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On Trend: Mixing Custom Granite Countertops

Late last year, designers began mixing custom granite countertops – or mixing natural stone with quartz – in model homes and high-end remodels.

Custom Granite Countertops

Today, this mashup trend has broken into the mainstream. Builders are using it in spec homes and fix-and-flips, at virtually every price point. Have you seen this fun and fresh trend?

It may be time to think about using one or more materials in your news custom countertops.

Mixing Granite Countertop Materials

In this approach, you use two or three different types of granite in one room – the kitchen or master bath, typically.

Use one bold pattern of custom granite on the countertops and a coordinating, understated choice for the island and backsplash. Or use your bold choice on your breakfast bar. Some designers use a darker, solid granite for the center island and a pattern with movement on the surrounding tops.

If you aren’t afraid of color, you can use a strong color of custom granite for the focal point and a subtle, coordinating neutral choice to compliment it.

Mixing Custom Quartz and Granite Countertops

This approach is popular with younger homeowners who prefer the sleek appearance of quartz but also want to add an upscale splash of style to their home.

In many designs, granite is used on the kitchen island and maybe the breakfast bar top. The balance of the room is done in a coordinating color of solid quartz. In the master bath, a center island tub deck is perfect in your granite accent material, while the sink tops and shower can be done in your quartz selection.

How to Mix Custom Countertop Materials in Your Home

If you would like to add this fun design approach to your kitchen, start with a main focal point. (Most clients choose the kitchen island, but you can select whatever aspect of the space you prefer.)

Use the most dramatic, most impressive, most fun material for the focal point. If it’s the kitchen island, choose a killer Group 3 or Group 4 granite that you might not use throughout your kitchen, like Lava or Juparana Florence. Give your island a bold edge profile, like a chiseled or Dupont edge.

For the balance of your space, use a more understated material, either a solid or understated pattern. For example, use New Sunset Gold with Lava. Or use Mocca Juparana with Juparana Florence and use a more understated edge profile, like a straight edge or demi-profile.

Or, if you enjoy high contrast, use Slice of Ice Quartz or Galaxy Black Granite with Champagne Pearl Quartz or White Ice Granite.

Or you could give our creative, professional design center a call for guidance. Whether you are interested in updating your kitchen, master bath, home office or any other part of your home or office, contact Creative Granite today. We are located in Salt Lake City and we can assist you with all of your custom cabinetry and quartz and granite countertop needs.

Custom Countertops Popular with Today’s Homebuyers

Custom countertops are very much in demand by today’s homebuyers.

custom countertops

Granite and solid surface countertops are among the features that buyers want most, and are willing to pay extra for. Zillow Digs reports that homes that have granite countertops sell (on average) 38 days sooner – and for four percent more! – than homes that don’t.

While custom granite countertops once stood alone as the most desirable kitchen finish, quartz countertops are rapidly gaining their own share of popularity. In fact, these two materials have become somewhat polarizing, with people picking clear sides in the debate.

So, which should it be if you plan to sell your home: granite or quartz?

Advantages of Custom Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are prized for their natural beauty and one-of-a-kind rarity. This natural stone has been the gold-standard of interior finishes for decades because it is dazzling in appearance, extremely durable and classic in style.

Granite also carries the perception of luxury and timelessness, a status symbol and preferred material among those for whom budget is no object.

This material does require sealing as well as periodic re-sealing. It is durable and heat-resistant but it is technically possible (although extremely unlikely) to crack or chip with a hard, heavy impact.

Today, this stunning stone has become surprisingly affordable, making it accessible for homeowners at almost any price point. Even so, the demand has not waned. It is the hands-down favorite of many homebuyer profiles.

Advantages of Quartz Countertops

Custom quartz countertops stand toe-to-toe with granite today, a shared favorite among many buyer demographics.

This material is fabricated using natural quartz bound together with resin. Unlike granite, you can choose your precise color(s) and pattern because these custom countertops are fabricated.

