Monthly Archives: July 2013

Granite Care Guide

Granite is the most durable of all stones, second only to diamonds. Proper care ensures the longevity and beauty that comes from this great product. Granite countertops are hard and can withstand a falling can of soup, but the polished surface is a bit more delicate.

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The Granite you have purchased for your home or office is an investment that will provide many years of beauty. Here are some recommendations for routine care and cleaning:

Avoiding Scratches

Knives will not scratch granite, however cutting on your countertops is not recommended as your knives will dull very quickly. Damage may also occur on the surface over time in the way of light cut marks and eventually an abrasive surface.

Avoiding Chips

Chips in granite are not a common occurrence. When they do happen, chips are most often caused by banging something into the edge of the countertop. Heavy pots and pans and the bottoms of large bottles do most of the damage. If a chip does occur and you find the piece that chipped out, save it. Most of the time, it can be epoxied back into place.

Hot Pans

High and low temperatures will not harm granite in any way. You can take a pan off the stove or a dish out of the oven and set it right on your countertop without damage.

Bath and Other Wet Areas

In the bath or other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover.

Sealing the Granite

It is suggested that a penetrating sealant be applied once a year. Avoid using a stone sealer that will not penetrate the stone, as it will create a cloudy surface that will have to be removed by stripping the entire countertop, using harsh solvents. Remember, the glossy shine isn’t caused by a coating on the surface, but by expert polishing using diamond polishing tools.

Cleaning

Wipe clean any countertops that come into contact with cooking oil. While stains are rare, they are caused most frequently by cooking oil. To remove a stain on granite, use a mixture (paste) of one cup of flour, 1-2 tablespoons of pH balanced dishwashing liquid (or hydrogen peroxide for oil based stains) with water to make a fairly thick paste (just so it doesn’t run), like peanut butter. If it’s too thick it will take a long time to dry.

Things to avoid

  • Avoid leaving acidic liquids (vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, lime juice, soft drinks and wine) on its surface for long, as they can etch the surface and dull the finish. Polished granite countertops are rather delicate and must be treated with more care.
  • Avoid use of cleaners that contain bleach, ammonia, acid or alkaline such as bathroom cleaners,  grout cleaners, abrasive cleaners (liquid or powder), lime removers, or tub and tile cleaners.
  • Avoid use of scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com

 

 

Sinks

Sinks can sometimes be utilitarian and an afterthought. However I want you think about all of the bathrooms you’ve been in.  Seriously… close your eyes and think about it, are there one or two that stood out in a positive light? I know there have been a couple of homes I’ve been in that made me say “wow, that’s a nice sink!”

I want you to start thinking about the sink as the focal point of the room. It’s where everyone goes at some point and it’s usually where the mirror is in the bathroom, so it will always be seen. It’s the star of the bathroom.

You have a wide variety of materials that can be used for sinks today which is fantastic! Marble is a classic choice and can be used in a variety of colors and ‘grain’ options.

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Vessel sinks are a unique focal point as well. They can be made out of marble, stone, glass, wood or even metal. They can be translucent, opaque, textured and smooth. I have a personal love affair with vessel sinks.

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You also have the option of having a flat sink. One that is extremely shallow and will blend into it’s surroundings and be less of a focal point.

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What I want you to take away from this post is to think of your sink as a piece of art. Next time you start to look into how you want to update/change your bathroom, mud room or kitchen remember the sink is your focal point and something everyone uses. So make a good choice, not just utilitarian and it will make you smile.

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com

Laser engraving

When I took my tour at Real Stone & Granite’s facility I was amazed at their laser engraving system. This tool allows them to do custom design work on marble and granite using imaging that is scanned into their computer system.

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig 

Once the image is rendered in the computer system the tech will place the stone where it needs to be and the laser takes it from there. It can cut photo images, words and artwork. When talking to Jose (the owner of Real Stone & Granite) I asked him what the primary uses for this tool is. Here is his response:

“The applications are endless. We can do any photo on certain marbles and granite. Generally the stone has to be darker in order to obtain the contrast and reflect the photo image.

Also we do a lot of the work you will see in our local veteran’s memorial. Doing this work for our community is one important way that Real Stone & Granite can give back to the community and the veterans that have served in the various wars and conflicts… and those that didn’t come home.”

Knowing that they strive to not only use this system for their clients and offer very unique way of engraving plaques and headers for buildings, but they also use it to serve my local community to honor those women and men who served was truly touching. Take a look at some of this work below. You will see the detail you can get with this technology that is very expansive in its ability to capture images and words on stone and granite.

 

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

 

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit : Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit : Ron Rosenzweig

 

Image Credit: Ron RosenzweigImage Credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com

Swimming pools and decks

Summer is here and the sun is blazing in the sky. The days are longer which allows everyone (kids as well as their working parents) to take a refreshing dip in the pool. Although I do not personally have a pool, there are countless times when you can find me at my friend’s house at their pool!

Pools and the green space around them allow for lazy days sun bathing, entertaining and splashing around. Some of the best products someone can use in this area are natural stones like limestone, shell stone and travertine. The slight texture in these stones means there will be less slipping and will still allow for beauty. They also have very low heat absorption and portray a very casual beach feeling around the pool.

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Here is an example of shell stone. I love how this looks and it can have a variety of effects. This limestone includes the remains of creatures in prehistoric seas such as corals, clams, oysters, shellfish and other forms. Their remains slowly built up layers of sediment creating a stone that can be cut and used in a variety of places inside and out of the home.

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Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Spillways are also another feature that can be a simple addition to a pools structure that will add a huge dramatic effect. It will also allow for a peaceful sound of water falling, so when you are reading or meditating by the pool it will lull you into that quite set of mind. Using marble for spillways allows for variety in textural visual appeal in your poolscaping.

Image Credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Image Credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Don’t forget about picking comfortable seating to lounge around in as well as landscaping that is geared towards your area of the country. These features will allow you to feel at home and want to spend that extra daylight outside! You can even hang a hammock and sway in the breeze!

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Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com

 

Laundry Rooms

A laundry room is just for utilitarian purposes, right?  Is that how you feel? I personally detest doing the laundry and it’s like pulling teeth to get anyone else in my house to do it. But what if you had a nicer place to do the laundry in? What if you had space and it wasn’t just a washer and dryer shoved in your garage or a small room?

Photo credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Photo credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Recently we were renovating our garage. I was going to get a shelving area for storage, a counter for folding and a place to hang items too! I was SO EXCITED! Then necessity was the ruler of decision making and we had to change things and instead use that area for a different type of storage. Head hanging low I conceded and continued on doing laundry as I had been.

However I’m going to share with you some ideas that I found while searching for inspiration to share with you all.

Photo Credit: Ron Rosenzweig

Photo Credit: Ron Rosenzweig

If you want to conceal your laundry area, why not take a lesson from your kitchen? Using cabinet doors to cover up the front load washer/dryer is genius!

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If you want to multitask you can add other features to your laundry room that will allow you to get stuff done while you wait for loads to finish. Making the space an extra office area, or craft room is a great idea. You can work on replying to correspondence or make a gift for someone! Or you can waste time on your favorite social media site 😉

Stone and Granite

What is your laundry room like? Do you want to change it? What would you do to make it better?

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com