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Quartz vs Granite Countertops

By | Blog

A big part of renovating your kitchen or bathroom is choosing the right countertop material for your design and lifestyle needs. Choosing your countertop material has a significant impact on the rest of your renovation given that it will impact the overall look and function of the room. There are a variety of materials available for countertops, but today, we’ll discuss the most popular options — quartz vs. granite countertops. We will take a closer look at the pros and cons of quartz and granite to help you decide which surface material is right for your project.

What To Know About Quartz Countertops: Pros & Cons 

quartz countertops
quartz countertops

Quartz countertops are engineered stone made up of up to 90% quartz content that mimics the look of natural stone. Quartz countertops are the result of crushed quartz combined with coloring pigment and bound by polymer resin. Unlike the color variation you find in granite countertops, quartz countertops are more consistent.

At Onslow Stoneworks we carry a variety of quartz options for your kitchen or bathroom project. Color variations range from white and black to more vibrant hues. Quartz designs are inspired by the unique veining of marble, the industrial feel and look of concrete and the natural movement of granite. When it comes to appearance if you are looking for the freedom to customize the design of your kitchen and bathroom quartz is a great option. Consider the pros and cons of quartz countertops if you are thinking about using this material for your kitchen or bathroom renovation.

Pros Of Quartz Countertops

  • Nonporous: Quartz is a nonporous countertop. They resist mold, mildew and bacteria. Quartz countertops are also water-resistant, making it a better option than granite when used in wet locations such as wet bars, bathrooms, and showers.
  • Low Maintenance: Unlike granite, you do not need annual resealing to maintain your quartz countertops due to its nonporous nature. Quartz countertops will simply need regular cleaning with a stone friendly cleaner. 
  • Durability: Quartz is harder compared to granite making it more durable and less susceptible to chipping.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

  • Susceptible to Heat Damage: Unlike granite, quartz can get damaged by excessive heat. It is important to avoid placing hot pots and pans directly on the countertop so you do not damage the material.
  • Cost of Quartz: Quartz countertops can cost you a bit more depending on quality. The price of quartz per square foot can range from $65 to $100.
  • Susceptible to Sun Damage: Quartz countertops don’t perform as well as granite for outdoor installations. Quartz cannot handle extreme sunlight exposure and too much sun can result in discolorations and fading.

What To Know About Granite Countertops: Pros & Cons 

granite countertops
granite countertops

Granite countertops remain a popular surface choice due to its quality and durability. Homeowners and interior designers who prefer a natural stone material often turn to granite for their countertops. Granite offers many unique colors and patterns to choose from. The colors of granite range from white and black to blues and greens. Most granite countertops often have a speckled appearance or wavelike design.

Granite countertops are a combination of interlocking mineral crystals that come from various quarries around the world. Each of the unique granite slabs Onslow Stoneworks supplies goes through inspection and polishing process before they are ready for installation. Consider the pros and cons of granite countertops.

Pros of Granite Countertops

  • Authentic: Compared to natural stone surface materials like marble, granite is the most durable. Besides their aesthetic appeal, granite countertops tend to resist chips and cracks. Granite countertops are worthy investments that can last decades when properly maintained.
  • Heat Resistance: Granite countertops are known for their resistance to heat. Granite countertops are recommended for outdoor applications as these countertops can withstand extreme exposure to the sun without fading.
  • Cost: You can get the beauty of a natural stone countertop for a somewhat lower price. The prices between granite and quartz are close, with granite averaging around $50 per square foot. Quality and availability also play a significant role in the price.

Cons of Granite Countertops

  • Porosity: Granite is porous, which can make liquid spills harder to clean. Granite can also harbor bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew if not properly cleaned and sealed regularly.
  • Maintenance: Maintaining your granite countertops requires you to invest a little more money so they last for years to come. Along with regular cleaning, you should have your granite countertops resealed annually.
  • Hardness: Granite is sturdy and the most durable of the natural stone surfaces. When compared to quartz, granite surfaces are a touch less resistant to chips, cracks, and scratches. Use caution when handling sharp or heavy objects near your granite countertops.

Now that you have learned quartz vs granite countertops pros, cons, and what to consider the final decision depends on your lifestyle and design preferences. Visit our kitchen visualizer or bathroom visualizer to pair your favorite countertop designs with cabinets, backsplashes, flooring, and more.

If you are looking for more countertop information or design tips, check out our blogContact us today or visit one of our showrooms in North Carolina located in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City to get started on your next project!

