Countertop Types: What Will Work Best For You

kitchen.jpgPhoto: Prestige Marble & Granite

Marble? Granite? Quartz? Natural stone or engineered? What does it all mean? Anyone who has built a home or done a kitchen remodel knows the number of different material options can be overwhelming. And it’s an important decision. Experts estimate you should plan on spending 10 to 15 percent of your kitchen budget on your countertops. Here are some thoughts on different types of materials so you can choose what’s right for you and your home. All prices mentioned are general estimates.

Granite

Granite is the number one countertop material for a reason. It’s beauty and durability make it a wonderful choice for almost any kitchen. It’s very nature makes it resistant to water and heat. That being said it is slightly porous. Most granites don’t need to be sealed, though it never hurts and will help block stains and liquids from eventually seeping into the stone. Granite’s inherent strength will also help protect it from scratches and etching. Because granite is a natural material there will be variation from slab to slab. While many people love the uniqueness this ensures, it can make matching up slabs difficult.

Expect to spend between $40 and $200 per foot installed.

Granite comes in a variety of natural stone colors and can be finished multiple ways.15-gorgeous-granite-countertops-title-e1503856458744.jpgPhoto: Home Epiphany

Marble

The demand for marble has certainly increased in the past few years. While a lot of marbles have gray veining running throughout, if you’re looking for a bright, more pure white slab, marble is definitely for you. It gives a high end, classic feeling to any space. Marble is more porous than granite and does require sealing; this means it does stain more easily than granite and some other natural stones. It’s also a softer stone, meaning it more readily scratches and nicks. While some marbles like Calacatta and Carrara are decidedly more expensive, there are plenty of options with a price point comparable to granite.

Expect to spend between $50 and $200 per foot installed.

The gray veining warms up this marble slab , which lends a polished feeling to this rustic kitchen.Advantages Of Marble CountertopsPhoto: Improvenet

Quartz

Quartz countertops are growing in popularity thanks to their many good qualities, and due to the fact they don’t have many of the weaknesses of natural stone. Quartz is a manufactured product and is also referred to as engineered stone. The manufacturing process for Quartz allows for an almost unlimited range of colors and can be finished in a luxurious way other solid surface materials aren’t. Quartz is just as durable as stone but more forgiving, so it won’t chip or scratch easily. It’s also nonporous, so it resists staining and will not harbor bacteria or viruses. Quartz doesn’t have many downsides, though it isn’t as heat resistant as natural stone.  It may be considered on the more expensive side, though it’s pricing is competitive with many natural stones.

Expect to spend between $50 and $200 per foot installed.

If you’re wanting a nontraditional countertop color, quartz might be just what your looking for.
quartzPhoto: HouseTrends

Soapstone

Soapstone is a natural material that has been used as countertops for literally hundreds of years. Today people love soapstone for its warm, rustic charm. Soapstone ranges from light to dark gray; the darkest slabs are almost black. Soapstone actually contains a certain amount of talc, which accounts for its milky look and somewhat powdery feel. This also accounts for the softness of the stone, but doesn’t mean it can’t stand up to daily kitchen use. Soapstone is nonporous so it is stain and acid resistant, though it does darken over time. It is recommended you treat soapstone with mineral oil to help achieve a more even look and deepen the color. It’s softness does make it slightly vulnerable to scratching, the mineral oil will help disguise these. Soapstone is extremely heat and bacteria resistant, making it a wonderful choice for any kitchen.

Expect to spend between $75 and $150 per square foot installed.

Soapstone is perfect for warming up what would otherwise be an all white kitchen. It also creates a sense of depth and additional dimension in this large space.decorpad.jpgPhoto: DecorPad

Limestone

Limestone is a beautiful choice, but not always practical for a busy kitchen. Limestone is an extremely versatile stone, available in a variety of colors and textures. Only the harder, denser varieties should be installed in the kitchen. Your fabricator should be able to help you choose the appropriate slab for your needs, should you choose limestone. Limestone is a calcium-based rock and by its very nature reacts with acidic substances in a manner that can create etching. It’s extremely porous and should be sealed regularly to help minimize staining, as it will soak up liquids quickly. Due to its softness, limestone also scratches and chips more easily than other natural stones. You also need to protect your limestone countertops from heat as it does have the ability to burn.

Expect to spend $50 to $100 per square foot installed.

