Upgrading Your Kitchen In the New Year

2022 is here! Are you ready for a change? You’re not alone! This is the perfect time to upgrade your kitchen with an all-new look. With a few well-planned changes, you can make your kitchen a like-new space. You don’t have to break the bank – or remodel your entire kitchen – to make your kitchen fresh and beautiful. By upgrading a few choice features, like your countertops or light fixtures, you can make your kitchen the place to spend time in 2022.

1. Replace Plumbing Fixtures

You’d be amazed how much you can improve your kitchen by simply replacing your plumbing fixtures. A high-end kitchen faucet, for example, can make your whole sink look brand new!

When you’re picking a new faucet for your kitchen, use the color of the metal to create an accent color, or pull together other colors found in your kitchen. For example, maybe some of your pots are made of copper, and your counters have copper overtones. Use this opportunity to make copper a repeating color in your kitchen by installing a copper kitchen faucet.

Just a few years ago, the most popular fixtures were made from brushed stainless steel and chrome. Today, warmer colors are becoming more common, including brushed brass, brushed bronze and oil-rubbed bronze.

2. Refinish Cabinets

Want to make your kitchen pop without incurring a big expense? Refinish your cabinets. Just a few years ago, white and gray were the preferred cabinet colors in residential kitchens, but trends have changed. Now homeowners are painting their kitchens in bright, bold colors. This means that you’ve got a perfect opportunity to add color and flair to your kitchen – and you can do it over a long weekend.

Blues and greens are very popular right now, but you can choose the colors that make the most sense to you. When you’re refinishing your cabinets, start by removing hardware and doors. Next, rough up the old finish with sandpaper or sealer remover. This creates a rough surface on your cabinets and gives the new finish something to adhere to. When you apply the paint, use a glossy paint. Some paint companies make paint specifically meant for cabinets. Give the paint long enough to cure before putting the hardware back on.

3. Install New Light Fixtures

Light fixtures add beauty and personality to your kitchen. You can hire an electrician to install your new light fixture, or do it yourself.

Kitchen lights are divided into three categories: ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Ambient overhead lighting is the generalized bright light that illuminates the entire space of your kitchen. Examples of ambient lighting include ceiling-mounted lights and chandeliers. This is the type of lighting you should replace (or install more of) if your kitchen feels generally dark, even with all lights turned on.

Task lighting is the lighting that is used for specific tasks, like preparing food. In the kitchen, task lighting is often found under cabinets. If your kitchen is generally bright enough, but you’d like more light for cutting foods, then you probably need some task lighting.

Accent lighting illuminates features like decorations and cabinet interiors.

When you’re trying to decide what kind of lighting to install in your kitchen, assess the overall light conditions in your kitchen. Where is it dark? What light fixtures do you dislike? Which ones do you love? The answers to these questions will help you decide which light fixtures to replace (or add) first.

4. Replace Counters with Beautiful Stone

Over time, countertops made from synthetic material can become scratched, stained and even burned. These cosmetic problems can drag down the appearance of your kitchen and in some cases can even be a health and safety hazard because cracks can harbor bacteria.

You don’t have to live with your old countertops anymore! Make 2022 the year you upgrade your countertops by replacing them with stone. Stone and engineered stone countertops are far more durable than any other type of countertop available. Stone also comes in many colors and patterns, so you can choose the countertop that’s best for your home.

At Seacoast Stone, we sell granite, marble, soapstone and quartz. Each type of stone has its own characteristics, so you’ll need to choose the type that’s best for you.

  • Granite is one of the most durable natural stones available for residential use. It comes in many colors and patterns but needs regular sealing to remain water-resistant.
  • Marble is a soft stone with unparalleled natural beauty. It can be scratched and must be protected from heavy pots and sharp tools. Like granite, marble must be sealed regularly.
  • Soapstone is a very dense stone that never needs to be sealed to maintain its natural water resistance.
  • Quartz is an engineered stone that can be made to look like any other type of stone. It’s naturally very hard and water-resistant, and thus never needs to be sealed.

Countertop Maintenance Routines

From cleaning to sealing, there are many things you can do to protect your counters from stains, scratches and other sources of damage. If you’re attached to your countertops and want them to continue looking and functioning their best, here are some small changes you can make to your countertop care routines in the coming year.

1. Implement Nightly Cleaning

Counters need to be cleaned every time you cook, just to keep your countertop surfaces free of germs. Even if you didn’t cook, it’s still a good idea to clean your countertops every night, just in case someone spilled something on your counters that could cause a stain. Jams, jellies, sauces and red wine can be absorbed into porous surfaces like stone, and removing stains can be difficult!

Most countertops don’t need to be cleaned by special cleaning products. A little dish soap and warm water is usually good enough. If it makes you feel better, you can always purchase a special stone cleaner, but it’s not necessary.

When cleaning your counters, take time to wipe down all surfaces that are commonly used by members of your family, to remove anything that may have fallen on your counters throughout the day. Want to disinfect your counters? Skip the antibacterial commercial cleaning products.

Most countertop materials can easily be disinfected with rubbing alcohol. Spray your counters with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Allow the rubbing alcohol to sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away with a microfiber cloth. Oh, and don’t forget to check your countertop’s warranty before using rubbing alcohol as a disinfectant – just in case.

