Calacatta Marble Kitchen Countertop

Granite, Quartz & Marble Concepts For Your Home

4 TIPS WHEN SHOPPING FOR A KITCHEN OR BATHROOM COUNTERTOP

Posted by Nelson Wong on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 11:17 AM

You’ve decided that your kitchen and bathrooms are ready to be revitalized. You have an idea of the style and colour for your kitchen or bathroom and now you’re ready to begin your shopping.  What are the key things, that an informed shopper must be prepared with, to make their buying a smooth experience?

kitchen renovation

1. Determine the right surface material to meet your lifestyle and budgetary needs

 We’re going to presume that you’ve done your homework, surfing the web, and found the right material for your home project, from the low maintenance and inexpensive laminates to the high-end granite, quartz and marble stones.  Let’s assume that you think, quartz, best fits your needs because it looks like natural stone without the deficiencies found in granite or marble. Quartz products are brilliant for busy individuals who do not have time to worry about spills and other messes on the countertop. Unlike its granite counterpart, quartz never needs sealing and almost any household cleaner is appropriate for wiping down stains. Granite is best suited for individuals that consider their countertop a kind of home "show piece". Considered a high maintenance surface, spills must be wiped up right away and a granite cleaner is recommended for daily upkeep. 

 Through research, you’ve become acquainted with well-known brands like Viatera, Caesarstone and Silestone, for quartz countertops, and that prices may vary between $80 and $150 per square foot, depending on the quality and detail work.  The first thing you notice is that prices are based on square footage.  This means you must know the “square footage” of your project in order to get an accurate read of the estimates against your budget.

Formula: Square Footage of a countertop = “length” x “width” of the countertop

Kitchen sketched diagram.JPEG

In fact, you may want to make sure your linear footage measurements are converted into inches when you shop around for your estimates. A good idea would be to diagram your countertops with the exact dimensions to help eliminate the guess work in getting your estimates done quickly and accurately.

2. Things to keep in mind when seeking estimates

 When shopping around, another good idea would be to bring with you flooring samples, paint chips or cabinet colour to help select a countertop that works with your decor. By narrowing your countertop colour selection, your kitchen and bathroom dealer/designer will be able give a more accurate cost for the job you have in mind. 

Also, consider the material thickness of the countertop design for your home project. Prevailing industry standards had granite and quartz countertops made to be ¾” in thickness. It then follows, to make the ¾” thick countertop edge to be laminated to have a 1 ½” edge profile. Why this size of edge? This size was perfect for framed cabinets since that thickness edge can cover the gap between the top of the cabinet and the cabinet door. Even as cabinets became frameless, the 1 ½” edging is still considered a popular size.

Edge Profiles

 

 

 waterfall edge countertopThe trends, over the last few years, had thick counter tops made with 2” to 3” mitred edgings. The "waterfall" style edge, gives a dramatic look, by flowing down the side of the cabinets to the floor to create a thick side panel.

As you shop, you may become overwhelmed with the various options available for your counter top. By having the basics, the countertop measurements, your home decor samples and diagrams of kitchen or bathroom lay-out; you’re better equipped to deal with the leg work of getting an estimate done a lot easier and quicker.

3. Think about the sink

You’ve planned for new counter topsBlanco Silgranit Sink but have you thought about adding a new sink to the kitchen or bathroom design? Sinks not only accents the new look of your kitchen but it happens to be a focal point for your day-to-day activity at home. Initially, you may struggle with the decision to do it all at once, but consider the savings on the extra time and costs, by not having to search for a new sink and then finding a plumber to install your afterthought. Some of the popular brand names include Blanco, Kindred and Kohler. 

 

4. Making the installation process a smooth and easy operation

You’ve completed the leg work of getting your estimates and now you’re ready to choose the countertop company who will make your project a reality. By and large, you can expect to get your table made within two to three weeks, from the time the countertop company send its templators to measure your kitchen or bathroom. By industry standards, a one week (seven business days) turn-around time is considered excellent. There are a couple things that you can do to make this happen. 