Limestone looks great in almost any setting, though it requires a lot of maintenance. Many homeowners who want limestone choose to use it in a bathroom as opposed to the kitchen.
f89819d6fbab1e723c2ae503f35ae8af.jpgPhoto: Traditional Home

Whatever countertop material you ultimately choose,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

 

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Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen

outdooPhoto: Imagine Backyard

The first kitchen was really just a fire outside. And ever since cooking was brought indoors, people have been finding numerous reasons to take it back outside. The summer heat has always been a big factor in wanting outdoor kitchen space, especially here in the South. Before air conditioning, summer kitchens made the hottest, most humid months slightly more bearable for southerners everywhere. Keeping away smoke and lingering food smells have also always been popular reasons for wanting to cook outside. Today, the desire to entertain and create a fun space for your family and friends has pushed the outdoor kitchen to the next level.

American actress Jane Wyman with her portable bbq in press photos in the early 1950s.janewymanPhoto: Tumblr

Outdoor kitchens today are so much more than a grill and some patio furniture. Today’s outdoor kitchens extend the living space of your home and are considered a great investment in your property.  The average outdoor kitchen costs between 12,000 and 15,000 dollars. While you definitely don’t have to spend that much, you can easily spend way more. The options are almost limitless. Understandably, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But no worries, we’ve got a few tips to help out, regardless of your budget.

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Determine How You want to Use Your Kitchen

Be honest with yourself. How much space do you have? Are you going to use this outdoor kitchen for serious entertaining or will you be grilling outside occasionally? Will your kitchen be covered, even partially? These questions are important as the list of  possible amenities is long. And when designing your outdoor space you should keep in mind that certain appliances require greater levels of protection from the elements than others. And depending on your budget and plans for usage, it’s important to prioritize what appliances you choose. Some of the most popular outdoor kitchen appliances include grills/smokers, refrigerators/freezers, ice makers, and sinks.

A pergola is a great option for a smaller outdoor kitchen.  It helps define the space and allows for maximum airflow while still providing shade and protection from the harshness of the elements. If you have a green thumb a pergola is a great place to both grow and hang plants on.pergPhoto: Backyard Unlimited
Heaters, a fireplace, curtains and fans make this huge outdoor kitchen space an amazing year-round entertaining space.Beautiful-modern-porch-has-it-allPhoto: Decoist
Layout & Design

When choosing the site for your outdoor kitchen you need to think about how you’re going to hook up the utilities. You will probably want to run electricity and/or gas, and even water out to your space. Designing an outdoor kitchen isn’t that different from designing an indoor kitchen.

You’ll notice that the designs that incorporate the sink and refrigerator all do so in a way that creates the ubiquitous “kitchen triangle”. This is a design principle that says the most efficient kitchen layout is one where the cooktop, sink, and refrigerator form a triangle shape, with no leg of the triangle being longer than 10 feet.
layoutsPhoto: Pinterest

A functional outdoor kitchen should consist of four key areas or zones. First, the hot zone, where you’ll put your grill, smoker, pizza oven, etc. Conversely, the cold zone, where your refrigerator, freezer, beverage centers, etc. will be. Ideally, these zones won’t be right next to each other. Having hot and cold elements next to each other will force those appliances to work harder to function properly, wasting energy and potentially shortening their lifespans. The wet zone is where the sinks, ice-makers, kegerators, dishwashers, etc. are in the space. This is the area that really upgrades an outdoor entertaining area into a fully functioning kitchen. Lastly, you will want prep space. Prep space is not only the counters where you prepare food, but also cabinets and storage options.

This kitchen clearly lays out the four different zones. You can see that the separation between hot, cold, and wet zones naturally creates the “kitchen triangle.”ou.jpgPhoto: Pinterest
Choosing the Proper Materials

There are certainly a few different factors to consider when deciding what materials to use for your outdoor kitchen. Durability has to be considered equally to the style that matches your home and design aesthetic. Natural stone is a great choice for your outdoor kitchen countertops. While not really an issue here in Tennessee, it’s important to note that some stones don’t hold up to the possible expansion that can come with freezing/thawing as well as others. If you live somewhere with more extreme conditions you should always check with your fabricator that the stone you choose will work outside.

This design seamlessly incorporates granite, wood, brick, and stainless steel.presoutPhoto: Prestige M & G

There are other factors to consider when choosing which stone to use. Granite is an extremely popular choice thanks to its overall durability. Granite easily stands up to both regular use and weather. It doesn’t stain, nor does it absorb odors. With granite it’s recommended that you choose mid-range to lighter colors, as darker stones will hold heat and can become hot to the touch under sun.

This granite is absolutely beautiful outside. It blends wonderfully with the landscaping, nearby pool/fountain, and stainless steel appliances. It’s light color ensures it won’t absorb too much heat, nor will it fade in the sun.granite-countertop-outdoor-1Photo: MGSI

Soapstone is another durable option. Although your color options are limited to shades of gray and black, soapstone is stain, heat, and bacteria resistant. Soapstone does scratch more easily than other types of stone, those scratches are fairly easy to repair though.