2. Sealing and Oiling

Sealing Granite and Marble

Some natural stone countertops – including granite and marble – need to be sealed on a regular basis. This is important because natural stone is porous, which means that it can absorb liquids that can stain. Sealing your countertops will make the surface water repellant, which can protect your counters.

To seal your counters, purchase a stone sealant and follow the instructions. Most sealers just need to be applied to the counter, allowed to sit for a little while, and then wiped away. Follow the instructions that come with the sealer you purchase. Not sure where to get stone sealer? Talk to your stone fabricator.

Oiling Soapstone

Not all stone counters need to be sealed. Soapstone, for example, is naturally water repellant because it’s so dense. Unlike granite and marble, soapstone can start to look dry or blotchy over time, unless it’s oiled periodically. Applying soapstone oil can help your soapstone develop a natural patina that will darken its color over time. Your stone fabricator can help you find a good oil for your countertops.

If you’re wondering whether oiling your soapstone countertops is a requirement for protecting your countertops from stains, the answer is no. If you like the look of your soapstone without an oil, then feel free to leave your countertops as is. Your soapstone will eventually develop a patina without using oil. Using oil just speeds up the process and makes the patina more even.

A Word About Quartz

Do you own quartz (engineered stone) countertops? Congratulations! You don’t have to oil or seal your counters. These counters continue looking their best year after year, without special treatment.

3. Protection from Scratches

All countertops should be protected from scratches, although some are more vulnerable to scratching than others. If you own marble countertops, for example, you’ll need to be very diligent about scratch protection. Marble is a very soft stone – that’s why it’s a favorite material of sculptors! Granite is far more scratch resistant, and needs less protection.

These tips can help you protect your countertops from scratches:

  • Use a trivet when placing a hot pan on your counters.
  • Never slide a pan or dish across your counters.
  • Avoid pushing countertop appliances over your counters – instead, pick them up.

4. Stain Protection and Removal

If you spill liquids on your counters (especially oils, red wine and sauces), clean the spill up immediately using a damp rag or a microfiber cloth. If you find that your counters have become stained at any point, use a poultice to soak up the stain. Poultices can be purchased, or they can be made at home.

To make your own poultice, combine baking soda and water. Thicken the mixture with baking soda until it’s about as thick as sour cream. Slather the mixture over the stain. Cover the poultice with plastic wrap, then use masking tape to attach the plastic wrap to the counters.

Allow the poultice to sit in place for 24 hours, then wipe it away. If the stain is still faintly visible, try the poultice again. When the stain has been fully removed, reseal your counters to prevent future stains.

Kitchen Trends for 2022

The new year is a fantastic time to transform your kitchen with all new-materials, appliances, and design. As you start to think about how you can make your kitchen a more functional and beautiful space in 2022, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the trends and styles. Knowing what other homeowners are doing can help you decide what you should do to make your kitchen a more enjoyable place to spend time.

Architectural Statement Hoods

While hoods are a standard part of any kitchen, they’re often understated or even hidden. Only recently did “statement hoods” become a feature found regularly in homes. Statement hoods are often made from materials like copper or stainless steel, which makes them big, bold and beautiful.

A statement hood provides a resting place for the eyes while also lending an air of professionalism to your kitchen. Do what you can to incorporate your statement hood into your kitchen’s design. One easy way to do this is to coordinate your hood with the other colors and materials found in your kitchen.

Invisible Hinge Cabinets

Invisible hinges are common in modern decor because of their clean, understated appearance. This is the perfect hinge to use with flat-face cabinets, which are designed to be subtle and smooth. Invisible hinges prevent your cabinets from becoming visually busy, thus making it easier to focus on stone surfaces and beautiful paint colors in your kitchen.

Creative Storage Spaces

Out with the stock cabinets and in with the custom cabinetry and creative storage solutions! Your kitchen cabinets should make your kitchen a more functional place, where you can easily store all the pots and pans you need to make your meal masterpiece. If you currently don’t have enough space in your kitchen, or perhaps have a hard time finding enough storage to meet your needs, then you could benefit from a storage space overhaul.

Work with a contractor with experience helping homeowners choose storage spaces that make a difference.

  • Butler’s pantry. A butler’s pantry is a space separate from your kitchen, often with a hutch and a serving area where you can set food for serving at your next big meal. The butler’s pantry usually includes a cabinet with glass doors for holding the “good dishes.”
  • Hidden drawers. Nothing is cooler than opening up a large cabinet and finding hidden drawers where you can store everything from boxes of cereal to cans of food. Drawers are an excellent way to keep items organized and also make it easier to find things that otherwise get buried when stored on standard shelves.
  • Pull-out pet dishes. Pets are an important part of many households, but pet food dishes tend to be in the way and make a mess. Work with your contractor to install a pull-out pet dish tray near the floor that can be slid back into place when you’re done feeding your furry friend.
  • Kitchen spice drawer. Kitchen spices tend to be one of the most annoying items to store because they’re so small. It’s easy to find the spices at the front of the spice shelf, but the spices near the back have a way of getting lost or buried. A kitchen spice drawer fixes that problem by giving you the opportunity to pull out the drawer and see the spices in the front or back.
  • Lazy Susan cabinet. Lazy Susan cabinets make it easy to store large items in a big space. Use your Lazy Susan cabinet to hold your food containers, pots and pans.
  • Larder cupboard. Don’t have a whole pantry? Install a larder cupboard to hold your basic food supplies like pasta, cans of food and more.