This material is non-porous, stain- and heat-resistant and does not require sealing or maintenance. However, it is susceptible to UV rays and, if regularly exposed to sunlight, it may discolor slightly over the years.

Granite or Quartz? Which Is Right for You?

If you plan to stay in your home for years to come, choose the countertop option that you prefer. But, if you plan to sell in the foreseeable future, give some thought to who your potential buyer may be.

In the durability and maintenance categories, quarts edges out granite but not by much. Depending on your selection, the cost averages out to be about the same for both materials. And, although quartz does not have the prestige of granite, it is highly preferred among millennials and the rapidly growing demographic of urban creatives and techies – both of whom are heavily represented in today’s housing market.

To make the decision for yourself, consider who your ultimate buyer may be. And, if possible, learn what comparably priced homes in your area are using – especially those that have recently sold.

If you still can’t decide which material is right for you, contact Creative Granite & Design. Our design team can work with you to select the materials and designs that work best for your budget and style preferences. Serving customers throughout the Salt Lake City UT area, we are Northern Utah’s preferred provider of custom countertops and cabinets.

5 Custom Granite Countertops Myths Debunked

If you have considered adding custom granite countertops in your kitchen, you’ve probably heard some of the many myths and misconceptions that swirl around this building material.

granite countertops utah

Before you let any of these fallacies deter you from adding high-end granite to your home, let’s take a closer look at what we know.

Myth No. 1: Granite Countertops Harbor Bacteria and Fungi

This rumor sells a lot of granite sealing products and services every year.

Studies performed by NASA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have determined that granite does not harbor bacteria, fungi or mold any more than other countertop surface materials. Researchers have concluded that this popular stone poses no threat in the home environment.

Of course, if it gives you peace-of-mind, you can always invest in a good sealer.

Myth No. 2: Heat Will Damage Granite Countertops

This durable natural stone is naturally resistant to heat.

The melting point of granite is above 1200 degrees. So, unless you cook your food to a very dangerous temperature, it’s highly unlikely that heat from a hot pan or boiling water will damage the stone.

This myth likely comes from confusion about sealants. Some sealers can melt at lower temperatures after years of repeated exposure. In some cases, this can cause discoloration or darkening. If that happens, the darkening can be removed with a special paste product designed for restoring stone countertops.

Myth No. 3: Granite Countertops Scratch Too Easily

This myth is simply a matter of confused identity. Some other natural stone products, specifically marble, are much softer than granite.

On the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, where talc is rated 1 and diamonds are 10, most granite falls in the hardness range of 6 to 7. So, while you probably could cause some scratching if you tried really hard, few items or products you will ever have in the house will be harder than your stone countertops.

As long as you clean with products that are approved (and don’t try cleaning the kitchen with the good jewelry), you probably can’t scratch your custom granite.

Myth No. 4: Granite Loses Its Shine Over Time

Again, this can be true of marble countertops but, because granite resists the microscopic scratches that cloud polished stone surfaces, dulling won’t happen for decades – maybe centuries.

Of course, to protect the beauty of your investment, you should always care for your custom granite countertops according to the instructions provided by the installer.

Myth No. 5: Custom Granite Countertops Are Too Expensive

Like any building material or finish, you can spend as much – or as little – as you like on your custom stone countertops.

This misconception stems primarily from the price of granite countertops 20 years ago, before it became as widely popular – and affordable – as it is today. And we suspect some proud homeowners may be partially to blame as well, as they tell their friends they spent a fortune on their beautiful custom countertops.

The truth is that granite prices can be about the same as (or less than) many other high-end countertop materials. Of course, if you want to tell your friends otherwise, that’s okay. It can be our little secret.

Creative Granite & Design specializes in custom stone, solid surface countertops and custom cabinets. Contact us today to learn more about the beauty and durability that custom granite countertops can bring to your kitchen.

Quartz Countertop History ​

Quartz countertops are rivaling granite for the title of most popular, but it’s a relatively new trend.

