovation plan.