All posts by stonetopgranite

How to build a natural stone seating wall in garden

A properly built, natural stone seating wall remains beautiful for years, and creates some amazing moments for your family and friends. Besides containing your garden seating area, it provides additional seating space like Stone chairs, stone couches, stone sofas in the garden. You can build them in various ways based on the type of material used for the purpose. Here are some tips to build it using natural stone blocks.

Height of seating wall

A seating wall can be anywhere around 10-18” height based on the age group of individuals (1-13 years) using it. For many would consider 24” as the comfortable height, especially grownups.

Larger stones at base

As you are using natural stones you need to know that larger stones should occupy the base, medium sized ones make the wall, wider ones form capstone, pea gravels fill the spaces between stones.

Binding material

If you are using pebble stones to build the garden wall use mortar to strengthen the wall, as without a binding agent the wall can collapse. Brick shaped natural stone blocks can be easily installed as the complexities are less, and you can install them as per your requirement. Pea gravel act as a locking substance that prevents the movement of the irregularly shaped stones.

Laying a foundation

Preparing the ground for the construction is important as the wall can sink or crumble without a strong foundation. Also, if you are building a reclining wall the pressure due to soil mass can make the wall unstable.

You need to start with clearing the grass and waste, and digging a six inch deep and 24” wide trench where the wall should come up. Fill the trench with the paver base, leaving a depth of the size of a brick and an inch, and tamp it firmly using hand tamper.

Stone dust will be the next layer occupying one inch depth. Important thing during natural stone installation is that the slope of stones should be against your home, as you’d not want the water to accumulate next to it.

Installing natural stones

Now start laying the stones without disturbing the underlying layers. Placing them one next to the other is better than dropping them on the paver and pulling towards the already placed stone. Once a layer is completed, fill the spaces with pea gravel.

You can use two lines of adhesive gum pastes to strengthen every layer. Height of the capstone surface must be limited based on the age group of people using the natural stone seating wall. A 24” width, for capstone surface, is better to form a comfortable seating space.

And also Read: How to Install Natural Stone Tiles?

Building natural stone seating wall is an art as well as a technique. A poorly constructed wall lives short and leads to many problems such as water logging, deterioration in structure and looks, etc. Use aforementioned tips to build the wall of your choice using the material of your choice.

What you should know about soapstone

Soapstone is a beautiful experience in itself, making your home look beautiful and cozy, whether used for bathroom flooring or wall cladding purposes, or as countertop surfaces. Being a metamorphic rock formed due to the movement of tectonic plates and transformation due to temperature, it is found only in some places. Even though there are stones like granite, marble, limestone, and travertine, you’ve ample reasons to choose soapstone over other natural stones.

Soapstone remains soft and comfortable to touch, unlike granite which feels hot or cold to touch depending on the surroundings. Looking subdued, even when polished in comparison with granites, they have more to offer than meets our eyes.

Beautiful patterns

Due to their distinct origin, soapstones feature rich vein patterns and color variants of dark green, gray, and black. Even though you can polish them and get some shine, over time they lose luster and look dull.

Protection against stains

Many sellers claim, soapstones are non-porous and resist stains. It’s true to an extent when it comes to acidic orange and citrus juices, oil, or water. However, as they naturally look tanned in due course, protecting their looks becomes necessary. Coating the soapstones with mineral oil gives a darker tone, but ensures uniform looks for longer periods.

Non-porous shield

Soapstones are non-porous, and easily resist accumulation and growth of microbes on their surfaces. Soapstone is a healthier candidate as a countertop which needs less maintenance.

Soft and vulnerable to scratches

As these natural stones contain talc, they are soft; their softness varies based on the occurrence and variety. For architectural purposes, the ones with talc percentages of around 30% are used, as they are harder enough to resist deforming forces for some extent.

Temperature retention

Soapstones retain and release temperature gradually, thus making excellent materials for purposes such as lining stone hearths, insulating floors, cooking vessels, whisky stones, etc. This also protects them against heat-induced damage, giving them an advantage over other natural stones for use as kitchen countertops.

 

How to build and design natural stone porches

A beautiful natural stone porch attracts covetous glances of your neighbours. This is where you many of your beautiful moments with family and friends are captured and shared. A porch may be a partially open or enclosed space covered by glass windows or wooden pickets in front of your home. On hot days, this can be an ideal place to let your body cool.

Designing a perfect porch needs careful planning, choice of materials, and installation. Here are some tips to design and build a perfect porch for your home.

Draw a plan

It is always wiser to start any project with a plan, as bringing out ideas on paper does not cost you money. Apart from saving you a lot of time and effort, it ensures your porch looks great and personalized.

Get required materials

It is essential to keep the essential things ready instead of searching them when the work progresses. Natural stone, coarse and fine sand, gravel, trowel, rope, screed board, tape measure, circular saw with diamond chips, plate compactor, and pry bar are the required things for building a natural stone porch.

Choosing a natural stone

Every natural stone has a personality –granite shows resilience, marble looks royal and trendy, whereas soapstone feels soft, and travertine oozes delicate and rustic feel. A limestone imparts a blend of countryside and modern appearance to your floor.

Apart these impressions, a natural stone’s porosity, pattern, and strength render it useful for different applications. Price is also a factor to choose between these stones – marble and granite fall in the costly-medium, limestone and slate in the medium, while travertine in the low range.

Some prefer square or rectangular stone, whereas others opt for irregular ones. Sometimes if you order 1 inch thick slabs you may receive 0.5 or 1.5 inch slabs as well. Uniformly thick stones reduce your efforts. If the porch is meant for heavier usage, such as car parking you need to get 2 inch slabs.

Here are the steps to build porch

  • Level the area meant for the porch
  • Fill the area with 4 inch thick layer of medium-size gravel
  • Level the surface using a creed board and a plate compactor
  • Cover it with 2-3 inch thick layer of coarse sand and level it using screed board
  • Start placing tiles from one side without disturbing the sand, maintaining 0.5 inch distance between the joints using a pry bar
  • Fill the spaces in the joints with fine sand using trowel

Alternatively, you can use concrete to install the stones, or wooden framework for wooden plank floors. A great porch adds to the looks of your home. Avoiding vacuum pumps or strong water sprays for cleaning the porch surface ensures they look beautiful and last longer.