Installation of quality cabinets/storage spaces make all the difference. The trick is to purchase semi-custom or custom cabinets that meet your needs and look beautiful. Work with a contractor that specializes in this type of cabinetry.

Light-Filled Spaces

Kitchens need a lot of light to make it easier to prepare foods. Make your kitchen bright and beautiful in 2022! There are lots of different ways to illuminate your kitchen, including natural illumination and also artificial lighting.

Work with a contractor to give yourself a variety of lighting options including pendant lighting, task lighting, recessed and overhead lighting, and of course large windows for a source of natural light throughout the day.

Color Experimentation

For many years, white kitchens were the favorite of homeowners everywhere. Today, white is starting to look stark and harsh to homeowners just starting their kitchen remodel. Pops of color in the kitchen are popular once again!

Some homeowners are looking toward soft pastels like pink, light green and seafoam to make their kitchen a more inviting and cheerful place. Other homeowners are using darker, more sophisticated colors like navy and hunter green.

There are lots of ways to incorporate these colors into your kitchen. Consider painting your cabinets, repainting your walls and choosing bar stools with colorful upholstery. You can also incorporate beautiful colors in your kitchen through fixtures made from colorful metals like copper and brushed brass.

Slab Backsplashes

Tile backsplashes were a standard feature in kitchens for decades, but a shift is underway right now. Slab backsplashes that are a continuation of countertop surfaces are becoming more common every day.

Without grout lines on your backsplash, slab backsplashes have a clean, minimalist appearance. Work with a quality stone fabricator to ensure that your slab backsplashes are perfectly integrated into your kitchen.

Natural Countertops

It just doesn’t get more beautiful than stone slab countertops. Granite was the most popular countertop material for a decade or more, but today homeowners are more open to a variety of stone types including marble, soapstone, granite or even engineered stone (also known as quartz).

In fact, quartz countertops are the most sought-after countertops to date because they can be made to resemble granite or marble – but without the upkeep. If you want natural countertops that look beautiful and need virtually no maintenance (aside from cleaning), talk to a quality stone fabricator about installing quartz countertops in your home.

6 Fantastic Reasons to Treat Yourself to Granite Countertops this Holiday Season

Granite has been a top choice in kitchen countertops for decades, and for good reason. Each slab of granite is unique and precious. Granite is formed when molten lava cools under pressure over millions of years. The variety colors you see in a single slab of granite come from minerals in the earth.

In other words, granite is special. It’s a product of natural earthly cycles and geologic processes. It’s an actual wonder of nature – awe-inspiring, exotic and timeless.

Are you planning a kitchen remodel soon? Hoping to replace your countertops this holiday season? Below, we’ve listed six outstanding reasons to choose granite for your kitchen counters.

1. Low Maintenance

Granite is one of the most durable natural materials found in homes, and thus needs very little maintenance.

Cleaning

On a day-to-day basis, granite needs only to be cleaned with warm, soapy water. You don’t need special soap for cleaning granite, although you can purchase special stone countertop cleaner, if it suits you. Clean spills immediately. You should also clean your granite counters after cooking or working with raw meat. Finally, wipe down your counters at the end of every evening to sweep away crumbs.

Sealing

In addition to cleaning, granite needs to be sealed on a periodic basis. Though it’s very durable, granite is also porous, and will absorb liquids, causing stains. Sealing your granite will close those pores so that liquids sit on top of the granite, without any absorption.

For more information about how to seal granite, see our article. Granite needs to be sealed once or twice per year, depending on how well your sealer holds up and how often you use your counters. You’ll be able to tell if your counters need to be resealed because the stone will start to absorb liquids. If you notice a wet spot on your counters after wiping away spilled water, that’s a sign it’s time to seal again.

2. Natural Beauty

Granite is beautiful. Some granite is speckled while other slabs have layers and swirls. No matter what the pattern, it’s all beautiful. You’ll find there’s a slab of granite for every kitchen, every style, every personal taste. If you love natural beauty, you’ll probably love granite. This long-lasting stone mixes well with materials like butcher block counters and hardwood floors.

3. Selection of Colors

Granite comes in many colors, depending on the stone’s mineral makeup. You can find granite in gray, white, black, blue, red, orange, brown and even green.

Take care to choose a color that you can enjoy for many years to come, even through future remodels. Granite is very durable and can last a long time, so you don’t want to buy granite that you’ll want to replace when you next update your kitchen. Neutral colors will be the easiest to incorporate into future decor.

4. Durability and Longevity

If properly maintained, your granite countertops can last for decades. It’s very difficult to scratch, highly heat-resistant and as long as it’s kept properly sealed, it’s also stain-resistant. Whether your granite counters are one month old or one decade old, they should look as beautiful as the day they were installed.

5. Value

It’s well-known that granite countertops have a high value – especially if you’re selling your home. Quality granite countertops can make your home more appealing to home buyers, especially when combined with other features like hardwood floors, new appliances and freshly painted walls. Expect healthy returns on your investment.

