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One of the biggest fears people may have about natural stone is the maintenance it requires. With many individuals increasingly turning to the use of natural materials in the home, granite has become the countertop of choice. Synthetic solid surface materials are no match for the richness, depth, and incredible performance of real granite. Unlike laminates and solid-surface materials, a hot pot or frying pan has no effect on granite’s mirror-like finish. Most importantly, by choosing a granite countertop you not only give your kitchen everlasting performance and beauty, but you also increase the value of your home. Granite is also a very hard mineral and is virtually impervious to abrasions, impact damage and heat. However, the material is prone to cracking due to mechanical stresses caused by repeated heating and cooling. While the seams in between slabs provide some leeway for this repeated expansion and contraction, it is best to keep granite away from sources of large heat fluctuations. You’ll find caring for your natural stone is easy. The best care you can give your natural stone is preventive care. By following a few suggestions, your countertops will last a lifetime while maintaining a brand-new appearance. BASIC CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE 1. AVOID USING CLEANING PRODUCTS WITH ANY KIND OF ACID OR ABRASIVE. Avoid using harsh cleaning agents that contain strong acids/alkaline (e.g. bleach, glass cleaners, ammonia, degreasers) or abrasives (e.g. powdered ceramic/bathroom cleaners) as it can cause the sealant to discolour and scratch. Warm water, mild dishwashing liquid, and soft clean cloth are generally all that’s needed to maintain your granite countertop surface. 2. AVOID SUBJECTING YOUR GRANITE COUNTERTOP TO HEAVY WEIGHTS AND PRESSURE. While hard, granite surfaces are brittle and you should not stand, kneel on, sit or stack heavy objects onto your countertops as they could crack or break. This doesn’t mean that granite is fragile, however, and it’s perfectly capable of supporting microwaves, dish holders and other moderately heavy objects. 3. DO NOT PLACE HOT PANS OR OTHER OBJECTS DIRECTLY ON YOUR COUNTERTOPS. Again, hot objects can cause the sealant to discolour (mainly in dark granites) and/or cracking. Always use a protective barrier between any hot object and granite such as trivet or mat. Unsealed granite countertops do not have this problem, but are highly porous and come with other problems. 4. WIPE OFF SPILLS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Sealed granite countertops are surprisingly resilient to stains from citric acid, coffee tea, alcohol, or wine. However, as a preventive measure, wipe up any spills on the countertops within a reasonable amount of time and do not let liquid sit on the countertop overnight. 5. Watch out for oil stains. Granite is most prone to staining by oil – be careful not to place any pots or frying pans with oil traces on the bottom on the countertop surface. Blot oil and acid spills as soon as they happen, and clean with mild soap and warm water to avoid any harm to your countertops. If the oil stains remain, there is a special cleaning procedure for the removal of deep-seated, time-set dirt and grime. A general poultice with baby or baking soda and water is the best remedy. First, moisten the surface of the granite with the same liquid that made the paste. Next, apply the poultice paste to the granite surface about half an inch thick. Tape plastic sheeting over the poultice area, and allow it to sit for 48 hours. Remove the poultice with a spatula, rinse the cleansed area with clean water, wipe off excess water, and allow the surface to dry. 6. RINSE SOAP AND WASHING DETERGENTS OFF TO PREVENT LIME BUILD UP. Rinse with hot clean water on a regular basis and use a paper towel to dry. Another way to remove lime build up , soap scum, stains or dried spills, is to use a straight razor blade in a gentle scraping motion. Do not use lime removal products or cleaning products that contain ammonia, as this will affect the seal on the stone. 7. AVOID HITTING THE SURFACE WITH HARD OBJECTS. Chips in granite are not a common occurrence. When they do happen, chips are most often caused by banging something into the edge of the countertop. Take care when you handle heavy pots and pans around your granite profiles as these are the most prone to cause chipping. If a chip does occur and you find the piece that chipped out, hold on to it. Most of the time it can be epoxied back into place. 8. APPLY SEALERS. The use of sealers is an excellent preventive measure and will encourage the preservation of your granite countertops. Some granite can be very porous. Sealers fill in natural pores and repel spills on the surface, radically reducing the rate of absorption. This gives you time to wipe spills away before they have a chance to penetrate your stone. After the installation process, the granite must be sealed. We recommend a re-application of this sealer annually, or more often for some light granites, to fully maintain the luminosity and avoid stains. Some dark-colored, dense granites (browns, blacks) do not require sealing. When the water or liquid spilled on your countertop fails to bead up when splashed, or you begin to notice a water darkening spot that dries out, this is an indication that your countertop needs to be re-sealed. 9. AVOID STORING CHEMICALS ON THE SURFACE. It’s risky to store chemicals on the surface of your granite countertop in case of spillage. This includes cooking oil, hair products, chemical cleaners and cosmetics.