 

 

 

 

 

There are two scheduled engagements that you will be needed to be available for, the first is the templating appointment and the second will be for the actual countertop installation.

The first appointment is important because it starts the production process. When the templators arrive at your home, make sure all the cabinetry are secured and installed in their final location.  The templators will create digital blue print of your kitchen or bathroom. These are exact measurements that will require having your appliances and sinking to be present on site to be factored into the final dimensions of the countertops. Basically, if it affects the countertop, the templator will want to know about it. This initial meeting most likely involves a six hour window which factors in arrival time to the completion of the task.

The second meeting will be the installation of your countertops and is the “home stretch” to the completion of your revitalization project. This appointment may require you to be at home for the entire day but consider this a small investment in time for a beautiful kitchen that will add enjoyment, value and longevity to your home.

Ultimately, the more information you have at your finger tips, the less time you will spend on the little nitty gritty, and the better your shopping experience becomes. 

Topics: counter tops, Caesarstone, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, quartz countertop prices, counter top, Countertops, Kitchen Renovation, Kitchen Sinks, Kitchen Sink, how long to make a countertop, Counter top thickness, Quartz, bathroom design; Installing; installation; install

3 Money Saving Ideas for you Kitchen Renovation

Posted by Bob Gilson on Wed, Oct 03, 2012 @ 07:32 PM

Tip 1: Keep It Simple!

The kitchen pictured below looks amazing and I know the homeowners love it. However how much did it cost? How could they have saved money on this beautiful design?

First off, look closely and you will see that the customer picked an expensive edge profile.  A square polished or eased edge profile isn't considered an upgrade at Latitude whereas the edge profile in the picture costs $45 per linear ft.  If you have 30 feet of edge, that beautiful scuplted edge profile just added $$1,350 to the cost of your counter top. 

Don't get me wrong, if you like the edge profile and you can afford it, go for it.  I did and I love how it looks in our kitchen.  However, if you are looking to save money, then stick to a square polished or beveled edge.

 

Granite countertop tips

 Tip 2: Size and Shape Does Matter!

Different materials come in different sizes.  Some products are only available in 120" X 56" whereas other products are available in "Jumbo" slabs 130" X 63". 

When we cut your counter top, we lay the counter top pieces out to get the best yield from the slabs.  If you picked a directional granite (a granite colour with lots of movement and veins) then we need to try and book match your counter top wherever two pieces meet.  This can lead to a lot of waste which you will be paying for. 

That beautiful arc on the island in the kitchen above looks great but is expensive to fabricate and also creates additional waste.

If you have a large island or want fewer seams, then an extra man charge to install that large heavy piece in your home.  Extra man charges start at $200 and up depending upon the installation.

Your counter top is priced by the square foot. If you stick to rectangular pieces as much as possible, then you will save material and money.  If you have the budget and you want the look of flowing curved lines, then definitely do it. We can create any curve you want.

Tip 3: Avoid Exotic Granite and Marble

Now this is a really tough piece of advice for a counter top fabricator to give you.  Why? Because we make so much money on these counter tops!  Boy oh boy, our accountant just loves it when you buy exotic granites and marbles.  

Exotic granite and marble are like a piece of art.  Exotic granite is truely a work of nature at its finest! No man made product can come even close to matching the work of mother nature.

However, fabricating these materials is difficult.  They are usually soft and brittle.  Exotic granite counter tops can easily break in the manufacturing process or in installation. Every manufacturer in the world has a whole yard full of beautiful pieces that broke. Now that's great if you are after a remnant piece.  (My wife found a beautiful piece of Cosmos 9' long hidden amongst our remnant pieces.  It now sits in our ensuite bathroom and we love it.)  However, it is unlikely that you're going to find enough material for a standard kitchen.

