Can You Put Hot Pots & Pans On Quartz Counters?

When it comes to choosing the right countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, nothing beats the versatility and elegance of quartz. This engineered stone is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Famously versatile and elegant, quartz offers a number of advantages for homeowners and home cooks. But how durable is it? Can your quartz counter take the heat?

The short answer is: probably not. Although resting a pan on the surface for a quick second may not cause visible damage, you run the risk of thermal shock to the stone. Thermal shock is a condition when a very hot object touches cold stone and triggers cracking. Over time, even a small crack may worsen.

Quartz counters can also scorch when a hot object is rested on the surface for a long period of time. The telltale sign here is a white ring. These unsightly scorch marks can be a lifelong reminder of one bad judgment call.

Fortunately, there are several easy and stylish solutions for quartz countertop owners. You can put the hot pan down on a protective pad made of wood, silicone, or other heat resistant materials. You may also find sleek steel cooling racks or low-profile trivets that elevate the pot above your quartz surface. Finally, you can make do with what’s already in the kitchen. Why not rest the pan on a cold burner of the stove or leave a pot to cool in the sink?

Preparing for a Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodels can be one of the most exciting times in your home’s history. However, in the midst of installing stylish appliances and looking at paint swatches, don’t forget to come up with a remodel game plan. After all, the kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in the house. Not having access to a refrigerator or stove can really impact your mealtimes. Here are four tips to ease the transition:

Minimize Your Time Without a Kitchen

Your remodel will drag on and on if you discover at the last minute that the stove you wanted is out of stock. Instead, order your appliances well ahead of when you plan to install them. You can store them in an unused room until needed.

If you’re changing up the flooring, order extra pieces. This way, if something gets broken, you don’t have to wait for another delivery.

Finally, make as many creative decisions as you can ahead of time. Then you won’t waste your valuable time going to the hardware store.

Create a Temporary Kitchen

Before the remodel, make a list of the appliances, plates, and cutlery that you’ll need. Make sure these stay handy, not packed out of reach! Next, set up items like your microwave and coffee pot in the garage. Place an inexpensive cooler next to them and you’ve got the basics for hot and cold meals during your renovation.

Reach Out to Friends and Family

Your kitchen may be temporarily out of commission, but you probably know people who aren’t in that boat. Offer to use their space to cook a big meal. You can catch up with loved ones and take the leftovers home. While you’re at it, if you have a lot of frozen goods, reach out early to see if anyone can store them for you.

Prep Food in Advance

If you have a chest freezer in the garage or basement, you can prep and freeze some meals before the remodel starts. These let you eat healthy and are even faster and more convenient than ordering takeout. Don’t forget about cooking-free snacks like chopped veggies, granola, etc.

Galley Kitchen Design

Galley kitchens are a popular style that make use of smaller spaces. Here, two rows of counters run along the walls while the floor space in between stays open. This room can be a cooking powerhouse if you know the right ways to work with the room’s size and floor plan. Here are some tips and tricks for working with the space:

Maximize the Flow of Cooking

There’s a natural rhythm to preparing meals. You pull food from the refrigerator, prepare it on a countertop, cook the meal, and then wash the dishes. When designing the kitchen, make sure you aren’t doubling back unnecessarily. One ideal layout runs like clockwork in this order: refrigerator, counter space, range, sink, counter.

Opening Up the Room

This tip involves using design elements and decorators’ visual tricks to make the room seem bigger. For instance, don’t install doors that open into the kitchen. That can make the space feel cramped. If possible, have a pass-through to the next room to open up room. Keep the kitchen looking wide and airy by using lighter colors. Windows brighten the room and make it feel bigger, while stainless steel fixtures and mirrors make the space look larger.

Choose the Right Furnishings

Want to dramatically increase your storage and counter space? Consider having custom pieces built. These may be narrower than standard, but will open up floor space while giving you working surfaces and storage options.

Next, think of ways that your cabinets can pull double duty. For instance, you can convert the shelf ends into bookshelves. This gives you a place to store cookbooks or less-used gadgets.

Finally, make sure your furnishings are the right fit. This galley kitchen may not be the right space for an oversized double refrigerator. You can also find apartment sized stoves which are smaller than standard.

Top 4 Benefits of Granite Countertops

You’ll find granite countertops everywhere. They’re a star player in busy kitchens, add classic elegance to restrooms, and bring a wow factor to businesses. Are you thinking about using natural stone in your home? Here’s why you should consider granite:

Granite is…

Durable

This rugged natural stone can withstand a lot in your kitchen. It won’t get damaged by hot pans placed directly on the surface. Granite resists chips, cracks, and scratches. You won’t have to baby this stone; it holds up to a lot of wear and tear.

Beautiful

Granite adds a timeless elegance to any space. This stone is also available in a wide range of colors that can complement any decorating scheme. As a naturally occurring stone, no two pieces will be exactly alike. That means your home will have its own unique look.

