Fireplace & Granite Blog

The Benefits of Quartz Countertops

Lately, the conversation around countertops at Fireplace & Granite Distributors has been around our exciting development in the capacity for providing Porcelain countertops, a trend growing rapidly in American homes, to our clients.

Today, however, we wanted to remind the community surrounding Charlotte about our Quartz Countertop offerings – a beautiful option for any homeowner looking for a beautiful stone with a lot of design control. That is to say that, because Quartz is man-made and largely synthetic, you’ll have a lot of individualized control over what your end product looks like in terms of color
— and the durability speaks for itself!

So, What are Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are often referred to as “engineered stone” countertops because they are quite literally engineered from the combination of ground up quartz stone (a naturally occurring stone) and a series of polymers, resins and pigment (for color). Quartz is one of the most abundant materials in the crust of the earth, which makes it very accessible and low-impact on the environment.

The capacity that engineers have over the way the stone is ground up — finely or coarsely — has an impact on the overall aesthetic value of the finished product. For example, when the quartz stone is ground coarsely, there will be a more stippled or freckled look of the stone overall. A finely ground stone will result in a more smooth and sleek appearance.

We find it helpful to think of it like a cup of craft coffee. If you’re making a robust cup in a french press, you’re going to go for a more coarse grind of the coffee bean whereas making a smooth pot of morning brew in a traditional maker, you’re going to want to do a much finer grind. Same product, different results for different types of enjoyment.

And the Benefits?

As we mentioned earlier, one of the primary benefits is the control over the overall look of your countertop product. Because we manufacture our countertops in-house, we are able to control the grind of the quartz for the purpose of creating the pattern you’re looking for. Additionally, the pigments added to the engineered stone will give us precision control over the color that you’ve had in mind — and the benefits don’t stop at the aesthetics.

Quartz is just as durable as granite, but it’s non-porous. This means that there will be a lot less care involved in terms of stain control, and it also doesn’t play host to the same amount of bacteria. It also tends to be extremely heavy — but not to worry! Working with Fireplace & Granite distributors makes it a breeze to install with our knowledgeable installation professionals.

The strength of this firm stone helps to withstand cracking and chipping that other more porous materials can be somewhat prone to — and though most natural stone countertops require maintenance that includes sealing, resealing and deep cleaning, Quartz does not require the same level of attention. It truly is the low maintenance, and beautiful countertop option.

If you’re ready to have a conversation with us about how we can help you improve your countertop spaces with an option like Quartz, we encourage you to get in touch with us by calling us at 704-721-0001, or by visiting us at our showroom and facility located conveniently in Concord, NC. We’re ready to help turn your dream space into a reality!

Primary Differences Between Porcelain Countertops and Quartz Countertops

Countertops are not a new concept; most households obviously have them, whether they are in the kitchen or in the bathroom. They serve a daily purpose in everyone’s lives and they have to withstand the test of time — yet we don’t talk about them with a lot of reverence.

There are a lot of durable and highly recommendable options when it comes to countertop materials, and trying to understand the differences and benefits of each is a huge part of initial research. Today, we’ll explore both porcelain and quartz because they are two of the most popular options in today’s market. Though they have their differences, they share a lot of similar benefits.

The history behind these materials is quite interesting and sheds light on why porcelain and quartz have made such an impact in countertop design. Porcelain actually dates back all the way to 206-220 BC — though no one knows who invented it. Archaeologists only know who used it and the time periods in which they were used by dating objects they found during excursions. Though porcelain is such an ancient material known to us, it was not actually introduced into the world of countertops until the ‘90s as an alternative option to stone and solid surfaces.

Quartz is a newer concept by the scale of time. Even though it is a natural material, the concept of utilizing it in combination with other minerals to create countertops is very new. Ironically, quartz countertops were still introduced, before porcelain, in the early ‘60s by Marcello Toncelli. They were more popular in Italy and much of Europe, but were not really introduced to American design until the ‘90s which was around the same time porcelain countertops were introduced.

Porcelain and quartz have proven durability as they have been around for decades. So, deciding which is the best fit for a household can be a tedious task. The biggest difference between Porcelain and Quartz countertops is their material makeup. Porcelain countertops are made of a type of ceramic clay, while quartz countertops — largely considered synthetic
— are made from polymers, pigments, resin, and (of course) quartz. Porcelain countertops benefit from mineral coloring as it allows for greater durability, and leaves a non-porous surface.