Also Read: Paver stone types and their Installations

Paver stone types and their Installations

Paver stone surfaces looks stunning in front of your home, whether it is used for car parking or kids play area. You’ll find many varieties of paver stones, each giving a different feel and durability to your patio. Some varieties, such as cobblestone, flagstone, slate, blue stone, travertine, sandstone, limestone, and granite are the most commonly used natural stones as paver surfaces.

There are other varieties such as clay, brick, rubber, concrete, and grass pavers do not belong to a natural stone category. In this blog we discuss natural stone pavers along with their pros and cons.

How they are Installed

Based on the varieties they are either or installed on layers. Rounded and especially the ones with interstitial spacing needs concrete sealing to prevent movement. Slightly heavier and rectangular varieties can be installed over coarse and fine gravel as they firmly set themselves when closely packed.

Cobble Stone Pavers

A cobblestone is not a variety of stone as it just means a rounded stone used for paving streets in the old times. Rounded or angular pieces of natural stones such as granite, marble, and limestone, are usually called cobblestones and used for pavements. Looking rustic as pavements, and being tough, they vary in shape, size, material, and color, allowing you to experiment with shades and patterns.

Flagstone Pavers

Flagstones are just sandstone, limestone, or slate slabs crudely cut and used to cover the pavers and other purposes. Available in blue, buff, and red colors and other variants, these stones are durable as pavers. They are either sealed or set over subsurface layers, based on requirements.

Slate Pavers

Available in gray, blue, light purple, dark red and brown shades, slates make great paver surfaces for warmer regions. Chances are more for the slate surfaces to crack, due to freeze-thaw effect of water in places of frequent snowfalls. However, due to its antiskid nature, it makes a great surface to be used near swimming pools.

Blue Stone Pavers

Natural stones like feldspathic sandstone, basalt, slate, limestone, and dolerite are also called as blue stones. They are hard volcanic rocks having an ability to bear the wear and tear effectively, also looking cool as pavers. Thermal finishing is given to make the stone surface rugged and anti slippery for walkways.

Travertine Pavers

Naturally consisting of pores and looking coarse but still looking elegant, travertine pavers make great choices for both indoor and outdoor use. Due to their uneven texture they make good antiskid surfaces and best bet as swimming pool deck pavers. As they are made of calcium carbonate you need to keep them safe from scouring agents and harsh chemicals.

Granite Pavers

Durable and hard, granite pavers come with a variety of colors and patterns, giving you attractive combinations to play with paver patterns. Using granite for pool decks, walkways, or patios, make the surface a worthwhile investment.

Sandstone Pavers

Sandstone is undoubtedly hard and beautiful with color variants such as pink, brown, yellow, black, and gray, but also vulnerable to scratches and stains due to their grainy texture. Unlike granite these are easy to cut and customize as per requirements. However, make sure to install coarse sandstone surface, especially near swimming pools and other places where moisture is a common occurrence.

Marble Pavers

When it comes to adding awesomeness to your flooring surfaces a marble stone never fails. Available in some of the exquisite variations of colors such as blue-gray, pure white, green, brown, black, pink, and salmon, they are sure to give a dreamy appearance to your pavers. They are anti-slippery and make good for both outdoor usage, such as swim pool decks and pavers, and also indoor purposes.

Based on the natural stone variety, its shape, size and usage, there may be slight variations in the installation requirements. Check with your installation professionals for more guidance.

9 Upcoming Kitchen Countertop Styles and Trends

Kitchen countertop styles and trends change frequently adding to the home renovation options for the consumers. There are unlimited possibilities if you consider ways to transform your kitchen. Draw a picture in mind about what kind of kitchen countertop materials and their textures, designs, and arrangements better suit your kitchen and where. Experts have a knack to grab those ideas and come up with an idea that becomes a trend.

Here you will come across some of the ideas that have flashed across your mind sometimes, but will be surprised with the overall outcome.

Natural stone surfaces

Stones such as granite, marble, limestone, soapstone, and travertine are some of the frequently heard names in the countertop market. Some are soft, some hard, and others coarse, while all of them have their own attribute, imparting a different feel to your interiors. Flaunting a flowy, flecked, flaky, or crystal pattern these surfaces break the monotony of your kitchen.

Engineered surfaces

Most of the attractive quartz and quartzite surfaces in the market are engineered surfaces. These man-made surfaces contain 93% quartz and the remaining percentage of resin and acrylic polymers. A huge percentage of quartz gives great strength to resist scouring forces. Quartz kitchen countertops feature peppy designs, giving an urban touch to your kitchen interiors.

Butcher block surfaces

Butcher block countertops are regaining their lost glory with stone surfaces been overused in recent times. Their settled feel, soft touch, fibrous features, and timelessness make them an irresistible choice for people yearning for a countryside life.

Concrete countertops

If your renovation advisor suggests installing a concrete kitchen countertop you definitely give back a suspicious look, but the end result leaves you speechless. These countertops can be polished to a glossy finish, added different colors, and made to look like a marble or granite. Except for the reason that a concrete countertop needs regular polishing, sealing, and waxing, it can resist freezing temperatures well.

Eco-friendly countertops

Paper countertop is a beautiful twist as your kitchen countertop surface with lovable feel and texture, oozing a sense of warmth. These countertop surfaces easily win accolades as environmentally friendly materials that are free from volatile organic carbons (VOCs) and radon gas. Sparing some time to maintain this surface keeps your kitchen looking enviable.

Also Read: Modern Stone Vessel and Glass, Copper, Porcelain Bowls

Centerstage shape

If planning to install a kitchen centerstage, why not install the countertop whose shape matches your kitchen perimeter! This not only improves looks, but also facilitates easy movements around the stage avoiding the blind spots. You can opt for shapes such as L-, U-, and wedge shaped based on your kitchen perimeter and requirement.

Gray countertop cabinets

Gray is the trending kitchen cabinet color as most of the products flooding the markets flaunt it. Looking swanky, these countertop cabinets give an impression that the design is just perfect for gray. Match this countertop with hardwood flooring to give a dramatic shift to your interiors.

Black and white cabinets

For those who like to dwell in the old world charm, a black and white palette creates unlimited combinations giving a settled feel to your kitchen. With this combination you can easily direct the attention towards something more special.

