Should I Refinish or Replace My Counters and Cabinets?

Beautiful kitchen cabinet with marble top and steel sink

Counters and cabinets can make a big impact on value without spending a fortune. But should you replace the counters and cabinets entirely or go for some less-extensive upgrades?

Minor updates can make a big difference. But sometimes the kitchen or bathroom needs significant changes.

Folks ask me often what is better, refacing or an overhaul. I always answer the same: It all depends on you.

First off, no matter what you decide, consider budget, how much time you will continue to live in the house, and time you can devote to the project.

Naturally budget is key, but I want you to consider how much project management time you can devote.

Not having the attention to focus on a major project will get costly. Without your oversight, projects like these often stall. Make sure you are in a good position to make it happen your way.

Small Changes

Modern sink on black kitchen counter with vase of plantWhen you love the overall design of your cabinets and counters, feel as though you have enough space and aren’t cramped but still would like to freshen your look, small changes will likely work for you.

Of all the ways to give your home an updated look, replacing the countertops is one of the easiest without breaking your budget.

New granite countertops add value instantly, so if you have to choose between new cabinets or new countertops, opt for the countertop and simply reface the cabinets.

Consider the no-seam, integral sink. Talk about slick looking. Gift yourself the sink and you’ll never regret the investment. No seams means no gunk. You’ll never look at a drop in sink the same after checking out one of these. Add a backsplash for not much more and the kitchen feels like a different house.

Time to Replace

If you continually find yourself tripping over others in your kitchen, spending too much time trying to find things in your cabinets or never having enough counter space, it’s time to think bigger. New cabinets, new countertops, perhaps even new layout.

You may have a complete shift in color scheme or overall design strategy. Perhaps you are looking to improve convenience and flow within the kitchen.

Maybe there is no major reason, it is just time. Give me a shout and I’ll help you get the ball rolling.

Take care,
Rob

We can turn your residential or commercial vision into an affordable reality.

 

Pros & Cons of Caesarstone

What is Caesarstone?

Some of my clients are looking for a countertop that will last a lifetime. They need something durable that won’t require a great deal of care. For these folks, I recommend Caesarstone.

Granted you will pay a little more. Caesarstone runs higher in pricing in comparison other stone. In 2017, on average, it cost somewhere between $20-$25 per square foot.

But you won’t ever have to replace it. Considering the cost of purchasing many slabs of stone. It comes to less cost over time.

Here are some other things I like and dislike about Caesarstone. I might be a little biased because the stone is such a dream to work with. But we have some gorgeous, lasting results.

Perhaps with my insight, you can decide if Caesarstone is right for you.

What I like…

Caesarstone is a dense manmade stone. It resists chips, scratches, and stains. It’s superb for a busy family that has little time for care.

Unlike granite countertops, Caesarstone doesn’t need yearly sealing. Most spills and stains wipe right off. Use soap and water or a soft sponge. That’s it!

The versatile stone is outstanding for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Caesarstone is colorful. You can’t imagine a style we won’t find. It comes in a wide variety of shades and patterns. Some counters look like natural stone like marble or granite. Others brighten a kitchen with vivid colors.

A fabricator’s dream! Sturdy, but easy to work with. This material can be cut into different sizes and shapes. Go as custom as your imagination takes you with this resilient stone.

What I’m not into…

Caesarstone is scratch and chip resistant, but it can still be damaged. Dropping a pot can chip hard edges and sharp corners. I recommend rounded edges. These are more resistant to this kind of damage.

Honed finishes are more easily damaged than polished finishes. It may scratch if you scrape food off with a metal knife.

Caesarstone tends to be heavier than granite. Make sure your countertop frame is strong enough to support it.

In rare cases, this stone may have manufacturing defects. These include pitting or strange looking veins of color. Other times, there are colors splashed in that weren’t asked for. Always inspect the countertop before having it installed.

Should You Pick Caesarstone?

Moreland Fog Caesarstone

Image courtesy of Caesarstoneus.com

This material is a good investment for homes that need a durable, attractive option. If your kitchen gets a lot of use, consider it.

Have several types of stone you are comparing? I’m happy to help you pick. Talk soon!

Rob

Contact us today at 662-895-0700 for more answers.

Or drop by our showroom to see what Caesarstone colors are available.

What is the good and bad of buying marble countertops?

Imagine you have come to the point in your project when you’re ready to pick stone. You’ve seen some impressive pictures of marble in a design magazine or book and are all set to commit.

