Quartz vs. Granite: Which One Comes Out on Top?

Quartz vs. Granite: Which One Comes Out on Top?

[vc_row 0=""][vc_column][vc_column_text]Spoiler Alert: Quartz isn’t better than granite, but granite isn’t better than quartz, either. That’s like asking whether red or white wine are better.  Like the best wines, it all comes down to personal taste, and what you are pairing it with. Quartz is the more resilient of the two, but some kitchens don’t look right without the unique colors and flow of granite.  While we won’t be able to tell you which one is right for you, we can definitely help you get closer to making the right choice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column 0=""][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_n9W37McaY&autoplay=1" align="center"][blockquote layout="4"]

Like the best wines, it all comes down to personal taste, and what you are pairing it with.

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Natural Stone Vs Engineered Stone

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1507216344550{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}"][vc_column][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1510608906939{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;}"]Granite—a natural stone—is indeed 100% natural as it is quarried directly from the earth in large blocks. These blocks are then sliced into slabs and polished on one side at the quarry before being shipped to the broker or fabricator. Fabricators cut shapes from the slabs according to your countertop specifications. They then profile and polish the edges.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=".vc_custom_1507216358735{margin-top: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Quartz, on the other hand, is an “engineered” stone, meaning a manufacturing plant uses various grades and sizes of quartz crystals and mixes them with resin and pigment (for color) in a ratio of 93% quartz to 7% resin (yes, we’ll still refer to quartz as natural stone, but it’s not as natural as granite). Fabricators create quartz countertops in much the same way as they do granite countertops: by cutting the shapes from the slab and then profiling and polishing the edges.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which is stronger?
A. Quartz.

Quartz is one of the strongest materials on the planet; significantly stronger than granite.  However, just because granite isn’t as strong doesn’t mean it’s a wimpy choice either.

Q. Which stone looks better?
A. Well…

We are back to red wine vs white wine.  Quartz looks simpler and has excellent color choices, but every granite countertop is one of a kind.  Granite slabs are known for having a lot of “movement” and variations in its natural color, while quartz tends to be less dramatic in its colorization.  If you are a minimalist that prefers a monochromatic kitchen, go with quartz.  If you want a counter with character that is unique as you are, go with granite, especially if you enjoy a sunlit kitchen. (More on that later…)[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2="Can't decide between the two?" h4="Completely understandable. You should call us." txt_align="center" style="custom" add_button="bottom" btn_title="Click here to get in touch with us." btn_style="outline-custom" btn_outline_custom_color="#ffffff" btn_outline_custom_hover_background="#ffffff" btn_outline_custom_hover_text="#739dcb" btn_size="sm" btn_align="center" btn_button_block="true" custom_background="#739dcb" custom_text="#ffffff" btn_link="url:%2Fcontact-us%2F|title:Contact%20Us||"][/vc_cta][vc_column_text]

Q. Which stone is easier to clean?
A. It’s a tie.

Both are easy to clean, but granite is more prone to staining than quartz, since natural stone is porous, and quartz is not.  Warm soap and water will get the job done on either surface.  The better question is…

Q. Which stone is easier to maintain?
A. Quartz.

Quartz wins this one, hands down.  Not to say that granite is a nightmare – you just need to seal it once a year – but quartz requires zero maintenance.  Keep your counters clean, and they will take care of you.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTQBdj9tEG8"][vc_column_text]

Q. Which stone should I use for my outdoor grill/table/decor?
A. Granite.

Granite takes the crown this time.  Quartz will discolor over time in direct sunlight.  Even in your kitchen, you should try to keep the sun away from your counters so they maintain the same look they had when they were first installed.  If you like sunlight, go with granite.

Q. Which stone is more expensive?
A. Here’s the thing…

Quartz used to be more expensive than granite, but things have changed fairly recently.  With advances in technology and production methods, both quartz and granite are now closely priced.  Granted, you may come across some rare exotic slab of granite that was unearthed in a remote Brazilian jungle during a lunar eclipse, but for the most part, the cost is a non-factor.

So, Who Wins?

So what do truly “objective” sources have to say in the debate between granite and quartz? Every year, Consumer Reports puts out an issue that ranks kitchen countertop materials. Quartz and granite are always neck-and-neck.