Because of manufacturing and installation problems, every fabricator increases their profit margins and their waste factors when calculating the price of your counter top when you select an exotic or difficult to work with material. In fact, we won't even manufacture some extremely high end products.  Instead, we will refer you to an artisan who specializes in fabricating exotic granite or marble counter tops.

If you are on a tight budget, then these high end materials aren't for you.

There it is! My top three tips for saving money on granite counter tops!

If you are looking for more information on planning and designing you kitchen, I suggest you visit Kitchen Design Tips for some great planning advice and more on Granite Counter Top Pricing or you can visit one of our dealers located across Ontario.

Topics: counter tops, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, quartz countertop prices, granite countertop, Granite counter top prices, how to save on granite granite counter top costs, estimating kitchen renovation costs, estimating the cost of a granite countertop, granite countertop installation, Granite Kitchen Countertops, how to estimate the cost of a granite countertop, Caesarstone countertop prices, granite countertop prices

Now the Look of Calacatta Marble with the Durability of Quartz

Posted by Bob Gilson on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 @ 10:20 AM

Calacatta Marble looks great in a new kitchen.  Unfortuantely, like most marbles, it is a soft material prone to chipping, staining and etching.  Within a year of installtion, most Calacatta Marble kitchens look well used and abused.  As a result, homeowners are advised to avoid Calacatta Marble countertops in their kitchens and this stunning marble has been relegated to bathrooms.

For all you Calacatta Marble lovers, here is a new kitchen design tip!

Diamastone has just introduced a new product, Nature Calacatta that is a stunning replica of Calacatta Marble.  Nature Calacatta is a man made quartz material that resists chipping, staining and etching.  Like all quartz materials it is durable and maintenance free.

Marble is a counter fabricator's nightmare.  Even though we use special diamond marble blades to cut the material and handle the material with extreme care, we inevitably end up with breakage either in the shop, transportation or installation.  When fabrication or installation breakage happens, we are then left trying to match the marble from differnet slabs in the same block or a new block.  It's never a happy story for the designer, the fabricator or the home owner.

Recently we had the opportunity to make a counter top from Diamastone's Nature Calacatta quartz.  Wow, what a dream material.  Not only was it easy to work with, it was a dead ringer for calacatta marble!

We left a sample of the Diamastone Nature Calacatta on our Calacatta Marble table in our showroom for everyone to see.  Over the course of two weeks we had marble distributors, designers, sales people and home owners all mistaked the sample piece for the same Calacatta Marble material used for our showroom table. (Just for the record, our showroom table has coffee stains, etching, chips and cracks in it but we love it anyways.  If someone from Diamastone is reading this blog, we would love a sample piece so we can replace our table top.)

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Topics: Granite, marble, marble, counter tops, counter top, Countertops, Kitchen Renovation, Quartz, Kitchen design tips, Marble vs Quartz, Aqua Bianca Marble, marble vanity, marble countertop, granite vs marble, Calacatta Marble

Leathered, Honed, Volcano Finishes with Granite/Quartz

Posted by Jonathan Wheller on Mon, May 30, 2011 @ 11:28 AM

Over the last few years, many different finishing options have come to market for granite and quartz countertops.  Before these last few years, we had only been able to see Granite and Quartz in polished finishes. Now that the industry has grown and quartz and granite are hugely popular in modern design, we are beginning to see a variety of available finishes for stone countertops. 

 

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Leathered and honed finishes are often related to each other, but do have specific differences between the two.  Honed finishes were first introduced to give stone a softer look compared to that of polished stone.  One of the only problems to consider with using a honed finish is that it can affect the overall performance of the stone when it comes to staining.  Leathered finishes have advanced the honed look to allow for better performance.  Leathering closes the stone pores, which make it much more difficult to stain than a honed finished.  Leathering also retains the natural stone colour while honed finishing tends to cloud out the natural colour of the stone.