Want to maximize the value of your counters? Some tips:

  • Invest in neutral colors. As already mentioned, granite comes in a range of colors. However, bright colors like blue and green appeal to fewer people and are harder to match to cabinets, back splashes and wall paint. When shopping for granite, focus on counters in colors like gray, white, cream and brown.
  • Pick out the slab in person. No two slabs of granite are alike. When you pick out the slab in-person, you can avoid slabs that have variations you don’t like or that won’t look good in your kitchen. Choose the slab that has the unique characteristics you love.
  • Buy the slab from a quality fabricator. Get a good return on your investment by purchasing your counters from a quality dealer that only sells the best products.
  • Maintain your counters if you’re not selling right away. Keep your counters lovely by sealing them regularly, wiping way spills when they occur and by taking common-sense measures to protect your counters from scratches and other forms of damage.

6. Timelessness

The best thing about granite is its timelessness. Homeowners have been coveting granite countertops for decades. The beauty of granite is a taste that homeowners don’t get tired of.

An investment in granite today is an investment in the future. Buy granite now, and you can continue to use your counters for decades to come. Generations of homeowners who come after you may also continue to use your counters, to prepare Thanksgiving and holiday meals, to cook food for family and friends, to make midnight snacks.

Laminam Countertops

If you’re seeking a tactile, elegant stone for your counters, floors and walls, Laminam is a product that we trust. Here’s what we want you to know about this all new, durable material.

What is Laminam?

Laminam is an engineered stone that’s indistinguishable from natural stone. It comes available in large slabs that allow for continuous coverage of your home’s surfaces. It’s made from all organic materials and contains no resins. We like it because it’s an eco-friendly product that’s naturally beautiful and safe for your home’s interior.

Why Laminam?

Seacoast Stone only stocks the best materials for your home’s counters, walls, floors and other surfaces. Here’s what you’ll love about this beautiful product.

Hygiene

Porous surfaces absorb bacteria, causing contamination and spreading illness. To avoid foodborne illnesses and spread of diseases, porous surfaces must be sealed and disinfected regularly. Laminam XL is a non-porous surface that will not absorb or grow bacteria. This makes it an excellent choice for the kitchen and bathroom, where sanitation is crucial for the health and safety of your family.

Maintenance

A simple cleaning with mild detergent is enough to keep your Laminam surfaces properly clean. We recommend cleaning Laminam after meals and at the end of the day, to keep it looking beautiful.

If your current countertops are made from natural stone like granite or marble, you probably need to seal your counters on a regular basis to maintain their beauty and functionality. By contrast, Laminam never needs to be sealed or oiled. Just clean it, and be done.

Heat Resistance

Heat resistance is a critical characteristic of countertops, which can be exposed to high heat through pots, pans, countertop appliances and electric kettles. Some modern countertop materials are easily damaged by exposure to high heat, which can cause counters to melt, warp or darken. Laminam XL does not contain any inorganic material (such as resins) and thus is not affected by high heat.

Stain Resistance

Pores are what cause many surfaces to stain. For example, porous stone like granite can absorb liquids like tomato sauce, oils, red wine and soy sauce, causing stains. Laminam XL surface is non-porous and thus highly resistant to all staining agents.

We always recommend cleaning spills as soon as they happen, but an unnoticed blob of tomato sauce on your Laminam should not cause a permanent blemish on your countertops. Laminam is also highly resistant to cleaning agents, so you can use a variety of antibacterial cleaners without concern.

UV Resistance

Sunlight can cause various surfaces – even natural stone – to fade over time. Laminam XL surface is not affected by UV rays, so the surface finish will never fade. This makes Laminam a perfect surface for an outdoor living area, like your outdoor kitchen or dining area. Laminam can be used as an exterior cladding surface, so it’s found on buildings, homes, porches, decks and more.

Variety of Natural Colors

Laminam is inspired by natural Italian stone. In fact, most Laminam resembles granite and marble. There are almost a hundred different colors and patterns of Laminam. It comes in green, blue, gray, taupe, white, cream and more.

We’ll help you find the right Laminam for your home project. Check out the Laminam website for a look at the colors and patterns available.

Variety of Textures

Shiny and smooth or gently textured – Laminam comes in a range of finishes. Nonslip, natural, polished, soft-touch and textured – all of these textures are available in Laminam products. The professionals at Seacoast will help you find the surface texture that appeals to you. Come to our showroom to see and touch samples for yourself.

Where To Install Laminam In Your Home?

When most people think of stone surfaces, they picture the floors and counters of their bathroom or kitchen. While you can use Laminam on these surfaces, this isn’t the only place where this product is found. Laminam is used for facades of all kinds including indoor furnishings like tabletops, flooring, wall cladding, cabinets, shelving and more. The sky is the limit!

Laminam’s durability, longevity and low-maintenance beauty makes it the perfect cladding for a variety of indoor and outdoor projects. Architects, general contractors and interior designers all recommend Laminam for projects that require total elegance and sophistication.

9 Reasons to Choose Soapstone for Your New Countertops

Of all the countertop options available to homeowners today, soapstone is becoming a favorite. This natural stone option has many advantages, including a natural resistance to stains, low-maintenance needs and beautiful colors and textures.

As you consider the type of countertop options that are best for your needs, consider this elegant and sophisticated natural stone. Soapstone might surprise you.