But as we said in the beginning, the debate comes down to this: what’s the right countertop material for your specific needs, your lifestyle, your design? Do your homework, answer those questions, and then decide.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="6109" img_size="full" alignment="center" onclick="custom_link" css=".vc_custom_1507220796146{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}" link="https://towercountertops.com/meridian-quartz/"][vc_cta h2="Do you think quartz is the choice for you?" h4="(We have a lot of colors choices.)" txt_align="center" shape="square" style="custom" add_button="bottom" btn_title="Click here to see more" btn_style="outline-custom" btn_outline_custom_color="#ffffff" btn_outline_custom_hover_background="#ffffff" btn_outline_custom_hover_text="#509584" btn_size="sm" btn_align="center" btn_button_block="true" custom_background="#509584" custom_text="#ffffff" btn_link="url:%2Fmeridian-quartz%2F|title:Meridian%20Quartz||"][/vc_cta][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="6111" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" css=".vc_custom_1507220818773{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}" link="https://towercountertops.com/natural-stone/"][vc_cta h2="Do you think granite clearly came out on top?" h4="(We have a lot of these colors, too.)" txt_align="center" shape="square" style="custom" add_button="bottom" btn_title="Click here to see more" btn_style="outline-custom" btn_outline_custom_color="#ffffff" btn_outline_custom_hover_background="#ffffff" btn_outline_custom_hover_text="#d37735" btn_size="sm" btn_align="center" btn_button_block="true" custom_background="#d37735" custom_text="#ffffff" btn_link="url:%2Fnatural-stone%2F|title:Natural%20Stone||"][/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Upgrade to the Custom Luxury Shower You Have Always Wanted

Upgrade to the Custom Luxury Shower You Have Always Wanted

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Is your shower everything that you have always wanted? Are you looking for a bigger space so you can have a separate bath and shower area?

For some homeowners, their ordinary shower just isn’t providing them with a pleasing experience. You may want to transform your shower area into a luxury bathing place with body spray jets and rainfall shower heads. Also, you may simply be thinking about making it more convenient for all members of the family with a shower bench, recessed lighting, shower bars and storage areas.

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If you and your spouse love to take showers together, you may consider having a double shower with shower heads on opposite walls.

[/blockquote][vc_column_text]Creating a luxury shower like the ones you see in interior decorating magazines and on home improvement shows can be achieved. All you have to do is take the time to plan out space, invest in the right materials for your budget, and have it professionally installed to avoid future repair nightmares. Use the following tips to create the ultimate luxury shower that your entire family will love.

Understanding Your Home Needs

Before moving things around to expand the shower area, you first need to think about what you want in a shower space. If you and your spouse love to take showers together, you may consider having a double shower with shower heads on opposite walls. If you have a multi-generational home where everyone will take advantage of the same bathroom, you have to consider accessibility for older parents and nonslip surfaces for younger kids.

Talk with your spouse and family about your luxury shower needs. Then narrow down your choices so that the luxury bathroom has everything it needs.

Planning Out Space

One of the great things about upgrading to a custom shower is that there are numerous configurations to select from to fit into your space. So your design possibilities are increased if you are working with rooms of different sizes and shapes.

You’ll want to take into consideration the present plumbing, ventilation, electricity, and heating and cooling systems in the space. They will affect the placement of the shower, toilet, cabinets, bathtub, and vanity sink. You don’t want to make the mistake of placing your toilet line too close to the swinging glass shower door as you won’t be able to open the door fully without banging into the toilet, or having a cultured marble vanity sink and cabinet in front of a heat register.[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2="Not sure where to start?" h4="We're ready help you." txt_align="center" style="custom" add_button="bottom" btn_title="Click Here" btn_size="lg" btn_align="center" btn_button_block="true" custom_background="#ffffff" custom_text="#006a51" btn_link="url:https%3A%2F%2Ftowercountertops.com%2Fcontact-us%2F|title:Contact%20Us||"]We have a number of shower experts on staff, and a showroom full of showers.  Let’s work together to get you into your dream shower.[/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Consider Materials for Functionality and Durability

There is a wide range of shower materials out on the market to appease almost any budget. So you will be able to pick out shower bases, wall panels, showerheads, safety bars, lighting, seats, and storage cubbies. Keep in mind that most of your choices shouldn’t just be based on the price tag. Consider the ease of cleaning the materials, durability, functionality, beauty, and lifecycle.

While it may seem economical to select the lowest priced material on the market, such as fiberglass or tile, some of these materials may be prone to cracking, staining, and water leakage. You may actually end up spending more on replacement costs. Instead, select materials that can handle the rigors of daily use — especially if you have a large family —  such as Meridian solid surface shower bases, wall panels, and shower accessories. The material is water-resistant, inexpensive to install, strong, and beautiful.

You can have the custom luxury shower of your dreams. Carefully plan out all the details and get advice from professional plumbers, shower installers and electricians so the shower space will fit your needs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Read more Upgrade to the Custom Luxury Shower You Have Always Wanted

How Does Custom Fabrication Work?