Automated kitchen

Add technology to your kitchen making your kitchen work smarter for your family. Install sensor taps, automated ovens controlled by smartphones, hydraulic cabinet doors in the cabinets that can save you time, trouble, and space, respectively.

Related Topic: 4 Countertop Ideas to transform your Kitchen

What affects bathroom flooring tiles

A bathroom with perfect flooring and finishing may not seem very important for people when they are buying a new home. But after some slips or injuries, they will feel something has really gone wrong here. A bathroom is the most important part of your home where quality time is spent on hygiene. You need to get the right tiles, texture, and caulking done for the floors to ensure hassle free usage for years.

In this blog we will discuss many important elements everyone needs to consider while installing a bathroom flooring surface.

Anti-skid surface

Bathrooms tend to get slippery post scum accumulation on the floors. An anti-skid surface is a must for bathroom floor to prevent possible hazards. A textured concrete, natural stone, or engineered surface are the most commonly used solutions for most homes.

Non-porous surface

Porous tiles attract moisture and support the growth of molds. Even though porous surfaces such as granite, limestone, and marble, and non-porous ones like quartz and porcelain are the most frequently used, take care not to install polished or honed varieties.

Sloping

Another very important aspect people miss during the bathroom flooring installation is sloping. A floor with good sloping prevents water puddle, scum, and mold, thus keeping your bathroom safe and hygienic.

Insulation

People from colder countries experience problems related to cold floors, especially in ground floors. Concrete surfaces seem too cold during winter, while porcelain and granite repel temperature and remain stable.

Also Read:  How to install natural stone tiles? 

Flooring options

When it comes to bathroom floors, there are unlimited choices for upgradation. But before you go for one, it helps to know their features.

Concrete flooring

Concrete floors may look old fashioned, but there are ways to make a difference. One way being stamping them with attractive designs and other being using acid staining to dramatically change the appearance. However, these surfaces are porous and attract molds if not properly maintained.

Ceramic flooring

Ceramic tiles are durable surfaces which do not break due to temperature extremes. Available in variety of colors and patterns they make the cost-effective choices for your bathrooms. However, as these floors have superficial enamel coating, damaged surfaces are difficult to repair. In colder countries insulation is a must for ceramic tiles as they become uncomfortably cold during winter.

Porcelain flooring

In contrast to ceramic or other flooring surfaces, porcelain tiles are extremely tough. They are non-porous and effectively repel water, thus making excellent bathroom flooring materials. Their uniform matrix conceals chips and cracks. Rough textured porcelain tiles perform extremely well as non-slippery bathroom flooring.

Quartz flooring

Most of the quartz surfaces available in the market are engineered surfaces comprising of 93% quartz and 7% resin and color pigments. These are non-porous, antibacterial surfaces and best surfaces for bathrooms. Make sure you install a non-skid variety as glossy ones tend to get slippery. If you cannot afford to invest considerable time on maintenance, quartz is the best choice.

Marble flooring

Marble stones are porous, so attract microbes, stains and scratches more easily. Neutral cleaners are excellent solutions to prevent discolorations or damages. Even though a sloped surface is a must for bathrooms, marble flooring cannot afford to lose on this aspect. It eliminates chances of water puddles and in turn etchings and stains. Marble’s porous surface attracts organic debris, thus harboring bacteria and becoming slippery without maintenance. Get a textured marble surface for bathrooms and maintain them on regular basis for better experience.

Granite flooring

Granite is one of the hardest stones available in attractive colors and patterns, making it an excellent choice for your bathroom floors. Its porous nature attracts dirt accumulation, keeping you involved in doing the cleaning part. Coarse textured granite surfaces are best for bathrooms, enhancing the looks as well as remaining there for years.
All bathroom surfaces need cleaning and maintenance, the room is a hotspot of germs and scum accumulation. However some such as quartz and porcelain need less effort, while granite, limestone, marble, concrete demand more attention. Using right cleaning techniques help keep your bathroom space safe and hygienic.

How to Tile Outdoor Kitchen Countertops

Breaking away from routine, spending time with family, cooking on the outdoor kitchen countertop, and dining is an unforgettable experience. Not everyone will have this advantage as most homes do not have an outdoor kitchen. If you are thinking of installing one for your home, here are some ideas to understand how to go for it.

Have a plan

Before you start building a countertop develop a plan on paper about how it should look in the end. Every detail starting from the shape and size of countertop to the things to be housed (wash basin, stove, freezer, etc.), needs to be planned.

Building the frame

A frame provides the foundation to install kitchen accessories as per plan, whether it is about keeping the washbasin to the left, perching oven on the countertop surface, installing cabinets below the oven, and so on. The frame can be built using wood or bricks, latter packed with mortar.

Making of countertop

Prior to installing countertop surfaces, claddings, and cornerstones, under surface foundation need to be developed. Start with nailing waterproof plywood and steel mesh sandwiching the builder’s felt comes the turn of cement mortar that holds the tile surface. Make sure to prep the mortar with grooves for the tiles to set firmly.

Read Our Article on: Advantages of Natural Stone Cladding

Choosing tiles

As your countertop sits outside the home you need to make sure that the right countertop surface is used. As a surface such as plywood may not last long bearing the moisture and microorganisms you need to get something resistant to environmental agents. Granite, marble, slate, ceramic, or porcelain tiles are some of the surfaces commonly used.

However, if you are installing the countertop in an open area, make sure to use a resistant countertop and also seal it properly. Here are tips to choose the right countertop surface for outdoors.

Granite

A granite countertop on your kitchen surface means less maintenance troubles as the stone won’t easily yield to scratches or stains. Regular cleaning using hot water must be enough to keep it looking great.

Marble

Even though this natural stone looks amazing in your garden, you need to seal it against stains and scratches. It is a perfect party material for every outdoor celebration bringing a wow feeling.

See more: DIY Tips to care for Marble countertops

Slate

Light on your pockets, these slate stones look good as well in your outdoor kitchen. These stones vary in colors such as copper, honey tan, golden green, and gray, and impart softness to your countertop. As they are soft, stains are common occurrences. Having them in your kitchen means, need for greater precaution with heavy objects.

Ceramic tiles

Available in attractive colors, these tiles come with unlimited patterns. Able to resist minor scratching forces they feature as yet another cheaper alternative for your countertop surface. But if they get damaged they are sure to look ugly as under surface with different texture crops up.

