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Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Blog

Understanding General Qualities of Quartz Countertops

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When it comes to kitchen countertops, quartz materials are generally considered some of the top modern options available for many homeowners. From its gorgeous aesthetic to benefits like great durability and limited maintenance needs, quartz checks so many of the boxes you want in a new countertop option.

At Accent Countertops, we’re thrilled to provide a wide range of quartz and other custom countertop materials for you to choose from. And while quartz is indeed one of the most versatile and useful countertop materials, it’s important to understand the details of several of its important qualities – a few of which may have been exaggerated over time. Let’s go over some important factors here and ensure your impression of quartz lines up with reality.

Stainproof vs Stain-Resistant

One of the qualities quartz is best known for is its ability to resist staining and similar affects, and while this is absolutely true, some people take this theme a bit too far. Quartz is stain-resistant, not completely stainproof – it does contain a layer of resin and pigment that’s petroleum based, and this layer can combine with certain chemicals to lead to stains.

Now, such chemicals are not common in the kitchen and won’t be a risk for many homeowners. For those who engage in crafts or various projects in the kitchen, however, stains are still technically possible – though quartz does a better job protecting against this than granite or other natural stone types.

Scratching

Another great quality of quartz is how durable it is, particularly when it comes to scratching. It’s very difficult to scratch a quartz surface, but again we want to set the record straight here: It’s still technically possible, particularly if dragging a heavy object like a pot or pan across the surface. In addition, if you use abrasive pads or cleansers regularly, etching of quartz is possible. However, simply avoiding these small risks should leave your surface fully clear of scratches.

Temperature

Quartz is much more heat-resistant than granite or several other stones, but it’s important not to overplay your hand here. We don’t recommend placing scorching hot pans from the oven and placing them on your quartz surfaces, for instance, as this kind of extreme heat might discolor the resin that seals in your quartz.

Manufacturing Differences

Finally, it’s important to note that not all quartz is created equal. As a manufactured stone, quartz may have different qualities based on how it was made and the chemicals used, which can lead to a variety of different colors, finishes, patterns and even strength qualities. For this reason, it’s vital to ensure you receive your quartz from a high-quality manufacturer to ensure durability and longevity.

For more on ensuring you’re clear about the qualities of your quartz countertops, or to learn about any of our quartz or other kitchen countertops, speak to the staff at Accent Countertops today.

Protecting Countertops Against E. Coli and Other Germs

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If you’ve ever dealt with an outbreak of E. Coli or any kind of food poisoning or other food contamination, you know exactly how high-risk and burdensome this process can be. One of the top sources of these kinds of outbreaks is a lack of cleanliness in food preparation surfaces – including home countertops in some cases.

At Accent Countertops, we’re proud to provide a wide range of granite, quartz and other custom countertops that help protect you against the chances of contamination. What are some of the ways you can ensure cleanliness and general health quality on your countertops when they’re used as cooking surfaces? Here are some themes.

Countertop Material Choice

For starters, choosing a great countertop material can mean more than just a beautiful aesthetic. You’re looking for non-porous materials here, with quartz as a top example – these products do not allow bacteria and other germs to penetrate inside the countertop itself, nesting and spreading in the process.

Granite and other natural stones like it, when maintained in the right ways, also have anti-bacterial properties. One such area of maintenance with natural stone is regular sealing, as these materials will become porous over time if they are not sealed in properly.

Risk Locations

No matter which material you choose for your countertops, the next step is understanding the common locations where bacteria, fungus and other contaminants may hide. For starters, any nooks or crannies on the countertop will be primary locations for these germs – you should regularly be cleaning grout if it’s present, for instance.

When it comes to sealing, consider the right products. There are sealants out there with specific anti-bacterial and other growth-resistant properties, and these will go a long way.

Cooking and Food Handling

Anytime you’re dealing with raw meat, unwashed fruits or raw vegetables, you should be utilizing a cutting board or other protective surfaces. You should have multiple such surfaces available, each used for different food types, and these should be disinfected completely after each use along with the utensils used.

In addition, make sure you’re handling food properly within the kitchen. Never leave raw meat out or unprotected, and wash your hands repeatedly when handling it even for a short period of time. When cooking meat, cook it through fully to kill E. Coli and other bacteria.

