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natural stone countertops

Choosing Natural Stone for Your Bathroom Counters

Some popular countertop materials are made from genuine stone, a material that naturally occurs in the earth. Large chunks of natural stone are trimmed into smooth slabs that can then be customized in designs for countertops in Pittsburgh, PA. There are many kinds of natural stone surfaces on the market, but which is the best natural stone for your bathroom countertops?

Marble

Marble has been used as a surface material for centuries. While it is an incredibly beautiful stone, it is also soft and porous, so it soaks up water and pathogens. As this would be unhygienic, marble is sealed with a protective coat that also enhances the stone’s color.

Quartzite

Quartzite is a lesser-known natural stone option. It has a beautiful, almost slightly translucent quality and offers a beautiful look to bathroom countertops. Not to be confused with quartz, an engineered stone, quartzite is totally natural. Its strong and long-lasting and can handle the rigors of everyday use.

Granite

Granite countertops have become very popular and have almost become an expectation. While marble has long streaks and veins, granite typically has a speckled appearance. Its very tough and lasts for a very long time. While granite does need to be resealed, it is still a very durable option for your home.

food on a quartz countertop

Quartz Countertops: The Sensible Choice for Kitchen Remodeling

Nothing exudes elegance and timelessness like white stone. When you are in the market for a kitchen remodeling project, then you may have entertained the idea of a marble countertop. Unfortunately, its maintenance requirements might make most homeowners think twice about choosing it.

Quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, have risen in popularity. They have similar characteristics to marble, but are also more durable. Here are a few reasons why quartz would be a good choice for your kitchen.

Engineered Stone: Making Elegance Accessible

Remodeling projects are investments. In today’s market, it is crucial that your dollar goes further. When it comes to remodeling, quartz countertops can make a difference for your project decisions.

The main advantage is that quartz countertops are more durable. Although marble is beautiful, it is soft and prone to staining. It is also etched by water, meaning it needs to carefully sealed. This can make a maintenance routine a time-consuming and even more expensive process. Quartz, on the other hand, is non-porous and is resistant to cracking and pitting.

Before ditching the idea of a beautiful, bright kitchen; consider choosing quartz as your countertop. It can be the solid surface option that is right for your home.

stone samples

Stone Remnants and Remodeling: Tips for Your Next Project

Stone remnants in Pittsburgh, PA, can be a great way to add style, elegance, and sophistication to your favorite spaces–while also saving on your total project costs. Although stone remnants may not be ideal for creating new countertops, you can utilize these materials in creative ways to great effect.

But first things first: where do stone remnants come from? Remnants are actually pieces of granite, quartz, or other stone surface material that have been cut for other projects. After a fabricator or remodeler cuts the original stone into a client’s desired countertop shape or wall tiles, it cannot be used for much anything else. Stone has different grains and colors, and they are difficult to match to craft entirely new countertops. Some contractors may sell these remnants at drastically reduced prices, allowing customers to give them new uses.

Stone remnants can meet a variety of needs for the customer who wants to use recycled products. Large remnants, for instance, can be used as countertops for kitchen islands–or for smaller areas where variance in the stone will mostly go unnoticed. They can also be repurposed to create bathroom vanities, coffee tables, or as decorative insets for a mosaic.

When working with stone remnants, the possibilities are virtually limitless. If you are interested in using these specimens for your next project, reach out to your local countertop or remodeling contractor to learn if they have anything to offer.

natural stone countertops

Which Edge Treatment Is Best for Your Counters?

Countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, are a great way to enhance the look and functionality of your kitchen or bathroom. When you are shopping for a countertop, you may spend some time thinking about the material, its colors and patterns, and the layout of the finished product. One overlooked detail is often the edge treatment. In this post, we will talk about why it might matter to factor the edge into your remodeling plans.

The edge treatment is as the border of your counter. It is a common design element for counters that use stone or engineered stone. The edges can be thought of as a design element. While they may not feel impactful on their own, they can either pull an interior design together or can break up the overall harmony when you view the kitchen or bathroom as a whole.

There are many types of edge treatments. The most popular include:

Square: Simple and clean-lined edges meant to resemble a square. This treatment includes “kerfs,” which soften the edges. As a result, a square edge can mitigate the impact of accidents and also protect the counter from chips and cracks.

Beveled: A beveled edge, also known as a chamfer, is an edge style where the top corner of the counter is cut to a 45-degree angle. This type of treatment is a popular style for bathrooms, as it imparts an elegant theme. It also makes a strong design statement.

Mitered: A mitered edge joins the horizontal top piece of a counter with the vertical apron piece. This forms a square joint. A mitered treatment allows the countertop to take on the appearance of a thick, heavy slab without utilizing more materials. If you want to create a countertop that looks thick, heavy, and expensive, then a mitered edge may work for you.