For decades, granite was king, and few homeowners even knew quartz slabs were an option. Quartz, which is a natural stone infused with manmade materials for strength and durability, is available in a variety of patterns and colors. It’s more durable than any other natural stones, nonporous and can withstand immense heat.

Quartz Countertop

However, unlike other natural stones like granite and marble, quartz requires more intensive manufacturing. It’s the most abundant mineral there is, and the toughest, but it’s unsuitable for kitchen and bathroom countertops in raw form.

About 50 years ago, quartz was “discovered” as a great alternative to granite, but it wasn’t an easy sell for customers. Particularly after the unfortunate era of linoleum, anything manmade came with a side of suspicion.

Quartz Countertops Bucking Trends

Quartz countertops are not manmade the same way Formica is. Instead, the natural minerals are simply improved upon, thanks to manufacturing processes.

It took a few years to perfect the processing that would result in gorgeous, natural-looking and durable countertops. This happened during the early stages of North Americans embracing granite as the preferred countertop material.

From the 1950s to 1980s, both quartz and granite were in the early adoption phase. For a few years, it looked like granite would remain on top, but recently quartz has become a stiff competitor.

Engineering quartz counters requires pressing polymer resins directly into raw quartz. Breton SpA, an Italian company, was the first to experiment with this approach in the 1960s. Breton is still a major quartz manufacturer, and that early process has been improved upon by manufacturers around the globe. Unlike some natural stones, quartz is so abundant that it can be sourced from nearly anywhere.

Controlling the Countertops

Thanks to that original Breton process, quartz has become not just highly durable, but also customizable. Manufacturers can choose from a number of pigments and sparkles (such as glass) to give slabs one-of-a-kind looks. Italy adopted quartz counters en masse first, and the trend spread throughout Europe. It took a little longer for quartz fever to catch on in the U.S, but that’s often the case with trends that start overseas.

During the ’70s and early ’80s, Americans were still clinging to those manmade countertop materials of yore. Laminate was king during the mid-century, but by the ’90s, that love affair was ending. Still, Americans love the versatility of laminate and the ability to personalize the looks of kitchens. Since quartz infuses manmade materials into slabs, it can be made to look like limestone, granite, marble or just about any other raw stone. That personalization is what skyrocketed quartz to fame in the U.S.

Contact Creative Granite for your custom quartz countertop needs, and start designing your dream kitchen today.

Solid Surface Countertops and Formica

Today’s solid surface countertops are nothing like their predecessors of the 1960s and ’70s. These man-made materials are comprised of tough elements including acrylic, polyester resins, bauxite, epoxy and pigments.

solid-surface-countertops-1

Solid surface countertops are low-maintenance, nonporous and absolutely beautiful. They can look and feel like any type of natural stone imaginable, with the added bonus of being customizable — a man-made material can be made to order.

Perfect for kitchen counters, bathroom vanities and even as tile to frame bathtubs and showers, solid surface materials can be bent into any shape via thermoforming. This makes it even more flexible, since you can control edge thickness, shape, dimensions and more with ease.

The Awkward Solid Surface Countertop Years

Like any product, solid surface countertops were not always perfection from the start. DuPont produced the very first one in 1967, dubbed Corian. Corian didn’t harbor bacteria, and wouldn’t chip or crack like natural stone might. It also was much more affordable than natural stone.

Formica, the most famous of manmade countertops, was actually invented in 1912 by Daniel J. O’Conor and Herbert A. Faber. It was patented in 1913 as an alternative for mica in electrical insulation (thus, the name “Formica” was born).

Beginning in the ’70s, Formica became synonymous with a decorative product made of paper, layered with decorative melamine, compressed, heated and cured into a durable material.

Formica Through the Years

The American Cyanamid group acquired Formica Corp. in 1956. Since the company was one of the biggest producers of melamine, a key ingredient in Formica, it was a natural acquisition. During the mid-century, the desire for convenience and speed was in full force, nipping on the heels of World War II’s demand for sacrifice. Formica became the go-to material for making affordable, sturdy countertops.