How Does Custom Fabrication Work?

Sometimes a project requires standard solid surface, quartz, or granite. Other times, a project might need a completely customized approach. When this is the case, you need to know you’ll get what you want without a lot of hassle. Working with Tower Industries to create a completely custom solution for your specific project is just as easy.

For projects, large or small, custom fabrication is an option to fit your unique requirements when a standard product just won’t do the trick. So how does custom fabrication work? Let’s cover the Who, When, What, and How of custom fabrication.

Who

Custom fabrication services are offered to provide surfacing for those who may have already selected a brand or color of product that Tower Industries does not regularly stock. Generally, architects, designers, general contractors, and construction managers tend to be our largest customers in this area, though homeowners have been known to utilize custom fabrication services, as well.

When

For commercial projects, in particular, products and colors are typically selected before the bid stage with little opportunity to change those particulars after-the-fact. By offering custom fabrication services, we are able to provide the desired product to architects and designers, regardless of whether the product is in stock or not. In other words, whatever the product or unique specifications, Tower Industries will work with our customers to provide the needed custom solution.

What

You asked for it; you got it! At Tower Industries, we will do whatever it takes to provide the products that our customers request. Sometimes challenges do exist, but we will work with you to meet the ultimate needs of your project.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific materials offered.

  • We are able to provide most brands and color choices of Solid Surface, including Corian, Hanex, Avonite, Formica Solid Surface, LG Hi-Macs, Staron, as well as many other national brands.
  • In need of quartz countertops instead? We can provide almost any brand or color of Quartz, including Caesarstone, Silestone, Hanstone, LG Viatera, Zodiaq, and many other national brands.
  • Regarding granite, Tower Industries can offer any color; and, given enough lead-time, we can special-order slabs in custom sizes, directly from the quarry. Custom granite countertops do have a tendency to become fairly expensive, but regardless of color selection, we will be able to obtain the material for your project!

Even different thicknesses of quartz and granite may be available, such as a 2cm thickness instead of the standard 3cm. In this area, though, supply can be inconsistent, as not all colors are available in alternate thicknesses, or might not be readily available in the immediate or nearby market.

Custom edge profiles are available in both stone and solid surface. It’s important to note stone costs are increased when using a custom profile as a result of the diamond bits required. Solid surface custom edge profiles, in contrast, use carbide router bits typically used for woodworking, which are easier to obtain.

Although custom fabrication services tend to be geared towards large volumes of similar products, for such projects as countertops for hotels or hospitals, we can absolutely produce individual countertops in unusual shapes or with out-of-the-box details.

How

So, how does this work exactly? Tower Industries’ state-of-the-art digital fabrication offers the precision of CNC and waterjet technology for stone fabrication, and the accuracy of CNC technology for solid surface. Better yet, we will consult with any architect or designer who needs additional information regarding the best fabrication techniques to achieve the desired design.

The bottom line is this: Tower Industries will work with project planners to create a custom solution that will meet the specific needs of your project. Our custom fabrication capabilities include designing, producing, and manufacturing just about anything your project requires.

Whether your project requires solid surface, quartz, or granite, sometimes a completely custom approach is necessary. Our Custom Fabrication capabilities mean we can design, produce, and manufacture just about anything you need. From custom edge profiles to unique logo inlays, we can help bring your vision to life. Contact us and let’s discuss how our custom fabrication services can help

 

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Dekton: Ultracompact Surface for Homeowners or Commercial Applications

Dekton: Ultracompact Surface for Homeowners or Commercial Applications

For decades, at the beginning of any kitchen or bathroom project, designers and architects have debated the multitude of materials available, from quartz countertops to concrete to solid surface solutions. In very recent times, however, a new product has been added to the list of options: a product called Dekton.

What exactly is Dekton and what are some of the advantages to using this material? Let’s take a closer look.

Dekton Described

Made from a combination of glass, porcelain, and quartz, Dekton is created and manufactured by the company, Cosentino. In an attempt to create the ultimate countertop material, Cosentino developed a proprietary process called “Sinterized Particle Technology,” to alter the state of natural stone.
Imagine the condition of stone after being exposed to extremely high heat and pressure for thousands of years. The resulting creation would be Dekton, a product designed to be ultra-compact and the most durable material available today.