1. Soapstone Is Lovely

Soapstone is a lovely gray, ranging from light gray to a deep charcoal color. Often, soapstone has a marbled appearance with white veins that streak across the surface in beautiful, jagged lines.

The texture of soapstone is entirely unique. In fact, the name soapstone comes from its texture, which has the soft, matte feeling of a dry bar of soap.

When oiled, it has a wet, almost-polished quality. When left un-oiled, soapstone looks dry and leathery. Its appearance is rustic and different from nearly all other kinds of stone.

2. Soapstone Requires Minimal Maintenance

Some natural stone, like granite and marble, needs to be sealed on a regular basis. Soapstone does not. Homeowners can make the choice to oil their soapstone, to encourage development of the natural patina. Oiling your counters on a regular basis will darken the color and ensure an even coloring over the entire surface. Oiling is not required – it’s optional.

In fact, the only maintenance that your soapstone requires is regular cleaning, to ensure your food prep surfaces are free of bacteria. Cleaning soapstone is easy! Simply put warm, soapy water on a dishcloth and wipe down your counters. Wipe away soap residue with a damp cloth, then you’re finished!

3. Soapstone is Non-Porous and Stain Resistant

Most natural stones are porous, which means they can absorb spilled liquids like wine and oil. Spills on porous stone can cause stains. Soapstone isn’t porous at all, so it’s naturally stain resistant. Therefore, you don’t have to seal soapstone: because it naturally repels water and avoids staining.

4. Soapstone Can’t Be Etched by Acid

Most stones are easily etched by acid, which means that their surface can become dull and even stained when they’re routinely exposed to acidic liquids like lemon juice and tomato juice. Soapstone can’t be etched by acid, so you don’t have to worry about spilling lemon juice, vinegar, or other acidic liquids on your counters.

5. Soapstone is Heat Resistant

Some countertops can crack, melt or be warped by heat – but not soapstone. Its superb heat resistance means you’ll never have to worry about damaging your countertops with a hot pan. One important thing to note: soapstone can be scratched, so it’s smart to put a cork pad underneath items with a sharp or rough bottom.

6. Soapstone Retains Its High Value

Like all natural stones, soapstone is high value. You can expect a good return on investment when you install this type of countertop in your kitchen. It also lasts a lifetime. The longer you have soapstone, the more worthwhile the investment.

7. Soapstone is Environmentally Friendly

Soapstone doesn’t require any chemical sealer to remain beautiful, and the oils used to treat soapstone is natural. Your soapstone counters are eco-friendly because they’re made of simple stone, nothing else.

8. Soapstone is a Naturally Flexible Style

Soapstone looks just right in kitchens decorated in a variety of styles. Its rustic beauty makes it the perfect addition farmhouse-style kitchens. Soapstone also has a rough-hewn, primitive quality that makes it perfect for industrial-style kitchens. And its minimalistic, lightly veined appearance makes it the perfect addition to a modern, European-style kitchen. Wondering if it’s right for your home? Pick up some samples today.

9. Soapstone is Unaffected by Chemicals

Soapstone is chemically inert, which means it’s not affected by chemicals. You don’t have to worry about damaging your soapstone if a cleaning chemical, acidic solution or something unexpected gets dropped or spilled on your counters. Simply wipe up the spill, clean your counters like you normally would, then go about your day.

Buy Your Soapstone Counters from a Reputable Dealer

Something to keep in mind when you’re purchasing natural stone: soapstone varies in appearance from one quarry to another. It can be dark or light, have many veins or few veins. Its longevity and beauty depends on where it comes from.

When you’re purchasing soapstone counters for your home, it’s important to buy your soapstone from a reputable dealer. A good countertop dealer and fabricator will only choose the best soapstone, so you can rest assured that you’ve purchased a quality product.

 

6 Fantastic Reasons to Choose Quartz for Your New Countertops

Just 20 years ago, granite countertops ruled high-end kitchen remodels. Just about everyone wanted granite for their kitchen. They loved its beauty, durability and longevity. The enduring quality of granite gave it romance and value. Nothing could beat granite – until quartz came along.

Now, quartz is easily the most popular countertop material. If it’s been several decades since your last kitchen remodel, or if you’ve never remodeled before, we recommend exploring this remarkable material for your upcoming home improvement.

1. Natural Appearance

A typical slab of quartz consists of crushed stone powder and resin. The ingredients are combined and cured into a slab shape. Because it’s made from stone powder, quartz naturally looks and feels just like natural stone. It can be manufactured to mimic a variety of stone types, like granite or marble.

Once installed, it has the polished appearance and texture of any other stone countertop. Most people can’t tell the difference between quartz made to look like granite, and granite itself.

2. Durability

Durability is an important feature in any kitchen countertop, where food is cut and prepped. One of the reasons quartz is such a desirable material is because it’s incredibly hard and scratch-resistant. In fact, it’s more scratch-resistant than any other countertop material.

Although you should always make an effort to protect your counters from scratches by using cutting boards and by placing pads under your pots and pans, you’ll find your quartz counters are exceptionally durable. Quartz is significantly more scratch-resistant than soft sculpting stones like marble.

