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Solid Surface Countertops: Pros and Cons

Are solid surface countertops the right choice for your kitchen or bathroom?

Solid Surface Countertops: Pros and Cons

Man-made using acrylic or polyester resins – and available in hundreds of patterns and colors – solid surface counters are preferred over natural stone by many Utah homeowners. That said, every countertop material has its flaws and strengths – and custom granite or quartz countertops could offer more of the features you need.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of solid surface countertops?

Advantages of Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surfaces have several positives. The major selling points of this countertop material include:

  • Seamless joints – Countertops are molded to fit perfectly, without any seams.
  • Durability – Although both custom granite and quartz are more durable, solid surfaces are hard and impact-resistant.
  • Non-porous surface – This countertop material is non-porous and resists stains and food-borne bacteria.
  • Restorable – With solid surfaces, damage can often be easily sanded out and repaired.
  • Easy care – Wiping these countertops clean is a quick and simple task, requiring just soap and water or a mild household cleanser.

Disadvantages of Solid Surface Countertops

Although solid surfaces come with many advantages, no material is perfect. The drawbacks of these types of countertops include:

  • Not resistant to heat – Solid surfaces aren’t tolerant of heat and can discolor, scorch or even crack upon contact with a hot pan.
  • Susceptible to scratches – This countertop material is softer than natural stone and cutting directly on the surface is likely to result in damage.
  • Vulnerable to strong chemicals – If exposed to nail polish remover, paint thinner, lacquer, over cleaner or other harsh chemicals, solid surfaces can become damaged.
  • Less practical finish – Glossy surfaces show off scratches and damage easily, yet matte and satin finishes may not be practical for high-use counter areas.

Should You Consider a Solid Surface Countertop?

If you want beautiful, high-quality counters with no seams, one of the many unique solid surfaces could be your best bet. Many styles closely mimic the look of natural stone, and you can select one that perfectly matches your kitchen or bathroom.

If your budget is a concern, solid surfaces in basic colors and patterns are highly affordable. Keep in mind, however, that many less-basic designs may cost about the same as custom granite or quartz – and some designs cost even more.

Ultimately, the easiest way to decide on a counter material is to explore your options with a local custom countertop fabricator – like the professionals at Creative Granite.

Creative Granite has been an industry leader in the Intermountain West region for over 17 years. We offer expert custom installation of all three types of countertop materials, with a wide variety of options in all price ranges. For a free, no-pressure consultation to discuss our custom granite, quartz and solid surface countertops, contact our Salt Lake City showroom today.

Granite Countertops 101: How to Identify High-End Natural Stone

High-end granite countertops are a gorgeous upgrade for kitchens and baths that currently have dated laminate, tile or cultured marble. But not all granite is created equal.

Granite Countertops 101: How to Identify High-End Natural Stone

With most interior finishes, you usually get what you pay for. However, with natural stone, price doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. Knowing the how to identify high-end granite can help you find the best countertop material for your home.

Understanding Grades of Granite for Countertops

This may come as a surprise, but no industry standard currently exists for grading the quality of natural stone. Although most manufacturers and retailers have in-house grades – including Creative Granite & Design – the industry has no across-the-board system for comparing quality.

Grading is determined by the slab’s country of origin as well as color, pattern, thickness and visible imperfections within the slab.

Most natural stone grading systems refer to low-grade, mid-grade and high-grade stone. However, a slab that one company considers to be high-grade could be classified as mid-grade by another contractor. For this reason, it’s important to purchase your countertops from a well-established and respected countertop fabricator.

Characteristics of High-End Granite Countertops

If price and grade aren’t reliable indicators of quality, how can you identify high-end granite for countertops? As a basis for comparison, look for the following characteristics:

Unique colors, like blues, reds or purples
Uncommon veins and patterns
Slabs that are at least one and a quarter inch thick
Smooth, even surfaces free from dents, dings and scratches

In contrast, lesser-quality granite countertops come in more common colors, like beige and gray, and they may require plywood backing for strength.

Here’s Why You Should Treat Yourself to High-End Granite Countertops

Fabrication techniques matter when it comes to high-end countertops. Even the most spectacular stone slab could end up looking bad if it’s poorly fabricated.

