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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.

How to Check for Quality Granite

Check for Quality Granite in Pittsburgh, PA

You have settled on granite as your countertop of choice, but you want to be sure you get the best slab available. Checking for quality granite in Pittsburgh may be intimidating, but first-time buyers can make an informed decision with a few simple assessments.

First

Perform a thorough visual inspection and look for any blemishes like cracks or chips and the uniformity of the surface. Make sure the edges are straight, and if you’re not comfortable eyeballing it, use a straight edge.

Second

Never accept a slab that doesn’t match your specifications. It will only lead to heartache and headaches during installation.

Third

Check the thickness and the underside. Most entry-level slabs are thin with wood backing. There is not much difference in middle- to high-grade, but higher-quality granite can come with thicker options.

Fourth

Rub a coin on the polished surface to see if it leaves a mark. If it does, the sealant is thin or low quality, and you should keep looking.

Fifth

Granite is subject to different chemicals, especially acid-based products like lemons. Stay away from slabs that absorb lemon juice or leave a white stain. You can also test the slab with a piece of cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol or kerosene to see if the pigment comes away.

Quality granite countertops are not hard to find when you choose a trusted supplier. They can assure you of quality, commitment, and customer service, so you will never be disappointed with your new installation.

The Benefits of a Marble Countertop in Your Kitchen

Enjoy a Kitchen With Marble Countertops in Butler, PA

If you have ever agonized over choosing countertops, you know it can be challenging to select a material. Although granite has its advantages, there is little in the world that can beat the luxury and elegance of marble. Once you see it, you may feel compelled to call your local supplier and place your order for marble countertops in Butler, PA.

As a rule, marble takes the cake in the kitchen. It offers several benefits to chefs and bakers, including:

A Baker’s Dream

Marble counters stay cool, which gives bakers an advantage when working with their ingredients. No matter what the thermostat says, your marble will stay below room temperature.

Easy to Cut and Shape

If you need a particular workstation or an unusual shape, marble is ready to deliver. It offers much more flexibility when it comes to fitting and size.

Durability

Marble countertops are stain-resistant when sealed, and although they can become etched by acidic foods, it’s a very durable choice in the kitchen.

Timeless Elegance

Nothing says elegance more than marble. There is a reason designers still recommend this material and why people feel drawn to it for their homes.

Heat Resistance

While it is not necessarily recommended that you set hot pots and items on countertops, marble is one where you don’t need to worry about damage.

The Durability of Quartz Countertops

Easy-To-Clean Quartz Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA

Quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, are quite the popular option for many homeowners. This is because this is a material that doesn’t just deliver the looks people desire, but also the durability.

An impressive 90% of any quartz countertop is made from quartz crystals. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals on the planet. The other 10% is comprised of pigments and binders to give homeowners the beautiful, hardy, and nonporous surface they want. This perfect combination of form and function delivers the best of the natural material while making it even better suited for the wear and tear seen in most kitchens or bathrooms.

The durability of quartz is what makes it stand out when compared to marble or granite. Thanks to its unique engineering, quartz is better situated to handle the splashes, abrasive forces, and impacts that your surfaces might experience in a kitchen or bathroom setting. That means your surfaces are less likely to require ongoing maintenance and special considerations.

Quartz countertops are likely to be the best option for you when you want a beautiful surface that doesn’t need coddling. Finally, you can have that natural stone look you desire without having to worry about premature discoloring, cracking, or scratches.

How to Polish Your Granite Countertops

Learn How to Polish Granite Countertops

You love your granite countertops in PA, but over time you have noticed they have lost a little bit of that luster that you first fell in love with. That beautiful surface can be restored. All you need to do is polish your stonework so that it can shine like new again. But before you start, it is crucial to understand the right way to polish your granite so that you don’t end up causing any damage while trying to restore it. We are here with the advice you need.

The first step to polishing your countertop is to clean the entire surface with a granite-specific cleaner. We recommend using the appropriate polishing pad set to the recommended speed—usually a low one—to help you avoid creating any scratches. You also typically want to work from the outside edge of the granite inwards.

As you remove excessive dirt, you can keep repeating the process with finer diamond polishing pads until you reach the finest grit. It is important to remember never to apply pressure during the polishing process—let the pad do its work.

Once all the dirt is removed, you can apply a polishing cream and buff it to the desired finish using a hog’s hair or buffing pad. Finally, once you have achieved your desired shine, you will need to re-seal the granite to make sure it continues to look its best for many more years to come.