Dekton Benefits

Designed for a wide range of applications, including bathroom shower wall panels, kitchen countertops, exterior building cladding, as well as many other commercial applications, Dekton excels in a variety of areas, including:

  • Heat and Fire Resistance: The product is capable of withstanding the impact of high heat that would be found by placing scorching hot pans on its surface. Even the use of a blowtorch will not damage this surface.
  • Scratch, Abrasion, and Stain Resistance: More compact and harder than even quartz surfacing, Dekton is able to survive cuts and scratches without needing repair. If the product was used in a flooring application, the abrasive damage normally caused by heavy activity would not be a problem. Additionally, Dekton is completely resistant to stain damage normally caused by kitchen spills, such as wine or coffee, as well as chemicals, like nail polish remover or bleach.
  • UV, Ice, and Thawing Resistance: Dekton can be utilized in outdoor countertop solutions in locations ranging from exceedingly hot and sunny to exceptionally cold and icy. Environments with extreme climates do not affect or damage the product. No fading or cracking with Dekton!
  • Non-Porous: Similar to quartz countertops, Dekton is non-porous, making it mold and mildew resistant and very easy to clean.
  • Appearance: The controlled manufacturing process used to create Dekton allows for color consistency throughout the product and from slab to slab. And, it offers multiple color options, including looks designed to mimic wood, concrete, and natural stone, including the veining look found in marble. Check out the Dekton images in our photo gallery.

This ultra-modern, latest and greatest invention could transform kitchen, bathroom, and commercial designs by offering solutions to several common problems. Dekton is designed to be the toughest and most durable product on the market today.

Capable of surviving blowtorches, hot pans, cutting board mistakes, sun rays, icy storms, mildew, and mold, all while looking good and offering a large selection of color options, Dekton just might be the architects’ and designers’ dream solution.

Want to learn more about Dekton? Call us today at 330-837-2216 or contact us here to discuss your needs.

Resellers Guide to Countertop Selection

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5 Steps to Choosing the Right Countertop Solution

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Countertop Solution

As general contractors and commercial builders know, there are many decisions that must be made before final designs for commercial or residential kitchen projects are approved and finalized.  From the structure and layout, to the countertops, cabinets, floors, and ceilings, builders and contractors are responsible for making the right decisions for the project.

Let’s look at the steps you should take when choosing the right countertops for your next project.

1. Look at Appearance

An extremely important consideration in the countertop selection process is the look and feel.  The contractor needs to take into consideration the matching or blending of the design with the overall appearance of the kitchen, making sure to account for the types and colors of neighboring appliances and cabinets.

Fortunately, there are a multitude of options, including:

  • Granite: A natural product offering a variety of shades with unique designs.
  • Quartz: A manufactured product that provides the look and feel of stone without the ongoing maintenance of granite
  • Marble: Offering an elegant look, also with a variety of colors and patterns.
  • Solid Surface: Available in countless colors and patterns that can mimic the look of granite, quartz, wood, or other natural materials.
  • Concrete: Offering many colors with the ability to mimic the look of other materials.
  • Wood and Stainless Steel: Providing very distinctive designs.

2. Consider Utility

You’ll need to consider the end-user’s lifestyle and predicted use to ensure an appropriate countertop is selected.  Heavily used kitchens, for instance, will need countertops that can withstand daily wear and tear, while still maintaining its original appearance for years to come. Tile can be challenging because the countertop surface is inherently uneven. Stainless steel, while offering a very sleek appearance, quickly gathers fingerprints and is often loud with the clinking of pans or plates against the surface.  With naturally stronger composition, materials such as quartz, or solid surface countertops will often hold up better in more highly used areas.

3. Estimate Time to Install

The time required for installation is another imperative step in the countertop selection process, as some materials will take longer to install. Concrete requires longer installation time due to concrete curing requirements.  Tile involves more time for grouting and the setting of the tiles. Cultured marble, solid surface, quartz, and granite countertops, on the other hand, are designed for easier installation processes and requires less time.

4. Ensure Durability

While making countertop selection decisions for a quality project, contractors need to consider the whole picture.  Which countertops will stand the test of time and offer durability for the end-user? Which countertops will require the least amount of maintenance?  Granite, quartz, and solid surface countertops offer durability and simple maintenance, while laminate is prone to burns and scratches, and tile needs regular re-grouting.

Make sure your choice is in line with the desired maintenance and expected ongoing costs.

5. Stick to the Budget

With most projects, the overall cost is just as important as appearance. Keeping your expenses within budget is a vital step in the countertop selection process. Be sure to consider the cost of the countertop material as well as the cost of installation.  More lengthy installations, as mentioned above, will require more labor time, thus increasing costs.  A countertop with an overall lower cost and less complex installation, such as a solid surface countertop, can help maintain a controllable budget.