Upgrading kitchen or bathroom countertops requires an experienced touch, as the seams need to be placed and blended perfectly. Premium finished edges also require expert fabrication skills. So, if you want interesting, intricate edging, working with a highly-skilled countertop fabricator is critical.

Reputable granite installers also provide design center services, to help you select the best materials and design to suit your home’s décor style as well as your budget.

Are you ready to start shopping for new granite countertops for your Utah, Idaho or Wyoming home? The professional team at Creative Granite can provide you with expert advice and guidance in finding your ideal high-end countertop solution.

As an Intermountain West industry leader for over 17 years, Creative Granite is known for high-quality countertop materials, exceptional workmanship and a commitment to stellar customer service. Contact our Salt Lake City office today to schedule a complimentary consultation, and to take a look at our extensive range of high-end granite countertops for yourself.

Custom Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: Which Should You Install?

Custom granite or quartz countertops? That is the question when designing a new kitchen or bath, or remodeling your existing home. If you’re struggling to decide, you’re not alone. In fact, many homeowners find it difficult to make a choice between these two beautiful, durable materials.

custom granite vs quartz countertops

Today, we would like to break down the differences, to help you determine which type of countertop material better suits your needs.

Countertop Appearance

Custom granite countertops are striking in their natural beauty, and each slab has its own unique appearance; like snowflakes, no two are alike. You can choose from a wide range of colors and veining patterns, which means you can find a slab that works perfectly as either a focal point or a subtle complement to your kitchen or bath design.

Quartz countertops offer the same luxurious beauty, but you can customize the design to match your color scheme. The possibilities are virtually endless, as this countertop material can be fabricated with many varieties of quartz combined with pigments, polymers and resins.

Countertop Durability

Durability is essential for any kitchen or bath countertop, and granite certainly delivers in this area. The natural stone material is highly resistant to heat, which means it won’t be affected if you place a straight-from-the-oven pan on the surface. And, custom granite countertops don’t scratch easily, either. However, since the material is porous, staining can be a concern if certain spills (red wine, coffee, tomato juice) aren’t cleaned up immediately.

As one of the earth’s hardest minerals, quartz is also incredibly durable. However, this countertop material is less prone to staining, thanks to its low porosity. But you will have to be careful with hot pans, as excessive heat may damage some quartz countertops.

Countertop Care and Maintenance

Custom granite countertops need little maintenance. Simply wipe them down regularly with a mild soapy solution or natural stone cleaner. Fr long-term durability and improved stain resistance, you should also consider having a sealer applied once every few years.

Caring for quartz countertops is also as simple as can be. Clean up spills with soap and water or a mild, non-abrasive household cleaner. Because this countertop material is a solid surface, you don’t have to worry about sealing (or resealing) quartz.

Environmental Considerations

Granite is sourced from quarries, and installing a high-quality slab from Brazil, China, India or Italy involves considerable transportation. So, although this is a natural stone material, it can have some environmental impact.

On the other hand, quartz countertops are engineered. Using regionally-manufactured stone and fabricators cuts down on the transportation required, which minimizes the environmental impact of this material.

Would you like to learn more about custom granite and quartz countertops, or take a look at some samples of each material? The professionals at Creative Granite can answer all your questions, to help you make the right decision for your Utah, Idaho or Wyoming home.

After serving the Intermountain West region for more than 17 years, Creative Granite has developed a reputation for providing the highest-quality countertop materials along with masterful installation and exceptional customer service. Contact our Salt Lake City office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation or a visit to our design center. We look forward to introducing you our wide range of options for custom granite and quartz countertops.

Custom Granite Countertops Care & Maintenance

Custom granite countertops bring lasting style and value to your home or business.

Custom Granite Countertops Care & Maintenance

Once you install natural stone countertops, you won’t have to spend much time or effort to keep them clean and beautiful. In fact, cleaning them requires little more than a wipe down as you’re cleaning up.

Today, we would like to share some basic guidelines for how to care for and maintain your custom granite countertops. We think you might be surprised how little care they actually need.