I won’t lie, I love working with marble, it has the most appealing glimmer in kitchens with natural light. Marble projects are always stunning in a unique way, thanks to the swirling patterns and nuanced changes in shade. Used in the palaces of royalty for centuries, marble is truly an upscale, luxurious option for low-impact interiors.

This material has good and bad things to consider, like anything. Let’s talk through those and get a better idea if this attractive stone is right for you.

Pros

Color

This gorgeous stone comes in a variety of colors including white, beige, grey, pink, and green. White marble is famous for brightening up spaces. No two counters will be the same because the veins running through them create unique patterns.

Properties

The stone is heat-resistant and has cooling properties. This is ideal if you like to put hot pans directly on top of the counter or knead bread dough against the marble.  This softer stone allows you to have the counter refreshed every few years with minor refinishing.

Price

A countertop will always be an investment, but some varieties of marble are quite affordable.

Cons

Because marble is a relatively soft and porous stone, it is more fragile than, for example, granite. Over time, even the best cared-for counter will accumulate some damage. You may see:

  • Chips where something heavy was dropped.
  • Stains from spilled wine or tomato sauce.
  • Etching on the surface from splashed lemon juice.
  • Scratches after chopping vegetables against the bare counter.

You can minimize these problems by:

  • Choosing a matte finish or a distracting pattern.
  • Having the stone sealed.
  • Using a cutting board.
  • Wiping up spills immediately.

Is Marble Right for You?

Like I tell my customers, if you require a completely pristine countertop, you may be better off with a harder, stain-resistant stone like quartzite. Yet, many homeowners and home cooks like to watch the marble change over time, telling the history of the family in the home.

Folks who rarely cook in the kitchen or prioritize keeping stone surfaces clean can also enjoy marble’s incredible beauty without much wear and tear. This stone wouldn’t work well with high-impact traffic and isn’t a good choice for a family with kids or larger pets.

If, after reading through these pros and cons you feel you need a more durable stone, definitely check out my post on granite. You might find what you’re looking for in that versatile stone.

Want to come see some marble slabs in person? Give us a quick call to coordinate a visit to our showroom. 

Infographic: Which Countertop Stone is Right for You?

You decided it’s time to replace your kitchen countertops. You’ve seen plenty of pictures of other gorgeous houses highlighted in Memphis by now that your creative juices are flowing. Sure, you’ve taken color scheme, design, and layout in mind. But have you actually thought about what material is right for you?

Tips For Maintaining Your Granite Counters

Granite counters are an elegant addition to your kitchen. You can keep them looking great by following a few tricks. Proper granite counter maintenance will guarantee your kitchen counter looks gorgeous for many years to come.

How To Determine Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

If you own your home, it’s likely that you’ve considered a kitchen remodel for some time. Many homeowners will start with scrapbooking their ideas before they’ll finally have the money saved to perform the actual remodel. It can be tough to go from dreaming about the perfect kitchen to the reality of figuring out your actual budget. A kitchen can make or break a home’s future sale too.

1. Actual Kitchen Remodel Costs

It really helps to understand what a kitchen remodel can cost on average. While you may be thinking that a budget of approximately $20,000 will be enough for a major remodel. There are many factors that can impact your budget. Items like moving walls, plumbing, and electrical, or the age of your home. It might help to know that the average cost of a major kitchen remodel is actually closer to $40,000. For $20,000, you might not get all the upgrades you’d expect.

2. List of Priorities

Once you realize that you can’t have everything you dreamed of in your kitchen, it’s time to list your priorities. If you absolutely need stainless steel appliances, make sure that’s on the list. You might have to make sacrifices on other items to keep the priorities. For example, instead of having high-end counters, you might have to settle on a cheaper option to afford your appliances.

3. Clear Expectations

House with for sale sign out frontWhen setting your budget, it helps to understand the motivation. If you plan on selling in a few years, you should be making upgrades that will allow your home to be competitive with others in the area. You might visit some open houses while you’re in the planning stages to see what others are doing when their house goes on the market.

4. Know Prices

If you have no idea how much granite costs per square foot, you will not understand how it impacts the kitchen remodeling budget. The same can be said for appliances, flooring, cabinets and hardware. It helps to take your priority list and add prices as you do research. Not only will you have to pay for the appliances, flooring and other expenses, you’ll need to factor in the labor costs unless you plan on doing some of it yourself.

5. Unexpected Costs

While you’re figuring out your kitchen remodeling budget, it’s vital that you add a cushion to the end result. You don’t want to end up going over budget and having to come up with extra money while you’re in the middle of your renovation.