3. Longevity

Quartz lasts decades. A typical warranty for quartz countertops will cover the counter for 10 or 15 years. You can expect your quartz countertops to last at least 20 years with proper care – and probably a lot longer.

Because it’s such a long-lasting product, we recommend selecting styles with timeless, classic beauty. Look for countertops in neutral colors you’ll love for a long time, like white, gray, brown, beige or cream.

4. Low Maintenance

Most natural stones need to be sealed periodically. If they’re not sealed, they’ll absorb liquids from spills, causing stains. Stone that absorbs cooking oil will develop a clear, wet-looking stain. Countertops that absorb a dark liquid like wine will bear a dark red stain that won’t go away. To prevent this from happening, sealant is applied to fill the stone’s pores.

Quartz never needs this kind of treatment. It never needs to be sealed, because it’s not a porous material like natural stone. It won’t absorb cooking oil, wine, or any other liquid that you spill on its surface. It’s naturally stain-resistant.

In fact, the only type of maintenance that quartz countertops require is regular cleaning, to keep your cooking station sanitary and safe. Spritz your quartz countertops with stone cleaner or water mixed with a small quantity of dishwashing liquid, then wipe the countertops clean with a soft cloth.

5. Stylish

Quartz is stylish! It looks like many other types of desirable stone, which means it has the look that homeowners love. And, because quartz is manufactured instead of quarried, it’s easy to make quartz in colors that match modern kitchens. It can be made in colors like gray, cream, black, white, beige – and unusual colors, like blue, green and so on.

If you’re seeking a specific color or style of quartz for your kitchen, speak to your countertop dealer and installer to find out which options are available to you. You might be surprised by the variety, colors and styles that you can find.

6. High Value

Everyone loves quartz, including home buyers. If you’re remodeling your kitchen because you’re hoping to sell your home sometime soon, quartz is a highly desirable material that home buyers look for when they’re evaluating a home.

Quartz countertops may not be a good reason to buy a house, but they are a plus for home buyers! Quartz helps sweeten the deal for a home buyer seeking a house with a newly remodeled, fully-equipped kitchen. It’s the kind of feature that you’ll want to point out to your real estate agent as they craft the listing.

Ready to Install Quartz In Your Home? Contact Seacoast Stone

At Seacoast Stone, we sell five different lines of quartz including CambriaQSTONESilestone, and Wilson Art. We carry this many choices so our customers always have options and can find the kind of stone that will look best in their kitchen.

7 Common Mistakes You Could Be Making With Your Kitchen Counters

Your new kitchen counters look beautiful, don’t they? You can keep them that way by using best practices and avoiding common blunders that cause blemishes like stains, cracks and scratches.

Below we’ve listed the most common mistakes that homeowners make with their high-end counters. If you can avoid these errors, you can keep them looking their best for years to come.

1. Using Abrasive Cleaning Materials

Abrasive cleaning products and scouring pads can scratch stone countertops. Most natural stone countertops don’t need to be cleaned with anything other than warm water mixed with dish soap. Use a sponge or soft microfiber cloth to wipe down your counters.

If your countertops are stained, don’t turn to abrasive cleaning products for help. Apply a poultice to the stone to absorb the stain without scratching the surface. You can purchase a poultice from a stone supplier, or you can make your own poultice.

To make your own poultice, flour and hydrogen peroxide together to create a thick paste, then spread the baking soda over the stain. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the paste, then tape the plastic wrap in place with masking tape. Leave the poultice on the countertop overnight, then wipe it away. If the stain is still there, repeat the process.

2. Not Sealing Your Counters

Natural stone is a porous material that will absorb liquids like cooking oil, red wine and soy sauce, if it hasn’t been sealed. Stone sealer is designed to close pores in the stone.

Countertops need to be sealed every 6 months or one year, depending on the type of sealer being used and the type of stone being sealed. Buy your sealer from a countertop supplier, and read the instructions to determine how often your countertops need to be sealed.

Not sure whether your countertops need to be sealed or not? Place a tablespoon of water on the surface and leave it there for 15 minutes, then wipe the water away. If a wet spot remains, this is an indication your counters need to be resealed.

You can learn more about sealing your counters on our website. If your countertops are made of quartz or soapstone, they don’t need to be sealed!

3. Putting On Too Much Weight

Stone is strong, but when placed under too much stress, it will break. If you’re putting too much weight on your counters, you could cause a crack, fracture or chip. Avoid setting anything heavy on an unsupported edge.

Don’t put anything like a heavy microwave or countertop oven on a part of your counters that is unsupported. This applies to all types of counters, including quartz.

If you do break your countertops, talk to your countertop supplier for help.

4. Heating It Up

High heat can cause your counters to crack. Never place a hot pot directly on your counters. Use trivets to protect your counters from high heat. Remember to protect your counters from appliances that emit high heat as well. Place your slow cooker on a trivet to prevent your counters from cracking.

5. Using Your Counters As a Cutting Board

Just as you can scratch your counters with abrasive cleaning materials, you can also scratch your counters with sharp knives. Never use your counters as a cutting board. Use a cutting board for that! Teach your kids and other members of your family to do the same.

On a related note, if you always cut and prepare foods in the same places on your counters, that section of your counter will get worn faster than others, and may need to be sealed more often than unused parts of your counters. Use particular care when preparing foods in these vulnerable sections, and if it’s practical, make a point of rotating your work space to keep the wear even.

