Granite countertops add a very rich feeling to a kitchen. It has the high perception value and it looks amazing. The non-consistency adds texture and color variations. A kitchen with a natural stone granite countertop and a limestone floor is said to appeal to people. The really unique and high-end people are moving into different kinds of stone countertops, such as limestone, soapstone and marble tops. Yet, granite is prized because it’s a tangible finish that speaks to a very wide audience.
Natural stone – the most aesthetic, eco friendly construction material known to human kind. There are many types of natural stone, each with their own properties and benefits.
Solid Surface material, commonly known as Corian, Swanstone, Staron, Avonite, HI-MACS, LivingStone, and Wilsonart, is a generic term for materials that are composed of two main ingredients: a natural mineral filler and a resin binder. Solid surface sheets can then be fabricated into a variety of projects, the most common being kitchen and bath countertops. The acrylic-based resin solid surfaces can actually be heated and bent to almost any imaginable shape.
There are many advantages to using solid surface for your kitchen or bath countertops. Because of the number of large-scale manufacturers offering solid surface products, a wide variety of colors and patterns are available to choose from. The selection ranges to a basic solid white to patterns and colors that mimic granite, quartz, concrete, and marble. The design possibilities are endless.
A hard coarse-grained rock and one of the most beautiful natural stones in the world, granite consists mainly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase feldspar, which contribute to its color – white, pink, or light gray. The dark brown, dark-
green, or black is due to the presence of such minerals as hornblende and biotite mica. The molecules of these minerals entwine in a way that makes granite hard, difficult to damage, generally impossible to scratch, heat resistant, and durable, making it an ideal choice for flooring, wall cladding, pillars, kitchen counters, vanity tops, paved paths and the outdoors.
Resilient, lasting decades on end, easy to clean and maintain, granite is also very aesthetic. It creates a luxurious, spacious feel in any home, getting its glossy finish from highly powered polishing tools and fine grit diamonds. Granite is available in honed (unpolished) and rough textured (flamed) finishes as well, to suit varying decor tastes. And it carries a timeless quality about it; it’s more or less always in vogue.
With the advances in technology creating a revolution of sorts in quarrying, fabrication, and expanding applications, costs are reducing everyday, making granite an affordable alternative to manmade stone industries that generate tons of in-disposable waste.
Its elegance is legendary. Architects of yore used marble to its best effect, making the most of its strength, beauty, changing hues with light and weather, and its malleability in sculpture. Once considered the domain of the rich and famous, no less than Nobility or Royalty, marble today is popular as elegant flooring or lining interior and exterior walls. Perhaps no other material adds so much prestige to a home as marble does. It is used practically everywhere: outdoor fountains and statues, indoor fire surrounds, Jacuzzis, as inlays on furniture, countertops and bar counters and much more. Hygienic, it traps little or no dirt and never gathers mold.
Marble flooring is best in low traffic areas, to avoid stains or scratches, and, like most exterior stones, can lose its color in a highly polluted environment. It is easy to maintain though; all you need are the right applications and some simple equipment to restore it to its original sheen and condition.
Marble is essentially limestone, calcium carbonate that crystallizes gradually over time, and comes in many forms: calcite, from calciferous limestone, dolomite, from dolomitic limestone, serpentine or green marbles and travertine or sedimentary limestone. It traces its history to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust, which metamorphose limestone to form large, coarse grains of calcite containing impurities that contribute an interesting array of colors to marble. In its purest form, marble is white, while hematite adds a reddish color, limonite, yellow and serpentine green.
Because marble is difficult to separate easily into sheets of equal size, it is mined carefully, without the use of explosives, which could shatter the rock. Experts therefore use channeling machines, which cut grooves and holes in the rock to lift it carefully.
Quartz countertops let you bring the best of both worlds – nature and science — to your kitchen, bath and throughout your home. Quartz surface is composed mostly of quartz, giving it exceptional toughness and a hardness of 7 on a scale of 10. It’s smooth, nonporous surface of Quartz resists even the toughest spills and will retain its luster for many years without the need for sealants or waxes.
Perhaps the most versatile of natural stones, slate easily splits into thin, durable sheets, making it ideal for roofing, flagstone, trimming the facade of buildings and lobbies and high-water areas like showers, and pool surrounds. Some slate slabs, consisting chiefly of clay are also popular in flooring and sometimes as counter tops. Additionally, slate is durable and waterproof. Made primarily from grains of mica and quartz with small quantities of chlorite, hematite, and other minerals, it is usually gray to black in color. The color may vary, though, becoming red or purple, if adulterated by the presence of other minerals.
A porous rock with many cavities and holes, travertine originates from limestone formed over a long period and is available in a diverse range of colors, from ivory to golden brown. For practical use, its holes are filled using cement (grouting) or chemical fillers like polyester resins, or left unfilled for aesthetic appeal. Grouting travertine in different colors gives an amazingly unique effect to your flooring. Travertine is best on floors, vanity tops, wall cladding, fireplace surrounds and furniture.
Laminate countertops hold up well to all the things a family puts their countertops through. These countertops will resist a lot of scratching and spills. They don’t burn easily or dull.
Many different patterns, colors, and finishes are available to choose from. These countertops are super simple to clean, and very forgiving.There are different lamination processes, depending on the type of materials to be laminated. The materials used in laminates can be the same or different, depending on the processes and the object to be laminated. An example of the type of laminate using different materials would be the application of a layer of plastic film — the “laminate” — on either side of a sheet of glass — the laminated subject.
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