Disinfection

As soon as possible after any of your surfaces have made contact with a potentially contaminated raw food, look to disinfect it thoroughly. If you wait too long here, bacterial growth can spread to other locations and risk contamination.

For more on how to ensure you aren’t at risk of E. Coli or other contamination spreading through countertop usage, or for information on any of our high-quality custom countertops, speak to the staff at Accent Countertops today.

Pros and Cons of Matte Countertop Finishes

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While many purchasers of kitchen countertops, cabinets and other forms of remodeling or design will focus first and foremost on color schemes, it’s vital to keep an eye on another vital aesthetic area: Finish. Generally speaking, you’ll have a choice between the two primary finishing options out there for these and several other materials, known as gloss finish and matte finish.

At Accent Countertops, we’re here to tell you all about each of these finish types and which might be best for your new kitchen countertops – both in terms of matching our color selection and several other factors. Gloss finish generally refers to a finish that creates a shine through reflected light, while matte finish takes on a simpler, non-shiny format that evens out the color scheme to the eyes while providing a clear layer of protection above the color. What are some of the pros and cons of matte countertop finishes? Let’s take a look at both these areas as you work toward making your choice.

Benefits of Matte Finishes

Some of the general positives for matte finishes when used in the kitchen include:

  • Trendy: Matte finishes are very trendy today, considered a modern option that’s in-style.
  • Concealing messes: High-gloss finishes, the opposite of matte in many ways, show stains, smudges, scratches and other messes very prominently. For those who don’t want to deal with the kind of cleaning maintenance that often accompanies gloss products, matte is a great alternative. It’s smooth and subtle, with a natural appearance that allows small imperfections to blend in due to less reflected light than gloss finishes.
  • Texture and sophistication: Gloss is also very popular, and kitchens with lots of it require a contrast – matte is a perfect choice. It adds a sleek bit of texture that layers the design and allows the eyes to focus on several separate areas.

Potential Downsides of Matte Finishes

However, there may also be downsides to matte finishes depending on what you’re looking for:

  • Space issues: For smaller kitchens, we might recommend prioritizing gloss finishes. Matte absorbs light, meaning it makes spaces feel smaller, not larger.
  • No spill prevention: As we noted above, matte finishes are much better than gloss at concealing spills, smudges or other issues. But they aren’t better at actually preventing these occurrences, and this can lead to oil, grease and other materials building up over time and requiring tougher cleaning if they aren’t addressed.
  • Cleaning difficulty: In addition, cleaning matte surfaces can be a bit tougher than gloss. It’s tougher to do without leaving your own streaks behind, and matte finishes may also slightly absorb certain stains permanently.

For more on choosing matte finishes versus gloss, or to learn about any of our kitchen remodel services like custom countertops and many others, speak to the staff at Accent Countertops today.

Choosing the Right Quartz Countertop

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When it comes to kitchen countertops, quartz is one of the top material options out there. This material is made from natural quartz stone combined with resin, creating a beautiful and durable final product that’s extremely versatile.

There are several different styles and textures available when it comes to a quartz countertop. At Accent Custom Countertops, our pros can help you chose the perfect style to complement the rest of your home. Here are some basic tips we can offer.

Texture

Firstly, consider the texture of your countertop. One of the main attractions of quartz as a product is the wide range of textures available – you can get a very stone-heavy look with actual visible pieces of stone, or you can hit the other end of the spectrum with much smoother options.

You may want to involve the aesthetics of the rest of your home in this decision. If you’re looking to mimic the traditional look of granite this is also possible using quartz.

Color

Engineered stone like quartz comes with a big range of choices when it comes to color. You’ll often find darker, natural shades of black complemented by hues like bright red and snowy white, which help bring out some of their accents. For a modern look, consider monochromatic shades that are actually ground into the stone itself – these provide a crisp, clean style.

Versatility

Quartz tops can be used throughout the house, though they’re most commonly found in the kitchen. They can also be used in areas like the bathroom, laundry rooms, offices, workrooms, workshops and many more. They can offer either an antique or modern look depending on the style you’re going for, and can vary between rooms if you choose more than one upgrade.

For more on choosing the right quartz countertop, or to learn about any of our other kitchen and bathroom remodeling services, speak to the pros at Accent Custom Countertops today.

