Tag Archives: Granite

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

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.


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.


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.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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.