6. Not Wiping Up Spills Right Away

Acidic foods and beverages like vinegar, lemon juice and tomato sauce are acidic, which means they can slowly etch into your counters, wearing away the sealer and causing the counters to become stained. Get in the habit of wiping spills as soon as possible to protect your counters from acidic juices and foods that can do damage.

7. Dragging Heavy Items Across Your Counters

Stone can scratch – especially soft stones like marble. Never drag a heavy pot or countertop appliance across your counters. Pick it up! If you need to slide something heavy across your counters, put it on a hot pad first to make sliding easier and to protect your counters from sharp edges.

Remodeling Your Kitchen – Cost Considerations

Kitchen remodels represent a major investment, with most projects costing tens of thousands of dollars. Why so much? Probably because any standard remodel involves purchase of many materials, fixtures and appliances, skilled labor to install and a great deal of planning. When the work is over, your kitchen should be more beautiful, more functional, and more valuable, adding to your home’s overall value.

While most homeowners find the cost to be worthwhile, it is important to know how much you can expect to spend on your kitchen remodel. Knowing the potential cost can help you right-size the scope of your project to your budget and avoid overspending that could lead to challenges down the road.

How Much Does a Kitchen Remodel Cost?

The cost of a minor kitchen remodel in many parts of NH is approximately $26,000, according to the Cost Vs. Value Report published by Remodeling Magazine. Most minor kitchen remodels involve cosmetic changes and a few upgrades. For this cost, you can expect to get new doors on your cabinets, new flooring, fresh paint on your walls, a new sink installed and new countertops.

A major, mid-scale kitchen remodel in New Hampshire costs around $76,000. For this price, homeowners often see deep, dramatic changes to their kitchen, including new appliances, new countertops, a new kitchen island, custom lighting, and new cabinets.

Upscale major kitchen remodels can cost as much as $149,000, adding features like a new backsplash, new hardwood flooring, new under cabinet illumination, a new commercial-grade cooktop with vent hood, designer faucets, water filtration system, and other such features.

Factors that Affect Cost

Every kitchen remodel is unique and there are many factors that can affect cost. Knowing what features have the potential to increase or decrease costs can help you control the scope of your project and fit your kitchen remodel to your budget.

  • Scope. Cosmetic changes are the most affordable, while changes to the function or layout of the kitchen can quickly drive up the cost.
  • Removing walls and adding space. Removing walls and adding space can drive up costs dramatically, especially if your contractor needs to remove a load-bearing wall, or if you’re planning to add space to the footprint of your house.
  • Quality. You’ll pay for quality, but remember: good quality lasts longer and functions better. Installing quality materials and appliances can save you money in the long run.
  • Skill. Some contractors cost more than others. Contractors that charge dramatically less for their work may not be as skilled, experienced, or up to the task of remodeling a kitchen. Good contractors tend to cost more money, but you’ll almost certainly be happier with the results.

Financing

The most affordable way to pay for your kitchen remodel is with cash, but many homeowners must seek financing to make their kitchen remodel goals a reality. The type of financing you choose should depend on a variety of factors, including your credit and what payment terms sound right for you.

Mortgage Refinance

With a mortgage refinance, you will borrow enough money to pay off your current mortgage – and a little bit extra to pay a contractor. If you have a lot of equity built up in your home, this could be a good option for you.

Home Equity Loan

With a home equity loan, you’ll borrow a lump sum with a fixed payment, to be repaid in a given period of time. This type of loan is a kind of second mortgage with a low-interest rate.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A HELOC is a loan based on your home’s equity. A HELOC functions like a credit card: you borrow only what you need, and when the remodel is finished, you pay off the loan in the same way you would a credit card.   

Personal Loan

If you don’t have a lot of equity in your home but do have good credit, consider a personal loan. These loans typically have a higher interest rate than some other types of loans, and are often paid back quickly (between 5 and 7 years). However, some homeowners prefer this type of loan because the house itself is not used as collateral. Personal loans are a common tool for homeowners who haven’t owned their house very long, don’t have a lot of equity in their home and need to make major repairs to their home.

Saving Money on Your Kitchen Remodel

You can save money on your kitchen remodel by making smart buying decisions. One thing to keep in mind: purchasing poor quality products and services may save money in the short term, but will cost more in the long run. If saving money is important to you, here’s what we recommend:

Plan Ahead

Buying materials and planning your remodel at the last minute can lead to rushed purchases and mistakes. Plan ahead and take your time as you’re moving through the remodeling process.

Know Your Must-Haves Vs. Nice-To-Haves

Make a list of goals and priorities, then support those goals with a list of must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Knowing what you absolutely must get out of your kitchen remodel can help you avoid over-spending on items that you really don’t need.

Shop Around

Shopping around for materials and a contractor can help ensure that you’ll get the best quality for your money. Take your time and look for the right materials and contractor for your home improvement project.

Avoid Last-Minute Changes

Once you’ve started your kitchen remodel, making changes can get expensive. If you’ve signed off on a design for your kitchen remodel, stick to it. Last-minute changes may require your contractor to undo work that’s already been done, and that can lead to delays and cost increases well beyond the original price.