Porcelain tiles

With a hardness ranging from 5-9 porcelain tiles show an extreme hardness overtaking quartz. Developing scratch on its surface is nearly impossible, but if a dent appears, the uniform undersurface conceals it. Porcelain tiles are fantastic choices for outdoor purpose as they also fare well in terms of looks.

Must Read: Best Way to choose countertops: Pros & Cons

Plans to Build Outdoor Fireplaces for Homes

An outdoor fireplace is a great way to cozy up with your family, especially during the winter months! With Christmas fast approaching, people would just love to decorate their outdoor fireplaces with lightings, and place Christmas tree and furniture next to it. Those who do not have plans to build outdoor fireplace would wish to get themselves one fast!

However, as a stone hearth made of mortar takes three months to set you can opt for ready-made ones like metal globe, gas fire pits, or handmade stone hearths without mortar sealing. If you are thinking of building one for the future, use these tips to plan and build a nice stone outdoor fireplace.

Here are some tips to consider while building your fireplace.

Get right size

Building a right sized hearth is very important, because it ultimately should serve the purpose. The hearth should not look dwarfed or imposing in front of your mansion or tiny house!

Choose themes to suit

Do you have kids in your home? Whether yours is a family of geeks or those who love Victorian constructions, there is a theme for everyone! An outdoor fireplace for a home with kids can be built with stone, concrete, and mortar smoothened to allow seating around the hearth. Bright colors cheer up the place, whereas pillows and cushions ensure comfortable seating.

Geeks would love the hearth made of metallic forms that resemble minions or characters, laptops, scientific fiction gadgets, or anything alike. Brick fireplaces may also go well for this group which will make the place look zippy. A gas burner can be used instead of woods for cleaner surroundings.

Victorian setting may flaunt refined looks despite featuring a rugged appearance for outdoor settings. Natural stones like sandstone, granite, limestone, and travertine can be used to match your flooring and wall tiles. Storage space for firewood can be provided beside the hearth for convenience.

Finding right location

Before building an outdoor furnace find out which location suits better. If your backyard is spacious you will have many choices to make, but ensure the smoke does not enter your or neighbor’s home. Get the permission of local authorities for using wood in the hearth. Hearth next to a backyard swimming pool with wooden chairs spread in front can be a great idea!

Take the assistance of your gas company to locate the gas line in case you want a cleaner furnace with gas connection.

How to build it

Dig a foundation of 6 inch or 1 foot depth as per requirements (bigger hearths need deeper foundation) and fill concrete mixture in it. Level the mixture and allow it to set for 24 hours. Spread the mortar paste on it and lay concrete slabs covering the surface within the hearth boundary.

Build the three hearth walls (left, back, right) using fire bricks placing them ¼ inch apart from each other and sealing using a mixture of high-temperature mortar and the normal one. Provide support and construct a chimney walls as per your design choice. Make sure the chimney is taller by two feet compared to nearby constructions to avoid darkening.

Close the top of the chimney with spark arrestor with a little gap to let the smoke leave the hearth. Use attractive stones such as sandstone or granite and build hearthstone. You may also use stone veneers on the chimney walls for a beautiful look.

Now draw the gas connection line into the furnace and check if it is sealed and works properly. If you want to use only woods you may skip the last step.

All About Quartz Kitchen Countertops

What is your choice for your kitchen or bathroom surface – granite, marble, natural quartzite, or quartz? Most people would blindly settle for granite or marble as most of their neighbors suggest it. But do you know that quartz countertop surfaces are fast picking up trend in the countertop market?

Some years ago granite or marble were the names overused in the countertop market, but now the scene seems to have changed completely. Customers want something which is different and durable as well, and within budget, and quartz countertop is definitely on that list. A careful buyer would consider all aspects such as trendiness, cost effectiveness, durability, and aesthetics before finalizing on a countertop.

Did you ask, “Where would quartz fit in those lines?” Here are some reasons which make quartz countertops an excellent choice for your home.

quartz kitchen countertops
Design Kitchen with Quartz Countertops

What makes it?

Quartz is made of 93% ground quartz, polymer resin, and acrylic colors, giving it a dual nature – natural and engineered. Natural quartz fortifies the countertop five times than that of granite, resin fuses the mixture and reduces pores, whereas acrylic colors gives them attractive colors. In contrast to earlier times when quartz was available in limited colors, now you can find them in attractive patterns and unlimited color combinations.

How to install?

It is better to prepare the cabinet before you cut quartz surface. As your countertop is quite heavier the cabinet should be strong and sturdy enough to bear the weight. You need to take extreme care during installation as the material is quite heavy and hard, and cutting it to required size is tough. Also, you may find fissures or warped spots, which can leave depressions on the surface or damage the cutting blade during polishing.

Washing quartz surface before cutting helps identify fissures which can be effectively handled by the vendor. Warped spots can be leveled off by wedging. Keep the stone cool using sufficient water, which prevents charring due to heat during cutting.

Caring and maintenance

Quartz countertops are scratch and stain free as well as microorganism resistant, which makes them hygienic surfaces for kitchens and bathrooms. Wash them using mild soap and water to keep them looking like new. Use trivets to keep hot bowls on the quartz surface as polymer resin content in it can melt resulting in deformation. Caring and maintaining the quartz countertops gives the beauty to the kitchen space.

Pros

Quartz countertops are scratch resistant and tough due to which they count as maintenance free kitchen or bathroom surfaces. Even though at initial stages they seem costly you can save money on maintenance and sealing. Their attractive colors and patterns impart a contemporary appearance to your kitchen.

Cons

Heat causes polymer resin to melt causing a deformed quartz countertop. This stone is a costly purchase if your budget is low. For the customers who need a natural stone countertop, quartz may look out of the league. Quartz countertop surface mimics the looks of all stones, but you may not find the softness of marble, patterns of granite, lightness of travertine in it.

Click here to know more about the countertops: pros and Cons

Using Natural Stones to Enhance the Beauty of Backyard Swimming Pool

A backyard swimming pool made of natural stone is a great stress reliever for your family and you. After a day’s hard work, you definitely would like to unplug yourself from the outside world and spend some quiet time alone or have a blast with dear ones on the weekends. Backyard swimming pool is your best bet to give your family the much needed relaxation.