Quartz is also high in durability and has non-porous surfaces, but is man-made. Because quartz countertops are man-made, there is a bit of a range in the way of design.

Quartz countertops mimic natural stone looks to give rooms a more natural and earthy quality and level of elegance. Its natural competitors are granite and marble countertops, as they offer a similar atmosphere. Porcelain offers elegant and versatile living spaces for every home, as well.

When it comes to making a decision on which works best for a household, understanding the benefits of the materials used can be helpful in understanding what best fits one’s countertop needs. That’s where we come in — we’d love to have a conversation with you about what your vision is for your ideal space at Fireplace and Granite. Our showroom features the best in both countertops. By the way, they’re both heat and scratch resistant, and, because they are non-porous, they are great for high traffic areas, so as to keep bacteria and germs distant.

Ultimately, both the porcelain and quartz countertops offer timeless designs, and satisfying results for all indoor and outdoor design needs. If you’re ready to explore your options, give us a call at 704-721-0001

Why Work With FP&G?

We know that there are many options when it comes to countertop and fireplace installation, so we thought we’d take some time to shed some light on why Fireplace & Granite Distributors are the natural choice and home for those seeking to upgrade their living spaces with what we have to offer in the way of fireplace and countertop design and installation services in the Carolinas.

The first thing to note is that our founders, Bob and Paulette Faust, have been in the industry and serving our community as trusted advisors to countless homeowners for almost 40 years. In 1996, when we expanded from fireplace installation to also serving countertop needs, we also expanded our capacity to serve our community with a higher degree of love and care.

Our family of professionals has been regarded as trustworthy, clean and fantastic — a demonstration of our commitment to being with you from the start of your project to the very end of it. There are very many reasons that our clientele have given us high praise.

One of these reasons is that our sales team is not here to “get you the best used car for your buck” — our sales team is actually comprised of design experts, so rather than taking your money for a run, they’re here to serve you in bringing your vision for your space to life. Not only that, our sales/design team is married — they bring passion and love to the table and know exactly how to resonate with you from the very beginning to the very end.

Our Concord facility features an amazing showroom that will give you more than a sliver of a sense of what is available to you in your home. You can let your imagination run wild in our space, confer with our design team and brainstorm about how we can make your evolving vision a reality.

Our fabrication shop is also housed in our Concord facility, and is built out of only the most state of the art equipment in the field. The opportunity to work with a small, family-owned company that has the capacity to give you day-to-day service at the highest quality is in the backyard of the Charlotte, NC community.

When it comes to installation, we’re the best in the game. We’ve been installing countertops and fireplaces for many years, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be trusted with the living spaces of our neighbors and community members for a very long time now. Over time, we have been given the opportunity to grow as caring service people and have earned the trust and respect of all who we’ve been fortunate enough to work with.

If our high ratings on the BBB, Angie’s List, Houzz, et. al, do not speak highly enough for themselves, we encourage you to give us a call. We’re available to have a conversation about how we can work with you to make your dream for your living space become a reality inside of your home — start by dropping into our Concord facility or giving us a ring at 704-721-0001. We look forward to working with you!

Traditional and Trusted: Granite

We’ve had a lot of exciting developments at Fireplace and Granite Distributors recently. We have expounded dramatically on our material selections and have become capable of offering incredible beauty at an incredible value. What started with stone fireplace design and installation has grown into an amazing selection of countertop stone offerings from concept/design to installation. Along the way, we have maintained our family values and dedication to being a trustworthy and respected service to the Charlotte, NC community.

Today, we wanted to share the benefits of choosing the countertop that started it all for us — granite. It’s no surprise that granite countertops have become an American obsession; they’re characterized by their natural beauty and elegance that became a fixation of homeowners primarily during the housing boom between the 1990’s and 2000’s.

At Fireplace and Granite Distributors, we specialize in fabricating countertops with the right edge for your space. Casual onlookers will notice the overall beauty of the granite in your home, not realizing that a huge part of the ‘bigger picture’ that they’re viewing is the cut on the edge. At our facility in Concord, NC, we cut the edge of all countertops in house (from very simple squared edges to premium cuts like the Ogee which is regarded as a very premium and elegant edge).

You may be wondering what the benefits of granite countertops are — don’t worry, we can help synthesize the many reasons for you here. A bountiful stone mined in granite quarries all over the earth, this stone is extremely durable. To actually scratch or damage a granite surface, you’d need to have another piece of granite or a diamond — this makes it a very favorable stone for high traffic areas of the house like the kitchen, where you’re going to be using a lot of counter space with a lot of moving (and sharp parts).