At the end of the day, careful consideration of all aspects of the design and installation of countertops must be considered.  Builders and contractors need to consider the steps involved when choosing the appropriate countertop for the project: the appearance desired, the intended use, installation time, durability of the product, and overall costs associated with each.

Not sure if solid surface countertops are right for your project? Call us today at 330-837-2216, or contact us here to discuss your needs.

Read more 5 Steps to Choosing the Right Countertop Solution

Quartz or Solid Surface Countertops: Which Is Right For Your Project?

Since you’ve been searching for the perfect countertop for your project, you might still be scratching your head when it comes to choosing between quartz and solid surface countertops. Although both offer great value, their differences are distinct. While quartz competes more closely with granite and solid surface countertops with laminate, both materials are more durable and affordable than their competitors.

Keep reading to learn about quartz and solid surface countertops, and their pros and cons to help you decide which would be best for your project.

Quartz Countertops

Created using 93-95% crushed quartz with the remaining 5-7% being natural pigments and resin binders, quartz countertops offer a solution to your project that provides the look and feel of granite without the regular maintenance. Exceeded in toughness and durability only by diamond, sapphire, and topaz, natural quartz won’t scratch and is highly durable.

Quartz countertops provide a smooth, non-porous surface with a shiny finish. Additionally, these countertops are heat resistant and can withstand temperatures up to 400°F without a problem.

Pros of Quartz Countertops

  • Highly durable and scratch-resistant.
  • Non-porous and very sanitary. Quartz countertops won’t carry bacteria and are easily cleaned. They are also stain resistant so juices or wines won’t threaten your countertop.
  • Abundant color and pattern options to meet the individual buyer’s desires.
  • Heat resistant up to 400°F.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

  • More expensive than solid surface. These countertops cost about $70-75 per square foot and higher, depending on the color and brand. Prices can vary so always shop around.
  • Seams in quartz countertops will be seen and felt, which can build up dirt and debris.

 

Solid Surface Countertops

Created from acrylic and/or polyester resins, solid surface countertops are man-made and are a much more durable countertop than its biggest competitor, laminate. Although solid surface countertops can chip and get scratched, any minor damages are easily repaired.

The solid surface countertop is typically uniform in color and pattern and is supplied with a matte finish. These countertops offer an affordable and attractive solution to homeowners.

Pros of Solid Surface Countertops

  • Virtually maintenance free.
  • The surface appears seamless
  • Durable and sanitary.
  • Minor damage or scratches can be easily serviced and fixed.
  • More affordable per square foot than quartz countertops.
  • An abundance of color choices.

Cons of Solid Surface Countertops

  • Not 100% scratch-resistant.
  • Doesn’t stand up as well to extremely high temperatures.

By examining the pros and cons of both quartz and solid surface countertops, you will be able to make a better decision for your unique project. Both quartz and solid surface countertops are excellent choices for homeowners and have the durability to bring you and your family years of enjoyment.

Which type of countertop do you think would work best for you? Call us today at 330-837-2216, or contact us here to discuss your needs.

Read more Quartz or Solid Surface Countertops: Which Is Right For Your Project?

Custom Countertops: Tips To Get The Style You Want

The great American chef Mario Batali once said, “The kitchen really is the castle itself. This is where we spend our happiest moments and where we find the joy of being a family.” A home’s kitchen is a reflection of a family itself, and there can be no more impactful decision on the look and feel of a kitchen than the countertops. Consider custom countertops to ensure your kitchen is a match for your family’s lifestyle.

Countertops command the eye’s attention and dictate the overall environment kitchen. Choosing the countertop style for your kitchen is a very personal, and permanent decision.

Follow these important tips, and make what can be an overwhelming decision more manageable.

Tip 1: Decide on what sort of kitchen you want.

Is the kitchen of your dreams elegant? Do you desire magnificent countertops, high-end furniture, and state-of-the-art appliances? Do you envision preparing exotic foods for upscale dinner parties? If so, then consider the more upscale countertops like marble or granite.

If you want the focus to be on practicality and convenience, consider stainless steel or solid surface. Both of these options are easy to clean and impossible to stain – there’s a reason why they’re used in so many professional kitchens!

Perhaps you’re aiming for a homier look, where people immediately feel at ease. Your kitchen might be where food is prepared, but it’s also where important conversations take place between family and friends. If so, then a warm colored quartz or granite top might work well.

And if you desire a hip, modern look to your kitchen, then your countertop material is perhaps less important than the color or style. A contemporary feel can be achieved with dark colored granite, quartz, tile, or solid surface counters.

 

Tip 2: Consider what already exists in your kitchen.