Choosing the Right Quartz Countertop

link icon

When it comes to kitchen countertops, quartz is one of the top material options out there. This material is made from natural quartz stone combined with resin, creating a beautiful and durable final product that’s extremely versatile.

There are several different styles and textures available when it comes to a quartz countertop. At Accent Custom Countertops, our pros can help you chose the perfect style to complement the rest of your home. Here are some basic tips we can offer.

Texture

Firstly, consider the texture of your countertop. One of the main attractions of quartz as a product is the wide range of textures available – you can get a very stone-heavy look with actually visible pieces of stone, or you can hit the other end of the spectrum with much smoother options.

You may want to involve the aesthetics of the rest of your home in this decision. If you’re looking to mimic the traditional look of granite this is also possible using quartz.

Color

Engineered stone like quartz comes with a big range of choices when it comes to color. You’ll often find darker, natural shades of black complemented by hues like bright red and snowy white, which help bring out some of their accents. For a modern look, consider monochromatic shades that are actually ground into the stone itself – these provide a crisp, clean style.

Versatility

Quartz tops can be used throughout the house, though they’re most commonly found in the kitchen. They can also be used in areas like the bathroom, laundry rooms, offices, workrooms, workshops and many more. They can offer either an antique or modern look depending on the style you’re going for, and can vary between rooms if you choose more than one upgrade.

For more on choosing the right quartz countertop, or to learn about any of our other kitchen and bathroom remodeling services, speak to the pros at Accent Custom Countertops today.

Debunking Common Granite Countertop Myths

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When it comes to material for kitchen countertops, granite is among the top options out there. This beautiful, durable natural stone has a great aesthetic, along with multiple physical characteristics that make it perfect for multiple rooms in the home.

At Accent Custom Countertops, we have numerous options for granite countertops to meet your every need. Unfortunately, two extremely strange myths have spread around over the years about granite as a material – we have no idea how these got started, but we want to set the record straight so there’s no concern.

They Soak Up Germs

This myth may have originally stemmed from the fact that granite is a porous stone, which is true – but this does not mean it harbors germs in any way. During your installation process, your granite will be sealed using a protective coating, which stops any liquid from being able to seep in. With some manufacturers, this seal will already come built-in.

Nothing will seep into granite once it’s sealed, and cleaning bacteria or other germs is just as easy as any other basic surface. Simple soapy water or antibacterial agents are easy enough to get the job done. In fact, due to the fact that they’re a single solid slab with very few seams or grooves, keeping granite countertops sanitary is comparatively easier than certain other materials.

They’re Radioactive

Because granite is a natural stone dug from the earth, some people believe it’s radioactive. Technically this is true, but there’s a very important caveat to remember here: The quantities. While granite can have some very slight radioactive qualities depending on where it was cut, the amount found here is incredibly small – not close to enough to be harmful to humans. If you’re worried, you can do a test for radon levels. Tests that show high levels of radon, however, are generally influenced by soil under your home rather than the granite countertops.

For more on debunking common myths about granite, or to learn about any of our kitchen countertops, speak to the pros at Accent Custom Countertops today.

Debunking Common Granite Countertop Myths

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When it comes to material for kitchen countertops, granite is among the top options out there. This beautiful, durable natural stone has a great aesthetic, along with multiple physical characteristics that make it perfect for multiple rooms in the home.

At Accent Custom Countertops, we have numerous options for granite countertops to meet your every need. Unfortunately, two extremely strange myths have spread around over the years about granite as a material – we have no idea how these got started, but we want to set the record straight so there’s no concern.

They Soak Up Germs

This myth may have originally stemmed from the fact that granite is a porous stone, which is true – but this does not mean it harbors germs in any way. During your installation process, your granite will be sealed using a protective coating, which stops any liquid from being able to seep in. With some manufacturers, this seal will already come built-in.

Nothing will seep into granite once it’s sealed, and cleaning bacteria or other germs is just as easy as any other basic surface. Simple soapy water or antibacterial agents are easy enough to get the job done. In fact, due to the fact that they’re a single solid slab with very few seams or grooves, keeping granite countertops sanitary is comparatively easier than certain other materials.

