Tag Archives: quartz countertops

The Benefits of Visiting Our Showroom

The majority of our potential clients will initiate their contact with us by sending an email or calling us on the phone, and requesting a free in-home consultation. While we in no way discourage this, I would humbly suggest that the better route to take would be to first stop by our Showroom. We are open from 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, which should accommodate almost any schedule.

The reason I see it most beneficial to visit our Showroom before making an in-home consultation appointment is, by visiting, you will have the opportunity to meet with multiple members of our staff, from design, to pricing, to production. Even potentially the installers who will be working on your job, the bookkeeper who can answer any questions related to financing, and the marketing team who will gift you with a promotional item or two! We might be having an employee’s birthday party and invite you in for a slice of ice cream cake. You will have an inside view into our company culture instead of one stranger appearing on your doorstep.

Sometimes a walk-in client will be greeted by one of our designers, begin a discussion about their project, and come to a technical question that that individual is not an expert on. We can easily grab the nearby expert, and answer your question for you right there. Have a question about how long your project will take to start? Ask our production department, who know their schedules better than anyone. You can even meet the owner and shake his hand. I think you are beginning to get my point.

Additionally, we have thousands of product samples here that will inspire you. You will have a much better direction of which samples you would like brought out to your home during the in-home consultation. You can even borrow some to take home with you!

I would sincerely suggest visiting us here, developing a rapport with a design consultant, and then making an appointment for him/her to meet with you at your home to proceed further. By visiting us you will have a much clearer picture of whether or not our company is a good fit for you. Call 596-777-6633 to make an appointment to come visit, or walk-ins are always welcome!

What is the Least Invasive Countertop Material? Granite? Quartz?

In today’s Eco-conscious world, many may wonder where their beautiful countertop comes from, and how invasive the procedure is to extract it from the Earth.  Then the question arises: what is the least invasive product out there, is it granite or is it quartz?  My answer to that would be quartz.

When you mine granite, you can’t make that area of the Earth look like what it started out looking like. It is now a giant hole in the ground which eventually gets filled in with water and becomes a lake.  That’s about the most you can do because it’s very invasive. Granite mining changes the look of that environment forever.

Granite is mined by explosives; they blow off these giant blocks from the side of the mountain, take it back to the quarries, cut it into slabs, polish and seal it.  Once they are sealed they are shipped to granite yards such as Solid Surfaces Unlimited, and then they make countertops out of them.

A  Granite Quarry in Vermont

Quartz surfaces on the other hand are comprised of 93 % quartz, and 7% resin.  Natural quartz is a pure mineral that comes in chunks. I can’t go out and mine a slab of quartz because it doesn’t exist in nature that way.  There is really nothing holding it together. It’s going to be less invasive than a mining procedure, because it is found on the surface of the Earth. They can target quartz veins, extract the quartz, fill it back in, and leave it looking essentially the same as they found it.  Big crystals are then ground down into smaller crystals. The cool thing with quartz is that since its base is silica, it holds that prismatic shape.  So when you grind it down, it doesn’t get rounded off or smooth out, it retains its prismatic shape which reflects light.

Natural Quartz Crystal

Quartz is also the most abundant mineral on Earth.  If you are walking along the beach, chances are that’s quartz sand.

What  happens with the quartz? It is brought in from wherever, put into these supersacks, grated, washed, and separated according to size. Imagine a giant mixing bowl. We throw in the pigments, the quartz stone, the colorants, and it starts to mix up the mixture.  Then the material is poured onto a rubber mold.  The loose mix starts off as twice the thickness as the final product.  So if I am ending up with a 3cm thick countertop, they throw onto the rubber mold 6 cm worth of material.

Remember this is 93 % quartz and only 7% resin.  In the food industry, anything over 90% is considered pure.  The slab press converts it into slabs by shaking it, compressing it, and vaccuming the air out of it.  So all the voids are filled in.

Comparing porousness: when the plates of the Earth are moving together and moving this material around at very high temperatures, air is also being trapped within.  So by the time it reaches the surface and we are carving it out of the mountain, there is air in there.  That is why we talk about granite being porous.  In this manufactured world, we can pull that air out.  This makes quartz 3 times harder than granite.  So, here we have man duplicating nature.

Transcribed from a presentation by Ursula Schneider of Solid Surfaces Unlimited: Leader of Surfaces Materials in Sterling Heights, MI.

All About Countertops: Which One is Right for Me?

“How to Buy Remodeling” Blog Series – Part Three

There are many different types of countertops that can be used in Kitchens and Bathrooms.  Everybody is always asking: “What is the BEST Countertop?”

The best is Quartz, the second best is Granite, the third best is Solid Surface Acrylic, for example Corian.  The fourth best is Hi-Definition Laminate, and the fifth would be regular laminate.