Formica as a solid surface countertop could be found in every kitchen. However, like some other style choices throughout the 60s and 70s, Formica color and pattern trends didn’t withstand the test of time.

In an effort to keep countertop prices low, quality began to suffer. In the late ’80s, homeowners began demanding gourmet kitchens. That meant natural stone, thick countertops and not the avocado and orange manmade countertops of yore.

Formica has come a long way. Surprisingly, Formica is still popular in a number of high-end kitchens — it just no longer looks like how many people remember it.

Today’s solid surface countertops, Formica or otherwise, are gorgeous and natural-looking. Contact Creative Granite to find out more about luxe solid surface countertop options.

Custom Granite: Beyond Countertops

Using custom granite for kitchen and bathroom counters is a given, but this versatile material can be a showstopper in many other parts of the home too.

As gas fireplaces increase in popularity, so does choosing custom granite as a frame and mantle. Using a high-end material as a fireplace backdrop draws the eye. Get creative!

custom-granite-fireplace

Any built-in can be upgraded with custom granite as a statement shelving unit. Think of it as an option instead of wallpaper, whether for a built-in’s accent frame or backsplash. Granite can be an investment, especially if you prefer wilder colors and designs, and using it in smaller spaces gives you wow factor without breaking the budget.

Custom Granite in the Home

Granite and quartz can handle a lot of heat and high traffic. It’s unconventional in the U.S., but a granite or quartz floor can be a great way to make a statement (and keep cool during the summer months). However, granite can be slippery when wet, therefore well-placed rugs are critical. Stone materials have been popular in Asia for centuries, and taking some style inspiration from overseas can help you make your home stand out.

Ordering a personalized heirloom is another fantastic way to bring more natural stone into your life. A craftsman can add it to tables, bookshelves and more. Such an approach ensures you can take your granite with you if and when you move, or pass down the piece to future generations.

It’s a Versatile Material

Don’t stop at your bathroom countertops. Custom granite is an excellent choice for bathtub and shower backsplashes. Instead of tiling, choose a thin slab that optimizes your bathroom’s luxury factor.

Granite can be particularly gorgeous when used as a single slab for a bathtub’s skirt, or as a focal point as a shower’s backsplash. Tiling can be prone to harboring bacteria and mold, but a seamless custom granite slab eliminates that annoyance.

You can also use custom granite outdoors, from covered patios to wraparound porches. Consider it for your outdoor kitchen, perhaps using it to frame the pizza oven, or as a backsplash by the fire pit. It’s relatively easy to clean and wipe down, and can withstand both the sizzling Utah summers and freezing winters.

It’s taken Americans a while to embrace granite as the go-to countertop option, but now it’s the one most in demand. However, it can do so much more to increase your home’s value in places besides the kitchen and bath. Work with a custom granite professional to discover new uses for this beautiful stone. Call Creative Granite, your custom granite experts, to get started on your new project.

Quartz Countertops for Christmas

You can’t wrap up a quartz countertop, top it with a bow and park it under the Christmas tree. Well, technically you can, but that would be a big undertaking. However, if new quartz or granite countertops are in the budget and you want to surprise a loved one with a major kitchen or bathroom upgrade, you’ll make it a holiday to remember!

Quartz Countertops Utah

Just like gifting a car, you’ll need a little more stealth and creativity to maintain the surprise.

Unless you’re certain which slab, finish and thickness the recipient wants, you probably don’t want to pick out the quartz countertop for them. Everybody has different styles and preferences. You might even find that the slab they pick is more affordable than the one you had in mind.

The Quartz Countertop Gift Box

You’ve likely heard their complaints of old, ugly countertops. Give them a hint of what their real gift is by collecting a few quartz countertop samples you like and wrapping them up in a traditional box. Samples might be available at your local quartz countertop installation company, or you can order samples free online (shipping may apply).
Include a brief but colorful explanation of your intended gift below the samples so the recipient has to dig. Brevity is best, and a note such as: “For my favorite home chef: Good for one new kitchen counter” will tell the recipient exactly what’s in store for them.

