Quartz vs. Granite: The Battle of the Countertop

Folks have weighed in on both sides of the equation claiming that quartz is better than granite or is it the other way around? It’s clear that for different people, the answer to this question is going to change based on their personal needs and wants for their individual kitchen countertops. Sioux Falls residents may find themselves caught in the middle of a heated debate on whether granite or quartz is the better material for kitchen countertops. Which side will you fall on?


As a Home Improvement: Advantage Granite


Quartz is a synthetic stone made up primarily of quartz and a synthetic resin that is used to bind it together. Much like laminate wood flooring, quartz can look like the real thing, but it’s not the real thing. Much like hardwood flooring granite will increase the value of your home, while quartz will not.


In Terms of Maintenance: Advantage Quartz


Synthetic quartz was designed by scientists to be a quality material that did not have the one pitfall that granite has. Granite is porous. That means it needs to sealed on yearly basis to prevent staining of the countertop or build-up in the pores of the granite. While quartz aficionados make a big deal out of this, granite is easy to seal. Still, the advantage here goes to quartz because it requires no maintenance.


In Terms of Durability: Draw


Both are incredibly hard stones and durable materials. They don’t chip easily and the won’t scratch up easily either. You’re more likely to ruin the edge of your knife than you are countertop made from either material.


In Terms of Versatility: Advantage Quartz


Since quartz is synthetic it’s a lot easier to dye or stain, which makes it quite versatile as an option, especially for those that gravitate toward stone. Granite comes in a number of different colors, textures, and graining patterns, and most homeowners aren’t going to have a problem finding a style that suits their needs exactly, but still the advantage goes to quartz.


In Terms of Cost: Advantage Granite


Granite starts cheaper than quartz but on the high end it can get more expensive. In terms of return on investment however, granite is second to none. It’s not as pricey as other natural stones, but is among the most durable.


In Terms of Aesthetic Quality: Advantage Granite


The caveat here is that newer quartz can be made to resemble granite, marble, or pretty much anything else. But it’s hard to say that the natural beauty crafted by Mother Nature isn’t as gorgeous as our man made attempts to emulate it. Nonetheless this is completely subjective and open for debate.


Is Granite is Still the Best for Kitchen Countertops?

With many modern home decor magazines saying that granite is on its way out and quartz is the new best thing, it begs the question as to why. Quartz has been around for years, and so has granite, but why suddenly would quartz be considered the top option for kitchen countertops when it had been relegated to second fiddle for so many years prior?

The answer to that question lies in the many methods that quartz is made to ape the very qualities that put granite at the forefront of the countertop industry for so many years. The texture of natural stone can’t be beat and this has much to do with the natural grainings and designs that are made by Mother Nature herself. Quartz now give the appearance of natural graining, and non-uniform coloration, the very things that drove people to granite in the first place. Quartz also runs about the same price as granite does.

But herein lies the rub. Quartz is an engineered synthetic stone that was built to be low maintenance. Insofar as it does not need to be resealed yearly to prevent staining or seeping into the porous surface, quartz does have one quality that granite does not have. On the same token, you can make the very same claim of plastic laminate, solid surface, or any of the other myriad of man made materials used to create kitchen countertops. So the question then becomes, why would any Sioux Falls resident pay around the same price for a countertop material that mimics granite, when they can get a similar custom countertop material that mimics granite for an even cheaper price?

The one major claim that quartz can make that granite can’t is that it’s lower maintenance because it’s synthetically made. Nonetheless, laminate flooring, now matter how perfect a copy of real hardwood floors it is, will not raise the value of your home. Only real hardwood floors can do that.

Quartz has become because it now provides many homeowners with the option of making it look like natural stone, even when it isn’t. While not every countertop has to be made out of natural stone, quartz doesn’t have any advantage over granite that plastic laminate doesn’t also have. Plastic laminate has another advantage over quartz insofar as being the more cost effective option of the two.

While some fashionistas of the kitchen decor industry are trying to claim that quartz is the new granite, granite has had its place as a perpetual favorite of for kitchen countertops for a reason. Despite the fact that it needs to be sealed, it’s still one of the most durable materials known to man. It’s also one of the most gorgeous, and it has the advantage of being natural stone, which quartz is not.