If you want a darker countertop, soapstone is a great option. It doesn’t hold heat the same way granite does and is still polished and durable.soapstonePhoto: Urban Kitchen Design

Marble is always a beautiful option but is considerably softer than other stones. While it will last a long time, weather will eventually cause noticeable wear. For this reason it isn’t recommended that you use polished marble outside. There are other stone options you can discuss with your fabricator. Concrete and tile are also sometimes used as outdoor countertops.

While planning for hot and cold zones is important, in some smaller spaces your options might be limited. Here, a two-drawer, outdoor refrigerator maximizes space for cold food and drink storage. The brick used in this design is a great insulator between the cold refrigerator and hot grill. The large soapstone countertops are a great choice for a rooftop kitchen with minimal protection from the elements.
small.jpgPhoto: Kalamazoo Gourmet

Whatever outdoor kitchen you can dream up,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

Tips for Choosing the Right Fabricator

fAll photos Prestige M & G

Countertop choice is a huge part of any home design or renovation process. Homeowners spend a lot of time deciding exactly which slab makes the perfect statement for their space.  Equally, if not even more important than choosing the right slab, is choosing the right fabricator. How is this possible?

The right fabricator will be able to help you choose the right material and slab for your needs. They will be able to explain proper maintenance to insure your counters stay beautiful. While this seems like an obvious part of the job, many fabricators simply don’t take the time or have the knowledge. Founded by Aaron Cook, Prestige Marble & Granite has over 15 years experience in fabricating the highest quality natural stone countertops, earning the company a fabulous reputation as the premier marble and granite business in the region.

aaron

There are several different things to consider when choosing your fabricator, some more obvious than others. Here are some important questions to ask to ensure you are completely happy with your final choice, and ultimately your countertops!

What kind of Certifications does the fabricator have?

An established and professional fabricator will be certified. It’s as simple as that. Fabrication and installation certification programs establish industry-wide standards for training and provide measurable proof of knowledge about both the process and products. Prestige Marble & Granite is a member of the Marble Institute of America, which is an instrumental force in setting the standards of quality for stone fabrication and installation. Prestige is also a member of the Home Builder’s Association of Middle Tennessee and the Stone Fabricators Alliance.

 

What options do they offer?

Countertops today are made from a wide range of different materials. Are you looking for something that will need to stand up to daily use or are you more interested in creating a specific look? An ideal fabricator will be able to help you choose the best option for your usage, budget, and aesthetic desire.  They will be experienced with multiple materials and offers a wide array of choices: granite, marble, quartz, etc. Also, it’s important to be aware of the fact that no two pieces of stone are exactly the same. For that reason its important to find out if you will be able to choose your actual slab, or have to make your decision based on a small sample.

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What kind of equipment do they use? And do they have in-house installation teams?

Top professional fabricators throughout the U.S. use the latest in digital stone cutting technology. This is important when simple mistakes can be costly, cause delays, and negatively affect the final look of your beautiful counters. At Prestige we use state-of-the-art CNC stone cutting machines, routers, and digital templating for quality fabrication and on-time delivery. With digital templating, we can account for the undulation of your wall and ensure the counters match up perfectly.  From your vision to computerized CAD drawing to installation of your countertop, your project will receive state-of-the-art craftsmanship and the attention to detail it deserves. We also never use subcontractors and invite you to come see how we operate anytime!

This is our CNC saw, the GMM Intra. The Intra allows us to either program on the floor or import a CAD drawing. The Intra can cut parallel, perpendicular and diagonal arcs and circumferences. This machine allows Prestige to cut a wide range of materials quickly and with absolute precision.
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The Luna 740S is an automatic edge polisher which has been specifically designed to produce straight, slanted , bullnose, and a variety of other edges. This machine is capable of profiling  granite, marble, and engineered stones quickly and efficiently.
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The fact that we at Prestige are completely involved in the entire process, from design to fabrication to installation, helps ensure your counter tops turn out exactly as you imagine.

 

Do they provide references? Can you see examples of their finished projects?

A reputable fabricator will be able to provide references of recent projects. If you can visit one of their job sites and/or showroom, that’s also highly recommended. This allows you to ensure the quality of their finished work meets your standards. This requires a bit of extra research and work on your part, but will absolutely help provide peace of mind about such a big investment into your home.

Do they provide a warranty on their work?

