Matchmaker, Matchmaker… Find Me A Match!

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For two decades now researchers have been looking into the laws of attraction and symmetry.  In humans, some studies say it comes down to survival of the fittest as balanced facial features are linked to good health and fertility. Now… new research indicates the link is simply the visual brain finding patterns easier to interpret.

While we can’t disprove one hypothesis over the other; as fabricators we do see this primitive need for things to ‘match just right’ on a daily basis. In fact, one of the most stunning design options for stone is using material that has been what we call ‘book-matched.’

The process is a finishing method in which two slabs of material look as though paint were dropped between the pages of a book, pressed together and then pulled apart that results in a mirrored image. Here’s how it works: we match the two slabs mirrored flow working from the center out. This creates the look of no break in pattern and includes attaching veins along the seam of the slab which creates balance… the more expansive an area like a kitchen island – the more impact you will see. Ask your fabricator for pictures of their work including closeups because there’s usually an additional cost.

 

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FREEEEEEEEEE!!

 

imagesI was just sitting here writing a bit and as usual I drift a little and think of various issues that seem to be constant at our shops. Today it is waste! I don’t mean anything nasty or trashy but waste nonetheless. And I have tons of it! For FREEEEEE!!! There are a few opportunities to use the left over material too small for surfaces but non that makes sense to us so a lot of it we give away to anyone who wants some broke up stone. It costs us nothing, creates good will with folks and increases word of mouth exposure all for waste some companies even pay to get rid of.  I bet if you check with fabricators in your area you can find the same and let your creative self have some fun with free granite or at least fill in a couple of potholes in the driveway 🙂

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Marble Repair: Do I Dare…Try?

images-7Marble is one of the most popular building materials throughout history for advanced civilizations; it boasts construction of such famous buildings as the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Washington Monument to name just a very few. It is durable, easier worked than granite and in most cases has a very warm and soft appearance. Due to such famous origins and modern methods of processing –  this material has become very common to use in today’s residences. This being said marble has some down sides as well, it scratches easier than a granite, it’s more likely to etch with an acidic substance and more likely to chip from impact. There are repair kits available for the do it yourself homeowner to remove scratches and surface etching as well as glues available to fill chips. With a visit to your local fabricator the hearty DIY’er can usually obtain the resin to do a chip fill and probably even get them to tint it to a color for you. This will not always provide the best match unless you have a piece of your material they can use as a reference for the color. With a chip your best bet is to have a pro come out and do the repair on-site. Sometimes the chip can be smoothed out and give a better result than a glue fill and would be more permanent.

A polish repair in marble can be achieved by a homeowner as long as it is light scratching or etching, these are things you can barely feel rubbing your hand across if at all, but it’s a process requiring some elbow grease and patience: somewhat similar to compounding a car. Your kit should come with a few grits of polishing pads (some are diamond, some are sandpaper),  polishing compound and a felt buffing pad. Unless you are willing to spend a considerable sum and buy an electric buffer this can be a very time consuming experience for more than just a few small places.

Do It Yourself is near and dear to my heart, but polishing and repairing stone is not for the faint of heart. I have seen several different kits for DIY repair through the years but can’t think of one that is strong in the market for the homeowner. In my opinion this type of work would require a homeowner with some good skills to attempt much polishing.

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Posted in Before you Buy, DIY, Maintenance & Restoration, Uncategorized

Does Size Count?

images-3Well, one can look at this in many ways but not to be to risque this is a granite blog and yes size does matter! Why, because granite comes in limited sizes which may not fit your dream kitchens plans. All to often I have seen a glorious set of plans with a fantastic kitchen layout and an eager customer wanting one single piece of granite, seams not included, for their magnificent personal island. Or, how about that forever stretching high bar that has a thousand twinkling lights above it and yes, yet again no seam desired. It breaks my heart to have to say no to these requests, not because I want to but simply because that size of material is not available. Is there hope? Yes, to some degree but no such thing as a granite stretcher exists, so design must step in to save the day.