4 Things to Keep in Mind Following Your Countertop Installation

Hands Off!

Following a countertop installation in Sioux Falls, as soon as the installers leave, it’s tempting for a homeowner to climb on their island and jump for joy, thrilled that this gorgeous product is finally in their home. While jumping for joy is definitely encouraged, it’s best not to do that while standing on the stone. In fact, if possible, it’s best to avoid touching the stone altogether. Depending on the installer’s methods, it’s possible that silicone was used to sandwich the countertops to the cabinets. If this is the case, and the installer lifted the stone to place silicone glue between the two materials, then even the slightest bump can move the stone before the glue sets, leading to off-set measurements. After all the hard work that the installers put into ensuring precision, it would be a shame for that to go to waste. Silicone glue takes time to dry, so homeowners are advised to wait 6-8 hours before placing items on their countertops, and by that point they should be clear to start cooking.

Hands Off the Sink, Especially

6-8 hours is enough for the stone pieces to set, but depending on how the sink was installed, it might require up to 24 hours of curing time. Homeowners are advised to ask their installers for specific instructions regarding sink followup.

Seal Accordingly

Some countertop materials require the application of a sealer regularly, while others never need to be sealed. Take engineered quartz as an example. This stone is a composite of several natural stone materials bound together with polymer resin. The result is a usually uniform, entirely poreless product. Because of its powerlessness, no sealer will ever penetrate through its surface – nor will any other liquid that’s promptly wiped clean, so there’s no use in sealing engineered quartz. Similarly, granite materials like Nero Assoluto, while not technically 100% non-porous, is incredibly dense, so much so that a sealer won’t penetrate. Aside from that particular material, granites are found in a spectrum of porousness, with some requiring only an initial sealer that the manufacturer applies, others requiring a ceiling once every few years, and others requiring one a few times per year. With marble countertops, most materials require a sealer to be applied at least bi-annually. In all cases, homeowners are advised to speak to their stone provider for information on their particular material before moving forward with the sealing.


Now that those points are out of the way, the only responsibility left for homeowners is the full enjoyment of their new countertops! After all the planning, investment, and focus put into the renovation project, homeowners surely deserve at least that.

The Dangers of DIY Stone Countertop Installation

Stone Countertops Are Heavy


The thing with stone countertops is, of course, that they are incredibly heavy compared to most other materials available for use in a kitchen. This is the main reason for the dangers behind DIY kitchen installation. Their heaviness isn’t exactly something that a regular weightlifting program can help with. These are flat square or rectangular slabs that need to be carried from the side, with no clear handles available.


It’s Hard to Keep the Balance


Even if the homeowners manage to lift the piece up in the air, there’s the matter of balance to take into account. For taller pieces of stone, this is a particular issue. When the stone is lifted in the air, and it isn’t kept perfectly straight (which it never is), it’ll want to fall one side or the other. So, aside from ensuring that the piece is not dropped while being carried into the house, homeowners will need to make sure that they have a good grip on the balance before taking another step further. Since this can be a challenge, some people prefer using a hand to keep hold on the balance, obviously leaving all their share of the weight up to the other hand.


The Piece Can Break in Midair


Assuming that the homeowner has the strength and technique to lift the piece and keep it balanced while walking in, there’s still the big “X” factor to consider. Since the stone countertops are natural, no one has any idea what the material looks like on the inside. In other words, only the surface of the material can be seen. For all anyone knows, there’s a huge air pocket in the middle of a heavy piece, and it might burst precisely when being lifted by two amateur installed.


You Can Break Your Back


There’s always a person’s physical health to consider in cases like these. Sure, skipping out on the stone installer will save a decent amount of money in the short term, but that will quickly seem paltry when compared to the medical payments they’ll be responsible for if their amateur job gave them a bad back.


… and Your Home


Speaking of expenses, if something goes wrong during the delivery, and the piece of stone is dropped while being transported to the kitchen, the professional installer savings will instantly go down the drain.


