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Comparing Quartz and Granite Countertops

Making your kitchen look like new is as easy as installing updated countertops. But, deciding which type of material to use can be the tough part as there are many options on the market.

Let’s say you’ve narrowed down the choices between granite and quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, but still need some help finalizing your choice. The team at Top It Off, Inc., has the knowledge and experience that you can rely on for guidance with this decision.

Let’s take a look at both materials.

Granite is mined from pure stone with a wide range of colors including blues, greens, roses, and earth tones. Quartz is manufactured from crushed stone that is mixed with a pigment and other binders. Granite contains abstract veining and movement within the design, while quartz has more consistency in the color.

Quartz is extremely durable. It withstands the test of time admirably, and since it’s not porous, there is no worry about food preparation and serving areas being contaminated with germs and bacteria getting trapped in the surface. That also means it resists staining too. Granite needs to be sealed to prevent damage, and you’ll need to reseal it every ten years depending on use.

As far as cost goes, you can get similar pricing depending on what you are looking for. Quartz can cost much more than some granite, but if you are looking at high-end, rare granites you will be looking at a steeper price tag.

marble countertops butler pa

How to Maintain Marble Countertops

If you own marble countertops in Butler, PA, you’ve already made an excellent investment in your property’s value and beauty. It only takes attentive care and a little knowledge to keep those surfaces shining like new. Make your counters last by following these simple guidelines for marble maintenance:

Preventative Protection — The best way to deal with damage, discoloration, and other issues is to avoid them altogether. Taking care not to leave messes longer than a minute or two and watching out for things like tossed keys or heavy appliances can go a long way toward protecting marble from danger.

Product Selection — Like any stone surface, marble reacts best to specialized cleaning chemicals and care products. When you shop for wipes, sprays, and other items, check to see that they’re safe for your countertops. If possible, get advice from the experts by checking with your seller for the products they recommend.

Seal Upkeep — Stone counters usually come sealed when you buy them, but years of even gentle use can wear the protective layer down. Resealing your marble when this happens can prevent etching and other issues, as well as preserve the pristine look you love as time goes on.

granite countertops in a modern kitchen

What is Granite?

You probably know that granite is a type of stone and that it’s often used for luxurious countertops in some of the world’s most beautiful homes, businesses, and other buildings. Before you shop for quality granite in Pittsburgh, however, there’s more to understand about this top-notch material. With the right information, you can make a smart choice for your interior design or remodeling project.

Granite is one of the most durable stone surfaces on the market. While similar options like quartz and soapstone also stay strong over time, granite is the premier choice when you want the best in strength. Virtually immune to household heat and highly resistant to scratching and other damage, it’s a lasting investment that exudes refinement, elevates the surrounding room’s aesthetic, and attracts the eye.

That attraction likely comes from its unique patterns. Every granite countertop is natural rock, which means that the design on its surface won’t be found anywhere else in the world. This can make shopping a little slower since you might have to check back at even a leading supplier to find exactly what you desire. Even so, it’s worth the wait for the stunning beauty and natural authenticity of timeless stone surfaces.

quartz kitchen counter color samples

What You Don’t Know About Quartz Countertops

Quartz is an excellent material to consider when you’re looking to add new countertops to your home. This eye-catching, durable material is pleasing to look at, resistant to chipping and cracking, and non-porous, which means it won’t hold on to bacteria. It’s easy to clean, with a luxurious, unique appearance.

Moreover, quartz is environmentally friendly, since a majority of quartz products are made from waste by-products of manufacturing and quarrying processes. When shopping for quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, you can be confident that you’re making a green choice for your new counters.

A Durable, Low-Maintenance Material

Quartz is a great choice when you want a low-maintenance countertop. Engineered quartz doesn’t need to be sealed. It can be cleaned with any stone-safe cleaning product and a non-abrasive pad for cleaning granite. You won’t have to worry as much about maintaining your countertops over time when you choose this material.

Quartz is ultra-durable, and countertops made from this material often come with manufacturers’ warranties, to set your mind at ease. When you purchase a quartz countertop, you’ll feel confident that it will last for years to come. As a solid investment and a superb aesthetic option, quartz is always an excellent choice.

kitchen renovation material selection

How to Match Your Countertops to Your Kitchen

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. You spend a lot of time there, so it only makes sense to ensure it matches your aesthetic preferences. One of the best ways to update your kitchen’s appearance and functionality is with the installation of customized countertops.