Are Granite Countertops Hard to Maintain?

This common misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, granite and other natural stone countertops surfaces are easier to maintain than many other materials.

The strength and resilience of granite help them resist most common kitchen perils, such as cracking, chipping and burn marks from hot pans. They’re incredibly easy to care for and virtually worry-free.

One of the best parts about natural stone counters is that – with the most basic care – they maintain their original beauty and style for decades, never becoming worn or tired-looking.

How Do I Clean My Granite Countertops?

Cleaning your custom granite tops couldn’t be easier. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Wipe away any crumbs and loose debris on the countertop surface
  2. Mix mild liquid dish soap into a warm water solution (or use a neutral cleanser made for natural stone)
  3. Using a clean, soft cloth, apply the cleanser or dish soap solution to the countertop
  4. Rinse well with clean water
  5. Dry using a microfiber cloth or clean, lint-free towel

Take care not to use too much soap, as this can lead to a buildup of soapy film on the stone surface. Never use a cleaner that contains ammonia, bleach, acids (such as lemon or vinegar) or abrasives (such as scouring powder). Also, avoid using “scrubby sponges” and never use steel wool or scouring pads on your stone.

Do Custom Granite Countertops Require Periodic Maintenance?

Depending on the type of natural stone countertops you select, we may recommend applying an impregnating sealer. This process fills the natural voids in the stone surface, making it more stain resistant.

As long as you care for your granite countertops correctly, you won’t need to reapply sealer very often – every few years or so, in most cases. We don’t recommend that you attempt to seal your countertops yourself, as the sealers you can purchase yourself may not be effective or non-toxic.

If you do get a stain in your granite, you can check out the handy “Granite Care & Maintenance” page on our website, or contact us for more professional tips.

In Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, Creative Granite provides custom granite and quartz countertops and custom cabinets. Our award-winning service and superior quality have helped us earn our exceptional reputation. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for your new custom granite countertops.

Custom Quartz Countertops Go High-Tech in 2018

Quartz countertops have grown steadily in popularity over the past decade, thanks in large part to the seemingly limitless design choices that are available today.

Custom Quartz Countertops

Now, as advanced technology takes over the home kitchen, this popular countertop material has become the finish of choice for many discerning homeowners. Quartz counters make for a perfect pairing with high-tech home appliances, allowing you to mimic the look of natural materials or opt for a bold, colorful style.

And, with new fabrication techniques, this material is more durable and low-maintenance than ever before. Look for these emerging kitchen design trends as the new year unfolds.

Streamlined Quartz Counters Complement Today’s High-Tech Kitchens

How “smart” is your kitchen? Chances are, you may already have adopted some of the latest high-tech appliances and kitchen gadgets. If not, you’re bound to in the near future, as smart technology takes over the home appliances industry.

To match the sleek look and feel of this emerging technology, homeowners are adapting their custom countertops to match.

Steel grey and cool, white tones will dominate the quartz color palette this year, along with bright, solid hues. The growing popularity of black stainless steel appliances means you’ll see more quartz countertops in shades of lime, mystic blue, sterling and passionate rouge.

High-Tech Custom Quartz Countertops Mimic Natural Materials

The technology used to fabricate quartz countertops has improved to the point where you can select colors and designs that mimic almost any type of natural material.

If you like the look of granite or marble but fear the maintenance issues that you may encounter, choose a veined quartz design that mimics the look of these materials in the color of your choice.

With the option of having a honed or leathered (rather than highly polished) surface, your custom countertops can provide the look of natural soapstone, sandstone, leather or even fabric. If you prefer a terrazzo or sea glass look to give your kitchen a striking and unique style, you’ll find plenty to love in today’s quartz options.

Technology Helps Quartz Countertops Resist Stains, Bacteria & Scratches

Innovative technology is boosting the health and safety of quartz counters, improving durability and reducing the risk of staining and scratching.

Although this material has always provided a superior level of durability, today’s materials resist chips, burns and scratches as well as natural stone. Quartz also resists moisture, preventing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria on the surface.