It’s Best to Call Up a Pro


For the sake of a homeowner’s property, their body, and for the quality of their Sioux Falls custom countertops to be maximized, it’s best to simply make the investment of working with a professional, reliable stone countertop installer.


Redesigning Your Kitchen on a Budget

For Sioux Falls residents doing a complete kitchen design upgrade on a budget, the first step is to make a list of those things that you consider an absolute priority, and those things that you’re putting further down the list. There are a lot of elements (outside of appliances) that add to both the overall beauty and utility of the kitchen so having some idea in mind of the absolute must-have vs. the would-be-nice items is the first step in the process. Beyond that, you’re going to want to consider the kitchen in terms of fundamental elements. What are these elements?


#1. Countertops


Countertops are a key element of the kitchen because they can dominate the room. At eye level, they have as much impact on the kitchen as the cabinets do. There are a number of options in terms of material, and once you’ve chosen your material, there are a number of options in terms of shape, color, and graining pattern. On the low end of countertop materials are manmade and synthetic options like concrete, plastic laminate, and solid surface. None of these options are going to be particularly cheap depending on the quality of the surface itself in terms of detailing and other factors. Even plastic laminate can get pricey when it’s been made to look like natural stone. Most natural stone on the other hand, is pricey. Granite is by far has the best value to cost ratio. Marble is on the high end, with lava stone and soapstone ranging just a bit cheaper. Still, countertops are an important to the overall aesthetic of the room, so budgeting for quality is not a bad idea.


#2. Cabinets


Cabinets are one of those areas where you can save some money if you know what you’re doing. While the average cost of brand new cabinets can get very pricey very fast, it helps to know if you can get away with simply refacing them before you spend the money ripping out and reinstalling all the cabinets. Refacing will leave the cabinet’s skeleton and structure in place, and then you will end up just placing the doors, drawer faces, and the outward veneer. Refacing can go along way toward completely changing the overall look and feel of a kitchen, without completely breaking the bank.


#3. Floor


A lot of folks are going rustic this year and linoleum floors haven’t been in style for a decade now. Wood is the way to go, but wood floors cost money and don’t always fare well in high traffic areas. The quality of laminate flooring, however, has gotten much better in recent years and can adequately simulate wood without leaving terrified to drop anything on your expensive hardwood floors.

3 Things to Focus On for Your Kitchen Remodel

When it comes to building a great kitchen, it’s important to know a few areas that need the most attention. This way you can plan accordingly as well as find the right contractor to help you keep things on schedule. You’ll have the right assistance in order to finish the project with the best quality possible. Not to mention, you won’t feel as stressed with keeping things organized and making sure you stick to a proper budget. Here are some things you should focus on for your remodel.

Take Note of Your Lighting

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you want to make sure that you have a specific kind of lighting. For a smaller kitchen, a ceiling-mounted fixture right in the middle may prove best. It’ll illuminate the whole kitchen, and you won’t have to spend a fortune to make it happen. If your kitchen has more space, consider pendant fixtures. This is especially great for when you’re cooking and preparing everything. That extra visibility works wonders, especially in the late evening where you may not get any natural light. Hire a professional who knows dynamics of your kitchen to install the proper lighting for your kitchen. The next thing you want to think about is the space.

How Much Space Do You Have in Your Kitchen?

Space is very important due to mobility. You want to fit comfortably in the kitchen for any purpose. Talk with a designer to see what you can do to either enhance the space or make the most of it. You may have to get rid of certain things to declutter your kitchen. This way you more effectively utilize the space for any cooking or family time in the spot. Also, think of how everything lines up in the kitchen, so everything will become second nature such as cleaning your pots to having them ready to use for meal time. Next, choose good countertops.

Find Quality Countertops

If you’re on a tight budget, maybe laminated countertops are the way to go. However, granite kitchen countertops in Sioux Falls may prove best for the money in the long-term. Whether you need the right countertops to help you cut items or place on top of a kitchen island for your children, they serve a big purpose. Not only do they give your kitchen a unique look, but the durability makes them functional. Pick something that looks great but is easy to maintain for years. This way you get the most from your investment.