Constructing a backyard swimming pool using natural stones is a challenge as the pool should look exquisite and survive for years. A swimming pool consists of pavers, decking and coping areas which can be highlighted using natural stones. If you construct it without proper guidance it can become a hazardous place.

Selecting a natural stone for swimming pool deck or paving is guileful as each natural stone is different. But as the construction commands considerable reinforcement and investment one should be careful while selecting construction materials as experimenting can drain your money.

Here we will assess the usefulness of natural stones such as travertine, granite, limestone, marble, and soapstone as construction materials for backyard swimming pools.

Travertine

Travertine is a sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate, having a hardness ranging 3-4 on the Moh’s Scale. It has a coarse, porous texture which makes it absorb water quickly and remain dry on the surface. It thus makes a great anti-slippery material for use as pool decks or coping. Travertine gives your pool a luxurious appearance with its white, light brown, cream, golden color variations.

Limestone

Limestone is fine-grained in contrast to travertine, but can absorb water and remain dry from the outside. If properly maintained, they act as a great non-skidding pool deck surfaces. As they are resistant to extreme weather conditions, most pool designers install them in open spaces. Due to their subdued luxury they make excellent materials for highlighting on the beautiful surroundings. These stones occur in light brown, brown, buff, blue, gray, pink color variants.

Marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock available in a variety of flow patterns, but with limited color combinations. Due to its high calcium content, it looks bright and transforms your pool deck into a luxurious looking recreational area. Looking a little mild in outlook, it looks soft and attractive, thus making an irresistible material for your swimming pool. As these rocks are less porous compared to limestone or travertine, their chances of staining is less.

Soapstone

Soapstone is smooth-to-touch and easy-to-scratch surface, but quite resistant towards stains. They look trendy in your pool space with their mellow looks. Honed looks expose their vein feature that resembles nature. As these stones are less porous chances of fungal or algal growth is less, thus making them excellent materials for your swimming pool.

Granite

Granite is one of the hardest materials which can bear all weather conditions and wear and tear. Occurring in wildest color combinations and patterns, these rocks excel as pool decks and coping. They can get very slippery and dangerous if given a polished finishing. Go for tumble or coarse looks if you want granite pool decks or coping, whereas honed looks makes them even more attractive revealing their beautiful patterns.

Most of these natural stones fall in similar price range, except for travertine which may cost you very less. But more than the price consider the usage and the feel you want in your pool. Pressure washing your pool deck using 50% bleach water solution must be enough. Regular cleaning of the surface should keep all these natural stones safe and non-slippery.

How to install natural stone tiles?

Natural stone installation is an art and your mason may use many tricks to give your walls or floors a great finish. However, an improper installation makes your natural stone surfaces look ugly. If you want to install them on your own, it is sensible to know and keep the tools and materials ready which are used in the preparation. In this article we will learn about the installation process and the use of tools and materials in the order of usage.

Although natural stone tiles are fairly different compared to engineered or solid surfaces, installation is similar for both. Natural stone tiles vary in looks due to their distinct patterns, which can be challenging to achieve symmetrical finishing. However, this may not be an issue with solid surfaces (Staron, Corian, Wilsonart) or engineered surfaces such as quartz (Cosmos, Caesarstone, Silestone, Zodiaq, Hanstone) which look uniform.

Here are some generally used methods for installing natural stone surfaces.

Arrange tiles from the centre

Generally the tiles are arranged from the centre towards the walls to achieve symmetry. Arranging the tiles in the required pattern before installation gives you the flexibility of choosing your design. Using torpedo levels for the purpose helps arrange the tiles in a perfect plane so that the installation looks professional.

Prepare the surface

Prepping the surface is a must procedure for the proper installation of tiles. Remove flooring materials such as vinyl, carpet, damaged wood, etc., and dirt from the installation surface. In case the surface is cracked, fix it by applying Portland based underlayment or 4 mil poly sheet, which gives insulation against moisture and protection against cracks.

Install backer boards for support

Next comes the turn of backer boards (cement boards), which are installed on the underlay and made firm using cement board screws. Once the cement board is fixed cover the gaps between the boards with alkali-resistant mesh tape which reduces chances of cracks in the tiles. It also absorbs moisture and fastens the setting process.

Applying mortar adhesive

Before applying mortar adhesive to fix the tiles you arrange the natural stone tiles on the surface to finalize on the tile pattern. Once finalized, fix the tiles by applying thin-set mortar adhesive using U-notch or V-notch trowels, for floors or walls, respectively. But remember to use the correct notch trowel which should be ⅔ size of the tile thickness to ensure proper application of mortar adhesive.

Giving a final touch

Use tile spacers in case you want to maintain uniform distance between the wall tiles. In case of flooring tile spacers are not required as tiles are closely packed for better looks and maintenance. Fill the gap between the tiles using grout caulk which reduces the expansion of grout and protects the walls from moisture. Use tile sealers to protect the tiles from moisture, stains, and damages.

Natural Stone Floors for Trendy Looking Homes

Renovating your home is no longer a luxury these days as everyone wants their home to look special and trendy. So natural stones are always part of your home renovation palette. Using various extents of textures, colors and tones on the canvas to paint the looks of your patios floors and walls is a great way for a trendy looking home.

 

Every natural stone has its own characteristic feature and beauty, which drowns your home with different feelings of emotions. A modern decor is now the trend, which involves sleek interiors, thoughtful color combinations of textures and optimum use of space to allow free movements. Choosing the right stone at the right place in your home holds the key for a trendy looking home.

Transforming your home should begin with flooring without which renovations look out of touch. How do you choose the right stone for your home flooring?

Natural stone surfaces

Granite floors

Breathtaking features warped structures and veins various elements of nature captured within transparent quartz give these classic stones an unforgiving charm. Their cool and tough nature imparts a glossy appearance to your floors.

Harder than steel and unrelenting towards scratches granite floors are virtually indestructible. However, stains can easily get into these surfaces unless immediately cleaned, thus leaving scars. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperature as although they are resistant chips or cracks may develop.

Maintaining granite floors is easier which involves regularly cleaning the surface using mild soap water (hot water if needed) and sealing the surface once a year.

