Everything you Need to Know about Types of Countertops

Aside from choosing from a color palette the kind of kitchen countertop can be complicated to determine.  The choices are diverse.  Below is a brief explanation of common countertop choices to help make selecting a countertop straightforward.




Laminate is often a thin decorative material bonded to another surface.  A laminate countertop is beneficial for those working with a restrictive budget as it is considered less expensive.  Also, laminate color opportunities provide hundreds of color opportunities.  Different from quartz, concrete, marble, and granite, laminate is not heat resistant and does not polish.  Laminate is a good choice for those working with a limited budget, and for those who tire of their choice quickly.





Quartz, also known as quartz composite, is often confused with granite as both result in a hard stone-like surface and a polished top.  Quartz, however, is man-made in the sense that aside from quartz itself, a quartz countertop also includes resins, polymers, and various types of pigments.  In contrast to granite, quartz is more likely to have a finish exacting matching any sample previewed as it isn’t naturally occurring like granite.  Additionally, quartz is known for its durability and easy-to-clean surface.




Concrete is an exceptionally versatile choice for countertops.  Offering limitless color options, endless size options, and many edging options too.  Unique from other choices, the texture of concrete can be adjusted too.  As concrete is porous, a sealant is required to prevent staining, however, even then concrete is known to stain and etch easily.




Marble, similar to granite, is naturally occurring rock.  Unique from granite though, marble is made of metamorphosed limestone.  As marble is naturally occurring no two pieces will be identical, although similar styles are possible.  Marble, as a countertop, is very expensive, prone to etching and scratching, and is quite porous.  When compared to granite, marble is not as hard.





Granite is known as a luxury countertop surface.  Known to glisten when polished, granite is a phenomenal choice when looking for a top quality result.  Granite is mined from the earth formed over millions of years from molten lava.  For this reason, no two pieces will be identical.  Each piece of granite will be unique to you as it is cut from slabs which are formed from indigenous rock within the earth’s surface.  It is for this reason that using the sample of granite.  Granite is beneficial as it’s known to create luxurious surfaces – those looking more expensive.  Also, granite is exceptionally sanitary, durable, can sustain hot temperature and ultra-low maintenance.  Granite countertops are available everywhere, including  Sioux Falls.


To choose the right countertop for any project, consider the budget, the durability needed, and finally, the desired look to choose between laminate, quartz, concrete, marble, and granite.


Tips for Decorating a Beautiful Countertop

Adding granite to a kitchen or bathroom countertop adds a touch of luxury.  Careful planning should take place for the items left permanently on the countertop to maintain a stylish look.  As Feng Shui is meant to enhance the flow of energy using spatial arrangement and orientation, tips are included below to help add style to an already beautiful countertop.


Put All Items Through a Simple Test


Left on a kitchen countertop should only be items which are used daily; leaving those used less often in a cupboard, drawer, or pantry.  For items used infrequently, consider using storage spaces that are more challenging to reach leaving easy-to-reach storage for easier access.  Removing infrequently used items will create an airy, clean space, and most importantly reveal the countertop itself.


Remove or Fix Anything Broken or Dated


Once all non-daily use items have been neatly tucked away, review what remains.  Mixed amongst the remaining items might be things that aren’t necessarily used, perhaps just nice pleasing to the eye.  These might include plants and other trinkets.  When looking at them now, ask whether they add to the overall look of the space.  Are they still enjoyable to view?  If anything is broken or dated, is there a way it can be freshened up?


Balance Functional with Decorative


As listed above, functional items used often are okay to leave on a countertop but to add style, consider including decorative items too.  In some cases, sourcing cookbooks with spines that match the overall color theme, and placing it on the counter or a shelf, can liven up the kitchen.   Additionally, finding non-conventional storage items, like jars or stainless containers, can eliminate the detraction of purely functional items.


Perch Plants Up High


When kitchen cabinets don’t extend to the ceiling, it is a good idea to add plants in the empty space above.  Some believe that there is dead energy in that space and plants help to shift the energy from bad to good.


Never Block Natural Light


Natural light is important to keep the energy moving within any room.  Placing countertop items in the way of windows or any other source of natural light is not suggested.  Consider relocating these items and leaving the window completely unimpeded.


Give Consideration to the Grouping of Items


While not technically Feng Shui, grouping items on the countertop in odd numbers rather than even is easier on the eyes.  Also, grouping items of differing sizes is pleasing to the eye too.  For example, grouping a plant, a candle holder, and a utensil jar will look more appealing, then placing two or four candles of the same size together.  Try grouping items on the countertop to see which groupings work best for the space.


Stuck on how to decorate a new granite countertop, consider the product catalogs for inspiration like the ones in Sioux Falls.


