When to Repair & When to Replace Your Granite

Granite counters are a classy and durable stone. They hold up well for many kitchen applications but sometimes they do get damaged. Sometimes granite can be repaired but other times you may be better off replacing the counter.

When to Repair:

Is your granite in good condition but looks a little dull? Does it have a few light scratches on the surface? You have a couple of options here. For minor jobs, the counter may just need to be thoroughly cleaned and polished.

If polishing doesn’t do the trick, try the water drop test. Sprinkle a few drops of water on the stone and see what happens. If they absorb into the material in a few minutes, it’s definitely time to re-seal your granite. You can re-seal the stone yourself with a product designed for granite or hire a professional.

Do you have a few chips or medium-depth scratches? Resurfacing the stone can greatly improve their appearance. Look for an epoxy-based repair kit or get the pros involved with this project.

When to Replace

What if your granite counter has more serious condition issues? For instance, what if you buy a house with old countertops that weren’t properly cared for? You might be looking at granite that is heavily chipped, cracked, or discolored. Unfortunately, some damage runs too deeply to be repaired. In this case, you’re probably better off getting a new slab installed. The old countertop could be repurposed for use in a workroom or outside in the garden or on the patio.

Quartz Countertop Repair in 7 Steps

Quartz countertops are a beautiful and highly durable feature in many homes. However, under some circumstances, they can chip. This could happen, for instance, if a heavy iron pot is dropped on them. In many cases it is possible for these chips to be seamlessly repaired.

Chips typically occur on edges or corners where the stone is slightly more vulnerable. Depending on the overall look of your countertop, this chip may be subtle or highly obvious. The good news is that repairing the damage is usually a straightforward process.

Quartz Countertop Repair in Seven Steps

Step one: Take a high quality photo of the damage.

Step two: Go to your local hardware supply store.

Step three: Ask the sales associates what product they’d advise. There’s a good chance they’ll recommend an epoxy-based repair kit. Some kits have clear epoxy while others have tinted products.

Step four: You’ll want to follow the directions closely, but they probably begin with preparing the damaged surface. Make sure the chipped area is clean and dry.

Step five: Apply the epoxy following the instructions, smoothing it down and removing excess material. There may be a tool included for this.

Step six: Let the patch cure completely. The kit could have an included UV light to speed up this process.

Step seven: Enjoy your beautifully repaired counter surface.

What if you aren’t happy with the results? In that case, it may be time to call in a professional service. For small chips, this should be a fairly quick and inexpensive job.

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.

Kitchen Remodel Budget Breakdown

Are you planning a kitchen remodel but have no idea how your budget will break down? You aren’t alone. However, building with a firm idea of the numbers involved will keep you on-budget and your renovation on track. Here’s what the average kitchen budget covers:

  • Cabinetry & Hardware 29%
  • Installation 17%
  • Appliances & Ventilation 14%
  • Countertops 10%
  • Flooring 7%
  • Walls & Ceilings 5%
  • Lighting 5%
  • Design Fees 4%
  • Doors & Windows 4%
  • Faucets & Plumbing 4%
  • Other 1%

Where to Save:

You can easily strike from this list items that you aren’t planning to tackle. For instance, if you have great hardwood floors or plenty of windows, you won’t need to invest here.

Cabinetry and hardware are another often-missed opportunity. There may be a budget way to refresh them, possibly with new doors and a coat of paint.

Do you have any handyman or DIY skills? You may be able to trim down installation costs. Keep in mind that some items will be subject to local codes.

For lighting, save by using existing fixtures. If you need a style update, swap out the covers. Need a brighter room? Try bright compact fluorescent bulbs.

Where to Splurge:

The right countertops can make your kitchen a more stylish and functional space. They also become a great selling point if you ever put the house on the market. Nothing beats the look and durability of natural stone counters. These are available at a wide range of price points to work with what your budget allows.

Upgrading your appliances can save you down the line. Newer items are more energy efficient, less likely to break down, and may have features that the older models don’t. For example, consider upgrading a blender to a food processor and investing in a state-of-the-art, energy star rated refrigerator.

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.

Secrets to Staying on Budget While Remodeling

Remodeling your house is an exciting project. It can also be tricky to stay on budget. Feeling overwhelmed? Here are a few tips to keep focused on your budget while creating your dream home.

Tip 1: Work With What You Have

Before stripping things out, take a beat to look at the space with new eyes. Are there features that are structurally sound, but need a little work or a style update? For instance, you can save a lot by putting new doors on cabinets or refinishing hardwood floors instead of replacing them.

Tip 2: Trim Delivery Fees

The costs of having items delivered to the front door can really add up. To save, spend a little time looking for nearby sources. You may be able to pick up things like furniture and building materials by yourself. Don’t have a truck? Rent one; a day’s fees can be far less than delivery costs.

Tip 3: Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

You remember those fundraisers where people color in a thermometer as they raise money? Use this visual aid during your home remodel. Color in stripes for every hundred or thousand you spend. Keep this visual budget reminder somewhere you see every day.

Tip 4: Work With Standard Sizes

You’ll save money (and a headache) down the line with this tip. Instead of having things custom fitted, stick with sizes that don’t require special cuts. You will also thank yourself if you have to replace something in the future.

Tip 5: DIY Whenever Possible

Not a household handyman? That’s okay, some skills are easy to pick up. If you look up how to paint a room, for instance, you can trim the budget here. A few other possibilities include doing your own landscaping, re-grouting tiles, and replacing old fixtures.

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.

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.