Marble floors

Characterized by nature identical patterns marble floors virtually celebrate nature. Features on their surfaces narrate the story of metamorphic origin in hues of green, brown, Gray, black, red, and white. Marble floors easily attract stains and scratches as they are made of calcium.

Even though marble floors are vulnerable to blemishes, their looks are plus points which makes them irresistible choices for homes. You need to seal them regularly to maintain their beauty.

Engineered surfaces

Quartz floors

Made of powdered quartz, resin, and acrylic, quartz floorings flaunt best elements of nature and science. Available in unlimited color combinations it is easier to get a modern look for your home with these surfaces. These engineered surfaces are resistant to temperature, stains, and scratches. But extreme heat can cause permanent damage.

Unlike natural stones, quartz floors do not need sealing. A regular wash with mild soap water and cleaning is enough. Cosmos, Silestone, Caesarstone, Zodiaq, and Hanstone are some varieties of quartz flooring surfaces.

Solid surface floors

Solid surface floors give flexibility in terms of colors as they are man-made. In contrast to quartz, solid surfaces are made of marble powder and resin, which makes them vulnerable to scratches and stains. But they do have an advantage – you can easily get them tamed to suit your home requirements.

Solid surface floors do not require sealing. Stains and scratches are common on these surfaces, but they can easily removed by cleaning using mild soap water and buffing respectively. Staron, Wilsonart, and Corian are some solid surface floor varieties.

For those who love to enjoy the beauty of nature’s gifts natural stone floors are excellent choices. Cost wise there is not much difference between natural, engineered, and solid surface floors, as their price vary based on quality. Their price may fall in the range of $45 to $400 or more.

Best Way to choose countertops: Pros & Cons

Planning to buy a countertop for your kitchen or bathroom! Have you weighed out all pros and cons before deciding on the right countertop for your kitchen? It is very essential to do your homework before you bring a countertop to your home as each material has its own features and you may end up spending more on maintenance if you didn’t plan for it.

Here are some facts about countertop materials which helps you choose the best countertop for your home.

Marble Countertops Pros and Cons

Pros – Available in beautiful color and patterns marble gives a royal touch to your home. It is less porous and thus absorbs less stain. Its heat-resistant property extends its usage for kitchen and near furnace. It does not flake so you can enjoy a smooth surface with less effort.

Cons – As marble is a metamorphosed limestone and low on hardness, develops scratch easily. It needs sealing to reduce stains and scratches.

Price – $125-250 per Sqft

Also Read:  DIY Tips to care for Marble countertops

Read More:  Marble Countertop Maintenance using Household Items

Granite Countertops Pros and Cons

Pros – Hard and beautiful, these stones are available in attractive colors, and granular and crystal patterns. Harder due to presence of quartz, scratches and stains are difficult to form on these surfaces.

Cons – Even though granite is tough, it needs sealing and maintenance as it can absorb stain. It may react with ultraviolet light and look dull. Granite may emit little amount of radon gas too.

Price – $100-400 per Sqft

Soapstone Countertops Pros and Cons

Pros – Soapstones are non-porous and resistant to stains. They are smooth and easy maintainable surfaces, which would not stain easily. Scratches may develop on soapstone surface in due course, but you can even them out with sandpaper.

Cons – As soapstones comprise talc, they can easily get scratched. They develop patina over the time and may look dull, or may break or crack.

Price – $75-150 per Sqft

Limestone Countertops Pros and Cons 

Pros – Limestone looks luminous, attractive and warm. As it absorbs water, installing it in bathroom is not recommended. Clean it regularly and keep it dry for best experience.

Cons – Limestones are porous, which makes them vulnerable for stains and scratches. On exposure to acids they react and get damaged.

Price – $67-200 per Sqft

Travertine Countertops Pons and Cons

Pros – Travertine looks bold and trendy, wherever used. Installation and repairing it is easy. The stone is environmental friendly as it sliced and used in its natural state.

Cons – Travertine is porous and hence can easily stain, break or scratch. It needs regular sealing as it can react with acids and get damaged easily.

Price – $25-170 per Sqft

Solid Surface Countertops Pros and Cons

Pros – Solid surfaces are available in unlimited color combinations. They are less porous and hence resistant to stains. Scratches on their surfaces are easily removed using sandpaper. These surfaces imitate colors and textures of marble and granite.

Cons – Scratches can easily appear on solid surfaces. Heat can damage their surface, while stain can mar its surface.

Price – $45-150 per Sqft

Quartz Countertops Pros and Cons

Pros – Quartz surfaces look trendy and attractive and are harder than steel. Due to non-porous nature they are non conducive to microbial growth. This nature also makes them stain and scratch resistant.

Cons – These surfaces are cold to touch. As quartz surfaces contain resin they are less resistant to heat. You can easily identify seams in the joints.

Price – $50-150 per Sqft

See More:  All About Quartz Kitchen Countertops 

Countertops materials vary based on the inherent property of the materials used. Compare these facts with your purpose and choose the one which comes under budget as well as caters to your needs.

Modern Stone Vessel and Glass, Copper, Porcelain Bowls

Stone vessel bowls are an entirely different range of sinks which have flooded the market with an entirely new range of looks. Even though stone sinks were also used in the olden days, the new range of sinks is the refined version with style, beauty, and ergonomic designs. In the market, you will find sinks made of marble, granite, glass, copper, porcelain, etc.

In this blog we will see more about stone, glass, copper, and porcelain vessel bowls.

Stone vessel Bowls

Hard, durable and attractive, stone vessel bowls or sinks are a great choice for your home. The advantage of stone vessel bowls is, they impart their beautiful personality into the sink, and thus you have crystalline, veiny, and luxurious looking sinks for your homes. You may get marble, granite, quartz, onyx sinks.

Stone vessel bowls look rugged from outside based on customers’ preference and then smoother inside for easy maintenance. Some varieties like quartz and soapstone are resistant towards harsh liquids and stains. Be careful with marble and limestone bowls as they easily react with acids and harsh chemicals and get damaged.

Glass Bowls

Available in oval, round, rectangular, square, crystal forms varying in designs, colors, and transparency, glass bowls add contemporary bling to your kitchen and toiletry. These easy to mold bowls come with attractive forms and patterns bringing out a creative charm into your room.

Even though glass bowls are resistant towards acids, hard impacts can damage them.

