Blog

Prevent Your Soapstone Countertops from Fading

A Kitchen With Soapstone Countertops

You might love having some natural light come into your kitchen or bathroom, but your soapstone countertops in Wheeling, WV, might have a different opinion on the matter. This is because soapstone can begin to fade over time if it is subjected to direct and prolonged exposure to the sun. Thankfully, there are ways for you to prevent your countertops from fading. Some of the best tips for avoiding sun damage include:

Keeping Your Countertop Clean – There is a resin on your countertop that is designed to protect them for a long time. However, this resin can begin to fade prematurely if the surface is always damp or wet. To ensure your resin remains in the best condition, it is essential to remove any food particles or dirt from the surface while also ensuring you don’t leave any wetness behind.

Close the Blinds – If you aren’t using your kitchen, then it isn’t a bad idea to close your blinds. This helps you not only protect your countertops, but can also help you reduce fading of your cabinets as well.

Switching Sealants – In addition to infused resins, soapstone counters also have a sealant that protects them from moisture and water damage. Over time, your sealant can begin to lose its effectiveness. If you notice that water is no longer beading on your counter and is instead getting immediately absorbed, it is time to replace your sealant.

Building a Home with Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

House Before Adding Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

When it comes to giving a home a more modern style, more and more builders and homeowners are looking to quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA. These countertops are acclaimed thanks to their value, appearance, and functionality. They are also known to attract potential buyers, making them especially attractive for those looking to make smart upgrades to a house they plan to sell.

There are many different reasons why quartz countertops are so attractive. Some of the biggest standouts include:

Versatility – Quartz is an engineered material that allows for a wide range of patterns and colors that are typically richer than those found in natural stone. This gives quartz countertops a more luxurious feel and design.

Consistency – Since quartz is manufactured, its patterns appear more consistent than their natural counterparts. This helps you avoid the eyesores that can come with inconsistent designs and patterns.

Durability – An extremely durable material, quartz is very desirable for countertops that experience a lot of use. If wear and tear is something you are worried about, then you are going to love just how resistant quartz is to scratching, chipping, and staining.

Low Maintenance – The durability of quartz gives it another benefit—it is much easier to maintain over time than other natural stones. Non-porous quartz doesn’t require any sealant, unlike granite, and it is easy to clean with a simple, specialized countertop cleaner.

What Makes Quartz Countertops Scratch & Chip Resistant?

A Slab of Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Quartz countertops are a classic choice for many homeowners because of their beauty, resilience, and stain resistance. Quartz isn’t the sole component; it’s a manufactured product comprised of quarried stone, resins, and polymers that enhance the material and make it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. For Pittsburgh, PA, homeowners, quartz countertops are a leading choice for many reasons:

High on the Hardness Scale

Among the minerals that make up stones, quartz ranks just below the diamond. This hardness means you don’t have to worry about heavy kitchenware or cutting with steel knives, but it’s best not to abuse the surface.

Careful Cutting with Ceramic Knives

Although steel knives won’t damage your quartz countertop, ceramic knives are often honed to a much sharper edge and can damage quartz. Remember to use a cutting board; however, repairs are usually straightforward if you accidentally scar the counter surface.

In Case of Damage

If the worst happens and a scratch appears, don’t panic. You can buff out most surface scratches using 300 grit sandpaper or steel wool. If the damage is extensive, you may need a professional to repair the mark.

Excellent for Everyday Use

Anything can get damaged if you try hard enough. Although quartz countertops are ready to handle everyday kitchen activities, be mindful of cutting directly on the surface or dropping anything heavy onto it.

Why Bakers Prefer Marble Countertops

Baking Cookies on Marble Countertops

If you’re someone who loves to reap the rewards of an afternoon spent with your fingers deep in flour and exercising your forearms while kneading dough, your dream kitchen likely includes a marble countertop. There’s no denying the esthetic appeal of a smooth surface of cool marble, but as a baker, you know that there’s more to the material than meets the eye.

A Classic Choice

Your marble countertops in Butler, PA, make a stunning statement that accents your kitchen and gives the room an elegant feel. However, the true value of this time-tested material is why bakers choose it as an all-time favorite among all counter types. Marble remains cool to the touch no matter the temperature in the room.

The Secret Ingredient

Part of the appeal of many baked goods is the light, fluffy texture. That delightful airiness only happens if the butter inside the dough stays cool enough to hold its form before entering the oven. Once the heat hits the butter, it bursts into glorious flavor and puffs up the dough. Without the cooling effect of marble counters, your baker’s dozen could fall flat.

Some bakers choose marble cutting boards as their preferred work area. However, there’s nothing quite like a kitchen that boasts a full complement of this marvelous material.

The Heat Resistance of Soapstone Countertops in Pittsburgh

Your kitchen is likely a high traffic zone in your home—seeing plenty of action daily. That means it is crucial to make sure that your counters are strong and durable as well as attractive. One of the most impressive choices on the market today is soapstone countertops in Pittsburgh. And one of the biggest reasons people are choosing soapstone is due to its resistance to heat damage.

Softer than other natural stone countertops, soapstone counters are chemically inert. That means not only will acidic substances not damage them, but they are also highly heat resistant. Even better, soapstone is able to absorb, retain, and re-radiate heat. This makes it an excellent choice for homes in colder climates like those here in the Keystone State.