Decisions to Be Made when Selecting a Granite Countertop

Choosing a piece of granite seems straightforward, but there are a number of factors which should be determined before having any chosen granite installed in your home.




Choosing the thickness of a countertop is often more than purely the appearance.  Thickness can dictate cost and strength.  Typically, granite thickness options are 1 and ¼ inch (3 cm) and ¾ inch (2 cm).  While thicker granite was popular over the last number of years, thinner granite is becoming more common.  Of course, the thicker the cut, the stronger it will be.




As granite can be sharp and chip easily (when exposed), choosing an edge style will be substantial.  There are three main types of edges – straight, curved and fancy.  There are numerous types of straight edges, which do not necessarily result in sharp edges, as even a more square edge will be subtly rounded leaving it smooth to the touch.  Rounded edges are self-explanatory and suit individuals who worry about children bumping pointed surfaces.  Rounded edges can be selected to match the overall feel of the balance of the room.  Finally, fancy edges are meant to be featured.  In other words, a fancy edge is a good choice when the focal point of the room is the beautiful granite surface itself.  A fancy edge may be a less desirable choice when there is another part of the room that demands attention.




There are three predominant types of granite finishing.  A polished finish is the most common type.  This finish results in a shiny, smooth, gleaming surface.   A honed surface is less shiny, and non-reflective.  A honed surface is less prone to showing scratches.  A rough surface is exactly as it sounds.  Rough granite surfaces are the most natural in the sense that after being cut from a quarry, they have very little finishing work done to them, leaving the stone very near its original finish.




Finding a reputable granite supplier is imperative when sourcing granite.  A good supplier will guide provide options for edging, color, thickness, and finish.  Also, they will answer questions and ensure delivery is within the promised amount of time. Finally, a professional granite supplier will offer (or suggest) a reliable installer.  Primarily a great granite supplier will guide one through the entire process.  To find a granite supplier in Sioux Falls, check your local listings.


When choosing granite give thought to the thickness, edging, finish, and supplier.  Searching images online or through magazines can be a helpful source of inspiration when looking to gather a sense of a desired outcome.  Once armed with a sense of style, speaking with a trusted Sioux Falls granite vendor is recommended.

Five Things to Consider When Planning a Renovation

Renovations invoke stress at the best of times.  Taking time for proper planning can help avoid surprises and reduce overall stress.


The Budget


Pencilling out a rough budget can be challenging with no sense of what one’s desired renovation should cost.  To get started, it can be helpful to speak with friends or contractors to get a rough numbers to work with.  From there, calling in contractors to seek quotations can hone in the figures even further.  Defining the level of quality will dictate the final budget.  It can be helpful to set an absolute maximum, so the final renovation cost doesn’t get too carried away.


Your Wish List


Getting clear on what is needed for the desired renovation followed by the things that would be nice (if finances allow), will help expedite decisions.  For example, exploring the kitchen design possible in Sioux Falls might be an absolute necessity, whereas resurfacing the ceiling is less important.  If the renovation quotation exceeds the maximum budget, choosing lower cost options might be an alternative to excluding certain choices altogether.  Drafting a point form list of what is required for the renovation including those things that would be nice if the budget permits.  Organizing the list in priority order will keep


Consider a General Contractor


The role of a general contractor is to coordinate and hire subcontractors.  Aside from organization, they also ensure a level of quality.  Additionally, they have access to contractor pricing on supplies and materials.  While some believe a general contractor results in additional expenses, the efficiency of the renovation (time saved) and access to special pricing can cover the cost of the contractor on its own.  Consider a general contractor when; the job will take longer than a week; several different sub-contractors are required; the job will require municipal permits.


Create a Mutually Agreeable Contract


When working with a contractor, it is common to have to sign a contract.  The agreement will define the scope of work offered, the inclusions (and exclusions) in the price, as well as when money is due.  In some cases, incorporated photos into a contract or in preparing a contract will ensure that the contractor and the customer are on the same page with the intention of the renovation.  Be sure to pay special attention to any exclusions listed in the contract as these can add up quickly and impact the budget negatively.



Plan for Day-to-Day Interruption


Depending on the size and location on the intended renovation, day-to-day living can be disrupted.  For extensive renovations, relocating in the interim may be a consideration.  For smaller renovations, focusing on getting out of the house while hammering, sawing, etc. is going on is helpful to keep a peaceful existence until the renovation is complete.


To enjoy a smooth renovation, outline a budget, create a wishlist to guide decisions, hire a general contractor, sign a contract, and plan for day-to-day interruptions.

Granite: From Selection to Installation – 8 Simple Steps

For many understanding, any process can help in decision-making.  So in the case of bath or kitchen design in Sioux Falls, the process of selecting granite to its installation is explained below.




