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Italian Marble and Granite

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How to Protect Your Countertops During the Holidays

The holiday season really can be “the most wonderful time of the year,” with family and friends getting together to celebrate. However, with the holidays quickly approaching, it is easy to forget about the care and maintenance required for your countertops.

Here are five tips to protect your countertops, whether you have granite, marble or quartz, during the holidays:

1. Use Coasters. Adding a second layer of protection between liquids and your countertops is always a great way to ensure your countertops stay intact not only during the holiday season, but over the years as well. (Coasters can also be helpful in remembering whose drink is whose.)

2. Wipe Up Spills. When having family and friends over during the holiday season, spills are just about inevitable. When there is a spill, it’s important to wipe it up as soon as you can to make sure the liquid doesn’t penetrate the stone. Wiping spills up quickly is the best way to avoid staining, which can happen with any surface.

3. Use Trivets or Hot Pads. It is extremely important to be mindful of heat when placing pots and pans on your countertops. Although natural stones like granite and marble can absorb heat, we still recommend using trivets to create another level of protection. For those with quartz countertops, using a trivet is crucial to keeping your countertops intact because the heat from pots and pans can burn the surface.

4. Use a Cutting Board. This is another simple tip that can make a huge difference when followed during the holidays and beyond. Cutting boards protect your countertops by preventing scratches from your knives when preparing food for the holidays. Also, using a cutting board not only helps preserve your countertops, but also helps preserve your knives too.

5. Use Stone Cleaner. When all the gifts have been unwrapped and the celebrations are winding down, it is important to use a granite/stone cleaner to make sure you’re giving your countertops a deep clean. This is a great way to ensure that residue and liquids do not stay on your countertops. The cleaners that we recommend can be found at Miracle Sealant Company’s wesbite ( https://miraclesealants.com/ ).

We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season with their friends and family!

Dishwashers and Solid Surfaces

Over the years the way dishwashers are attached has changed.  This is primarily due to the fact that many of the counters people are having installed are granite, quartz, or marble.  When formica tops are installed the dishwashers can be attached directly to the  formica tops, by being screwed in.  With granite, quartz, and marble this cannot be done.  Therefore many of the dishwasher companies are making their dishwashers side mountable.  If you have a relatively new dishwasher it probably has to the ability to be attached to the side of your cabinet.  If you dishwasher is older, or in the rare occasion not side-mountable then we can attached a metal strip under the surface and the clips can be attached to it.

The easiest way to determine if your dishwasher has the ability to be side mounted is to look at the installation manual.  It should give you two different options, and one will explain how to attach it to the cabinet rather than the counter.    Below is an example of how a dishwasher can be attached to the side of a cabinet.

side mount instruction

Patio Season in Buffalo

Patio Season in Buffalo

Outdoor patio with SmartDesign Architecture

Outdoor patio with SmartDesign Architecture

Hopefully in Buffalo the weather will begin to change and all the snow will start to become sunshine. With this in mind many people are beginning to plan their outdoor patios, outdoor kitchens, and other outdoor living spaces. When making selections for your outdoor patios their are many things to keep in mind when determine what surfaces to use:
1) The type of stone. Many people like quartz, but for the most part you cannot use it outside. Quartz cannot be used with heat, such as a firepit, and it cannot be exposed to the outdoor elements like rain and sunshine. This is due to the fact that there is dye used to produce the stone and the elements can change the color of the stone. Granite and soapstone are the most recommended for the outside, soapstone being the best material. The soapstone can handle heat the best, where as some granite are too brittle for outdoor use. This is especially important in Buffalo. Buffalo experiences all four season therefore the stone will be expanding and contracting with the weather.
2) Color of the stone should also be taken into account. Black stones can be very HOT during the summer. Think about getting your car in the summer with a leather black interior. Your black granite can be like that outside. Therefore if using black stone make sure it is not in the direct sunlight.
3) Consult your granite sales person/fabricator about the integrity of the stone outside. As mentioned earlier some stones perform better outside than others. Granite with a lot of crystal is not ideal for the outdoors because of the expansion and contraction as mentioned earlier. Let your sales person and fabricator be a part of the conversation when picking the perfect outdoor stone.
4) The temperature outside matters when installing the stone. Certain epoxy and glues only work in certain temperatures. Unfortunately that can mean delaying an install by a day if the the temperature decides to drop below 50 degrees.
5) Lastly, start planning early! If you are thinking you want to use this new outdoor living space for memorial day weekend, make sure you shopping now.

Patio Season in Buffalo

Buffalo Home and Garden Show

home show
Recently Italian Marble and Granite had the privilege to work on the Buffalo Home and Garden Show with the Interior Design Association of Western New York. The Interior Design Association completed an entire 1000 square foot pre fabricated home that was staged on the second floor of the Buffalo Convention Center. The home was decorated beautifully by many of the designers and strategic partners of the Interior Design Association. The bedroom furnishings were supplied by Ethan Allen. The living room and dining room was completed by Kittinger Furniture. Italian Marble and Granite completed the kitchen with Creative Storage. The countertops were a white quartz from Q-Stone, a Quartz supplier. Creative Storage supplied white cabinets that were innovative and maximized the space and storage.

The Buffalo Home and Garden Show is a great way to get ideas for your home and see some of the latest trends. Make sure to check it out next year!

Patio Season in Buffalo

Antiqued Granite Countertops

There are many different natural stone finishes to use on your countertops.  They range from leathered (antiqued), honed, polished, and many more.  These finishes do not necessarily jeopardize the integrity of the granite countertops.  However, additional coats of sealer may need to be applied.  When a stone is leathered it creates a textured finish, which varies depending on the quartz structure of the stone.  Meaning that two different granites can have a leathered finish but one may have more texture than the other.

It is important to try and think of what “look” you are trying to achieve.  Some customers prefer the leathered finish when they are trying to achieve a more rustic or old feel in their kitchen.  Polished granite countertops and leathered granite countertops can bring two different looks.  The picture above shows a leathered granite countertop out of African Tapestry.  The granite countertop below is the same stone, but with a polished finish.  Both granites bring something different to the kitchen.  It is important to see that leathering the stone lightens it as well.

Marble Countertops: A Year Later

For those of you who are unsure of whether or not marble is the right choice for your kitchen, read this article!

It describes the different ups and downs this homeowner experienced during a year of heavy use of her marble countertops.

Many of our customers that come in wanting to install marble countertops are unaware of the traits of the stone, and what sort of things can happen to it. Marble can be stained, etched, and chipped, but this does not necessarily take away from the beauty of the stone.

In fact, some people want marble for this reason alone. They are excited to watch the marble countertops truly become their own.

This article describes this exact process, and speaks of the challenges and benefits of having marble countertops after a year of daily use.

Marble Countertops: A Year Later