Because granite is a porous stone, it is heat resistant and absorbs heat transferring in from hot plates and pots that are being moved around. Many argue against the cleanliness of a granite countertop because of how porous it is, but a proper seal and regular cleaning prevents the stone from playing host to the bacteria that they are concerned about.

Additionally, with a well-maintained seal, granite is very stain resistant, making it very easy to maintain and even more favorable for any countertop space that experiences a large amount of traffic in the home from bathroom to kitchen.

And don’t worry — the seal is not something that you have to pay daily attention to. Upon installation, a seal should be provided, and it is something you should consider re-doing once annually. This does not incur massive amounts of cost, either.

We have a large variety of colors and shades to consider at our showroom in Concord — we encourage you to come have a conversation with us about what you’re looking for in your home. We guarantee that we can provide it at a great value.

From the initial consultation all the way to installation, we are with you. We’ve earned the trust of the Charlotte, NC area because of our dedication to helping kitchens and bathroom counter space dreams come to life. We know that the beauty and presentation of your home is important to you, and it’s also important to us. Stop by our showroom, or give us a call at 704-721-0001 so that we can talk about the future of our elegant granite slabs in your home.

Porcelain Countertops: The Simplicity!

If you’ve been reading along with some of our updates lately, you’re probably getting a little more familiar with the idea of porcelain countertops. If you’re as of yet unfamiliar, we’re excited to tell you a bit more about this long-standing European trend that is becoming a bigger part of American households during remodel and construction.

As a quick refresher, porcelain is a ceramic clay that is mineral rich and contains kaolinite. Sometimes referred to as china clay, this material is extremely durable, very low maintenance, and offers a lot of customization options in terms of aesthetic value.

When it comes to the installation of countertops — timing can play a huge part during the scheduling period of your remodel or construction. Obviously, it is in the best interest of everyone involved in a construction/remodel project to have an easy and straightforward install. Luckily, the porcelain option is one of the easiest and most straightforward.

The availability of very large slabs (up to 64”x126”) make kitchen island installations much easier, and you must be wondering why! Because slabs of these size are not available when it comes to other countertop materials, one often needs to invest in multiple smaller slabs. This can create issues with seams and alignment when it comes to installation. Of course, those issues are always resolvable. When it comes to the ease of installation, you can certainly count on the availability of lightweight and large slabs of porcelain.

Despite that it is non-porous and dense, porcelain is also extremely lightweight compared to most other countertop options that offer the same aesthetic value. Granite is much heavier and slightly less durable, and quartz is by far one of the heaviest options available on the market.
Porcelain is thereby easier to transport, maneuver into new spaces, and ultimately install.

Many people do not know that porcelain can be installed on top of existing countertops — this takes out SO much of the work that comes with other types of countertops. All other types of stone/material require that the previous countertops are first removed before the installation of the new slab.

We’d love to have a preliminary conversation with you about what porcelain installation would look like in your space. We are prepared to help you bring your dream space to life — are you ready to adopt this option that is rapidly growing in the US? Give us a call today at
704-721-0001

Porcelain Countertops Picking up Heat in the US!

Unless you’ve spent a lot of time in European households, you’re probably not super familiar with the concept of porcelain countertops. Sure, many homes in the US have followed the trend of stone countertops — who can blame them? We’ve been serving the Charlotte and Columbia area for more than 30 years with the fabrication and installation of different types of stone.

Naturally, we’re happy to be the natural choice for any folks in the area who are looking to adopt the beautiful European crossover that is porcelain!

For those who are interested in learning more about porcelain countertops and whether or not it would be a good choice for their home, we decided it would be a good idea for us to share the benefits of choosing this type of countertop.

Why is Porcelain Becoming so Popular?

Extremely Durable: Porcelain is made out of a clay that is rich in minerals for both color and durability. Because it’s a non-porous surface, it’s very durable — heat resistant and shock resistant! This makes it rather similar to quartz in that sense.

Aesthetic Variety: The process of fabricating porcelain countertops allows for a high degree of control over the presentation and aesthetic value of the slab, and there is no need to worry about discoloration over time — they even have the capacity to mimic different types of countertops including stone and wood.

Low Maintenance: If you currently have granite countertops, you may know that quite a bit of aftercare is required for beauty preservation. With porcelain, there is no need to do any kind of sealing or take extra steps for stain prevention. These countertops are designed with extra protection in mind.