If you won’t be there when the gift is opened, include additional details such as the name of the granite company, the grade options you chose (if applicable), and more in a separate letter.

Good Things …

Can’t get samples for a gift box? A gorgeous card or envelope with prints of beautiful quartz countertops is another way to clue in the recipient.
Get creative and think about the recipient and why they want new countertops. Do they love to bake? Have an HGTV addiction? You can get them a very small gift like a box of their favorite cake mix or a DVD of a beloved home improvement show and put a note inside about what the real gift is.

New quartz countertops are an amazing gift and set the bar high. Buying them involves collaboration with the recipient and quartz installation company. Always get quotes in advance, but bear in mind that you might need to guess the square footage you’ll need. If you don’t want to offer an entire kitchen quartz countertop upgrade, consider just an island or a bathroom upgrade.
Call Creative Granite and talk to an expert about your quartz countertop gift idea for more information and direction.

Common Custom Granite Questions

Common Granite Questions

You’ve decided to have custom granite installed in your home, but maybe a few questions are still nagging at you. Maybe you didn’t get a clear answer from the granite company (in which case you might want to reconsider that company), or maybe you’re too embarrassed to ask because you think it might be “obvious.”

Silly questions don’t exist in the world of custom countertops, because most people buying this product aren’t experts in the industry. When you’re investing in high-end granite, you deserve to have all your questions answered in clear, layman’s terms.

One question a lot of people have is if they can have the remaining pieces, also known as the remnants, from their slab. Granite comes in industry-standard slab sizes, and the odds of you needing every last square inch are slim to none.

People are especially curious about what happens to the area that’s cut out for the sink. The answer is that of course you can have what’s left, but unfortunately, many times those remnants end up being destroyed in the process of customization.

Your Custom Granite Conundrums

Another popular question is whether your slab will end up looking like the sample pieces you saw.

The answer is probably not, or at least not exactly. It’s really tough to get a good idea from a little 2-inch sample piece of what a massive, 8-foot slab will look like! Granite is a natural material with a variety of swirls, colors and other characteristics. If you really want to see what your slab will look like, ask for a photo or visit the shop in person if you can.

However, know that the sample is meant to be representative of the authentic look of the slab, so you won’t be seeing the so-called best part of it. Figuring out what a big slab will really look like in your home is also tough when you just have a sample piece. You may want to get a mock-up of your kitchen/bathroom with the slab superimposed onto a drawing to get a preview of what to expect.

Let the Chips Fall …

Custom granite is a big decision and investment, and you want to protect it. In addition to regular sealings, many homeowners are concerned about chips. Will a chip ruin an entire slab, perhaps a slab that’s no longer available? Usually not, especially if you can find the piece that chipped off. Find it, save it, and a reputable granite repair company can usually re-attach the piece to make your slab look and act as good as new.

When you’re beginning the search for the perfect custom granite, create a list of questions for your granite supply company. It’s a learning process, but it should also be fun. You can rest easy by contacting Creative Granite & Design, one of the industry’s leading granite supply companies well-known for making the process enjoyable.

Custom Granite for Fireplaces

Custom Granite Fireplace

You already know adding custom granite to kitchen countertops, backsplashes and bathroom vanities is a great way to increase your home’s value. But custom granite is also a fantastic choice to frame your fireplace or to update the hearth.

Granite is durable, simple to clean, comes in every color variation and pattern you can imagine, and it can really make your fireplace stand out as the focal point of a room.

Granite’s naturally durable composition makes it a natural choice to withstand the heat of a fireplace, and when properly lined, it can last as a fireplace frame for decades.

Both granite slabs and tiles can be used around a fireplace. Slabs come in much larger pieces, of course, and can be expertly installed to provide one seamless look. Tiles come in a variety of shapes, and since they are much thinner, they are also more budget-friendly.

Consider the rest of your home’s feel and choose a granite color and pattern that complements your style, design and color scheme.