Eco-Friendly Countertop Options

Climate change has affected the way homeowners build and decorate their homes, and as a result, sustainable countertop options are becoming increasingly popular. If installing a sustainable countertop product is important to you, we can help. We understand what features to look for when choosing a sustainable material, and we have some insider information about eco-friendly products available on today’s market. Here’s what you need to know:

What to Look for In An Eco-Friendly Countertop Material

Knowing what to look for in an eco-friendly countertop material can help you decide which products meet your needs.

  • Durability and longevity. Sustainable products should be lasting products, so they spend less time in a landfill at the end of their service life.
  • Maintenance. Does your countertop of choice need to be oiled, refinished or sealed on a regular basis? It’s important to know this before making a purchase, and to be realistic about your ability to keep up with countertop maintenance. Don’t choose a product that needs more maintenance than you can handle, or you may have to get rid of your counter sooner than necessary – and that’s not green at all.
  • Affordability. The cost of a countertop material will depend on its manufacturing process, source materials and more. Know your budget before you start exploring products, so you can look at realistic options for your needs.
  • What makes it sustainable? Some countertops are made from recycled materials – others are made from reused materials. Don’t just assume a countertop is green because the manufacturer says so – find out what makes it environmentally friendly.

Eco-Friendly Countertop Materials

Demand for eco-friendly countertop materials has increased over time, so the type of materials available has also increased. Countertop manufacturers are always inventing new ways to recycle materials and create products that consumers want.

Recycled Glass

Recycled glass countertops are made from a combination of broken/recycled glass and resins. There are several companies that make recycled glass countertops, so you can pick the countertops with the look that you like best. Some examples of companies that make these products include:

  • IceStone
  • Grenite Recycled Glass
  • Vetrazzo Recycled Glass

Recycled glass counters are easy to maintain – requiring little more than regular cleaning to look their best. These counters can be fragile, and are prone to cracking or chipping when something heavy is dropped on their surface. In addition, the manufacturing process behind recycled glass countertops is not as environmentally-friendly as some other eco-friendly countertop materials. Some of these countertops are manufactured overseas and must be shipped to the US, which adds to their carbon footprint. These counters can run between $50 and $80 per square foot for materials.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is a kind of re-used wood found in old buildings and structures. The wood is sanded and shaped to fit your countertops. Reclaimed wood is known for its beautiful character which may include stains, dents and scratches – all reminders of its previous service life.

Wood makes a good countertop material – and reclaimed wood is definitely environmentally friendly. However, there are some important caveats to note before making your purchase:

  • Safety. Some old wood used in structures may be treated with chemicals that aren’t healthy for use on countertops. Know where your wood came from. Only buy reclaimed wood countertops from reputable sources.
  • Cost. Reclaimed wood is becoming very popular, and it’s a limited resource. Cost for this type of countertop can vary dramatically depending on where the wood came from, its quality and other factors.
  • Maintenance. Wooden countertops need to be oiled regularly. They can easily be scratched, but those scratches can be sanded down, and hidden by oils. Be ready to perform this type of maintenance if this is the type of countertop for you.

Recycled Paper

When you think of paper and its normal characteristics (easy to tear, dissolves in water), you probably would assume that paper would make a terrible countertop material. You’d be wrong! Recycled paper countertops are made from a combination of recycled paper and petroleum-free resin. Paper countertops can divert millions of pounds of paper from the landfill, and once it goes through the manufacturing process, it’s very similar to a soft stone.

In other words, recycled paper can make an excellent countertop material, available in a matte finish that looks and feels like freshly cut stone. If you’re thinking about installing recycled paper countertops, here’s what you should know:

  • Maintenance. Recycled paper does need to be resealed annually, just like many natural stone countertop materials.
  • Occasional refinishing. Older recycled paper countertops may be able to be refinished similar to wood countertops. Find out more about your specific countertops before buffing out any scratches.
  • Fading. Counters regularly exposed to UV rays may fade over time. Think about the location of your counters, the amount of unfiltered sunlight that the counters are exposed to, and decide for yourself if these are the right counters for you.

Quartz

Quartz is probably one of the most popular types of countertop materials available on the market today. Made from crushed stone and resins, quartz looks like natural stone, but is more durable and requires less maintenance overall.

Some important benefits of quartz countertops over other types of counters:

  • Low-maintenance. Quartz requires no maintenance aside from regular cleaning. You do not need to seal or refinish it.
  • Durability. It is a non-porous countertop material that should not stain or chip with regular use.
  • Beauty. If you like the look of natural stone, quartz can be made to mimic the look of any stone you prefer.

Some brands that make quartz are more eco-friendly than others. At Seacoast Stone, we carry the following eco-friendly quartz products:

  • Q-Stone – These porcelain tiles mimic the look of stalatitti marble and quartzite. They’re made from 40% recycled material.
  • Silestone Eco Line Colour Series – Eco Line comes in five beautiful finishes and is made from 50% recycled material.
  • Cambria Non-Porous Stone – Cambria operates with a variety of certifications that show their commitment to producing environmentally friendly products. Cambria’s quartz is top of the line in terms of beauty and sustainability.
  • Wilsonart Quartz – Wilsonart quartz is made from 93 percent high quality natural quartz crystals, and exceeds the industry’s highest standards for indoor air quality, by producing very low emissions.