They’re Radioactive

Because granite is a natural stone dug from the earth, some people believe it’s radioactive. Technically this is true, but there’s a very important caveat to remember here: The quantities. While granite can have some very slight radioactive qualities depending on where it was cut, the amount found here is incredibly small – not close to enough to be harmful to humans. If you’re worried, you can do a test for radon levels. Tests that show high levels of radon, however, are generally influenced by soil under your home rather than the granite countertops.

For more on debunking common myths about granite, or to learn about any of our kitchen countertops, speak to the pros at Accent Custom Countertops today.

Why Choose Granite for Countertops?

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When it comes to kitchen countertops, granite is often the material of choice among smart homeowners. At Accent Custom Countertops, we provide numerous granite custom countertop options for you next big remodeling project.

Why is granite such a valuable material for countertops in multiple areas of the home? Let’s take a look.

Durability

Countertops, particularly in the kitchen or bathroom, can take major punishment over the years, especially if you have children or pets in the home. Granite, however, is a natural stone product that’s extremely hard, and also resistant to heat damage. You can place a burning heating element directly on the surface of granite kitchen countertops without worrying for a second if they’re going to burn or mar the surface.

Granite is also naturally non-porous after it’s been sealed, meaning it won’t absorb and liquids or products that are spilled on it. It also will not stain, making it a top choice for both kitchens and bathrooms alike.

Cleaning Qualities

Keeping the kitchen clean can be tough, especially surfaces like the countertops that are often exposed to water, mold or other elements. But granite again is very beneficial here – its non-porous nature makes it incredibly easy to clean, and also means that elements like mold are simply less likely to grow on it in the first place. Granite countertops are some of the easiest products to clean on the entire market, so they’re perfect for any clean freaks out there.

Home Value

Finally, granite countertops can have a real impact on your home’s resale value. Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the top selling points among buyers within real estate, and granite is generally associated with wealth and prestige. These feelings of luxury are often very appealing to buyers, and your perceived home value if you ever choose to sell could end up increasing by far more than what you actually paid for the countertops themselves.

For more on granite countertops or any of our other products or services, speak to the pros at Accent Custom Countertops today.

How Are Granite and Quartz Countertops Different?

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If you watch HGTV, you probably know that granite is one of the most widely coveted kitchen countertop materials on the market. But quartz is giving granite a run for its money—and for good reason. 

While granite is famously tough and offers ample color and texture variation, quartz is tougher. It can be manufactured in virtually any color, too. 

If you’re in the market for new kitchen countertops, here’s how granite and the upstart quartz compare.

By now, the natural look of granite has settled into the mainstream as the expected high-end countertop material.

Granite is Natural; Quartz is Mainly Natural

Granite is a natural igneous rock mined from a quarry. It’s got incredible personality and strength. This stone can contain bits of shimmering mica, feldspar, quartz and more. Granite forms in a wide range of colors and patterns, including white, brown, tan, gold, red, blue and many different combinations. 

Although the quartz name implies that it’s a solid natural material, quartz countertops are engineered. They’re made from approximately 95 percent ground quartz in a resin base, says HGTV. It also contains pigments for color, which granite does not. Quartz countertops have the look of natural stone because they’re made from it. 

Granite is Durable; Quartz is Too

If you need beautiful countertops that are as tough as they are attractive, both granite and quartz will perform well. 

According to HGTV, granite gives you heat resistance. It’s resistant to impact and scratches, too. Quartz is harder than granite, so it’s less likely to scuff and scratch. However, quartz is more susceptible to “thermal shock”, meaning it can crack when it’s exposed to heat, so a trivet should always be used under crock pots and pans fresh from the oven.

Quartz comes in classic white plus an almost unlimited range of colors, and it’s tougher than granite.

Quartz Countertops are Easier to Care For Than Granite

Both granite and quartz are more resilient than laminates, wood or tile. A hot pan won’t burn them. But quartz has a few pluses that granite can’t offer, even when granite is regularly maintained. 

Granite is porous; quartz is not. That means granite requires regular sealing—and a quick response if something spills—or it becomes susceptible to staining. Quartz is inherently stain-resistant; it never needs a sealer. Natural granite also has pits and fissures, which is a normal part of the stone; homeowners who choose granite countertops should be comfortable living with those imperfections. The Spruce says, “quartz has flaws engineered out.” 

