Monthly Archives: March 2016

Dealing with Stone Remnants

Purchasing a granite or marble countertop can sometimes be a confusing endeavor. Sometimes you only need a single slab, and you use nearly the entire thing. Other times, you may need one-and-a-half slabs to get the job done, which means you need to purchase two. So what happens to the portion of the slab that you didn’t use?

This is known as a remnant. Most homeowners choose to let the fabricator deal with the remnant, because this large piece of leftover stone can be difficult to move, store, and cut. However, if you plan ahead, you may find that you can use a portion or all of the remnant for other purposes that will complement your new counter.

Remnants are the same slab you had your counter cut from. So they can also be used for table tops, vanity tops, desk tops, and other surfaces. You still need to pay your fabricator to cut and finish the remnant, but you may be able to get a new breakfast high top table topped with the same granite on your counter for a cohesive look.

If all you have left over from your slab is the sink or stovetop cutout, consider asking for this to be cut into small sections. Now you can use these smaller pieces as cheeseboards, cutting boards, and trays. And all of them will coordinate perfectly with your new counter.

Remember that some fabricators will also sell old remnants as well. So if you’re looking for a small piece of marble or granite for a project around your home, that this may be a feasible option for you, rather than purchasing an entire slab.

Making use of remnants is good way to repurpose materials that might otherwise be thrown out. Consider making good use of remnants whether you have some left over from a project or you’re looking to purchase one, to make every piece of stone count.

The Importance of Tagging a Slab

Many people who are considering getting a new granite, marble, or stone countertop are aware of the need to visit a stone yard, and to see the stones in person before making a selection. Some homeowners, however, will only view the stones, not realizing that there can be variations from slab to slab. In many cases, the slabs are stacked in front of one another, with one in front being visible. If the client selects a slab without tagging it, a different stone from the same lot may be substituted. And for some people, this will not present a problem; other times, however, it can lead to issues after installation.

While some types of stone are fairly consistent in color and pattern, stones like granite are still a natural material. There can be variation in pattern, tone, and color even within one lot. A person who views an extremely consistent piece of Coffee Brown granite, may be surprised to get a counter that has large sections of very light, very red blotches in places. This is because some stones will have significant variation, and if a specific slab isn’t tagged for use, some homeowners may be in for a surprise at time of installation.

When viewing the stones, always ask to get the exact slab you’re looking at. If you need more than one, and the other slabs are difficult to see, ask if pictures are available to check its consistency. And if a stone is going to be used that has an inconsistency you’re not happy with, find out if this area can be used for a sink cutout or waste to eliminate it from the finished counter.

Natural stone is beautiful because of its variation in color and vein pattern. It’s important to keep an open mind when going into a stone counter purchase. If, however, a specific stone has everything you want for your counter, be sure to tag it to ensure that this is the material you’ll receive when the job is done.

Opting for Slab Backsplashes

For many homeowners, the backsplash is the most decorative part of the kitchen design. For a long time, most people simply used a 4-inch continuation of their countertop as the backsplash, but eventually most homeowners moved away from this toward more decorative options. Tile, beadboard, mosaics, and metallics have all found their way to this area. There is one trend, however, that is slowly gaining momentum as well – having a complete slab backsplash.

A slab backsplash is more or less a continuation of the countertop, but rather than stopping at 4-inches, it fills the entire backsplash area. This in turn creates an optical illusion that the counter and backsplash areas are much larger than they actually are.

Slab backsplashes tend to work best when the granite or stone being used is both highly decorative and light in color. This means stones that have a lot of veining, color, or movement to them, but are also in the white or light-colored family. This is to prevent the kitchen from getting too dark, and also to preserve the interest in the backsplash area. If a dark stone is being used, consider one that has a very bright vein or color streak in it, such as gold or white, to help lighten up the area and prevent the kitchen rom getting overly dark. Under cabinet lighting can also be used in conjunction with a darker, polished, stone to help lighten up the area.

The majority of slab backsplashes take up the entire backsplash area, with some even rising up and out of this area to go behind the hood or into desk areas in the kitchen. Some however, will be confined to one specific spot, such as just behind the cooktop, while the rest of the backsplash is filled in with a coordinating tile. 35×78 –

A slab backsplash is one way to get a very dramatic and contemporary look in the kitchen. If the stone being used on the counter has a lot of movement or character, extending up the backsplash is a beautiful way to completing the design. Consider using a slab backsplash to get a unique and personalized look in any space.

Stones for Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens have been increasing in popularity for the last several years, and predicted trends for 2016 see them growing even more. At the same time, an increasing focus is being put on natural materials such as wood and stone both inside and outside the home, which means that natural stone countertops are being used in outdoor kitchens as well as indoors.

There are a lot of concerns about using natural stone in an outdoor space, however. Some stones may be subject to freeze/thaw conditions, particularly those that have a lot of natural fissures or cracks in their surfaces. Other stones may not handle things like rain or snow easily, particularly softer stones like marble or limestone.

Therefore, of the more popular stones for using in an outdoor kitchen is soapstone. Soapstone is made of talc, and unlike most marbles and granites is non-porous, so it doesn’t absorb moisture and isn’t affected by freeze/thaw conditions. In addition, it also performs well in nearly all weathers. And while it does scratch, over time the scratches blend into the overall patina of the stone, giving it a softer, slightly weathered appearance that fits in perfectly with today’s natural, rustic look.

Other stones that hold up well in outdoor kitchens include very dark granites or gabbros, such as Absolute Black. These black or dark stones are less likely to be porous or to be affected by freeze/thaw conditions the way that light-colored stones are.

Another good choice for those that want a lighter or more dramatic-looking stone, is quartzite. Quartzite is a hard, durable stone that often gets mistaken for marble, but with a sugared or glittery surface. Quartzite offers a hard, polished look for outdoor kitchens that need an extra splash or color or design added to the space. And if natural slate is being used on the kitchen floor, many quartzites also pair perfectly in color and texture to give the space a cohesive look.

If you’re planning an outdoor kitchen, be sure to look at these durable stones to help ensure that the entire space lasts as long as your indoor kitchen does.