When making any kind of large purchase it’s nice to know the company you are working with will stand behind their work. At Prestige we offer a lifetime warranty on all stone and sinks. We are passionate about making your installation a success and are dedicated to the level of customer service required to ensure your happiness for the lifetime of your counters. Prestige’s commitment to customer satisfaction has earned us an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

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Whatever project you can dream up,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design, fabrication, and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom and bring their ideas and questions with them anytime!

 

Less Granite Garbage: Tips for Using Scrap Stone Throughout your Home

It’s nearly impossible to create the beautiful, custom granite looks you’ve become accustomed to from Prestige without also creating a lot of granite scraps. Scrap granite, or remnants, refers to the small pieces left over after cutting the slabs that will eventually be used for your project. Industry experts estimate that about 30 percent of granite purchased is never used. Instead of filling landfills with this waste, why not try repurposing it for different projects throughout your home?

scrapGranite Remnants at Prestige

Remnants can obviously be used on vanities and smaller jobs, but we’re thinking a little more outside the box. There are so many different home improvement projects where you can use granite scraps. The possibilities are really limited only by your imagination!

A lazy susan that matches your countertop is a great way to use leftover materials. Obviously, this can be done with any scrap and doesn’t have to be the same as your counters if you’d rather mix it up a bit. granitegranniesPhoto: Granite Grannies
Granite remnants make great shelving. They can be completely customized to fit any space, and its a great way to  tie different areas together.graniteshelves.jpgPhoto: Pinterest
 You can put a piece of granite on almost any type of existing furniture to create an amazing one of a kind look. This is also a great option for saving that old piece with the worn top you don’t want to get rid of but aren’t sure what to do with.justfinetablesPhoto: Just Fine Tables
Granite’s natural durability makes it a great choice for outdoor furniture.
bhg.jpgPhoto: Better Homes & Gardens
You can get really crafty with it and create an entirely new table if that’s your style. Here someone put a piece of round cut granite on top of an old wine barrel to make a beautiful high top table that would be perfect for a smaller space.
foterPhoto: Foter
 Using granite remnants is an extremely cost effective way to create an impressive outdoor fountain.
fountain1Photo: Pinterest
Your water feature doesn’t have to be large to make a big statement. A smaller fountain makes a beautiful addition to any size garden or green space. This could also easily be recreated to add a tranquil touch indoors.
fountainPhoto: Charleston Gardens
This handmade, mobile bbq grill made from granite remnants and wood is definitely one of the most innovative ideas we’ve seen yet. Go here to see the step-by-step process for this awesome DIY project.grill.jpgPhoto: Dwell

Whatever project you can dream up,  Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes at Prestige: A look at Current Inventory

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Here at Prestige Marble & Granite, we’re proud to offer the best and most beautiful natural stones available for any of your design projects. We search the world for the best quality stone, with the most attractive coloration and patterning. From classic colors to the exotic and rare, we’re able to offer our customers vast selections to suit any decorating style, personal taste, and budget. Here’s a look at some of our latest acquisitions.

Keep in mind that its nearly impossible for a picture to capture the true colors and beauty of the stones, and patterns within a color will vary from slab to slab. We always invite you to visit our showroom to view these unique stones up close and in person!

Alaskan White Granite

Alaskan White is a blend of silvery grays and icy whites. It’s a truly beautiful piece of stone with small sparkling flecks. Look closely at the second picture to see the shimmer detail more clearly.

alaskanwhitealaskan1


Calacatta Borghini Quartz

Calacatta is a stunning white quartz with gray veining throughout.  One of the benefits of quartz is that its non-porous surface is resistant to staining, guaranteeing your white stays white.

calacattaborghiniquartz

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Ganashe Granite

Ganashe is an amazing gray granite full of creams, taupe, and black throughout. The exquisite blend of cool tones gives the stone depth while deposits of mineral mica create small areas of shimmer.

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White Vegas Granite

White Vegas is a beautiful mix of warm tones of both brown and gray. This versatile stone is the perfect match for so many different color schemes and will complement virtually any design style.

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White Vienna

Quarried in Brazil, White Vienna is a gorgeous white and gray stone with beige and charcoal accents.  This is a bold granite, guaranteed to make a statement wherever you choose to use it.

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Taupe White Granite

It’s all in the name. This rock is a gorgeous combination of white and gray with undertones of brown and slight tinges of greens and purples. It somehow manages to be both classic and modern, elegant and easy.

taupewhite

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This is just a small sampling of what we currently have in house. We’d love to show you the full range of options  Prestige Marble & Granite  has to offer. Whatever your personal taste we are here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

How to Choose the Right Granite Countertop Color

PMG kitchen with Calacatta
Calacatta Gold Countertops from Prestige Marble & Granite

The availability of numerous granite colors in the current American market can make choosing a granite countertop color  difficult, even overwhelming. Because any natural stone, including granite, is an investment and ultimately a long-lasting decision, it’s important to get it right the first time. While selecting a granite color for a countertop is is a personal thing, you’ll want to coordinate your granite with the cabinets, floor color, and other aspects of your kitchen to achieve your desired result. Here are some guidance and great tips to help you select the right granite for your countertops.