Larger Surface Area: For bigger projects, much larger slabs of porcelain are available than most of the stone that is on the market — this usually means that you don’t need to invest in multiple slabs for large surface areas, which reduces the potential for seam issues.

With these things in mind, we’re sure that you may be just about ready to have a conversation about getting porcelain in your home. We’d be delighted to have a conversation with you about your options when it comes to porcelain in your home. We’ve been proud to serve the Charlotte/Columbia area for as long as we have — trust us with your consultation by calling 704-721-0001 today!

How Does It Work? Fireplace & Granite from Start to Finish

We understand that going through a remodel or navigating your way around the fresh design of a home that you are going to spend quality time with your family and friends for a long time can cause a bit of a headache. We thought that it would be beneficial for us to shed some light on what you can expect from us when you make the (very smart) decision to do business with us. We have been providing beautiful additions to the homes of many families in the Charlotte, NC area for upwards of twenty years — for all of that time, we have never lost sight of our desire to make it a great experience for our customers and the members of the community we share.

We always suggest that people start by visiting our showroom — our on-site experts will be glad to shake your hand and have an honest discussion with you about the project you have in mind and how we can help make it come to life. The added benefit of visiting our showroom is that you can see exactly what colors you’re working with and put your hands on the stone that will be added into your home. We think it’s important to know what the look and feel of your space is going to be like before you dive in; our showroom is fully equipped to give you a sense of that.

The in-home estimate appointment is entirely free to you. We will visit your home and laser-template your counters so that we are precise about our estimate for you. It will also give us a fuller sense of the space we’ll be working in and you’ll be able to share with us the vision you have in mind for that space. This will also serve as a perfect time for us to discuss the perfect edging for your countertops so that we can begin the initial process of etching them to your liking in our state of the art CNC facility. You’ll also have the capacity to select from our wide array of sinks and faucets to be installed in your new, and beautiful counters.

Once the decision is made to move forward, we’ll begin by removing your old countertops and professionally disconnecting your plumbing and appliances before ultimately installing the stone you have selected and completing the process of creating the beautiful space that you came to us with, bearing in mind every wish that you’ve expressed to us.

You’ll be pleased to know that installation and reconnection of your plumbing and appliances only takes one day. We are proud to get in and out so that you can begin enjoying your updated space immediately.

We encourage you to visit our pages above about different countertops and services we offer — our package deals are extremely competitive and include all materials, services and labor in their cost – there is no cost hidden in our process from start to finish… our aim is to be transparent with you!

When you’re ready to have that initial conversation, please feel free to stop by our showroom or give us a call at 704-721-0001. We’re eager to connect with you and bring your dream to life!

Painting vs Replacing Cabinets

Making the decision to reface, re-paint or ultimately replace your cabinets overall can be tough. For someone without experience in cabinetry and kitchen remodeling, it can be hard to discern whether it will be necessary to do rebuilding from the ground up during a kitchen remodel.

We recommend that you have one of our qualified consultants visit to assess your project and interview you to understand more of what your needs are at an individual level. This process can be initiated by filling out one of our free estimate forms

You may wonder — what are our consultants looking for when it comes to the cabinetry in your house? Actually, there are a lot of things that we’re keeping in mind when it comes to projects like this.

Firstly, we’re going to want to consider the entire remodeling project that you have in mind for your kitchen. Do the size, style and finish on your current cabinets support the vision that you have for aesthetic value of your finished product? We have a series of styles that we work with to complement whatever it is you might be looking for in terms of backsplash, countertops and flooring.

Additionally, we’re going to be looking for any structural damage or wear and tear that happens to cabinets naturally. We’re not going to encourage any homeowner to go in the direction of repainting or refacing the cabinets in their house if the structural integrity of the existing cabinetry is not in good condition.

You shouldn’t have to worry about the structural design and implementation of our services, either… with over thirty years of experience in designing and building kitchens, we’re confident that we will build something that is safe, durable and long lasting for you — not to mention, we want it to line up with the dream that you have for your living space.

We’ll work with you from start to finish to ensure that you’re as confident as we are throughout the whole process of remodeling your kitchen — if you’re interested in knowing more about our services and the cabinetry that we work with, we encourage you to visit our CABINETS page.