Copper Bowls

Copper bowls have a distinctive traditional personality which can immediately take your thoughts to the chalcolithic period. With perfect settings to complement these bowls such as woody surroundings and papered walls, you can hear the rhythmic movements of your pendulum clock while your kitchen gives out a warm feeling.

Copper reacts with air and may look dull and rustic. But these bowls look attractive in rustic as well as metallic looks. Their antimicrobial nature makes them even more attractive choices. But they do have vulnerabilities towards acids and heat.

Porcelain Bowls

Porcelain bowls are classy looking sinks for your home which come with cast iron core covered with a thick enamel coating. These bowls are easy to maintain, hygienic, and cost-effective solutions for your home. Available in unlimited color combinations and designs, they are a perfect match for any setting. But do check for details such as sink size, colors, faucet size, etc.

Stone bowl sinks look amazing and are a great value addition to your home. Gone are the days when sinks were just meant for the utilitarian purpose. Modern bowl sinks are designed to look exquisite in your home. Choose the sink that best reflects your personality and comes under budget too.

DIY Tips to care for Marble countertops

Marble has fame for captivating everyone by its feminine charm and making everything look excessively sexy. In fact it is feminine and peppy looks, delicate and beautiful making weak hearted gushing with love. However as marble kitchen countertops are vulnerable to etchings and scars, be prepared to spend time for maintenance.

Keeping the following things handy and using these tips to maintain marble are smart ways for a great looking kitchen.

Household things

Marble kitchen countertops demand too much attention if you care for their looks. But if you think scars or scratches add to their personality, blemishes may not bother much. But maintaining marble need not cost you a fortune if you know how to use these household things.

  1. Hydrogen peroxide
  2. Baking soda
  3. Acetone
  4. Corn starch
  5. Soap
  6. Water

Oil-based stains on marble

Hydrogen peroxide for lighter marble

For removing oil stains from light-colored marble, pour hydrogen peroxide on the affected surface. Cover it with polythene and leave it overnight or for two days and clean.

Acetone for darker marble

Follow the same procedure mentioned for hydrogen peroxide, but use acetone instead.

Cornstarch

Sprinkle the cornstarch powder on the oil stain and keep it for twenty minutes. Remove the powder using wooden spoon to avoid scratching. Repeat the procedure if the stain still remains.

Water-based stains on marble

Baking soda poultice

Beetroot and fruit juices are water-based stains, which you can remove by applying poultice of baking soda and alcohol on the affected surface. Leave it overnight and remove the powder using wooden spoon. If there is still some stain left, repeat the procedure.

Marble Countertop Maintenance using Household Items

Have you noticed your marble kitchen countertops lost its charm over the years? Wondering how to bring its beauty back, or sulking over the day you decided to opt for marble?

Such questions can easily creep into your mind, making you think of ripping away the sad-looking marble. Luxury is the word that accompanies marbles, and you cannot afford to lose this wonder stone just because its charm has waned because of lack of maintenance.

Cheer up! You can still bring back the natural beauty of your marble using these household things.

Nothing like preventing

Kitchen countertops have to constantly bear stains and scratches; after all they are not just meant for beauty. Taking precautions such as sealing your custom marble countertops and immediately cleaning the stains prevent permanent stain formation on the surface.

Hot water magic

Believe it or not, a simple household thing such as hot water can remove most of the oil and water-based stains. Also, cleaning the countertop surface with it can remove dirt and prep the marble for sealing. Regularly cleaning the surface using hot water prevents scratches as it will remove agents that can scratch the surface.

Soap water wash

Did ever thought, your toilet bar can do a lot more than bathing purpose? Regularly cleaning the granite and marble surface using mild soap and hot water removes oils and stains ruling out the need for technician services. It can thus bring back your peace of mind as well.

Soup thickener on oil stain

A simple soup thickening ingredient such as corn starch can make a great marble oil stain remover. As stones such as granite and marble contain pores oil stains lodge in making it difficult to remove stain.  Sprinkling cornstarch on the affected surface and removing it after 20 minutes eliminates oil stain.

Baking soda to batter stain

Baking soda used as a leavening agent in your cakes and cookies gives it a spongy appearance. But the same removes beetroot and orange stains from the surfaces of granite and marble South Carolina. Preparing baking soda and alcohol paste and applying on the stain surface helps remove blemishes from the marble surface.

Using these household tips to remove stains from your marble countertop surface helps bring back its grand look and save money. If stain persists take the help of our experts.

Going wild with marble kitchen countertops

In the market you will find many varieties of stone kitchen countertops, but do you know some people go crazy over marble kitchen countertops Georgia! Kitchen is a corner that bears effects of moisture, acidic juices, oils, stains, heavy objects, heat, and smoke. In such a corner, beautiful and delicate stone such as marble may look out-of-place.

For those who care

Don’t let the looks deceive you, as although marbles look exquisite and fragile they are tough enough to bear heat. But if you want to maintenance kitchen countertops, these surfaces may not suit your needs, as they have tendency to get scratched, stained, or etched. However, if you are the one who takes extra care for your precious collections, or the one who thinks scratches add to the beauty this stone is the best choice for your kitchen.

Something special

Marbles have personalities which they impart to your kitchen countertops South Carolina. They get bruised when used carelessly and heal gradually, become lively again with your care. If properly maintained they last over lifetime and share some of the most wonderful moments with you!

Beautiful collection for kitchen

Delicate veins or grey mottled patterns over the bright white surface, bright forest with dark brown or green background, or white dreamy designs with jet black surroundings can take your imaginations to another world. No wonder why people raved about marbles! They will continue to inspire wonders if properly maintained.

Following are some of the kitchen countertop Georgia tips to keep your marbles looking great for years:

  • Clean and seal the marble countertops to prevent stains, etchings, and scratches
  • Use cutting boards instead of marble surface to cut vegetables
  • Marble are heat-resistant, but not heat proof; use trivets to keep hot bowls
  • Wipe away wine, acid and oil spills to avoid stains
  • Use warm water or mild cleaners to keep them looking great

Marble countertops are a value for money in terms of aesthetics. Although they are not the hardest materials, give you the best moments of life with your family.