Matching countertops to your kitchen’s design scheme, considering factors such as the appearance of your walls, backsplashes, and appliances, is essential. When searching for custom countertops in Butler, PA, you need to know exactly what you’re looking to buy.

Choosing Your Countertops

There are several steps to consider when deciding what kind of custom countertops are right for your kitchen space. First, you have to choose the material. Popular options such as granite, quartz, and soapstone offer unique benefits. Make sure you pick the right one for your particular requirements.

Second, think about the appearance of the countertop you’re buying. Lighter colors are a good choice for bright, open, airy spaces, while darker colors are suitable for a rustic style. There are many combinations available, so feel free to experiment.

Finally, choose a countertop that matches your functional requirements. You want to be sure that your custom countertops are just that: truly customized to your needs. You’ll be glad you did the research necessary to make an informed choice.

“Hazel Eyes” soapstone slab

Using Soapstone for Your Kitchen Countertops

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, there is one dark horse option that more and more homeowners are starting to consider—soapstone countertops in Pittsburgh, PA. This unique, beautiful, and widely misunderstood natural stone delivers a wide variety of benefits to homeowners looking to do something uniquely different with their space.

Known for its warm appearance and soft touch, soapstone stands in sharp contrast to the hard, cold granite and marble options that have dominated kitchens for the last several decades. The differences between these types of countertops do not stop there either; soapstone brings a wide selection of amazing benefits to your kitchen space, including the following:

  • Nearly Impervious to Staining
  • Scratches & Dents Can Be Sanded Out
  • Antique Look That Ages Gracefully
  • No Sealing Required
  • Immune to Burns & Scorches

The bottom line is, when you want some old-time charm for your countertop, soapstone is a perfect choice. Kitchens with this material in them deliver a classic style that is easier to care for and more charming than many of its contemporary engineered stone and natural stone counterparts. With just some periodic mineral oil, you will be able to create and care for a stunning surface that will continue to evolve and distinguish itself as a centerpiece for your kitchen.

Purchase soapstone countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, from our company. Turn to us when you are looking for new countertops for your kitchen.

Kitchen in a new luxury home with granite countertops

How to Care for Natural Granite

You have great looking granite countertops in Wexford, PA, but how are you going to keep them looking that way with regular use? That is a question that many homeowners find themselves asking, and the answer is a lot easier than it might initially seem. A daily rinse with hot water and a dishrag or sponge is all you need to quickly clean spills and wipe away crumbs, which helps your granite countertop continue to look great day after day.

Some of the additional ways to keep your countertop looking fresh are to give your surface a complete clean every week and, once a month, polish the granite with a topical conditioning stone polish. Every year you should test your granite to see if it needs to be re-sealed and, if it does, make sure you get the work done to protect your granite further.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions that come with granite countertop care. In truth, however, it is not a challenge as long as you keep this simple list of “do’s” and “don’ts” in mind.

The Do’s of Caring for Your Granite Countertops

Blot Up Spills Immediately – Wine, coffee, juice, and other acidic substances can stain your surface if they are not wiped up quickly.

Clean Surfaces Using a Sponge or Soft Cloth – Using a specialized natural stone cleaner, gently wipe away spills using one of these options. This helps to preserve your countertop’s shine.

Use Coasters on Your Surface – Granite is not going to etch like marble will, but it is still a good practice to reduce the potential risk of staining by using coasters under all of your cans, bottles, and glasses.

Use Trivets & Hot Pads – While it is possible to take a hot pot off the stove and put it directly on a granite countertop without any problems, there is a risk of “thermal shock” which can end up cracking your counter. Simply using trivets and hot pads eliminates this risk.

Use a Cutting Board – Do not risk scratching your surface. Cutting directly on your granite’s surface not only puts your countertop at risk but also will also quickly dull and damage your knives’ edges.

The Don’ts of Caring for Your Granite Countertops

Don’t Use Generic Cleaning Products – Bleach, glass cleaners, and other common household cleaners and degreasers contain acids, alkalis, and other chemicals that degrade the sealer of your granite.

