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!

 

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.

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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.

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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!

All About Limestone

Heartwood Kitchens - #2
Detail of a limestone countertop. Photo by Quality Custom Cabinetry, Inc 

Limestone is first and foremost a sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rocks are formed by sediment that is deposited over time, usually as layers at the bottom of lakes and oceans. This sediment can include minerals, small pieces of plants and other organic matter. Sedimentary rocks are deposited in layers as strata, forming a structure called bedding.

Limestones are composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams (single-celled organisms with shells), and molluscs. The main minerals in limestone are calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. There are different kinds of limestone that are used for different purposes, but only the hardest and densest should be used for countertops. (When subjected to extreme heat and pressure over time, limestone becomes marble!)

As a sedimentary stone, limestone  is relatively soft and porous – to a degree. But not all limestone countertops are equally porous; some are extremely dense, and as such, liquids have a tough time penetrating.  To minimize staining, apply a sealer periodically; even if the limestone gets stained, you can almost always remove the stain by using oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean). Oxygen bleach won’t harm the stone and  will break apart the organic compounds that make up the foods and liquids that you commonly cook with (including red wine, grape juice, etc.). Like marble, limestone can be etched by acid, so don’t let mild acids such as vinegar or lemon juice sit for long periods of time. Limestone’s beautiful, almost creamy, appearance combined with thousands of tiny embedded fossils in it lead many to believe it is well worth the little bit of extra effort.

Here’s a look at some beautiful limestone countertops for your inspiration!

Richards Drive 1
Hacienda Kitchen
Oceanfront
Historic Master Bath Remodel (West Chester, PA)
Lake Residence
Bathroom
Hacienda Kitchen

 

It requires great skill to install limestone countertops, and you only get one chance to do it correctly. Make sure you hire a skilled fabricator experienced in limestone.

 

To see even more beautiful limestone countertops, click over to our Pinterest board!

 

Prestige Marble and Granite offers quality limestone, in addition to many other beautiful stone varieties. Whatever stone you choose, rest assured our experienced fabricators can handle the job!
 

What is a Vein-Cut Stone Slab?

 

Sequoia vein cut granite

There’s nothing like vein-cut stone to give a soothing, zen-like ambience to an interior. Flowing, linear striations give a sense of effortless, ongoing flow, like the currents in a river or the undulations of the ocean waves. The look is very popular and used with many design styles, but what exactly is a “vein cut” slab?

Vein-Cutting Explained

Stones that will eventually become your countertops are originally cut from the quarry in the form of a massive block. Veins of minerals run through the block of stone. These mineral veins (each of a unique color and texture) run through the block of stone and will give the future countertops their pattern and character. The character is inherent in the stone itself, but the pattern is determined by what direction the stone block is sliced.

In the vein-cut process, the block of stone is cut along the grain, which will show the layers of sediments and horizontal veining. In contrast to vein-cutting, isthe cross-cut process, in which the slabs are cut across the grain. This is also referred to as a “fleuri” cut because it reveals a flowery, more circular vein pattern, instead of the striped pattern of the vein-cut stone.

Whether you’re going for a traditional, classical look or a sleek, contemporary design, there’s just no substitute for the beautiful banded look of vein-cut natural stone!

When it comes to your countertops, 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!

 

All About Soapstone

Fantasy Soapstone from Brazil is a beautiful, soft blue-gray with dramatic quartz veining.

Do you remember your high school chemistry class? If so, you might recall the black countertops the Bunsen burners sat on. Those countertops are made of soapstone, a metamorphic rock that consists of talc, steatite, magnesite, quartz, and other magnesium rich minerals. Soapstone is the countertop material of choice for chemistry classes because its chemically inert composition and high density make it impervious to stains and bacteria. The qualities that make soapstone a good choice for chemistry classes are the same qualities that make it good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Physical Characteristics of Soapstone

The talc found in soapstone is soft to the touch, lending a smooth feeling of  dry soap, which is how soapstone got its name. The colors of soapstone are typically medium gray and can have a greenish cast or bluish cast (the greener the slab, the softer it is, so seek out slabs with less of a green cast if you want a harder slab). Soapstone slabs can contain pronounced veining, which is produced by quartz in the stone.

Qualities of Soapstone

Durability is one of soapstone’s top features. It’s unaffected by heat (it was often used for wood-burning stoves from the 1800s that are still functioning today) so you can place your hot pans and pots directly on the surface with no risk.

Unlike granite, marble, and quartzite, soapstone is not porous. This means that you can put raw foods on the countertop without worrying about bacteria growth. It never needs sealing and cannot be stained.

The talc content is what makes soapstone softer than some other stones, which leads to edges and corners being eased over time. Nicks and scratches may accumulate, but they can be easily rubbed or sanded out or considered part of its patina.

Caring for Soapstone

Soap and water is all you need. Because of its extreme density, soapstone is naturally resistant to bacteria and germs. Use a bit of mild, pH balanced, clear dish soap when you want a heavier clean than just water. As with marble and granite, do not use any acidic or heavy duty cleaners on your soapstone.