Easy to Care For

Because granite is so durable, it really doesn’t require much care. The stone, once sealed, is a solid and nonporous surface. That means that there’s nowhere for bacteria to seep into and hide. Once you’re done cooking, just wipe the countertop with soapy water and go. About once a year, you’ll want to reseal the counters to keep this easy-clean surface in good shape. That’s all the maintenance you’ll likely need to do.

An Affordable Investment

At about $50-$100 per square foot, granite is a great choice for budget-conscious homeowners. Sure, there are cheaper artificial materials on the market. Granite beats them in every category. It quickly pays for itself through easy maintenance and durability. Finally, a granite counter is an eye-catching feature on a real estate listing. Ready to sell your home? This stone will give you a competitive edge over the neighbors.

10 Remodel & Storage Hacks for a Small Kitchen

Do you have a small kitchen?  Are you looking to maximize your storage and workspace? No matter what size of room you have to work with, you can get the most out of your space with just a few easy storage and remodeling tricks. Here are our top ten tips:

1.  Use Light Colors

Light colors open and brighten a room, making the space look bigger.  However, stay away from flat whites which can look institutional. Creams and subtle pastels may work well here.

2. Use Bright Colors

A bright pop of color on the far wall draws the eye forward, creating visual depth.  Try to choose colors that harmonize with the floor and cabinetry.

3.  Change Your Appliances and Furniture

You can create more space by swapping out oversized features like double sinks or big dining tables for smaller and more stylish options.

4. Find Creative Storage Spaces

Some ideas: install small racks inside cabinet doors, screw mug hooks underneath upper cabinets, and attach baskets to cabinets’ sides.

5. Change the Layout

One thing that makes kitchens feel small is not having enough workspace.  Remodel the layout of your cabinets or island and you may open up more prep area.

6. Stick to the Essential Items

Things you use every day, like the coffee maker, deserve space on the counters.  That impulse buy kitchen doo-dad? Not so much. Store it out of sight.

7. Get Custom Countertops

Your kitchen may be well served with counters that snake around corners or are slightly narrower than standard.  A custom design can work wonders here to open up space.

8. Use Vertical Storage Space

This tip is especially handy if you have tall ceilings and limited floor space.  Consider hanging overhead racks to store pots and pans so they don’t take up shelves.

9.  Embrace Open Design

If you’re remodeling, why not take out a wall?  Open or semi-open floor plans can enlarge a space.

10. Seasonal Storage

Only use your turkey-sized roasting pan once a year?  Store it in the garage for the other 51 weeks.

How Do You Repair A Chip In Granite Counter Top?

Granite counter tops are a beautiful feature in any home. They offer the perfect balance of both style and function and can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. However, because granite is a natural stone, it’s possible that chips or cracks can form. These often come from an impact or water damage.  The good news is that these minor issues are easily fixed. You might even be able to DIY it!

DIY granite chip repair

If the chip or crack in your granite counter top is very small, you may be able to repair it yourself. Go to a home supply store and look for an epoxy kit designed specifically for granite. You’ll need to follow the instructions carefully.  Generally speaking, you’ll start by cleaning the area with an appropriate cleanser. Blend the color packet into the epoxy until you get a match to your counter top. Apply the mix a little at a time until the damage is covered.

If you’re not comfortable with using the kit yourself, or you want to be sure you’re getting a seamless repair, you can contact a local stone and counter top company to handle the problem for you.

When to call in a professional

Epoxy kits work well, but only for very small chips and cracks. They also need to be used correctly or you run the risk of water leaking under the repair and causing more damage over time. If you have a bigger crack or a chunk of granite missing, it’s time to call a professional service like Architectural Stone Works to assess the situation. We are one of the Mid-south’s leading sources of natural stone counter tops.  Our expert craftsmen have many years of experience with granite installation and repair. Contact us and we’ll give an estimate for the job.

Common Kitchen Design Mistakes

Whether you’re planning your new dream kitchen or renovating an old one, you want to make sure you settle on the right design. Since the kitchen is one of the most-used rooms, design mistakes are especially annoying over time. Here’s where Architectural Stone Works’ on-staff designer comes in.  She can look over the kitchen plan and help you avoid these four common kitchen design errors:

1. Too Much Open Shelving

Open shelving is the ultimate in convenience. However, open shelving also does little to protect items and keep them clean. It’s best to plan a kitchen that has a mix of open and closed shelving. That way, you can keep cups, dishes, and utensils out of sight.

2. A Cluttered Floor Plan

Nothing causes conflict in a family like having to walk around each other or fight for floor space in the kitchen. When planning the area, think about how people will enter and move around the room. Our designer can help you estimate how much free floor space is needed.