The very best way to have large expanses of gorgeousness is to think ahead and look for the best type granite before you make your plans. If this is not doable a good rule of thumb for many available selections is 115 inches long by 65 inches tall. Usually if you can find the type of granite you are interested in before-hand, the sizes available at that time can be found again later on when you are ready to purchase. If you find the absolute ONE, most fabricators will gladly hold the material for you providing you purchase it at that time.

Another option is to look for slabs that are “bookmatched”, this means two slabs are mirrored, so when they are put together can form very nice designs and actually enhance your island or bar, seam included.

A very well laid out job where great care is taken in the seam placement and how the material flows from one piece to another at a seam location is your next best option when the two prior choices will not work, translation- Get A Pro!

 

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Posted in Before you Buy, DIY, Industry News, Maintenance & Restoration, Uncategorized

“No Return Policy” is Common Cents

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You’ve selected your materials for your upcoming granite service or installation, the space for your counters has been measured and the template design is now complete. The big day arrives and starts with the installation team loading their gear on to their trucks as well as that big beautiful piece of slab. As they pull up to your home: you suddenly realize your better half has forgotten to purchase that new faucet….

That’s just ONE overlooked detail that can cost you the dreaded “Return Trip Charge” of $125 (or more) that we share with our customers. The fee covers transportation costs, paying our employees, etc. and it’s one we don’t like to have to charge. You can avoid the ‘RTC’ as well as maximize your remodeling dollars by organizing materials ahead of your scheduled installation. Here’s how:

Make a list of all of the equipment you’ll need then round up those items and place them in a box.

Is your faucet in there? How about your cooktop? And garbage disposal and do you know whether it’s an old fashioned one or new one? Also make sure you have all your grommets and power cords in place and you know where they need to go. Go through your box again at least a day before our crew is scheduled to arrive.

Call us ASAP if you find out there’s a problem!

The minute you realize your sink didn’t arrive in time: just give us a call. We can work around any scheduling changes up to the day before our installers are to be at your home or business.

The “No Return Policy” is the best policy for our customers who understand how a little preparation can save EVERYONE a lot of time and money!

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Posted in Pre-Installation Tips, Uncategorized

Seam-Phobia, Is It Really That Bad?

images-28I guarantee there is not a fabricator alive who has not had to deal with a customer with “seam-phobia.”

Occasionally you can find a kitchen that doesn’t need to have the stone seamed at some location but for the most part this is an accepted and necessary practice simply because the sizes of natural stone slabs are limited and some counter configurations cannot be accomplished safely without a seam.

Pieces can be trapped between walls, create large L shapes that are difficult to handle without potentially breaking the stone or the installers back or just too big to find a slab large enough to do a particular counter top in one piece. Another necessity for seaming stone is to create an appropriate grain flow throughout the entire kitchen. Good fabricators will spend time explaining these reasons and show a customer the why’s of it to allay a their fears and prevent unpleasant surprises at installation.

There are some things that can be done to minimize seam visibility:

1. Make sure you use a qualified fabricator/installer that takes pride in their seams and works to equal or better Marble Institute Of America seam specifications. These specifications are reasonable, take into consideration natural stone characteristics and very achievable.

2. Ask if a seam can be surface polished. This is not recommended on all materials and will most likely have an additional charge involved but can really improve the appearance and feel of a seam. If a seam is not achievable within MIA tolerances a qualified fabricator will often surface polish it at no charge to make it acceptable.  Ask about bookmatch seams, this is a very old practice and can create some truly beautiful designs as well and often enhances the appearance of the stone.

4. Last but not least, place seams in inconspicuous areas or spend time in the design stages of your kitchen to work within stone limits and create a kitchen that requires little or no seams. Ask your fabricator about this and they can give you a good idea on size expectations. Keep in mind a good size for many slabs is 115 inches by 65 inches.

 

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Posted in Before you Buy, Maintenance & Restoration, Pre-Installation Tips, Uncategorized

Epic look of how natural stone is processed from the quarry

Do you ever wonder where your natural stonework came from? Here’s a look at how internationally recognized marble Crema Marfil is processed in this video taken at the El Coto Quarry in Spain by one of our suppliers.

Thank you Levantina for sharing.

Just one question: can we go on your next video shoot? Simply stunning.

 

 

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