And you get all these benefits without the need to seal or periodically reseal the surface. A quick wipe with a damp cloth is all you’ll ever need to clean up kitchen spills.

Creative Granite, serving customers in In Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, is the go-to expert for custom cabinets and countertops in the Intermountain West. Contact us today to learn more about how you can put one or more of these exciting kitchen design trends to work in your kitchen, with custom quartz countertops.

Do Granite Countertops Improve Your Home’s Value?

Granite countertops are the gold standard in home finishes, prized by discerning homeowners throughout the Intermountain West.

granite countertop

Ask any homeowner how they would upgrade their home if money was no object and you’ll find that adding custom granite is at the top of the list for most of them. So, when they set out to buy a new house, this is frequently on the “must have” list of amenities.

But, just because granite countertops are popular, does that mean they will improve your home’s value? In most cases, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Will Granite Countertops Make Your Home Easier to Sell?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) lists upgrading your countertops as one of the seven most important steps a home seller can take to help make a great first impression on potential buyers.

The NAR also lists a minor kitchen renovation – which includes a countertop upgrade – as one of the best renovations you can make to your home right now. In fact, it returns (on average) more than 80 percent of your investment. Against a national average of about 63 percent return on investment (ROI), this is a very positive statistic.

So, not only will adding granite countertops make your home easier to sell, but it will also provide an exceptional ROI.

Will Granite Countertops Bring a Higher Sale Price?

The value that custom granite adds to your home will depend on where your home is located, what the real estate market is doing at the time and the price point of the property. A Realtor® can tell you specifically how much this highly coveted finish will add to the potential sale price of your home.

However, the general perspective on this question is that you will add an amount to your home’s value equivalent to at least 25 percent of the retail cost of the countertops. Some real estate agents suggest discounting the value of a home with laminate tops versus granite in the range of $15,000 to $20,000.

Although these figures are estimated on a general basis throughout the U.S., you might be delighted to find how much this upgrade could improve the va

lue of your Utah, Idaho or Wyoming home.

Should You Add Custom Granite Countertops in Your Home?

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, using granite for your kitchen countertops probably makes good financial sense, both in terms of value and salability of your house.

But, more important, you may want to add custom natural stone counters to your home for yourself. The beauty, durability and ease of use will improve your quality of life for as long as you own your home. The ROI and potential to attract potential buyers will be a bonus when the time comes.

In Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, Creative Granite provides custom cabinetry and countertops for residential and commercial clients. Contact us today to request a custom quote for granite countertops.

Using Custom Granite in a Contemporary Kitchen

Custom granite can bring a unique sense of high-end style to a contemporary kitchen.

The contemporary design style has become increasingly popular in home design. Home buyers and remodelers are frequently choosing this approach for their kitchens. If you are building a home or renovating your current house, consider adding custom granite countertops for a special touch.

custom granite contemporary

What Is Contemporary Kitchen Design?

Characterized by clean lines and a sleek, modern sensibility, contemporary kitchen designs are favored today by architects, interior designers and homeowners throughout Utah.

This unfussy aesthetic is uniquely free of ornamentation, molding or other excess. Colors typically run toward monochromatic palettes of black, white and gray. Natural wood tones also work well in a contemporary design.

When you select your finishes, look for functionality and simplicity with a classic form and feel.

Choosing Custom Cabinets for a Contemporary Kitchen Remodel

When choosing custom cabinets for a contemporary kitchen, focus on three key factors: the cabinet materials, door style and highly functional storage.

Contemporary-friendly designs can handle bold color choices and bold lines. Slab doors without fussy hardware are the cabinet design of choice. Wood materials work as long as they lack a strong, visible grain. Artificial cabinet materials are also appropriate for this design style.

Consider using contrasting base and upper cabinets for a fresh look that will endure for years to come.

Functionality is especially important in this design style. Staying true to the minimalistic design approach means you’ll want all your kitchen equipment and tools to have a place inside the cabinets, hidden away.

Selecting Your Custom Granite Countertops and Details

Using custom granite in a contemporary kitchen is an unusual choice for many design purists, as natural materials aren’t as common in this design ethos. But, when you choose the perfect slab and edge design, custom granite countertops can bring an unexpected richness to your kitchen.