3. An Inefficient Kitchen Flow

There’s a certain rhythm to preparing meals and cleaning up afterward. Food is taken from the refrigerator to a prep surface and then the stove. Later on, dirty dishes go to the dishwasher. Check your kitchen floor plan to make sure major features like the sink and stove are laid out logically. Don’t run a marathon prepping each meal!

4. Not Enough Outlets

This is one small planning error that can create a big annoyance down the line. Some minor appliances like the blender can be run off a power strip, but do too many of these and you create a fire hazard. Meanwhile, each bigger appliance needs its own outlet.  Remember: it’s easier to run power lines while building a kitchen than to add them later on.

How Important Are Reviews When Picking A Granite Company?

Granite countertops are an investment that can revolutionize the way you use and see your home. They add value to your house now and in the future. However, not every company knows how to handle and properly install this magnificent stone. Incorrectly installed granite countertops can be a real headache that costs you down the line.

So how do you know which granite counter installation company to trust? One of the best ways is through online customer reviews.  From these, you can learn from the experiences of other customers located in your area. There are a wide range of review sites including Yelp, Angie’s List, and locally focused pages like Facebook groups.  This is a good way to get a feel for how a particular company is to work with.

Real customer reviews can help you make the right decision.  Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Were the installers punctual and professional?
  • Does the company offer a service guarantee?
  • How was their customer service? Were they happy to answer any questions that the customer had?
  • Did the company stay within budget and were upfront on all costs prior to installation?
  • Can they handle unexpected issues that may have cropped up during the job?
  • Was their work and products of good quality?
  • Has the customer had any problems after the counters were installed? If so, how did the company respond?
  • Finally, would the customer recommend the service and come back again?

Reputations take time to build.  That’s why, when you find a company with a history of positive reviews, you know you’ll be in good hands.  At Architectural Stone Works we pride ourselves in offering quality granite counters and excellent customer service.  No project is too big or too small.  Contact us today to find out more.

Take The Guesswork From Countertop Planning With the QuickQuote Visualizer

Your budget is one of the most important concerns for a kitchen and bathroom renovation. However, sticking to it can be tricky. In addition to the cost of time and labor, you need to figure out the price of the counters themselves. This is where our QuickQuote Visualizer can take the guesswork out of the equation.  Simply put in a few details in and our program will do the rest for you.

 

What Does the QuickQuote Visualizer Do?

The QuickQuote Visualizer is an easy-to-use, interactive program that lets you plan out your future countertop. Put in a few numbers, indicate the style and material of the countertop you want, and we’ll get a quote back to you.

 

How Do You Use The QuickQuote Visualizer?

Get a quote in seven easy steps:

  1. Drop by the QuickQuote Visualizer.
  2. Enter how many square feet of stone you need for your countertop. If you aren’t sure, there are several premade templates to give you an estimate.
  3. Next, choose which room the countertop will go on. We have a wide variety of options including kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor patios, and more.
  4. Now you choose what style of edging you’d prefer, both around the outside edge of the countertop and around any sinks.
  5. Decide if the space will have an undermount or overmount sink. If this is for a kitchen, you can also indicate that there’s a cookstove integrated with the countertop.
  6. Finally, the fun part: You get to browse through our selection of stone countertop materials and colors. We have everything from granite to travertine, marble and more. If you want to search by color, our Visualizer has a drop-down menu that organizes stone by shade.  Note: not every material is a good match for every application.
  7. To get your price quote, enter your name and contact details and we’ll get back to you.

Why Choose Granite for Outdoor Counter Tops in Memphis

Granite is a popular choice for kitchen countertop remodels … but did you ever think about taking it outside? It may sound like a strange idea, but this durable and stylish stone is actually well-suited to the outdoors. Here are four reasons why granite is a great choice for outdoor counters:

Granite Holds Up to the Weather

The South can bring some extreme weather including:

  • scorching August heat waves
  • freezing February nights
  • heavy rain that could hit year-round

Not every stone will last, but granite goes the distance. It’s hard, durable, and when sealed there are no little gaps for water to seep in and cause damage.

With a Little Care, Granite Stays Looking Great

Your granite countertops look great, but they don’t need to be pampered. With maintenance and yearly sealing, spills will just wipe away and not stain. Granite is also bacteria-resistant, making it more sanitary than surfaces like wood. This makes the stone a solid choice for the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.

Granite is Beautiful and Versatile

Did you know that this natural stone is available in a wide range of hues and patterns? You can find granite to match any aesthetic:

  • warm, inviting colors that work with woodsy or rustic decor
  • marbled white for a crisp, classic feel
  • black granite for edgy, modern decorating schemes
  • beautifully natural patterns of brown and grey to echo the great outdoors

An Investment For Your Home and Lifestyle

Outdoor granite countertops are an investment that can pay off in many ways. They raise the value of your home and create an attention-grabbing selling point for potential buyers. This feature will also increase your enjoyment of your yard. Your outdoor kitchen or patio will be transformed into a timelessly classy yet functional space.