Soapstone is a very low-maintenance material that will age with grace—usually darkening through the years. Many homeowners like to oil their counters with mineral oil to even out and speed up this natural darkening process. Because this is a softer material, it is easier to scratch and chip, but this damage can easily be buffed out or filled in—even with little personal experience. If your primary concern is heat resistance rather than hardness, soapstone is the right choice for your home.

Prevent Heat from Damaging Your Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, are known for their toughness and durability. But there is one thing that can damage them—heat. Engineered surfaces like quartz are made up of 90% mineral and 10% resins and dyes. These resins are used to bind the minerals together to create a stain-resistant, durable surface for you to enjoy. They are also susceptible to heat damage. Too much heat and the resin can burn or melt, which will damage your quartz countertop.

So, how hot is too hot? Most quartz countertops can withstand heat up to about 300 degrees. That means if something is too hot to touch directly with your hands, it is too hot to place on your countertop without some form of protection. Place a coaster under your hot mugs and rest hot plates and dishes on trivets or another form of insulating material. With this simple tip, you are able to keep the heat away from your counters so that they will last and look beautiful for decades.

What happens if you don’t protect your countertop? The most common type of heat damage is discoloration. When the resins in the counter are exposed to high heat, they will develop browned scorch marks. Furthermore, if your counter is exposed to extreme heat and then extreme cold it can cause the surface to crack—causing serious damage. So, treat your new countertops with care.

The Low Environmental Impact of Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Materials for Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Because quartz has a low environmental impact, it’s ideal for people interested in a green countertop option. As Earth’s most abundant mineral, the natural beauty and durability of quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, kitchens will make a statement about your good taste. Many homeowners are looking for ways to minimize their carbon footprint by choosing contractors and suppliers that demonstrate sustainable practices. The inclusion of quartz in their countertop line-up is a great start.

Responsible Practices

Although every natural countertop requires honing and polishing, many quartz plants recycle the water and metal tools used to process the surface. Most quartz mines now employ hydroelectric power instead of fossil fuels, reducing their environmental impact.

Health & Safety

The non-porous nature of quartz countertops makes them a smart choice for homeowners who want to protect their health. It’s certified as a safe food preparation surface, which means it won’t absorb liquids or moisture that cause germs and bacterial growth. Quartz naturally supports a healthy kitchen environment.

Sourcing Certification

Many quartz manufacturers participate in a traceable source program that tells consumers where the product comes from, its chemistry, and what happens to it at the end of its life. Homeowners can feel confident in their purchase knowing they have made a responsible choice.

Choosing a Backsplash to Match Your Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Kitchen with a New Backsplash and Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Your backsplash protects your walls from grease, water, and food splashing and staining them, which extends the life and look of your kitchen. Far from being purely practical, backsplashes are often a stunning focal point that adds personality and flair to the space. Choosing an appropriate backsplash for your Pittsburgh, PA, countertops can be an exciting project that allows you to showcase your taste and style.

Keep some tips in mind as you explore your options, and you’ll narrow down your selection to the perfect addition to your kitchen.

Budgetary Considerations

There’s so much choice in backsplash options that you’re sure to find one you love within your budget. Trendy colors and materials will cost more than standard white subway tiles but are worth the extra money if it’s something you love.

Think About Longevity

Bring home a few test tiles of your top choices to see whether they complement your countertop and how they catch the light during different times of the day. You’ll be looking at the backsplash for several years, so settle on something you can live with for a long time.

Thoughtful design elements can turn a room you like into a room you love, so take the time to consider your options, and you won’t regret the upgrade.

The Difference Between Granite and Quartz Countertops

A Kitchen With Quartz Countertops

Granite and quartz are both popular and very durable choices for kitchen and bathroom countertops, and although they are similar, they are not the same. This blog post from the team at Top It Off, Inc. will describe the differences, however minimal.

We will look at granite first. It is very durable and able to withstand the rigors of a modern family kitchen or bathroom. From an appearance standpoint, granite comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, making it very desirable.

Quartz countertops in Pittsburgh are not very porous, so there is less chance of moisture or food particles being trapped in the material itself. From a durability standpoint, quartz is only second to diamond when it comes to scratch resistance. Also, quartz never needs sealing to protect it from stains and spills.

Either one is an ideal addition to any home or business, as evidenced by the fact of their popularity and use throughout a range of properties. Granite is slightly more budget-friendly than quartz, but quartz countertops are a good choice for areas that will receive heavy use, such as in a commercial setting.

To discuss these materials further, you can contact Top It Off, Inc. Our team will be happy to discuss your options.

What Makes Quality Granite

A Slab of Quality Granite

Granite is an excellent choice for countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. Although it is beautiful and durable, all granite is not the same. There are subtle differences, and this blog post from the team at Top It Off, Inc. will discuss them.

What the primary differentiation in quality granite in Pittsburgh is multifold. Grading is a significant factor, but it is not an industry standard, with most retailers using their own in-house grading system. Low-grade granite has more soft stone minerals and less color variation as a rule of thumb. Mid-grade has bright colors and more vibrant patterns. High-grade granite is known for its unique color, variation, and pattern.

Quality granite comes in many colors, but some are rare and therefore cost more than the common shades. Red, purple, and blue granite have higher price tags because they are not standard, while green and beige are more readily available. Reds and browns are harder, and whites and grays are softer.

The other central element to consider is thickness. Thicker examples are of higher quality. Slabs that are 1.25” are generally used for countertops. This thickness provides the weight, solidity, and durability that consumers associate with granite.

If you want to know more about granite countertops, contact the team at Top It Off, Inc.