Cabinet Color

We always encourage our customers to bring a cabinet sample when they visit our show room to select their granite. Even if that means temporarily removing a door, it’s well worth it. The ideal cabinet and granite coordination is a granite that contrasts with the cabinets, but with the natural speckles or veins having hues of the cabinet color. If you have two-tone cabinetry, selecting a suitable granite that goes well with the two different colors can pose a challenge. The basic principle is to select a granite that has hues of the both colors.

Other Kitchen Colors 

Making a good selection for countertops requires an eye for detail.  In addition to cabinet samples, you will want to bring samples of wall paint, flooring and kitchen appliances to the showroom. (If samples aren’t available, take pictures in good, natural lighting.) Place your  samples on or around the granite to get a good idea of what different  color combinations look like.

Kitchen Lighting

Don’t forget the kitchen’s lighting when choosing granite colors! If your kitchen has little or no natural light, select granite that has a significant amount of white or gold, or lots of light-reflecting crystals. Dark colors like deep blue and black look best in areas that receive substantial light. Think about using layers of lighting and including Track and pendant lighting, as well as under-cabinet lighting to enhance the beauty of the stone. To learn more about kitchen lighting to best show off your countertops, click here. 

Kitchen Size

Be sure to consider the size of your kitchen when choosing granite colors. In general, smaller kitchens will look larger with lighter colored countertops. But dark-colored granite with lots of lighter colored veins can offer a stunningly beautiful result in small kitchens, too. This where you have to really pay attention to your lighting.

Can’t Decide?

At the end of the day, if you’re torn between two granite colors, consider using both!  Selecting a lighter color for an island and a darker tone for the surrounding cabinets creates a beautiful contrast. Your kitchen will pop even more with contrasting granite colors that perfectly compliment cabinetry that’s also in two different colors.

 

 

 

What Affects Granite Countertop Prices?

 

Fusion Granite from Brazil
Gorgeous Fusion granite from Brazil is exotic and rare.

All granite is gorgeous, but not all granite costs the same. This is because, while all granite slabs are inherently beautiful in their own way, they are not all the same. There are several factors that will affect the price. Here’s a look at them.

Granite Slab Size

The size of the slab will always affect the cost. Larger pieces are more desirable for a couple of reasons. It’s best to avoid seams in your countertop when possible because they tend to more visible with granite. From an aesthetic point of view, one large piece without a seam will always look better than two or more smaller pieces. Also, one piece cut from a slab will be more uniform in color and veining than pieces cut from several slabs. Single large countertop pieces have to be cut from large slabs, which are naturally more expensive. Large pieces of granite are also more difficult to install, adding to the installation cost.

Granite Grade

Grade refers to the structural quality of the stone. Slabs with fewer imperfections and defects, like pits and fissures, will be assigned a higher grade. There are no internationally accepted standards that exist, however. The levels and grades for granite are determined by each individual wholesaler, therefore, it’s important to purchase your granite from a well-established, knowledgeable and respected dealer.

Color & Rarity

The  factor that affects the price of granite the most is color and supply and demand. The relative rarity of some granite colors and hues may make them more expensive. But even more importantly, demand will really affect how much the granite will cost. Some rather exotic or rare colors are more expensive in areas where demand for that particular color is high. So in many respects, the price of granite is greatly affected by how popular a color is in a given area at a given time.

Other Factors

Other factors that affect the price of your granite countertops are the number of cutouts that have to be done and any upgraded edges you choose (click here to learn about some of the edges available).

Just because a slab of granite isn’t considered rare or exotic, or isn’t in low supply due to high demand, doesn’t mean it can’t make an attractive countertop in your kitchen. But keep in mind that you are likely to live with your granite countertops for many years to come, and  you’ll be most satisfied with your purchase in the years ahead if you spend a bit more to get the type, color and look you really want.

While we offer a large array of beautiful natural stones to fit all budgets, we specialize in unique, hard-to-find countertop material. We source the most extraordinary, rare, and exotic marble and granite slabs that will enhance your space with a distinctive, one-of-a-kind look. Here in our indoor showroom, you’ll find one of the most extensive selections of the highest quality, designer-grade natural stones available in Middle Tennessee.