Granite Fireplaces Warm Up the Heart of the Home

The inclusion of granite anywhere in the home instantly gives it a more luxurious and modern feel. Around a fireplace, it can make a room appear larger compared to other fireplace options, and it’s easy to match fireplace granite to any existing design.

Some homeowners try to save money on installation by picking up the slabs or tiles themselves. However, any savings achieved with this approach are limited, and it’s not worth the risk. Granite is tough, but in slab or tile form, it’s easy for a non-pro to damage it.

Working with a company to customize your granite and then have it delivered, installed and guaranteed is the safest route. Remember that granite prices vary drastically based on availability and thickness.

Simpler colors and patterns are more available and cost less. The more outlandish, unique and thick granite is, the higher the cost.

You don’t need to choose the highest-end granite to make your fireplace pop. Sometimes simpler is better, and selecting a plain, light-colored slab or tile can be a dramatic improvement from more traditional fireplace frames and hearths.

Tips for Optimizing Your Fireplace with Custom Granite

A black granite border on a fireplace is a classic look, and blends in with your fireplace’s existing black metal framing (which often shows). Adding a stark, contrasting white mantle or a rich cherry wood strikes a balance between modern and classic looks. Another popular choice is to select a granite with flecks of white or silver, creating a sparkle that will catch everyone’s eye.
Some homeowners want the best of both worlds, and combine granite and marble stones for their fireplaces.

Like granite, marble is durable and can withstand the heat of the nearby flames. You can mix and match with tiles, or choose to create a larger border of marble surrounding an otherwise granite frame.

No matter what style you prefer, custom granite or marble for the fireplace will instantly update your great room and become a natural gathering spot. Contact Creative Granite to get your custom granite project started.

Granite Countertop Installations

Granite Countertop Installation

The quality of your granite countertop installation is just as important as the quality of the slab itself.

Some homeowners try to tackle the installation themselves because they think it’s a way to save money, but it can lead to devastating results. Granite is, of course, heavy and can break, crack or chip when in transit. However, even if you choose to have your granite countertops professionally installed, quality can vary widely.

One of the biggest issues doesn’t have to do with installation at all, but rather with the customer service. Installation crews need to be well trained, communicative, clean and respectful of your home.

Most installers should start as fabricators and work their way up the ranks to installer. Fabricators make the best installers, and workers with backgrounds in cabinetry or construction prior to fabrication bring even more skills to the position.

Installation Done Right

When the slab arrives at your home, it’s best if you’re on site. Your installer should confirm with you that they are installing the correct slab.

Sometimes very minor issues, such as vanity mirror placement, can slightly change the dimensions of a slab or backsplash. For this reason, the team often cuts sink and faucet holes and the backsplash on-site (always outside the home), in case there are modifications to your original plan. These changes likely would not be noticed by non-installers, but the crew lead should still confirm with you.

The installation crew should put down drop cloths or tape paper on your floors to prevent any dirt or debris from being left in your home. In the kitchen or bathroom, care should be taken to prevent damage or dust buildup.

After the installation, a reputable team will clean up, leaving your home just as tidy as it was before they arrived. If on-site cutting is done, they should choose an area that won’t damage your yard or landscape.

Right and Tight

With very large countertops, you probably will need more than one slab and a seam. Solid-hued granite should be so precisely level and tight that you really need to hunt to find that seam. Slabs with large colors and swirls can be more challenging to match up along the seams. You’ll notice it upon close inspection, but it shouldn’t be obvious at first glance.

Countertop installation should be level, sturdy and the seams should be closely matched so that you’re not left with the equivalent of a small grout line. Countertops and seams should be glued with an adhesive designed specifically for stone counters.

If your countertops did not come sealed, and that’s an extra level of protection you’d like, have the installers seal the countertops directly after installation and cleanup. Some sealants require 24 hours before counters can be wiped down and used.

Installation day should be exciting, fun, clean and safe. Choosing the right team for your granite countertop installation can make all the difference. Contact Creative Granite & Design for beautiful countertops with expert installation.