Natural Stone Countertops

How To Care For Natural Stone Countertops

By | Blog

There is little that compares to the mirror-like finish on newly installed granite, marble or other natural stone countertops. Whether you are wanting to maintain the finish of your countertops, or needing to give your countertops a little TLC and get the shine back, here are a few best practices when caring for granite, marble or other natural stones. 

You will see a lot of well-intended information online when you search “how to care for natural stone countertops”. Such as DIY and life-hacks that offer tips and tricks for cleaning and maintaining granite, marble or other natural stone, unfortunately, more often than not some of this information can actually damage your surface. So, we are going to be setting the record straight when it comes to caring for your natural stone countertops and explaining how to maintain the shine. 

How To Properly Clean Natural Stone Countertops

You will want to avoid cleaning your granite, marble or other natural stone countertops with regular household cleaners, these can potentially dull or chemically etch the surface of your stone. Acid-based cleaners such as vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid will wear down the protective seal on your stone. This then leads to the breakdown and dissolve of the minerals on the surface. The result is what looks like a hard water stain or a general dulling of the stone. This is permanent physical damage that can require the expensive help of a stone restoration specialist to resolve.

Even some dish soap brands can lead to issues, although less severe. There are some substances that are included in many dish soaps that can lead to a film on the surface of your stone, causing streaking, hazing or a generally cloudy look over time. That’s why it’s important to use a cleaner that is formulated specifically for use on natural stone. At Onslow Stoneworks we recommend using Granite Gold. The Granite Gold Daily Cleaner has a pH neutral, non-toxic, safe for use on all food-prep surfaces and doesn’t damage the protective seal! You can find these approved natural stone cleaning products available at our showrooms, just ask our team!

Maintaining The Seal On Your Countertops 

When your granite, marble or other natural stone countertops are installed, they are treated with a sealer. This sealer will protect the stone from damaging chemicals as well as liquids seeping beneath the surface, leaving a stain. It is important to know that this not a permanent solution and needs to be maintained and reapplied. If you have further questions on the sealing of natural stone countertops, ask the stone experts on our team and they will be happy to assist you. 

How will you know when it is time to reseal your natural stone countertops? You can conduct the at-home water test or contact us at Onslow Stoneworks. The water test will help you determine the integrity of your seal. You can do this by pouring a small spot of water, around 3 inches in diameter, onto the stone in various locations, and letting it sit for 30 minutes before wiping away. If this leaves a dark mark or ring is visible in those locations, that means the water is penetrating the surface of your stone and needs to be resealed.

Cleaning Granite Countertops

Clean Up Spills Immediately 

Common household spills that come from wine, coffee, soda and citrus can cause etching in the surface if left to sit. In order to prevent stains and other damage to the stone’s seal, you should always be quick to clean up food and drink stains when they happen. You should also implement the use of a coaster or placemats, for this reason, this will help you avoid that dreaded ring under a glass that can leave a stain or damage.

Even something as innocent as cooking oil can leave a stain when left sitting too long and penetrates the surface. Unlike quartz which is a nonporous material, granite, marble and other natural stones are porous. If liquids sit on a stone that is poorly sealed, they will penetrate the surface, leaving a stain that can be difficult to lift. 

Avoid Scratching Your Countertops

Granite Stone Cleaner

While granite is one of the most durable material options on the market, it isn’t invincible to chipping and scratching. It’s important to avoid dragging things across your countertop so you do not cause permanent damage. The number one tip here is to always use a cutting board and never cut directly on the surface of your stone. 

It’s also important to not use abrasive cleaning materials such as brillo pads or steel wool, no matter how tough a stain might be. These materials can cause micro-scratches over time that accumulate to show themselves as a general dulling effect on the surface. They can also strip away and damage the stone’s seal.

Regularly Polish Your Countertops

A nice polish brings out its natural beauty in your countertops and also helps to reinforce the seal as well as protects against minor annoyances such as water spots and fingerprints. If you are interested in purchasing a stone polish we recommend the Granite Gold Polish which is available at our showrooms located in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City for purchase. 

You can apply these tips to all natural-stone countertops, from granite and marble to quartzite and soapstone. If you are looking for more countertop information or design tips, check out our blogContact us today or visit one of our showrooms in North Carolina located in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City to get started on your next project!

Designer Spotlight – Nancy Bradley

By | Blog

We love seeing Onslow Stoneworks countertops featured in designer’s work that we are now featuring them! Introducing the first of many, our new blog series, Designer Spotlight’s! Each month we will feature a North Carolina interior designer and their work using our countertops! First up is Nancy Bradley from The Sum of Its Parts Designs! Check out her Q&A below.