Do not Use Vinegar, Ammonia, Lemon, or Orange Cleaners – You might think it is a good idea to use one of these natural cleaners for your countertop, but that simply is not the case. These cleaners can damage your sealer and remove the shine from your counters.

Do Not Sit or Stand on Your Countertops – Granite is a very hard surface, which might make it seem like it is safe enough to hold your body weight. What you need to keep in mind, however, is that granite is not flexible. That means too much weight on one spot can cause cracking.

Don’t Store Liquids or Toiletries on Your Countertop – Leaving these sorts of items on your countertop for too long can end up staining your granite. Instead, consider storing these items on a decorative tray or shelf.

Kitchen interior in a new luxury home

The Pros and Cons of Different Countertop Materials

As one of the most visible elements in your kitchen, the countertops you choose have a significant impact on how your room looks. The good news is that there are plenty of custom countertops in Butler, PA, to explore. Some of the most trusted include:

Granite: A classic standby that defines elegance, granite is almost impervious to heat, available in thousands of colors and types, low maintenance, and adds instant real estate value to a home. However, it is more expensive than many alternatives, harder to install, and may have imperfections due to its status as a natural material.

Soapstone: Less common but equally attractive to granite, this option offers a deep, vibrant color and a historic look. It may darken over time, though, and requires regular treatment with mineral oil. It also tends to dent and scratch, but this adds to its antique look for some.

Laminates: For those who need a more versatile and less costly alternative to stone, modern luxury laminates are an increasingly popular choice. It features thousands of design options, easy upkeep, and a fond place in the hearts of retro designers, but is less durable than stone and always has visible seams.

There are many more choices out there. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, but the essential part of choosing your material is matching its strengths to your needs. With a countertop that suits your lifestyle, you are sure to get the most from any remodel.

Modern kitchen with granite countertops

How to Choose the Right Color Countertops for Your Kitchen Remodel

If you are looking at granite countertops in Wexford, PA, to complete your remodeling project, the first challenge is choosing the right color. Though it is essential to coordinate your counters with the rest of your décor, it is equally vital to understand the tone you set with color alone. Here are some of the most common choices and how they impact the room around them:

Black: Sleek, elegant, and classic, black granite is the perfect pairing for just about any existing space. Whether you want timeless wood features or modern, trendy design elements, this safe investment adds understated beauty.

White: Not quite as common as its color opposite, white granite is nonetheless perfect if you want to achieve a clean, modern look. Stunning with the right choice in shade, it can also make your kitchen look washed-out in the wrong lighting. Make sure to compare multiple surfaces if white is your chosen color.

Red: With a rich history that stretches back to the ancient pyramids of Egypt, red granite comes in many shades and often features blue, white, and silver highlights. It lends an energetic feeling to your kitchen and pairs well with neutral décor.

Blue: Versatile, inviting, and a staple in countless homes, blue granite is excellent for those who want plenty of choices and an easy time creating a cohesive look for the surrounding room.

Choose the right color for your new granite countertops in Wexford, PA. These quick tips help you match this vital element with your remodeling plans.

Soapstone slab

Why Choose Soapstone Kitchen Counters

Over the last several decades, granite has pretty much dominated the countertop market, with occasional competition from marble and quartz. However, the latest countertop material on the scene could give granite a run for its money–especially when people find out how little maintenance it needs. Soapstone, also known as steatite, is a strong contender for the next home furnishing fad. Here are a few reasons why:

Sealing. If you know a little about granite and marble countertops, you know that it is a good idea to have them resealed after the fabricator sealer has aged. This helps protect them from the side effects of everyday wear and tear. However, soapstone never needs to be sealed. As it ages, it takes on a beautiful antique appearance.

Repair. With traditional countertop materials, one scratch or dent was difficult (or impossible) to fix. However, minor damage done to soapstone can be sanded out by any homeowner–no professional intervention required. (Just be sure to apply mineral oil or a specialty wax after you are done sanding, for best results.)

Beauty. By far, one of soapstone’s most appealing traits is its unique appearance. When compared with granite, soapstone countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, have an understated quality that makes them perfect for simple or minimalist color schemes.

Find out why soapstone countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, are becoming more and more popular with homeowners. Contact Top It Off, Inc. at (724) 538-3505 for more information.