Granite is a naturally occurring stone created by molten rock within the earth’s surface.  It is mined from quarries in various parts the world and then transported to various granite vendors.




Many vendors have large warehouses or showrooms where actual granite slabs are available for viewing.  Actual samples are often previewed rather than just choosing from a catalog; this is because no two pieces of granite are the same.  When choosing a piece of granite, it is best to know the desired thickness in advance (usually available in 1 and ¼ inch or ¾ inch thickness).  With the thickness in mind, it is possible to preview the warehouse considering those choices available with the dimensions required.


Consider a Sink


Both overmount and under-mount sinks are options in both bathrooms and kitchens.  Undermount sinks tend to be more stylish and result in additional counter space.  Sinks come in numerous finishes, shapes, and sizes.  It can be beneficial to determine how many sinks will be required for each space as some vendors will charge for each sink cut out.


Choose the Finish


Granite can be finished polished, honed (more matte) or rough (most natural).  To choose the finish, giving thought to the style of the overall space can be helpful.  Also speaking to the sales professional about the benefits and disadvantages to the different finish types can expedite this decision.


Choose the Edging


The profile of the edge of the granite adds another feature of granite.  Of primary importance, rounding the edges somewhat can help prevent unwanted chips and prevent anyone from bumping a sharp surface.


Consider Faucets


In addition to cutting for the sink, an installer will also need to cut holes to accommodate the faucet and taps.  When keeping the existing hardware, it’s best to let the installer and vendor know.  When choosing new hardware, it’s best to choose the hardware in advance so the installer has noticed and can ensure that the hardware will work with the selected granite.


Consider the Scrapyard


For smaller projects, granite suppliers often have ‘off-cuts’ which is granite left-over from other projects.  These off-cuts are often available at discounted rates while providing the same quality piece.  Always consider the scrapyard first – there may be a diamond in the rough.




Some installers will visit a home in advance of installation to draft a template to be used for cutting the granite in the shop.  In other cases, the installer will bring equipment and cut the appropriate holes for the granite on-site.  In both instances, discussing installation day with a supplier can help set expectations and reduce stress.


Once a piece of granite has found its way from a mine to a supplier, a buyer then has to choose a slab (keeping thickness and color in mind), choose a sink, the finish, the edging, and the faucets.  For great bargains remember to check the scrapyard.  And, finally, communicate with the installers to get a sense of expectations.

Choosing a Back splash – Here are Five Backsplashes Ideas to Consider

A kitchen back splash is meant to allow for easy clean-up of food when cooking or prepping food.  The back splash can also add a touch of style when chosen correctly. As there are endless choices of back splash, a few of the top choices are listed below helping to make one’s ultimate decision a little bit simpler.




As one can imagine, adhering full brick to any wall is challenging due to weight and loss in overall depth to the room.  A brick alternative is a brick veneer which is often only ¾ inch thickness while still offering the feel of a full brick.  Brick is a great selection when seeking a historic look and creating a warm feeling space.  A brick surface, while not required to be sealed, simplifies the cleaning process.


Glass Tile


Glass tile can be a stylish, yet cost-effective, and easy-to-clean, choice for many.  Available in endless color options and patterns, glass tiles are simple to install, and easy to wipe clean.  For allergy sufferers, glass tiles are also mildew resistant.  Options for glass tiles includes subway tiles, mosaics, and tile borders.  Additionally, more transparent tiles can be adhered to a painted wall creating yet a different look altogether.




While granite can be used as a countertop surface, it can also be used as a backsplash.  Where custom countertops like those in Sioux Falls are possible, so too are granite tiles.  One option includes using the chosen countertop granite as a backsplash.  To create a new texture, breaking the surface into tiles can add unique dimensions.  Alternatively, choosing an entirely different granite, with various colors, and finish can add a pop of styles.




A painted backsplash is predominantly selected for budget constraints.  That being said, it can still add style, when carefully selected, and when using the right paint, will still wipe clean.  Consider adding a contrasting color to make the wall pop.  Additionally, consider wall quotes or stencil to add unique dimensions to the paint itself.




Also considered a painted backsplash but unique in purpose is the chalkboard backsplash.  In addition to providing a low-cost backsplash, a chalkboard backsplash consists of black paint which can be written on with chalk.  The benefits are leaving a space for writing lists or a place for chalk art.  Finally, a chalkboard backsplash will be dynamic in that it will likely never look the same.  A chalkboard backsplash is a great choice for busy families.


Finally, once the type of backsplash has been selected, also needing consideration is the color, size, and pattern of the product.  If wavering in any way, leafing through magazines can be a great way to find a picture representing the finished look.