“I love the selection at Onslow, it is one-stop shopping. We can easily pick out a countertop and add a sink and backsplash at the same time. This is important to clients who may have trouble visualizing a space. And the staff is very accommodating and patient. They strive to make the process as easy as possible.” – Nancy 

Q: TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND: WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE A DESIGNER?

A: I studied art but fell into a retail career many years ago. My husband was a contractor in Tucson AZ and I would often help him with design plans. I did this for years part-time while working retail, gaining confidence with each project and taking design courses along the way. Right before we moved to New Bern we finished an eco-friendly renovation that included the kitchen and I was hooked, I loved every aspect of the project. After we moved I decided to open my own business and make interior design my career.

Q: WHAT STYLE DO YOU LIKE TO DESIGN THE MOST?

A: I love mid-century modern as well as Art Deco but when designing a space it is never about me, its all about finding a style that fits with the client’s home and life and collaborating to achieve the look they want. My biggest compliment was from a colleague that said, “all your designs look so different”, and that’s because all my clients have different styles and the design should be a reflection of them.

Q: WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

A: After Florence, I worked on a few flooded homes and there is nothing more gratifying than bringing a damaged home back to life and making it even better than it was before. I worked on a home in Trent Woods that was flooded, with clients who had never used a designer and the process was eye-opening for them. We took their home and redesigned it top to bottom and in the end, achieved a space that was perfect for their lifestyle and family.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCT ONSLOW STONEWORKS CARRIES?

A: My favorites change constantly! Right now I am in love with Cambria Quartz in Bentley and I am dying to use that in a kitchen but it needs to be the right space. But granite will forever be a top choice for myself and my clients. There is something so special about a natural stone that never gets old, and being able to choose a slab and then work with Onslow to have it cut perfectly to accentuate the patterns and variations is a huge plus.

Q: WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING ON YOUR FREE TIME?

A: I am an artist at heart so when I actually have free time I enjoy painting and photography. 

Q: TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE PHOTOS YOU ARE ATTACHING, WHAT ONSLOW STONEWORKS PRODUCT IS FEATURED, STYLE, ETC.

A: These photos are of the Knowles home, we used LG Viatera Rococco quartz to achieve a timeless classic look!

A: The photos below are of the Clouser home, we used Bianco Romano granite which is perfect for their busy family.

Q: HOW CAN PEOPLE GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU IF THEY WOULD LIKE YOU TO DESIGN THEIR HOME?

A: I can be reached through my website at TheSumofItsPartsDesigns.com, by email at nancy@thesumofitspartsdesigns.com or by calling 520-591-3373.

We had so much fun chatting with Nancy from The Sum of Its Parts Designs and can’t wait to see what she designs next! Are you an Interior Designer in North Carolina who has used Onslow Stoneworks in one of your projects? Contact us to be featured!

Looking for countertops in North Carolina for your next design project? We service all of Eastern North Carolina including the following areas at our three showrooms:

New Bern | Morehead City | Jacksonville | Swansboro | Hampstead | Kinston | Goldsboro | Greenville 

Which Countertop Material Is Best?

By | Blog

At Onslow Stoneworks, we offer a variety of different surfaces and materials to suit your design preference. Various veining, colors, compositions, and characteristics are offered at each of our Onslow Stoneworks locations in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City to provide every customer with the countertop of their dreams. But, with so many options and a world full of beauty, how do you know which countertop material is best for you?

 

Quartz

One of our top-sellers at the moment is Spectrum Quartz! Quartz has grown tremendously over the years, offering various styles, colors, and designs. But you might be wondering why has become so popular and why do people love it so much?

Composition: Quartz is an extremely strong material. Quartz is a 7 on Mohs Scale of Hardness, meaning that it is tougher than natural stone such as granite, quartzite and marble. Quartz is a man-made material so it is non-porous and resists staining. Common kitchen spills of coffee or juice will not have an effect on these quartz countertops.

Lifestyle: Quartz countertops are perfect for any lifestyle. With its tough composition and ability to withstand a life well-lived, this is the perfect countertop for families with kids or busy lifestyles!

Looks: Quartz comes in a variety of options from marble-looking quartz countertops, plain and simple colors, extravagant veining and more! Quartz is unbeatable and it is easy to see why it has gained a significant following within the past year.

 

 

Granite

 

Granite is one of the most commonly used materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Granite remains popular amongst homeowners and will likely always be popular because of its attractive look that can’t be duplicated. But is granite right for you?

Composition: Granite is once of the toughest materials and stands up well against wearing and tearing. More specifically, damages are not commonly seen with granite countertops because of its tough composition. It ranks roughly a 6 to 7 on Mohs Scale of Hardness, meaning that it is quite resistant to scratching and chipping. However, because of granite’s porous nature, it is susceptible to absorb liquids and stains.