These are just a few things to focus on to help you design a great kitchen. You’ll be able to save money and time to help you create a kitchen that your family can enjoy.

3 Harmful Practices to Avoid When Using Your Kitchen Countertops

Neglecting Maintenance


While stone countertops are definitely durable (they’ve lasted millions of years to get where they are, after all), they’re far from indestructible. Indeed, when installed in a kitchen, there’s a lot that can contribute to the premature wearing-down of the countertop material.


Of course, the durability of the stone depends on the stone in question. Engineered quartz is a recent innovation made from natural stone particles and polymer resin. The material is thought to be a lot more malleable compared to its natural counterparts, and it tends to respond to wear better. Granite is the strongest of the natural materials, and it can take most kitchen impacts as long as the owner keeps an eye on it. Marble and onyx are among the most delicate stones, strong relative to other materials but vulnerable to kitchen disasters that aren’t promptly taken care of.


Although the strength of these stones vary, what they all have in common is that they need regular, hands-on maintenance. For instance, if a wine glass with a ring of red wine at the bottom is left over a countertop overnight, it will likely penetrate through even the non-porousness of quartz, leaving a stain that will either be difficult or impossible to remove. If the same wine stain, or even a coffee stain is left to linger on marble overnight, it might indeed be part of the stone forever after.


By following a maintenance schedule – in this case, wiping the countertops every day with water and life soap, and ensuring that all harmful liquids are cleared immediately – homeowners will ensure that their stone remains warm and inviting for decades to come.


Don’t Sit or Stand on Unsupported Sections


Whether it’s a standard marble table or custom granite countertops in Sioux Falls, it’s important for homeowners to determine which sections are supported and which aren’t, so they know where they can sit or stand on if ever they feel inclined to. Despite the strength of stone, unsupported sections will likely give way if met with the full weight of a human being.


Don’t Put Pressure in Front of Sink/Cooktop Holes


The small rectangle of stone in front and in back of sink/cooktop holes is incredibly fragile compared to the rest of the countertops. Even if it’s supported by cabinet wood underneath, the stress on that section is such that even the weight of a person leaning on it can cause it to snap, especially if it’s made out of marble or the stone is cut to 3/4″ thickness. In any case, it’s best to lean oneself anywhere except for these fragile sections.


3 Tips to Help Come Up with a Great Bath Design

Your bathroom is a sanctuary. It’s where you start your day, how you refresh in the morning, have some of your deepest thoughts, and a place to simply recharge. It gives you a sense of peace from the outside world, so you want to come up with a great bath design in Sioux Falls that matches your spirit. Before you begin the remodeling process, here are a few things to think about to help you create a solid bath design.

Coming Up with Your Layout

You have to really take into consideration your bathroom layout. Look at how the sink looks, the shower, and the wall. A one-wall layout puts the sink, toilet, and the shower/tub along one main wall. If you have a two-wall layout, you’ll have to think of the piping, water lines, and ventilation. While a one-wall layout may be the easiest to work with, it does have limits compared to a multiple-wall one. That’s why it’s important to use a contract and designer for the more complicated layouts, because making even the smallest errors when remodeling the bathroom can be expensive. Another aspect you should focus on is the lightning.

Make Sure Your Lighting Is up to Par

The most important thing to worry about is how you’ll mount the lights in relation to your mirror. This way you’ll help it resonate more throughout the bathroom. If you’re going with a more classic approach, a good ceiling fixture will help set the mood in your bathroom better. A good way to do this is placing it in a spot where the light can bounce off and illuminate the whole bathroom. It’s great to also have accent lighting to help with spotlighting the room and giving it more of a mood setting. Keep this in mind when you start thinking of putting in your light fixtures. Color scheme can also help set the bathroom off well.

Think of a Good Color Scheme

Before you think of all the features you want for your bathroom, color should be a priority. It’s important to get that in order, because it sets the general tone. If you have brighter colors like a yellow or red, it has the right vibe to set your mood for the day. It would be a more positive and energetic feeling, which is perfect for a busy day at work or school. More earthy or neutral tones help to calm things down. Take into account how these elements will parlay into the overall feel.