Along with all these ways to figure out your kitchen remodeling budget, you can also ask a contractor to help you with the final budget. Often, a contractor can help you put a budget together much more quickly than you could on your own. Their quote will include their labor and other costs that you may not be aware of as well.

Designing in Memphis: Natural Stone

Memphis, Tennessee values the use of natural stone throughout their city with the most notable area being their riverfront. The city boasts the only cobblestone boat landing in the United States that is still usable. The Chicksaw Bluff along the Mississippi river was paved in the 1880’s with a 12 inch layer of cobblestone quarried in Illinois. As a result, Memphis soon became an important river port and commerce was greatly increased. While much of the original cobblestone has eroded, the City of Memphis has worked to preserve the landing for use by local boaters and visitors.

Natural stone is popular in many areas of the southern states, and stone counter tops and tiles are the material of choice within area homes. Over the past couple decades, granite counters in bathrooms and kitchens are features that prospective home buyers look for. Granite is a desirable type of Memphis natural stone that is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Granite slabs that have been polished are typically available from which clients can make their choice. The slabs are generally large enough that all the counter surfaces in the average kitchen can be cut from the same one.

While granite has traditionally been the first choice for high end kitchen renovations, the material does have some drawbacks. Granite must be carefully maintained and it can be stained or discolored by acidic liquids or hot pans. New granite counters are usually sealed, but may need to be resealed within 5 to 10 years.

Quartz is a material that is highly resistant to stains and damage, but the material is not mined like other varieties of Memphis natural stone. The slabs are manufactured with the primary ingredient of ground quartz making up about 94 percent of the material. Since quartz is created it is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. In addition, the resins this product contains make it highly scratch and stain resistant. This means the counter will never need to be sealed, and any small scratches that occur can be easily repaired.

Memphis homeowners and residents of the southern states enjoy weather that is relatively warm most of the year. These homes often feature outdoor living areas that also include kitchen areas. In addition to having natural stone counters indoors, homeowners may also choose Memphis natural stone for their outdoor cooking area. Slate is one of the most durable stone surfaces available, so this product may be the best choice for an outdoor kitchen.

Do Quartz Counters Need Sealing?

Quartz is a popular alternative to stone like marble and tile, and for many homeowners, it’s an ideal aesthetic choice. However, most homeowners don’t really know how to care for quartz properly once they have it installed.

Some types of natural stone like marble and granite have tiny pores that can absorb liquids and stain them. In some cases, stains can go away naturally, as is often the case with a little bit of water that dries on a sealed countertop. Other stains, like wine or soda, can damage your counters badly if they’re made of a porous material.

Quartz CountertopWhen you choose quartz, you don’t have to think about having your counters sealed every few years like you might with granite or marble. You also don’t have to worry about wine stains and other liquids or foods damaging your counters if they’re cleaned relatively quickly. That’s not always the case with marble and granite, even if you get to a spill pretty fast. When you choose quartz, all you really need to do is take care of your counters on a day to day basis to keep them looking their absolute best.

Unlike marble and granite, quartz is very hard to damage. Many homeowners wonder if they’ll have to deal with chips and damage after having their counters for a few years. While you certainly can damage quartz, you’d have to do it intentionally or drop something very heavy on your quartz counters. Quartz is also less likely to mark when you place hot or cold items on you counters.

LG Viatera Care & Maintenance

Countertops made of LG Viatera Quartz are incredibly durable. They’re seamless and non-porous. Grime and grease can’t leak into crevices, causing the growth of mold and other bacteria. They do not require sealing, making Viatera countertop care easy and inexpensive.

LG Viatera Care

Taking care of LG Viatera Quartz countertops is simple. They are naturally resistant to scratches and common kitchen stains.

Clean spills immediately with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. If you do manage to stain them, use a mild non-abrasive cleanser. For tougher spots from gum, grease or food, use the edge of a razor to scrape off the area.

Always use a trivet for hot pots and pans. High heat will damage Viatera countertops.

Although scratch-resistant, items harder than quartz will damage them. For example, the bottom of iron, or ceramic dishes are rough enough to cause real damage.

According to LG Viatera, there are several non-abrasive commercial cleansers recommended:

  • Lysol
  • Simple Green Lime Scale Remover
  • Bar Keeper’s Friend
  • Formula 409
  • Greased Lightning

No, these countertops are not indestructible. But, with regular care and maintenance, they will keep their good looks for years.