When you select your slab, look for one that has less veining and variation. You can choose a neutral color in the white, black or gray family or, if you want an unexpected surprise, let your countertops serve as that bold splash of color.

Choose a simple edge detail for your contemporary countertops. In fact, a straight or square edge is ideal. If you want a little extra dimension, consider a ¼ bevel or crescent edge design.

If custom granite countertops are too risky of a design choice for your contemporary kitchen, you can always choose custom quartz countertops or a solid surface material, depending on your budget and aesthetic goals.

Creative Granite serves customers throughout Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, providing high-quality custom cabinetry and countertops. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our design center, to select your custom granite countertops and cabinetry.

Solid Surface vs. Quartz Countertops: What’s the Difference?

Are you considering solid surface or quartz countertops for your home?

These products are a popular alternative to custom granite countertops, although the cost can about the same – or sometimes more – than natural stone, depending on which designs you choose.

Solid Surface vs. Quartz Countertops

For many homeowners, these man-made surfaces offer a look and feel they prefer to the more natural alternatives. Both quartz and solid surface countertops share some characteristics, but also have several key differences.

What Are Solid Surface Countertops?

Solid surface tops are manmade using acrylic or polyester plastic blends. You may be familiar with the brand names of Corian or Staron, both of which fall into this category.

These materials are uniform in color and texture, with a matte (non-shiny) finish. Countertops are poured to the specifications of your kitchen and, consequent, they generally do not have seams.

This material is somewhat prone to scratching and most manufacturers recommend not placing hot pots or pans directly onto the surface, as they could warp, crack or discolor as a result. For many scratches and related problems, you can restore the material’s integrity by sanding.

This material is available in hundreds of colors and patterns, so you can be picky about matching your décor’s color palette. You will have your choice of several different edge profiles as well.

What Are Quartz Countertops?

Quartz tops, sometimes called engineered stone, are also man-made, however, they contain a high percentage of crushed, natural quartz. The quartz is bound with resin and recycled materials such as glass. Some of the most popular brands include Zodiaq and Radianz.

As compared to solid-surface materials, quartz countertops are more durable, scratch resistant and heat-safe up to about 400 degrees.

Visually, quartz has a glossy surface (although some matte options are now available) with a consistent color and pattern. You can choose from an almost limitless number of solid colors and creative patterns. Some even simulate granite, marble and other natural surfaces. You can also choose from several different edge profile options.

Are Quartz Countertops or Solid Surface Better for You?

The answer to this question depends on your budget, your design goals and your need for durability.

Budget-wise, you can spend a lot or a little. If you want to be highly budget-conscious you may prefer one of the basic shades of solid surface. If the sky’s the limit, you can choose from among the many specialty colors and patterns of custom quartz countertops.

For durability, solid surface top are less durable than quartz – which is less durable than granite. If you opt for the less durable material, you may easily spend the price difference in having the tops resurfaced from time to time.

Design styles and options are more flexible with quartz. However, neither man-made product offers as many edge profiles as granite.

The best way to make the right choice for you is to talk with a custom countertops professional. Creative Granite offers all three materials for use in your new custom kitchen. Call us today to learn more, or to schedule a visit to our design center to learn more about the many solid surface and quartz countertop options.

Custom Granite Countertops for the Bathroom

Custom granite countertops aren’t just for the kitchen, you know.

In the bathroom – especially in the master ensuite – granite tops bring unparalleled style and elegance to the room. But this durable natural stone does a lot more than just look good.

Custom Granite Countertops for the Bathroom

The Benefits of Adding Custom Granite Countertops in the Bathroom

When you add granite in your bathrooms, you will significantly improve the aesthetic value – especially as compared to the ubiquitous cultured marble, laminate or ceramic tile options that most builders use.

You will also enjoy a significantly higher level of durability. In the kitchen, granite is virtually impervious. In the bathroom, there’s very little anyone can dish out that will harm this durable surface.

One of the most impressive benefits of installing granite tops in the bathroom is an increase in your home’s value. You may not recoup all of your cost for this improvement when you sell your home, but you can expect to recover a significant percentage of your investment.