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Silestone has been offering quartz countertop colours in a leathered finish for a nearly five years.  Coming very soon, Silestone will introduce a new texture to the market that has not yet been approached:  Volcano.  This new Volcano texture is said to give the feel of an orange peel, while continuing to offer the same performance standards as their leathered and polished finishes.  Silestone expects to release this finish, along with a variety of new and exciting colours this summer. Silestone is able to offer their remarkable 15 year warranty with these new finishes as well.

finished piece leather silestone resized 600

If you are interested in learning more about leathered, honed, or Volcano finishes to your granite or quartz products, please visit Latitude Countertops or speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly sales team members. 

Topics: Granite, slabs, Silestone, bathroom design, bathroom ideas, Toronto, counter tops, counter tops, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, counter top, Countertops, Countertops, Kitchen Renovation, Quartz, Quartz, Cleaning granite counter top, difference between granite and quartz, kitchen countertop, Kitchen Countertops, Natural Stone, Granite countertops, kitchen design, Granite Kitchen Countertops, Cleaning granite, Granite Kitchen Countertop, Staining, care for Granite, cleaning quartz counter top, unique granite, Granite vs Quartz, Stone, Stone Fabricator, Natural Stone Fabricator

One Bowl or Two? And we’re not talking about Pasta

Posted by Karen Yuen on Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 05:32 PM

Because if we were, the answer for me is always 2. Mmmmmmm, Pasta. 

But since we are talking about sink bowls, the answer is a little more involved.  Most commonly, we see single or double bowl sinks.  There are some 3 bowl sinks available, but the selection is relatively small.

There are many reasons why someone would select one type over another:

ONE BOWL: They are usually larger sinks that fits large pots and baking sheets.

TWO BOWLS: If someone would like to install a garbage disposal, it might be nice to have a little bowl dedicated to that in addition to a large bowl. Some people like to put the dish drainer directly into a bowl and use the other bowl for washing dishes. My mom like 2 bowls because one is for washing with dish detergent and the second one is for rinsing.

THREE BOWLS: People may want to dedicate one small bowl to garbage disposal, and have two large bowls, one for accumulating dirty dishes and one for prepping food, which would come in handy for large dinner parties.

If we are looking at current design trends, Single bowls are the way to go.  Large rectangular ones like Blanco’s Precision U Maxi are very design forward.  This look is in line with the clean, minimalistic trend seen in today’s kitchen and bath designs. Appliances are hidden, Countertop thickness (see my blog on What’s “In” in Counter Top Thicknesses), handles, etc. are minimized and now, so is the look of the sink.  

precision maxi U 1

Blanco Precision Maxi U 1 Stainless Steel Sink

 

In the end, It comes down to functionality and how you like to wash your dishes.  Do you have a dishwasher and like a large single bowl to wash the pots that you can’t put in the dishwasher? Are you the type, like my mom that likes to have one bowl for washing and one for rinsing?  Some people believe that they tend let dishes pile up if they have double bowl sinks since they still have a bowl to use and a single bowl sink forces them to wash the dishes every day. The one or two sink decision also depends on a lot of what you are used to.  When I went from a double sink to a single sink kitchen, I had to almost relearn how to wash dishes.  Then going back to a double sink, I found that I was only using one sink, and still used a bowl of soapy water on the counter top.  Now, since I have experience in both single and double bowl sinks, I would make the choice according to functionality and look.  Do you have a lot pot and pans? Do you bake a lot? Do you have a dishwasher?  I bake a lot, and hate washing cooking sheets in double bowl sinks.  I also have a big slow cooker and when I have to immerse in water, I can’t do it in a sink.  So for look and functionality, I would go for something like the Blanco Radius 10 U Maxi.  It’s big, stylish and the corners of the sink are rounded for easy cleaning.  Food would tend to get caught in tight corners.

400469 glam

Blanco Radius 10 U Maxi

Topics: counter tops, Kitchen Sinks, Kitchen Sink, kitchen design

What’s “in”, in Counter top thicknesses?