Stone suppliers in Singapore carry a wide range of kitchen tops. From natural stone like granite, marble and sandstone to solid surface kitchen tops and engineered quartz stone, each type of stone has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the desired aesthetic tastes and functionality. So how do you choose the right thickness for your countertop? There are several types of kitchen countertop stones which have their own physical characteristics. Depending on each homeowner’s individual lifestyle and expectations, different types of stone would work best. Today, we’ll take a look at the different thicknesses of countertops in production, their advantages and disadvantages. 10-13MM, OR ABOUT 1/2 INCH COUNTERTOPS. One of the first questions you’ll be asked by a stone supplier is the thickness you want. While thicker stones are preferred for their dramatic but minimalist look especially for natural stone or quartz, thin countertops have several advantages that any smart homeowner should consider carefully. THINNER AND LIGHTER. The biggest advantage that thin, 10-13mm countertops provide is lightness. Gravity does nasty things to a heavy slab that’s hanging off a surface, and trying to fasten it vertically would be a technical impossibility without special support systems in place. In many applications where the slabs hang freely and unsupported, excessive weight would jeopardize the structural integrity of the piece if special load-bearing or anchoring system is not in place. They are also much easier to work with and handle and do not require eight people just to move a slab from the ground floor up to your place. Stone Italiana Quartz carries exceptional 13mm quartz kitchen tops in three types of finishes; polished, rock face and grain. FLOATING COUNTERS, WATERFALL EDGES AND MORE. Thin countertops are a lot lighter than thick slabs, which makes it possible to build special applications. These include vertical surfaces such as feature walls, fuller backsplashes and waterfall edges. The sides of a kitchen island is a good example where waterfall edges have a nice touch. Thin slabs also make it possible to build floating counters where they are minimally supported by a foundation. Thin and light countertop slabs are also easier to cut and shape, which lends its suitability to integration work such as installation of a kitchen sink. If necessary, thin slabs can be laminated around a lightweight core material such as wood. This makes the countertop thicker without adding too much weight. 20-30MM, 1 TO 1 ¼ THICK COUNTERTOPS. MORE DURABLE Although heavier, more expensive and less versatile, thicker countertops are more durable than lighter ones; 30mm slabs are less prone to breaking compared to 20mm slabs, which in turn are more durable than 13mm ones. Countertops come in slabs as thick as 40mm or 60mm, but are often too expensive and too heavy for most homes to support. Soft stone such as marble and sandstone benefit significantly from the extra thickness. BUILT TO LAST AND CARRY HEAVIER LOADS. Thick kitchen top stones also last longer, which makes up for the difficult installation and high initial cost. Thick slabs of high-quality stone, especially when well-installed, also bring with it a nice hike in equity value, which alone is enough reason for stone suppliers in Singapore to recommend them. Thicker slabs are also best suited whenever high traffic/usage is expected, and a special emphasis on durability is required; e.g. kitchen tables, bathroom vanities, grilling stations (hard, natural stone like granite provide the best heat resistance), shower seats, decorative cutting boards and coffee tables. MORE KITCHEN TOP EDGE PROFILING OPTIONS. In addition, the extra material provided by thicker countertops gives homeowners more options for kitchen top edge profiling and fashions. You cannot cut deep curves into thin laminated countertops without biting into the laminated core. Edge profiles aren’t just for aesthetic purposes. For safety reasons, many interior designers and home owners opt for the bullnose edge profile, which is not something you want to accidentally hit.