Both Materials Can Incur Damage; Both Can be Repaired

While quartz is much harder than granite, it’s not impervious to damage. Under normal use, it should last. But if it experiences a severe impact, it could break. Granite is prone to chips, especially along the edges. Regardless of which material you choose, damage is repairable. 

Both materials may lose some surface shine over time. And chips or cracks can mar the edges of the countertop. But granite and quartz can be resurfaced to restore the original sheen. Chip and crack repair tend to be virtually invisible. 

Granite Countertops Have Limited Colors; Quartz is Nearly Limitless

Because granite is 100 percent natural, there’s no way to control its appearance. What’s quarried is what you’ve got. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since nature creates incredible colors and patterns on its own. 

Quartz doesn’t tend to have the visual variations found in granite. Most examples have a more solid-color appearance that’s filled with natural shimmer from the quartz content. However, quartz is customizable because it’s engineered. If you want red, blue or green, chances are you can find it. 

Granite has held the hearts of homeowners for many years, and it’s no wonder. Natural granite has character that’s hard to match in any other countertop material. But quartz countertops are growing in popularity. With so many color choices and its hard-as-steel nature, this engineered stone is beautiful and easy to live with. 

If you’re ready to transform your kitchen into a dream room, we’re here to help. Call Accent Custom Countertops at 775.984.5500 for a design consultation today. 

Should You Opt for Custom Kitchen Cabinetry?

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A home’s kitchen is its very heart. You’re no doubt familiar with that sentiment. So what better way to treat such a space where family and friends gather than with custom cabinetry that’s built to your standards, not someone else’s? 

High-end custom cabinets aren’t merely important for their quality, although that’s a definite plus. They help transform an existing home, or one that’s still in the design stage, into something that’s perfect for your family. 

Get a Better Fit For Your Home Than Stock Cabinets

Stock kitchen cabinets are designed and built to certain standard dimensions. For example, many base cabinets are 24 inches deep and 34 1/2 inches tall. But what If you want something different? Or what if your home is older and has imperfect corners?

Not everyone can work comfortably with a standard-height base cabinet. And modern appliances are becoming slightly larger, making some of them stick out beyond the edges of a stock cabinet.

Stock cabinets are commonly modified during installation using filler strips and other adaptive measures. But custom cabinets are designed and built to fit your needs and the dimensions of the room. That means fewer gaps that need covering, fewer shims for leveling and a room filled with beautiful cabinets that fit well. 

Custom cabinets offer choices, and choices make your kitchen special. 

Become More Involved in the Finished Product

While it’s possible to find what you want in stock cabinets, there’s much to be said for taking an active role in the way your kitchen will look and perform. According to Houzz, custom cabinets offer a level of hands-on design influence that’s not possible with pre-made cabinets. 

With custom cabinets, you have almost limitless choices. These are just a few of the most common ways you can get involved:

  • Wood species
  • Wood finish
  • Custom finish treatment
  • Door style, such as Shaker, French Colonial and many others
  • Hardware style
  • Trim style

But there’s much more. Custom work lets you integrate special features that make your cabinets unlike anyone else’s. 

  • Wine racks
  • Stem glass racks
  • Special-purpose cabinets
  • Wider or deeper drawers
  • Adjustable-height work surfaces
  • Glass door panels
  • Decorative corbels and legs
  • Shelves anywhere you want them
  • Plate racks

Enjoy Built-Ins That Survive Renovations 

Time does interesting things to style choices. As much as you love your home today, chances are you’ll eventually want to change and update it. With custom cabinets, you get evergreen quality. They’re made to last, even through future renovations.

Imagine that one day you want a different design aesthetic. Today, maybe your kitchen is traditional or transitional. But tomorrow, you might have your heart set on something sleeker with minimal detail. 

With custom cabinets, the base cupboard is so beautifully built that there’s no need to replace it. Just replace the doors and other finish details for a brand new look without another full investment. The custom cabinets you buy today can stay with the home indefinitely, no matter how your tastes change through the years. 

Choices are everything, especially in a custom home. Although stock cabinets offer lots of styles, wood finishes and special features, they can’t compare to the quality and range of possibilities in custom cabinetry.

Your kitchen will work hard through scores of family dinners, Sunday breakfasts and special holiday meals. Why not help it look as good as it performs? Call Accent Custom Countertops today at 775.984.5500 for a design consultation.