Posted by Karen Yuen on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 @ 11:03 AM

For many years, ¾” Granite and quartz was the go to thickness for counter tops.  Many times, especially in kitchens, the edge is laminated to a 1 ½” edge. This size edge is perfect for framed cabinets since that thickness edge can cover the gap between the top of the cabinet and the cabinet door.  Even as cabinets became frameless, 1 ½” edging is still popular.  But what about people on the cutting edge? What thickness counter tops are they interested in?  For the last few years, thick counter tops with 2 – 3” mitred edges was the story. On islands, the thick edge and material would also go down the side of the cabinets to the floor to create a thick side panel. This gave the counter top a thick and substantial look.  This is still very popular in North America.

describe the image

www.caesarstone.ca

 

In Europe the emerging trend is to go with super skinny counter tops – 1 cm thickness material. This look is sleek and modern.  It goes along with the whole integrated kitchen/home idea that is so popular right now.  Appliances are built to be hidden from plain view or its appearance as muted as possible. Likewise, counter tops are becoming more subtle in terms of material thickness.  Latitude currently has various 1CM quartz material in stock and acrylics such as Corian and Staron come in 1CM  only (traditionally, Corian and Staron edges are built up to that thicker looking edge).  It is a new look that will definitely make its way to North America.

Thin 1 resized 600

www.boffi.com

I love the clean look of the thin counter top, but whether or not I would decided to go with that or another look would depend on the overall look of the house.  The styles in the home will have to work together.  Thinner counter tops would look better in smaller kitchens because they make the space seem bigger and as you can tell from the picture above, will look good in a larger space as well. Thick, 2” – 3” counter tops may  work better in a larger space will give it a more substantial look without compromising the clean and modern look of the space

 

Karen Yuen

Topics: counter tops, Caesarstone, Quartz Kitchen Countertops, counter top, Counter top thickness, Quartz, kitchen countertop

Silestone & Granite Vanities, Shower Walls

Posted by Bob Gilson on Sat, May 15, 2010 @ 08:30 AM

Friends, rennovating their bathroom, came to our Toronto showroom last week.

We chatted about design options and I showed them our factory with our extensive remnant inventory of granite, silestone and caesarstone.

We discussed the use of Silestone slabs on the shower walls.  Silestone has microban technology which inhibits the growth of mold and mildew and odor causing bacteria.  It's a great product to use, particularly in a shower or as a bathroom countertop.  In addition, the use of granite or quartz for shower walls and backsplashes eliminates or minimizes the need for grout.  Cleaning becomes dream work!  

When I showed them pictures of large slabs of granite or Silestone on fireplaces and quartz shower walls, that was all it took.  They were impressed with the beauty of the large pieces and immediately decided to have their bathroom finished this way. It really does show off the beauty of quartz or granite.

In addition to picking silestone for the shower, they chose granite for a seat and a shelf in the shower.  Mixing these two materials can produce a very unique and appealing result. All of the materials came from our remnant inventory at incredible savings. 

The whole project will be completed in a few weeks and I'll have pictures to share when the project is done. 

If anyone has used large pieces of granite, silestone or caesarstone in a project please share with us pictures of your project.  Of course, if someone has other unique design ideas that they would like to share with us, we greatly appreciate it.

Topics: Granite, Silestone, vanity, bathroom design, Shower walls, bathroom ideas, Toronto, counter tops, Quartz

Granite Shower Walls & Vanities

Posted by Bob Gilson on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 @ 03:24 PM

Granite or Quartz slabs for shower walls and vanities gives your bathroom a unique and stunning look. 

Granite and quartz really lets your personalize the look of your bathroom.  You can be as unique or exotic as you like.  It really depends on the material you chose.  

Best of all, slabs eliminate grout lines and if you are using Silestone with Microban, it will be mildew and mold resistant also! 

At Latitude we are seeing more and more designers choosing quartz or granite slabs over tile.  Designers are finding that the slabs are cost competitive with tiles while offering an individual look to their customers

Topics: Granite, slabs, Silestone, vanity, Bianca Carrara, bathroom design, Shower walls, bathroom ideas, counter tops, Quartz

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