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“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.

Juice squeezer on granite countertops

Comparing Quartz and Granite Countertops

When it comes to choosing countertops, narrowing down your options can be challenging. In general, people tend to settle on granite or quartz, the two biggest contenders in the industry. However, which is right for your family, your budget, and your home’s overall appearance? Here are a few key points about each material:

In terms of everyday upkeep, granite and quartz are not very different. It is a good idea to clean them both after preparing food, to avoid stains, but neither is any needier than the other is. At Top It Off, Inc., we use a 10-year sealer on our granite countertops. Once those ten years are up, you are strongly encouraged to have your granite counters resealed at least once a year.

Granite countertops in Wexford, PA, are always unique. Each slab of granite is 100% pure, taken from a quarry, cut to size, and polished before being sent to your local home furnishings supplier. Most quartz countertops, on the other hand, are manufactured for increased durability. If you would prefer to have unique counters, this is something to consider.

If sustainability is a big plus to you, it is essential to know that granite counters demand a lot of energy. This is because they must first be quarried then transported to a store near you. Many pieces of granite are imported, especially the higher-end ones. When it comes to quartz, though, it is relatively easy to find a local manufacturer.

Find out whether quartz or granite countertops in Wexford, PA, are a better choice for your kitchen when you contact Top It Off, Inc. today.

Clean, freshly remodeled bathroom

Why Choose Granite Countertops for Your Bathroom?

Developing the plan for your bathroom remodel can be incredibly fun. This small space gets so much use that it is one of the most frequently renovated rooms in any house, along with the kitchen. Like in the kitchen, granite countertops in Butler, PA, are one of the top choices for stone.

Your new bathroom countertops will take a lot of use and abuse. After all, you plan to enjoy your counters for many years to come. Because of this, it is as important to select a stone for its durability, as well as its beauty. Granite is one of the countertop materials that offers enduring beauty to homeowners. This endurance guarantees longevity and ensures this stone can stand up to the wear and tear of daily life.

Granite is beautiful with its freckles of different colors and minerals that are a natural part of each slab. Also, granite is incredibly tough. Sealing is recommended to create a surface free from pores. This reduces staining from cosmetics and hair products. Sealing also protects against scratching.

The very installation of granite countertops in Butler, PA, in your bathroom increases the value and marketability of your entire house. All of this, along with beauty and durability, make granite the natural choice.

Come to Top It Off, Inc. for granite countertops for your bathroom today. We have an excellent selection of granite that we fabricate to your specifications.

Samples of kitchen countertop materials

Choosing Between Granite or Marble Countertops

It is time to redo the kitchen, and you are trying to decide what stone you would prefer for the countertops. For many people, the top contenders are granite and marble countertops in Wexford, PA. These are both popular choices, but which would work best for you? Let us compare the two, based on appearance and durability:

Appearance: These two types of stone have very different looks. Marble has veins that run through most slabs, giving it a very distinct appearance. Granite on the other hand comes in a wide range of styles, from a simple speckle to something that looks like it belongs in an art museum.

Durability: Marble is a soft stone that can fade and become marred by spills. Granite, however, is hard, strong, and durable. It resists heat, is more resilient, and less porous.

Comparing marble and granite countertops, we find that granite is tougher and better suited for the kitchen unless you want to be very careful about your counters. We invite you to come into Top It Off, Inc. to look at the granite and talk to our experts about countertop options.

The choice between granite and marble countertops in Wexford, PA, might not be the easiest. Reach out to our team today at (724) 538-3505 for more information.

Soapstone slab

3 Advantages of Soapstone in the Kitchen & Bathroom

Soapstone is a beautiful material known for its smooth feel and incredible durability. Soapstone is widely used in kitchen and bathrooms, and the demand is growing higher and higher. If you are interested in installing soapstone countertops in Pittsburgh, below are three advantages you will experience.

  1. It Does Not Stain

Soapstone is non-porous, which means it is impenetrable by liquids. This means it cannot absorb anything that spills, whether it is coffee, wine, or curry sauce. By choosing this material, you will experience beautiful countertops for much longer than other popular stone choices.

  1. It is Easy to Maintain

No material is 100% scratch resistant, so ease of maintenance is important. While some soapstone can be harder and more resistant to scratches, dings, and aging, all soapstone can easily be sanded for repairs. This allows any homeowner to do some light maintenance and help their soapstone countertops age gracefully.

  1. It is Heat Safe

Soapstone is heat-resistant and will not be damaged when you forget to place a hot-pad before putting down your pan. The material slowly and evenly radiates the heat, preventing scars and heat stains from occurring. Because of these thermal properties, soapstone is often used for pizza stones, oven floors, and cookware.

Outdoor seat made from granite remnants

Creative Ways to Use Granite Remnants

Now that you have your beautiful granite countertops in Butler, PA, it is likely that there are some remnants left behind. Since your countertops were a rather significant investment, it would be a shame to let those remnants go to waste. Below are three creative ways to use granite remnants in your home.

A Granite Coffee or End Table

A large granite slab can easily become part of a beautiful table when paired with the right base. You can craft a rustic-style table with wooden legs or an ornate display table for the foyer. If you already have an old table that could use repurposing, merely have our team install the granite slab to give it a whole new look.

Coasters and Serving Trays

Smaller remnants can be cut to form coasters, trivets, serving trays, or other gift items that would be perfect for the next holiday or celebration. Everyone loves the sleek and beautiful look of granite, so your leftovers can be transformed into gifts everyone can enjoy.

Outdoor Seating

Recently, one of our customers at Top It Off, Inc. requested that we use some of our remnants to craft a beautiful outdoor seat. We immediately got to work and put together a subtle yet elegant seating area for their patio.