Caesarstone Quartz Countertop

That is just a general opinion from me, but that is based on experiences that my clients have given me feedback on.  Quartz is not able to be stained or scratched or damaged in any way, which makes it the best.  It comes in a wide variety of colors and always has a smooth texture.  Granite is the second best because it can be stained and it has to be sealed; it does take maintenance.  But, if you’re looking for beauty, granite is better than quartz.  You cannot beat the look of a slab of granite.  If you went into the warehouses where they store the granite to pick yours out, you would be awed by the wide variety of colors and waves of color that go through the slabs, your jaw would drop and you would pick one out that is so beautiful and just for you.  Quartz is not like that, it does not produce that jaw-dropping effect.

Slab of Granite

How hard is it to maintain the granite?  I mean, is it do-able?

It has to be sealed.  And then if youre cooking and you have grease going on there and wine and grapes and things , you could stain your granite, especially your lighter colored granite.

Do you seal it just once, or every year?

As often as you need to.  Every 6 months is what I recommend, some do it every year, depends how much you use your countertops.  In the area where you do food prep, every 6 months would be appropriate.  You have to strip it, clean it and re-seal it.  You can buy cleaners that also seal, which is what we use at our house.

Again, Quartz is the least amount of maintenance and the most amount of durability against scratches, which are the two qualities that make it generally recognized as “the best”.

What about Wood Countertops?  Those seem to be rising in popularity.

Butcher block countertops are beautiful to look at, but they have to be sealed and are softer than stone, so they can dent and scratch (but many wood-lovers see this as adding character). There has been a myth spreading that wood countertops harbor bacteria, but wood is actually naturally anti-bacterial!

And then you have Corian type products.

Corian is very easy to scratch, all Acrylic countertops are easy to scratch.  Ebonite, Corian, Nevamar, and a whole bunch of them.  But the beauty of them is they can be worked like a piece of wood.  So you can router them, you can have inlays, you can add designs, and they are all seamless, every time they are installed there are never any seams.  The edge treatments are all formed right into the countertop, so it works like a raw piece of wood as far as using tools on it, drilling holes and things like that, it’s very easy to work with.  So if you have custom designs that you need done.  Corian is good for shower walls, it’s good for bathtub decks, it’s good for a lot of things where the weight of quartz or granite would be too cumbersome.  It has its application, and is very popular in some high-end areas just like quartz and granite; it’s about the same price.

And then your Hi-Definition Laminate is a very durable product as far as scratches, much more durable than Corian, but it has a limited life.  Moisture is the enemy of laminate.

Around the sink and in areas where there are seams, over time develops swelling of the substrate, and the counter has to be replaced probably every 7-10 years.   Now it’s about one quarter of the cost, so if you want to refresh your counters once in a while, then go with Hi-Def laminate and you can change them more often.

Is that what Formica is?

Formica is a brand of plastic laminate.  They’re all the same: Formica, Nevamar, Wilsonart, a few others.

So when would you recommend using laminate?  Isn’t that what we have in our basement around the bar area?

Yes we do.  We used a Hi-Definition plastic laminate, looks like granite, has a texture to it, it is very durable, looks beautiful.

Formica Laminate Countertop

Because I’ve seen some new ones that even look like stone.

Yeah that’s because they have rounded edges or beveled edges, they look like stone.

And you don’t have to worry so much about your every move, whether or not you will stain it.

They can’t be stained.  Very difficult to stain laminate, but they can be cracked with a hot pan.  But then again you shouldn’t put a hot pan on anything.

That’s what a lot of people ask me on the phone, which countertop they should get.  They think they want to put their hot pans on them.  Would you recommend doing that, even on quartz?

Well you can! You can put a hot pan on anything.  What youre risking is something called Rapid Thermal Expansion which will cause  a thermal crack.  So, when something is really hot it expands quickly.  If the countertop is part cold and part hot because you put something on it, it might crack.  No one is going to provide a warranty against the cracking of any countertop.

So it’s a crack we should be worried about, not a black circle burn mark or anything like that?

Right.  You can’t burn granite, you cant burn quartz.  Corian can be scotch-brighted and the burn comes right off- you can’t burn through the surface.  You can burn the surface, with a cigarette or something, but it will come right off.  Laminate, if you put a hot pan on that, it pops the glue, and makes a bubble in the surface or cracks.  The limit really is about 325º for anything going on the counter.  Anything more than that, youre in danger of cracking.  Or even boiling water.  If you pour boiling water into a corian sink you can crack it.  That’s only 212º.  So I guess it would probably be best to use hot pads all the time.  You wouldn’t want to take the chance.

So there are different applications for all of the different counters, it depends on the abuse it’s going to go through, and the amount of upkeep you are willing to do.  Laminate is a lot less expensive, and it’s come a long way.   Stop by our showroom any time to look at the hundreds of samples we have of all the different styles of countertops!  Kopke Remodeling & Design, located at 38200 Van Dyke Ave., Sterling Heights, MI 48312.

Read More: “Quartz, Granite, Solid Surfaces: Pros and Cons”