Unless you’re completely renovating your kitchen soup to nuts, you need to consider how your countertops will match the existing space. New custom countertops can be transformative, but the style and colors must mesh well with the existing appliances, cabinets, furniture, and light fixtures.

Take multiple pictures of your kitchen and bring them to the store or your designer so you can be sure the color scheme and style will match.

 

Tip 3: Stay practical.

Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each material before making your final choice. For example, stainless steel brings a professional look to any kitchen, but it scratches fairly easily (bad for bacteria!) and can dent. Butcher-block counters provide extra cutting space, but require biannual sanding and oiling. Marble is gorgeous, but can be stained by lemon, vinegar, wine, and other common cooking materials. Want low maintenance? Make quartz your go-to surface.

 

Tip 4: Determine your budget and shop around.

Carefully measure the square footage of your counter space. Countertop materials are sold by the square foot and prices can vary dramatically, so it’s worth a little legwork to compare prices.

Choosing custom countertops can help ensure a kitchen makeover meets all your practical and aesthetic desires. Follow our four tips, and you’re on your way to having the kitchen you and your family have always wanted!

Read more Custom Countertops: Tips To Get The Style You Want

Not Granite! The Best Alternative to Granite Countertops

As recently as 2012, granite countertops were being installed in 75% of new kitchens. Granite has been the king of the countertops for years, but there are plenty of durable, aesthetic, and practical alternatives to granite to consider before you make your choice.

Some factors to consider when choosing a countertop material include aesthetics, practicality, durability, price, and how it will match the current layout and makeup of your kitchen. Below, in no particular order, are three solid alternatives to granite that may be the better choice for you and your family.

Solid Surface

There are few, if any, more versatile countertop materials than solid surface. A durable option, solid surface countertops can be customized for color, pattern, edging, and anything else you can dream up. Perhaps a backsplash or striking color will provide the look you want – even if it’s a stone pattern that looks like granite! Scratches or abrasions can be repaired so as to be virtually undetectable, and seams are fused together to make them inconspicuous.

 

Natural Stone

If you seek a stone-look, granite is not the only option on the market. Soapstone and slate are also options for a smooth, contemporary feel. Soapstone is among the most durable stones being used for countertops today. It will not stain, and it easily stands up to hot pots and pans – you can set them directly on the stone without worry — and its natural veining gives it a classic but contemporary feel.

Similar to soapstone, slate requires little maintenance, if any. While it typically comes in a matte sheen, it can be easily made to look wet. Any scratches are easily buffed out, and the price is right: as low as $100 per square foot.

 

Quartz

If granite is king, there are signs that quartz is beginning to storm the castle. Widely regarded as more durable than granite, quartz requires virtually no maintenance and never needs to be sealed. A beautiful, polished stone-look, quartz can enliven a kitchen, while also being a practical choice. Install quartz, and never worry about your countertops again. Quartz typically retails for $100 – $150 per square foot.

 

These are just three of the many alternatives to granite out there, so before you demand granite for your kitchen project, be sure to examine all your options!

Read more Not Granite! The Best Alternative to Granite Countertops

Solid Surface Manufacturing: Behind The Scenes

At Tower Surface’s 60,000 sq. foot manufacturing facility in Massillon, Ohio, solid surface products are cast in molds each and every day. The capacity and capabilities of our facility allow us to offer turnkey products to vendors no matter what quantity they may need. Whether someone is in need of one product or one thousand, we pride ourselves on being able to handle practically any job that might come through our doors.

There’s no getting around the fact that there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for growth with solid surface, which is why we’ve chosen to invest in such an impressive line for manufacturing. Solid surface countertops, sinks, and shower basins are the preferred choice for modern residence halls, hospitals and other types of institutions, as they perform exceptionally well, are simple to install, and can be cleaned/sanitized with ease.

The future of solid surface manufacturing at Tower Surfaces is looking bright. As more of today’s institutions look toward this material as the preferred option for surfaces of all kinds, it’ll no doubt continue to move in a forward direction. To catch a glimpse of what it’s like at our Massillon, Ohio plant, have a look at this video.

Contact us today to learn more by calling (330) 837-2216.

Read more Solid Surface Manufacturing: Behind The Scenes

Natural Stone vs. Solid Surface: What’s the Difference?

At Tower Industries, we sell several different types of surfacing solutions, including quartzsolid surface, and natural stone.

We talked about quartz vs. natural stone in this blog post. Now, it’s time to shine the spotlight on natural stone vs. solid surface. How are these materials the same? How are they different? How should you determine which material is right for your application?