Many homeowners like to oil or wax their soapstone once or twice a year. This keeps the color more vibrant and will bring out a charcoal to black color. This is an optional treatment. If you don’t treat your soapstone, it will develop a beautiful patina over the years.

Little white scratches on your soapstone countertops can usually just be wiped away with your hand or a bit of mineral oil. If you really cut hard with a knife, or accidentally drop something heavy onto the stone, you may get a nick or scratch that can’t be wiped away with water or oil. In that case, the scratch can be sanded out. Use three sandpaper pads (60, 100, and 220 grit), and lightly sand the spot in a circular motion with each, starting with the lowest grit. Then wipe off any dust and use mineral oil or water to restore the color. It’s that easy.

The ageless beauty of soapstone is at home in any design style and will be an asset to any project. Here’s a look at some beautiful uses of soapstone in kitchens and baths.

Chestnut Hill kitchen
updated kitchen
Crocus Hill Kitchen
Interior Paint Projects
Elk Ridge Lodge
SoHo NYC Loft Kitchen With Virginia Alberene Soapstone
San Francisco Edwardian Home
Northwest Guest Bathroom
Spa-Like Bathroom
To see even more beautiful soapstone countertops, click over to our Pinterest board! 
Prestige Marble and Granite offers quality sopastone, in addition to many other beautiful stone varieties. Whatever stone you choose, rest assured our experienced fabricators can handle the job!

Wondrous Waterfalls

Waterfall countertops have been rising in popularity recently, and we have to admit we love them (when they are installed properly!). A waterfall countertop ‘falls’ off the edge of a set of cabinets, creating the appearance of a continuous surface that blends from the top surface down the side. While the look is mostly a style choice, there are actually some practical reasons for installing them.

Prevents Scratches and Dings
End panels on typical wood islands and cabinets are usually high located in traffic areas, making them susceptible to scuffs, scratches and dings. Natural stone sides will withstand the abuse, keeping your island and cabinets looking pretty and new.

Hidden Storage
The waterfall can be used to hide appliances or create hidden storage space for any number of items.

Protects Against Water Damage
Waterfall counters aren’t exclusive to the kitchen. They can be integrated on bathroom cabinetry to cover and protect against water damage and splashing.

What better way to create a gorgeous, yet practical focal point in your home than with a sleek waterfall countertop? And whatever your personal design preference –traditional, rustic, modern, European, or farmhouse – waterfalls offer a truly distinct accent to any space. Here’s a look at few of our favorites for inspiration.

Rye, NY Home
Kitchen + Bath Artisans
Los Angeles Hills Modern Kitchen
Santa Clara
Current Showhome - 39 Watermark Road
Hudson Loft, NYC
Bird Key Contemporary
Corona del Mar Ocean Front
Richard Lane
Parsons Green House
Kitchens...the heart of the home
New Potomac residence
Westchester, NY
Westchester Dream Home
Fisher & Paykel
Park Lane Residence

Get even more waterfall countertop inspiration our Pinterest board!

We hope you have enjoyed this look at waterfall countertops fashioned from a variety of naturals stones in a myriad of styles. If you’re thinking of taking the waterfall plunge, you can be assured that the natural stone pros at Prestige Marble & Granite have the knowledge and experience to fabricate and install perfectly mitered waterfalls with a seamless appearance. Come browse our Columbia showroom and see for yourself! 

 

Quartz vs Quartzite: What’s the Difference?

The terms quartz and quartzite can be confusing because they are often used interchangeably. While quartz and quartzite both contain the mineral quartz as a raw material source, the two stones are not the same. So what’s the difference?

Quartzite

Traditional Kitchen
Natural Quartzite
Quartzite is a common material formed in the crust of the earth. This natural stone originated as sandstone and was transformed into quartzite when the spaces between the sandstone were filled with the mineral quartz and then fused together under extreme heat and pressure.

Quartzite is very hard, but like marble, granite and other natural stones, it must be sealed for protection against wine, acidic foods, coffee or other common foods that can also etch or stain. As a natural material, quartzite will have variation, with each slab containing a unique spread of color and sparkle throughout. The most sought after quartzite originates in Brazil and India, with the difference in price for the material reflected by availability and location.

Quartzite is typically more expensive than the engineered stone, and it’s more difficult to work with, so make sure the fabricator that you are working with has experience with Quartzite.

Quartz

Orlando, FL Renovation
Engineered Quartz – Photo by Wolfe Rizor Interiors 

Quartz is an engineered stone, a combination of nature and technology. Resins, polymers, and sometimes pigments or even pieces of glass, are added to crushed quartz to result in a sparkling stone well suited for countertops. This composition material tends to be a bit stronger than quartzite and is not likely to etch. It can also withstand high temperatures, up to about 300 degrees F.

Because quartz is manmade, the color and sparkle will be will be more uniform; quartzite has a more natural look when compared side by side to quartz.

While quartz and quartzite are not the same, both are beautiful and durable. Natural beauty or manufactured consistency? It’s up to you!

Prestige Marble and Granite offers both Quartz and Quartzite, in addition to many other beautiful stone varieties. Whatever stone you choose, rest assured our experienced fabricators can handle the job!