Fireplace & Granite Blog

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.

Granite or Quartz? What’s Right for Me?

We field this question a lot, so we thought we’d dedicate a quick blog post to demystifying what seems to have become a rather popular debate in the world of countertops and fixtures!

Here’s the deal…a lot of people are routinely wondering what the distinction is between granite and quartz and whether one is better than the other. We hope we can shine a lot on some of the differences are between these two stones and help you make the most informed choice that suits the needs of both your space and your aesthetic desire.

To begin with, granite is a 100% natural stone that is cut and polished without much adulteration of the original rock. Because of this, you’re unlikely to ever encounter two granite countertops that are exactly identical. They’re a bit like fingerprints in that they carry their own unique identity.

On the other hand, quartz is a little less natural (some polymer resins are included in the final slab) which makes customization a little bit more pragmatic. Quartz has its own individual shine and appearance, but is fully customizable, so (generally speaking) homeowners can make an easy selection when it comes to quartz surfaces.

A key difference to note between Granite and Quartz is the extent to which they are and are not porous. Granite is a very porous stone, and so it’s necessary to keep it sealed and stay on top of the cleaning with soap and water because stains can be absorbed much more easily. Keep in mind, also, that bacteria can invade the porous surface of a granite countertop as well.
Differentially, quartz is a very solid and dense stone. Therefor, you would have no reason to worry about sealing or resealing on annual basis — though you’ll still want to stay on top of those stains!

Because of the fact that quartz is not porous, it’s very solid and essentially indestructible. This also makes it heavier than granite and less prone to damage from solid materials. However, one advantage that granite has is that it’s virtually immune to thermal shock (damage or discoloration because of hot or cold items placed on it) whereas quartz will certainly be damaged by extreme heat.

When it comes down to it, making a decision between granite and quartz is going to depend largely on two things — 1) the maintenance time you’re wanting to invest in your countertops, and 2) the aesthetic goals you are trying to achieve in the space that you are building or upgrading. It’s worth looking at pictures of both granite and quartz countertops to get a sense of how distinct they are at an aesthetic level.

At Fireplace and Granite Distributors, we are offer 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.

Three Important Questions You Should Ask Your Granite Fabricator

For over 30 years, we have honed our services to support the Charlotte area as the trusted source for granite fireplace fixtures and granite countertops. We pride ourselves on being a resource for any homeowners who are looking to upgrade or renovate a space in their house which will involve the fabrication and installation of a granite slab. Serving more than one thousand satisfied customers every year, we believe it is integral that none of our clients buy granite without understanding exactly what makes our services special. No matter who you buy from, here are a series of questions you should ask before fabrication and installation:

#1 – Am I getting my money’s worth?
Most fabricators are going to work out your cost based on the square footage of the surface that needs to be covered. You want to make sure that you’re not looking at an unfair upcharge for the fabrication that’s sometimes tacked on to the cost of the stone. Watch out for hidden fees in this case.

What’s the Fireplace & Granite Distributors advantage? We’re a family-owned business that strives to do honest business in our community. We offer our granite services in packages so that you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at in terms of cost just based on the size of the slab, the color, and customization that you’re looking for. Visit our GRANITE page to learn more about these pricing packages!

#2 – Will I be able to order special edging?
Some fabricators may promise you the world when it comes to the finished product in your house, but not all of them have the capacity to do what we can when it comes to specialty edging.

A beautifully designed countertop has a lot to do with the edge of it. We offer many different styles of edging that can be determined by the needs of your space — all of this customization is completed in our very own CNC facility.

#3 – What else can I get with my granite slab?
On top of stellar service from start to finish with the fabrication and installation of your countertop (or fireplace fixture), you’d ought to know what the capacity of the fabricator you’re working with is.

We have some great news that will almost certainly save you time and money — we offer pretty much everything needed to complete your home improvement project. Are you looking to add a backsplash to match your brand new countertops? We’ve got you covered. How about a vanity for your newly upgraded bathroom, and some beautiful flooring to go with it? Fireplace & Granite Distributors have been doing all of this and more for our customers for many years — we’ve definitely got you covered.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, or if you’d like to talk with us about what is available to view at our showroom, please feel free to give us a call at 707-721-0001.

Nearly Invisible Granite Seams

When we install your granite countertops, you will meet our best installers. These installers have been working with granite countertops for several years and know what they are doing. They have advanced seam technology equipment to use on your granite seams during installation (that is, if you have any seams at all!). This seam equipment will tighten the two sides of granite together as closely as possible, giving you the tightest seam, making it nearly invisible to sight or touch.

Watch our video (below) “Find the Seam”. Have virtually invisible seams with us, that is — IF you have any seams at all!

Our Seams Compared to Our Competitors

Can you guess which seam is ours? Thats right — the top uba tuba sample is our seam example. The one below that is what is accepted as “industry standard” and the last one is one of our competitors granite kitchens here in Charlotte, NC.

Don’t settle for less…have the best with us. We go beyond industry expections.

Cheap Granite? or big problem

While you are shopping  for a new  granite installation, keep in mind there are things to consider other than price. Consider the installation and quality of the service or product.

Have a look at the following nightmare of a video and realize some of these homeowners only saved $100 only to have someone else rip it out and re-install. All of the installs in this video were actual jobs and from companies that billed themselves as professional. Frightening to think what would happen on a kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel. When choosing a company for granite or any renovation choose someone you can trust someone that has been around for a while and someone that has regular business hours with a good reputation and a priority on customer service.