Let’s get to it.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone (granite) is just that—it’s 100% organic, made by Mother Nature herself. It’s quarried from the earth in large blocks, sliced into slabs, polished on one side, and then shipped to the broker or fabricator.

Characteristics of natural stone:

  • 100% natural. ‘Nuff said.

  • Unique. No two slabs are alike, which can be a huge selling point (originality), but this also means you won’t find identical color and pattern from one slab to the next.

  • Strong and durable, but not indestructible. You can damage natural stone through excessive force or sudden fluctuations in temperature (which is why you should always use a trivet before placing a hot pan or pot on a natural stone counter).

  • Porous. In order to prevent staining and, more importantly, the harboring of germs and other icky stuff in the stone’s nooks and crannies, we recommend sealing natural stone countertops once a year.

  • Easy to clean when sealed properly. Use a soft cloth with warm water and any pH neutral, non-abrasive cleaner or mild dishwashing detergent. Rinse well to avoid a filmy residue and streaks.

  • Seams will be plainly visible, especially if the stone has veins or directional movement in the pattern.

 

SOLID SURFACE

Solid surface, on the other hand, is a man-made material composed typically of acrylic and/or polyester resins and pigments (the latter is what gives solid surface its color).

Characteristics of solid surface:

  • Manufactured surface.
  • Color variety. The color is controlled during the manufacturing process, so you can count on color consistency throughout the entire sheet and a wide variety of colors and patterns from which to choose.
  • Highly durable. Even more so than natural stone. Solid surface can withstand stronger impact  than stone. That said, solid surface can be damaged by excessive force and heat (we still recommend using trivets with hot pots and pans).
  • Non-porous. This surface is hygienic and doesn’t require sealing.
  • Easy to clean. A little soap and water usually does the trick.
  • Stain resistant. Thanks to the fact it’s non-porous.
  • Inconspicuous seams. This provides much more design flexibility. One popular application is combining a solid surface countertop with a solid surface sink bowl for a sleek and seamless look that is super-easy to clean.
  • Can be used in horizontal and vertical applications. Think beyond countertops—you can use solid surface in shower surrounds, wall panels, and backsplashes.

 

Now that you know more about natural stone and solid surface, how do you determine which material is the best choice for your application?

Think function. This is a personal decision, and only you can answer it honestly. If you want an ultra-low maintenance surfacing option due to the fact you have a large family, for example, and the countertop will see a lot of “action,” then solid surface beats out natural stone.

If, on the other hand, you want a truly unique look and you know you’ll keep up with a regular sealing schedule, natural stone can be a lovely choice. There really is no right or wrong answer—only what’s right or wrong for your particular circumstances.

Think aesthetics. Again, this is extremely subjective, and that’s OK. Your opinion is the only one that matters, at least when it comes to choosing materials for your own home. When you’re choosing materials that will appear in commercial settings, you need to think of the people who are using the space and what their likes and dislikes might be (same is true for the “function” test above…always consider the people who’ll be using the space).

The biggest difference between natural stone and solid surface when it comes to aesthetics is this: with natural stone, you’re truly going to have something that’s one of a kind. This might be extremely appealing.

When it comes to solid surface, you’re going to have many, many options in terms of colors and patterns. This can provide you or your designer a lot more design flexibility, which might carry its own appeal, depending on your goals.

Think price point. We’ll be honest here—natural stone will usually cost more than solid surface, so if budget is a big factor, keep this in mind.

 

Once you’ve made your decision, now comes the fun part: buying the material and awaiting the next step in the renovation process (e.g. the fabrication and installation of your new countertop). Before you buy, be sure to check out our product lines: Natural Stone CountertopsMeridian Solid Surface Countertops, and Meridian Solid Surface Acrylic Collection Countertops.

Happy shopping!

Read more Natural Stone vs. Solid Surface: What’s the Difference?

4 Interesting Characteristics of Solid Surface Material

Back in July, we talked about why solid surface material is a “solid” choice for your countertop needs. We highlighted the big advantages: the material is non-porous, it comes in a wide array of colors, seams are rarely an issue, it’s easy to integrate with sinks, and cleanup is fast and simple.

But guess what? Here are four other interesting characteristics about solid surface material.

1. Memories may fade, but your solid surface countertop color won’t. 

Kitchen countertops see a lot of action, don’t they? We’re talking lazy Sunday breakfasts with The New York Times crossword puzzle, holiday parties, afternoon homework sessions with the kids, book club with cheese and crackers (and wine!), cooking marathons, coffee with friends, a dumping ground for permission slips, bills, and smartphones…well, you get the idea.