Coming up with a solid bath design helps you not only get things organized in your bathroom, but you’ll come up with a great look to spend even more time there. Add more comfort to your place by using some of these tips to make your spot better.

3 Tips to Help You Pick a Good Kitchen Design

The kitchen is one of the most pivotal parts of the home. It has a unique personality that helps invite family and friends to a particular type of feeling. People spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so a great design is key. You want the right kitchen design in Sioux Falls that will give you a warm feeling to make people want to be there for a while. Here are a few tips to help you create a quality kitchen design.

Make Sure You Have Enough Room

Before you go with an incredible design, make sure you have enough space. It’s very important that you’re able to move around comfortably. Why? Well, when you’re cooking or there with your family, you don’t want to be in such close quarters that it makes for a tight fit. Think about ways you can improve the overall spacing of your kitchen. What things should you clear up to get rid of clutter? How can you make it easier to cook and keep things organized. When you start getting this in mind, it’ll be a lot easier to think of a great kitchen design that’s also functional. Speaking of functional, it’s not a bad idea to hire a kitchen designer.

Hiring a Kitchen Designer

A kitchen designer can help you take your ideas and bring them to life. They can keep you on a schedule to help meet your needs at a faster rate. They have the experience needed to know the little things that could either make or break your kitchen. Certain designs you pick may sound great from an aesthetics perspective, but not good for functionality. The designer may find a solution somewhere in the middle, so that you’re able to have a healthy medium for the tough decisions. They can give you a proper quote on how much things will cost. This can help you be clear on deciding what things you need now for your kitchen. Another tip is to focus on a few areas of your kitchen.

Focus on a Few Areas of Remodeling

To help keep things on a better budget, make sure that you only focus on a few areas. This is a great way to keep things on a tighter schedule. You’ll have a better chance of remodeling more efficiently by doing a couple of things at a time. You can do the countertops and the cabinets now, and worry about lighting a few months down the line. This also helps to keep you less stressed, because you’ll have more time to keep tabs on the here and now.


These are just a few tips to help make designing your kitchen much more feasible. By focusing on a few areas, you can make this process more pleasant.

A Few Tips to Help You Save Money on Your Counter top

Whether you want custom countertops in Sioux Falls for your kitchen or bathroom, you can always save money in a number of ways. Any kind of remodeling in the home will be quite an undertaking. To save time and money, it helps to do your research ahead of time. That way you can see whether there are any loopholes or things you may not have originally considered as far as things you can do to manage your budget. With that being said, here are some tips to help you save on your countertops.

Think of Your Budget Ahead of Time

If you’re working with the most extravagant stone in the world, be clear that you’ll have to pay top dollar. Things that are a bit harder to come by mean an expensive price tag. The more commonly things are stocked, the cheaper they are overall. Also, you want to find out the surface area you’re working with in the kitchen. If you have a big island or places where you want to customize a countertop, do your own measurements or have a professional look it over to get a proper quote. This is a time saver because you get an idea of whether or not you should go through with the project. Next, you want to choose cheaper material.

Work with More Inexpensive Material

If you want something along the lines of granite or marble, you’ll end up paying top dollar for your choices. Before you even hire someone for the labor, you’ll already be on the verge of spending thousands of dollars. Whereas if you used more inexpensive materials, this is a good way to cut costs drastically. A few examples of materials to do this would be: butcher block, ceramic, and wood. You’ll have to be a bit more careful in the kitchen when using these, but they don’t break your pockets like spending $5,000-$10,000 on a granite job. If you still want to use the expensive material, just mix things up.

Mix Up the Materials

Do you still want to use some great materials? Well, you can always mix and match. Have your granite be the showcase of the kitchen and laminate as a good fit. It’s important that each element has a good contrast with the other. This way you’ll have something that sticks regardless of the mix in materials. The countertop can be a focal point, but it isn’t the only thing that makes up a whole kitchen. You want to save costs on the areas you have a bit more freedom to do so.


These are a few tips to help you save more money on countertops. With this in mind, you’ll still be able to create a great kitchen.