When you are ready, you should feel free to give us a call. We’d love to set up a time to sit with you and discuss the options for your kitchen or space. Please give us a call at 704-721-0001

The Benefit of Choosing Granite or Quartz over Porcelain

Porcelain countertops have recently become a popular choice among American homeowners — a style adopted from what has been a common practice in European home design for quite some time now. Though this new trend is, no doubt, a beautiful addition to any home, we’ve found that there are a few drawbacks to choosing porcelain which makes the decision to choose Quartz or Granite a better long term investment.

The first drawback to consider is the availability. Again, porcelain countertops are a fairly new trend in American home design, so the decision to install them in your home will probably be heavily influenced by whether or not you have a local provider for them. With that in mind, you’ll want to consider the cost to bring in a material with beauty that is largely superficial.

One key difference between porcelain and stone is that porcelain is…well…not stone! It’s made out of a mineral rich clay called China Clay. Though extremely durable, it is not naturally occurring and so the design of the countertop is added during manufacturing or printed on afterwards.

If you elect to install an unglazed porcelain countertop, you run the risk of staining because porcelain is somewhat porous depending on the skill of the manufacturer (a risk you mitigate by installing quartz). However, unglazed porcelain also has an extended range of color choices.

The design of a porcelain countertop is added on after its manufacture (a process involving firing the minerals and clay at very high temperatures). Because of this, the design cannot wrap around rounded edges. Also, if you experience a chip, you’ll find that any pattern does not occur under the surface of the countertop — it is essentially a print on top of the surface.

Another thing to consider is that any existing ceramic cutlery or dishware poses the risk of scratching the surface.

Overall, porcelain countertops are a beautiful choice, but pose a few risks without the proper manufacture, design and installation. Without a significant amount of research, a bad long term investment could be made — we are available to you for counsel about the various kinds of countertop materials we work with.

If you are interested in knowing more about what type of countertops we can offer, consider browsing our site for information about natural stone and quartz. There are various blog posts about the pros and cons of choosing Granite or Quartz — at Fireplace and Granite Distributors, we are offering both granite and quartz fabrication and installation. We encourage you to get in touch with us today and learn about our amazing services in the Charlotte area. Please give us a call at 704-721-0001.

How to Care for New Granite Counters: 4 Things You Can Do!

Granite is a gorgeous decision to make when upgrading or modeling any room in your house with countertop surfaces. If your dream or design includes granite countertops, you’ll be relieved to know that it’s one of the most durable options you can go with…especially considering the amount of usage a countertop will get in a room like your kitchen!

At Fireplace & Granite Distributors, we are often fielding questions about the best way to care for our freshly installed slabs. As we’ve noted, granite is a tough rock, but there are a few simple things you can do to maintain the beauty of the slab that’s installed in your home!

#1 – Seal it!

Sealing your granite countertops is a surefire way to protect your countertops from stains and reinforce the natural shine of the slab. There are a variety of different sealers and protectants available. We recommend purchasing one that is geared specifically towards Granite and not multiple stone surfaces (Granite Gold or TriNova, for example). Be sure that you do buff and seal your granite countertops when they are completely dry.

#2 – Watch out for liquid discoloration

When spills occur, especially any that aren’t water, it’s important that you clean them up as quickly as possible. Granite is a porous rock (which is why it’s integral that you seal it). For this reason, it will tend to absorb stains after whatever caused it has been sitting for a while. Make sure that any liquid containers are dry (or avoid storing them on your counter).

#3 – Avoid chemicals

Cleaning products that are chemical or acidic will have the ability to cut through the seal and leave your countertop vulnerable to stains and other damage. For the most part, you’ll want to clean your granite with warm water and soap. If you’re working on something that’s hard to remove, consider drying, buffing and re-sealing the countertop if you’ve used any chemical products.

#4 – Cautiously avoid other types of damage

There are a lot of ways you can do wear and tear damage to your countertops. We’ve already mentioned that granite is a very tough surface, but over time you can still do some damage to your countertops if you’re not careful — avoid cutting any meats or vegetables without a cutting board, and placing any pots/pans (both hot and cool) directly onto the surface of your countertop. Hot pans shouldn’t do any heat-related damage to the countertop, but anything rough or sharp it may have picked up from your stove very well could.

We hope that you find these tips valuable. If you’d like to learn more about how you can upgrade your home into exactly what you want without breaking the bank, please give us a call! Fireplace & Granite Distributors have appointments available 7 days a week — and we’re happy to answer any questions related to countercare that you might have. Give us a call at 704-721-0001.