But despite all this traffic, the color of your solid surface counter will withstand the test of time…as well as that wine spill from an over-eager reader of Fifty Shades of Grey (we won’t tell).

Isn’t it nice to know there’s one color in your life that won’t fade?

2. Pow! Kerplunk! Yes, solid surfaces can take ALL THAT.

We’re not suggesting you beat on your solid surface countertops, but let’s face it: accidents do happen. As in, someone drops a plate, a pot, a book, a laptop…sometimes by mistake, sometimes on purpose (those of you with kids can relate, I’m sure).

Here’s the thing: solid surface material can withstand impact much better than other materials, especially granite. However, ANY countertop can be damaged by impact, so don’t abuse your solid surface countertop by any means. Solid surface may also show scuffs and scrapes that happen under normal everyday use. This is where its renewability is so important – these scuffs can be easily removed using materials that you can buy at your local grocery store. See our care and maintenance blog.

3. Moisture doesn’t scare solid surfaces (but it does scare plastic laminates).

Because solid surfaces are, well, SOLID and homogenous, moisture can’t penetrate the material. This is an important characteristic, since moisture is one of the biggest reasons laminates separate and ultimately fail.

4. How unseemly your seams are, dear tile.

Tile is a popular choice in the kitchen, especially for backsplashes, but people tend to forget about All. That. Grout. Why is grout such a problem? Because it requires constant cleaning (you better save those old toothbrushes, folks!). Tile is also prone to cracks (and guess what can get in there?).

With a solid surface material, cleanup is a snap and you don’t need to worry about cracks harboring yucky things like mold, mildew, or bacteria.

So there you have it: four interesting but lesser known facts about solid surfaces. What do you think? Are you convinced this material was made in countertop heaven?

By the way, be sure to check out our solid surface collections: Meridian Solid Surface Acrylic Collection and Meridian Solid Surface Countertops.

Read more 4 Interesting Characteristics of Solid Surface Material

The Science of Solid Surfaces

If you’ve been conducting research about the best options for your next shower, countertop or sink, you might be running into the term “solid surface” quite a bit. You might be asking yourself, “What in the world is a solid surface?” Basically, a solid surface is exactly what it sounds like: a surface that is solid. But that’s probably not the answer you’re seeking. So that you can make the best possible decision about upgrading your countertop, shower or sink, I’m going to explain what a solid surface is and the process we go through here at Tower Industries to ensure you get the best solid surface product available.

Whether you’re weighing your options for a commercial space or a residential space, it’s important to understand the manufacturing process for solid surfaces.

Customized Fabrication

Solid surfaces are made using homogeneous acrylic or polyester-acrylic blend resins mixed with other natural additives to allow for total customization. Yes, there are standard sizes available, if that’s what you need. But one of the greatest benefits of a solid surface is that it can be shaped, molded and fabricated to fit almost any space. In addition to size customization, color and pattern customization is also a major value of a solid surface shower, sink or countertop. The fabrication process of our solid surfaces also allows for custom inlays to our conference tables and showers, which is especially beneficial in commercial applications.

100% Non-Porous

Because solid surfaces are fabricated with one non-porous resin from front to back, there are no surface coatings you need to worry about damaging with spills and stains. In fact, the non-porous nature of our solid surfaces means that your countertop, shower or sink will be resistant to most household chemicals, so liquids won’t soak in and destroy the material. Additionally, our solid surfaces are resistant to the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew, which is especially beneficial in a sink or shower application.

Durability

Another major benefit of a solid surface for both commercial or residential applications is its outstanding durability. Because solid surfaces are homogeneous, you won’t need to worry about veneers or surface coatings peeling or cracking. And although they can get scratched, solid surfaces are what we call “renewable.” This means scratches can be sanded and gouges can be filled, if necessary, and it’ll look as good as new.

Common Misconceptions

Although the phrase “solid surface” makes it sound like one, large seamless piece, often times this isn’t entirely true. Showers can be constructed using multiple large panels of solid surface materials installed in a such a way that they appear seamless, and a solid surface sink can be expertly joined to a matching solid surface countertop so that no seams are showing. At Tower Industries, cast shapes are fabricated in one solid piece, and the surfacing experts and installers fit these pieces together in your commercial or residential space so that the edges are practically invisible, giving the illusion of seamlessness.

Overall, solid surfaces are an excellent choice if you’re looking for durability and design flexibility. If you’re a die-hard granite fan, that’s okay, too. Solid surfaces can be fabricated to look exactly like stone, so don’t give up on us just yet.

If you have any questions about the solid surface fabrication process, please leave them in the comments below. We’d love to help you out any way we can.

Read more The Science of Solid Surfaces