There are many more types of edge treatments available on the market. When designing your dream countertops, it is important to work with an experienced contractor so that you are aware of your options.

kitchen remodeling

How to Choose the Right Granite Slab

You want stunning countertops for your home improvement project, and granite is the gold standard in many people’s minds. However, not every slab is right for every application, and subtle differences can have long-term consequences for your satisfaction. At Top It Off, Inc., we’ve seen stone of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and we know how to recognize quality granite in Pittsburgh. When you shop for your next slab, consider the following tips from our team:

Match Your Colors — Countertops might be some of the most prominent parts of your décor, but they should contribute to a cohesive design. Since each piece of granite is unique, matching a slab to your existing counters and surrounding interior features can take time, but it’s well worth the results.

Light Before You Buy — The kind of lighting in a room can drastically change how granite looks in the space. Consider the intended sources of illumination in your kitchen or bathroom and buy any new lights before you settle on a slab.

Invest Now, Save Later — Few features see as much practical use as a countertop. Granite might be pricey, but its durability makes it a worthwhile long-term investment. Be prepared to budget appropriately for the quality you deserve, especially if you’re interested in rare colors.

kitchen with quartz countertops

Quartz: An Eco-Friendly Countertop Material

The clamor for quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA, shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. They make for a beautiful surface in kitchens and bathrooms, last a long time, and add value to homes across the world. That’s not the end of their list of advantages, though. They also happen to be an eco-friendly choice for conscientious consumers.

What makes quartz a good material for the environment? First and foremost, the natural stone that comprises much of each piece comes directly from the earth. Compared to other countertop options, it offers:

  • Superior Durability
  • Low-Emission Production
  • Recyclable Materials

Outside of grand-scale ecological factors, it also contributes to a healthy internal environment in your home. Hypoallergenic and featuring a non-toxic surface, each quartz slab provides years of clean, healthy use. In fact, it’s such a well-known benefit for green building that many eco-conscious architects and interior designers favor it for its positional LEED points.

Of course, not all quartz is the same, and different manufacturers might have significantly different standards for environmental safety. While some offer highly recyclable surfaces, your best bet for optimal results is always to shop with a supplier who can answer specific questions about the products that appeal to you.

kitchen countertop samples

How Quartz Countertops Are Made

It can seem a bit overwhelming at first trying to figure out what type of material is going to work best for your kitchen. That is, until you start looking into quartz countertops in Pittsburgh, PA. Also known as engineered stone countertops, these counters are some of the most impressive options available to homeowners looking to upgrade their space. A lot of the additional benefits that make quartz stand out from the rest come from how it is made.

Extremely hard and durable, this non-porous surface is formed by combining 90% ground quartz with about 10% polymers, resins, and pigments. This creates a granite-like surface that is non-porous, stain-and-crack resistant, and does not require any sealing or resealing throughout its lifespan.

Looking for more variations of color and design? Quartz can deliver that to you. When the quartz is ground coarsely, it produces a flecked appearance, while finely ground quartz gives you a much smoother look. Since pigments and resins are added independently during the production process, these countertops come in a wide range of colors that make it very easy for you to find something that fits your preexisting kitchen or bathroom design.

Contact our team today to explore your options for new quartz countertops.

quartz countertops in a modern kitchen

Updating Your Countertops Can Help You Sell Your Home

Anyone who has ever sold a home before can tell you that it can be a pretty stressful experience. Much of the time is spent hoping you will find an interested buyer and, when found, that the buyer isn’t going to try to low ball you on your price. Many homeowners wonder if there is a way to attract more buyers willing to spend the amount they believe their home is valued at, and the answer is yes!

The key to getting what you feel your home is worth when trying to sell it is to make strategic upgrades and repairs that potential buyers are going to notice and fall in love with. One of the smartest upgrades you can make is with your countertops in Pittsburgh, PA.

Whether in a kitchen or in a bathroom, countertops take up a lot of valuable real estate. Their appearance can also help dictate the overall look of the room they are located in. That means you want to make sure the counters you are presenting are looking their very best. By updating your countertops so that they complement your cabinets, floor, and appliances, you can turn what was maybe a bland space into something eye-catching.

Remember, as a seller, you want to create some sort of draw to your property that sucks in buyers and makes your space irresistible. Investing in new countertops helps you do just that so you can see a nice return for your hard work when the home sells.

grey marble

What You Need to Know About Marble Countertops

You already know that marble is a great looking choice for kitchen counters, but what else do you need to know about marble countertops?

For starters, marble is a durable material that ages nicely and develops a very pleasing character over time. It can be considered in the same way as a favorite pair of jeans that build up a familiar, likable personality with use and wear.

It’s long-lasting, but it’s also porous which means that it is susceptible to staining and should be cleaned regularly. Because it’s porous you might want to consider what finish you choose. A honed finish gives it a matte look that doesn’t show scratches as much, but its pores are open. In that case you will want to apply a sealant.

A polished finish doesn’t stain as easily, but the surface can etch and scratch. The shiny surface can also wear down eventually.

Frequent and effective cleaning is ideal for preventing marble from showing its age from accumulated stains. A solution of warm water and dish soap spritzed onto the counter and wiped away works very well. Mix baking soda and water into a paste and apply it to stains overnight. The surface stains will lift right out.

As a business that spends a lot of time working with marble countertops in Wexford, PA, and the surrounding areas, we hope you find our insight helpful in informing your decision

renovation materials

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.