Tips to Select Sinks for Kitchen Countertops Georgia

Tips to Select Sinks for Kitchen Countertops Georgia

Enhancing the looks of your kitchen granite countertops may involve giving attention to details as minute as your vanity sinks. During home renovation most of us ignore kitchen sinks, thus end up making the kitchen looking patchy. Kitchen sinks are an excellent way to change the looks of your home from luxury to rustic or to merely utilitarian.

Understanding interiors

Every step towards beautifying your kitchen or selecting a suitable kitchen sink should begin with understanding your interiors, budget, and requirement.

Size to suit space

Spacious kitchen demands bigger sized sinks, whereas restricted spaces cry for smaller basins. Kitchens with ample space allow large stone kitchen countertops housing bigger single or double bowl sinks. Use smaller single bowl sinks when there is hardly any passage area left to move freely in the kitchen.

Match colors

To avoid feeling odd or uncomfortable until the next renovation, choose a color that blends with your countertop and the surroundings. Red, gray, or blue sink with green or orange backgrounds or vice versa may seem an odd combination. Instead settle for beige, white colored or stainless steel kitchen sinks.

Shape advantages

Apron or farmhouse sinks consume considerable space on your kitchen countertops but during usage as your body directly leans against it you can avoid back pain or strains. Under mount sink installation and cleaning are tough, whereas top mount or drop in varieties save storage space below the sink. Double bowl sinks give you space to dry the vessels and let the water into the sink.

Keep budget in mind

Top mount and drop in sinks are cheaper compared to under mount sinks. If you have laminate countertops go for top mount sinks as these countertops may develop cracks with heavy under mount varieties. Under mount sinks are more suited for marble kitchen countertops, quartz kitchen countertops and granite kitchen countertops .
Sinks or basins, although the most neglected part, add to the beauty of your kitchen. Choosing the best match for marble, quartz, or granite countertops is an overwhelming experience. The tips mentioned here can save you unnecessary expenses, help preserve the beauty, keep away disappointments. In case you are still confused safely settle for stainless steel kitchen sinks which are durable, affordable and trendy.

Also Read: Why Stainless Steel Sinks excel as Granite Countertops in Tyrone

How to choose Natural Stone Counter-top Profiles and Edges

Choosing right kitchen countertop profiles and edges for your home can take you into wilderness of patterns. Each pattern can make a big difference to your countertop surface. However, based on the interiors you can select a quieter or vociferous tone. A contrasting element accentuates the looks of a home.

But getting a perfect look for your kitchen takes more than banking on the differences. It depends on elements such as personality, utility, aesthetics, and completeness.

Personality

  • Bold

Straight edges such as Eased and Flat varieties lend an outgoing personality to your granite kitchen countertops. Even Square and Mitered edges can also attract a great attention to your countertops in Newnan. But the fabricator may suggest 3 cm thickness for the former and 2 or 3 cm for the latter for better looks.

 

Smoothened edge such as BeveledO’geeTuscan CurveRoman OvolloVersailles, and Chiseled varieties look bold and fancy. If you want to shift the attention to your kitchen island include these profiles into the edges of custom quartz countertops Georgia.

  • Blending

If your kitchen houses beautiful things in the perimeter and you never want them to miss the looks, submissive profiles such as the BullnoseCurved, or Pencil edges can do the job quite well. They look classic and attractive on your granite counter tops in Tyrone, but never snatch away the beauty of your kitchen surroundings.

Utility

There are a million ways to give your home an exotic appearance. But safety is always an important element if you have children at home. Countertops are troublesome for kids as they may knock their heads against the edges. It is much safer to opt for smooth edges as sharp edges can cause greater harm.

Also, if your kitchen deals with heavy vessels, thinner countertops or sharper edges are not ideal, as they could get damaged easily.

Aesthetics

A thing that attracts may sound beautiful, and people may perceive bold edges as beautiful. Combined edges such as O’gee over Full Bullnose or VersaillesO’gee Top & Bottom, or Demi Bullnose with Stepout can look fancy and add to the beauty of your kitchen countertops in Fayetteville.

Completeness

You may get every beautiful thing for your kitchen, but do they complement each other or look patchy? Beauty lies in wholeness of your kitchen. Never miss to include a countertop or edge that blend with your kitchen milieu.
These profile and edge ideas are excellent options with granite, quartz, and solid surface Countertops  Georgia with excellent results. Do consult with your fabricator about the ideal thickness for your kitchen countertops as heavy use may need a thicker surface.

Why Stainless Steel Sinks excel as Granite Countertops in Tyrone

Did you ever thought a stainless steel kitchen sink can be adding to the looks of your kitchen! An aesthetically appealing kitchen is a combined effect of kitchen sink, countertop, flooring, and wall color. Most often little details such as kitchen sinks, which are an integral part of your kitchen are ignored.

A perfect kitchen sink adds to the beauty of your kitchen countertop. Available in different shapes and they are made from different types of materials. Better knowledge of kitchen sinks and countertops enables us to transform the looks of kitchen interiors.

Sink varieties

Kitchen sinks are available in stainless steel, cast iron, composite, or fire clay varieties. Based on their shapes you may find single bowl, double bowl, top mount, under mount, and farmhouse sinks.

Pros and cons of steel

A stainless steel kitchen sink is rust and stain resistant, tough, and durable. They can go well with all countertops – granite, marble, etc.

  • Advantages

Stainless steel kitchen sinks are suitable for home and commercial uses. Their durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance are some of the reasons which increase its versatility. Double bowl steel sinks include options to clean vegetables and dry vessels.

Compared to other varieties steel sinks are affordable and lightweight, saving you money and maintenance efforts. As they are non-porous materials, bacteria or molds cannot stay on the surface, making them hygienic and safe for kitchen.

  • Disadvantages

Stainless steel kitchen sinks are available in limited shapes – round, square, or rectangle. They are slightly noisy compared to other sink varieties. Insulations or coatings reduce vibration and noise from the surface.

Countertops

Marble kitchen countertops Georgia are also tough stones like granites with beautiful veins. They act as barriers to water and moisture and enhance the life of your kitchen. Complementing your kitchen sinks with the right kitchen countertop Alabama raises the spirits of your home.

Granite and marble Georgia are the natural stones occurring in varieties such as black, gray, beige, red colors. These natural stones go well with black, white or gray colored sinks. But be careful with colors as strong as red as they may look out of touch without matching colors; use white, black or metallic instead with red.