Is Custom Granite for the Bathroom More Expensive?

As compared to laminate, ceramic or cultured marble, natural stone will potentially cost a bit more to install. However, you won’t have to replace it in a few years, like you might with some of these other materials.

Ceramic is prone to cracking and breaking. Cultured marble can discolor and it tends to become dull and dingy looking in as little as a year or two. Laminate chips easily and the steamy bathroom environment tends to wreak havoc on the glue – especially at the seams.

You’ll also invest less time and effort in cleaning and maintenance. Properly sealed, you’ll rarely have to do more to clean your granite than wipe it down with warm, soapy water.

How to Choose Custom Granite for the Bathroom

The process of selecting granite countertops for the bathroom is nearly identical to the process used for kitchen remodeling.

The primary difference between the two room is the finished depth of the countertops. Kitchen tops are typically about 30 inches deep, whereas bathroom tops max out at about 24 inches. This gives you more room to move around in what is traditionally a smaller space.

If you plan to replace your vanity cabinets at the same time, you will simply visit the granite contractor’s design center to select your cabinets and stone slab. You must also select your edge detail. In the bathroom, you will likely want a simpler edge than the more decorative options that are popular in for kitchen edges.

You must also select your sink and faucets, as this allows your contractor to fabricate the slab so that everything fits and lines up correctly.

In Salt Lake City, let Creative Granite help you with all of your custom countertop and cabinetry needs. We also offer quartz and solid surface options as well as sinks and accessories. Call us today to request your personalized estimate for custom granite countertops in your bathroom.

3 Custom Granite Design Details to Consider

If you plan to add custom granite countertops in your home, you’re probably giving a lot of thought to the color and pattern.

Arguably, choosing your granite slab is one of the best parts of the process. But you have more than that to consider. You also get to decide on an edge detail, a sink design and, for a little more fun, any custom accessories you may want.

Custom Granite Design Details to Consider

Remember, this is a custom kitchen design – your custom kitchen – so why not personalize it the way you want it?

Edge Detail Selection for Custom Granite Countertops

Once you’ve chosen your granite, it’s time to think about which finished edge profile you would like.

You have your classic options, like the half- or full bullnose design. You can choose an elegant straight edge detail or geometric quarter bevel.

For a little more style, you can choose a more ornate edge profile, such as the ogee, the cove or the dupont. Ogee or cove bullnose choices are unique and, for high drama, nothing beats the Hollywood bevel edge.

But if you really want to create a “wow factor,” consider a laminated edge detail. Laminated edge profiles add a second layer of stone underneath, that provides a feeling of depth and heft – and it appears that your countertops are twice as thick as they actually are.

Choosing the Perfect Sinks for Your Granite Countertops

Have you thought about the type of sinks you would like to see in your new custom granite countertops?

The classic choice is an undermount sink, a high-end look that allows the beauty of the stone to really shine. Stainless steel is a classic material choice as well, although you can also choose a porcelain sink in a color that accents the stone.

Do you fancy a single bowl or a double bowl? Deep or shallow? Round, square, rectangle or elongated tub? Would you like a sink that comes with accessories, like a colander basket?

Do you plan to have a dish sink and a veggie sink? If so, you’ll need to choose a sink style for each location.

Custom Granite Countertop Accessories

Did you know that you can incorporate custom design details and accessories into your granite countertops?

For example, you could choose to add an integrated cutting board as an inset in the granite. We can fabricate an integral dish draining surface that slopes toward the sink for drainage. We can fabricate a custom cookbook shelf to your specification.

And, of course, you must consider if you want to extend your granite as a backsplash, as a bar top, at a butler’s pantry or even a wet bar.

The Creative Granite & Design team is committed to ensuring that your experience is as pleasant and hassle-free as possible. That’s why we have a virtual Design Center, where you can find tons of inspiration. When it’s time to design your dream kitchen, our design staff will assist you through every step of the way so that, once your selections are made, you can sit back, relax and wait for your new kitchen to be installed.

Call us today to learn more about adding custom granite countertops in your home or business.