Lifestyle: Many lifestyles are suitable for granite countertops. Because of its strong durability, families with kids will feel at ease with these tough stones. It will hold up against your typical day-to-day interactions within the kitchen and cooking will be a piece of cake with its worry-free capabilities.

Looks: Each slab of granite is one of a kind so your countertops will be unique to your home. Granite comes in vibrant and neutral shades that are speckled with distinctive, natural characteristics. 

 

Marble

 

Marble is known for its beauty and charm. Many homeowners gravitate toward marble because of its classic look and unique veining.

Composition: Marble is a very soft material. It ranks roughly a 3 on Mohs Scale of Hardness, so it can easily be scratched, chipped or stained. Marble cannot withstand heavy objects or hot items placed atop like granite can. Heat may damage the surface by creating unwanted cracks or discoloration. But don’t worry, this can easily be avoided by using hot plates or other materials to maintain the elegant look!

Lifestyle: Because of marble’s delicate nature, a laid-back lifestyle is a perfect scenario for this countertop. Or perhaps, instead of installing marble in your kitchen or bathroom, it could be a great addition elsewhere in your home! Add marble in a room that is often not in contact with a harsh environment.

Looks: It’s obvious that marble is loved and adored for its appearance. It is often defined as a white stone with subtle grey veining, however, at Onslow Stoneworks we offer various marbles of different colors! Add this stone in a modern home for a chic and lavish design!

 

Ultra-Compact

 

Ultra-Compact/Porcelain has gained significant popularity in recent years due to its unmatched characteristics and offerings. It may just be the next best thing!

Composition: Ultra-Compact is one of the strongest countertops within the design industry. It can hold up against heavyweight without scratching or chipping, it can easily resist heat and stains, and it can even withstand the sun’s strong UV rays!

Lifestyle: Ultra-Compact/Porcelain is a magnificent countertop for various lifestyles. Whether it is applied to an outdoor kitchen or fireplace, or flooring for the entertainment area, ultra-compact/porcelain countertops will definitely meet your lifestyle needs!

Looks: Most of our ultra-compact/porcelain countertops mimic the same looks we all know and love. Every countertop brings a luxurious feel into a home and transforms a space from ordinary to extraordinary!

 

 

Recycled Surface 

Recycled surface countertops are customizable and environmentally friendly. Although oftentimes overlooked, recycled surface is a great countertop to bring a unique spin on things!

Composition: Recycled surface is a one-of-a-kind material because it is one of the only countertops that can truly promote its eco-friendly culture. It is made up of recycled glass that is both tough and stunning in its own way! The durability that recycled surface possesses is relatively medium compared to those on the market.

Lifestyle: If living an eco-friendly lifestyle is important to you, there is no doubt that recycled surface is the choice for you! You cannot go wrong with a durable surface that offers these unique characteristics. Recycled surface countertops are also easy to maintain. 

Looks: Recycled surface is one of the only materials on the market that offer such colorful features within one slab. Several hues and various shades sparkle in each of these countertops, making them the perfect addition for a pop of color! Recycled surface countertops are great for beach houses and kids rooms for a fun and playful vibe!

 

 

Paperstone

 

Another eco-friendly option that we carry at Onslow Stoneworks is Paperstone. 

Composition: Paperstone countertops are made up of recycled paper and non-petroleum resin. It is manufactured in the USA with 100% raw materials. This product is highly resistant to scratching, staining and chemicals making it a very durable surface

Lifestyle: If the bright colors of recycled surface countertops don’t fit your needs, Paperstone countertops are a great alternative and still allow you to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. It is a durable surface perfect for people on the go, home chefs and children!

Looks: Paperstone countertops come in a variety of colors from deep cabernet and vibrant blue to calming neutrals like charcoal and sand.   

 

 

We hope this break down of various countertop material help you decipher the best surface for your next design project! If you are looking for more news, information or creativity, check out our blogContact us today or visit one of our showrooms in North Carolina located in Swansboro, New Bern and Morehead City to get started on your next design project!

 

A Guide to Quartz Countertops

By | Blog

Quartz countertops can take any bathroom or kitchen to the next level. Quartz is one of the most durable countertop materials on the market and quartz can withstand the demands of a well-lived life all while maintaining its beauty. If you are considering quartz countertops for your kitchen or bathroom renovation, you’ll find the information you need that will help you decide if it is the right material for you in this guide.

 

What are quartz countertops made of? 

 

Quartz countertops are comprised of around 93 percent quartz, a natural material, and 7 percent binder and color. The result of this combination is a beautiful yet extremely durable stone. Quartz countertops differ from granite and marble countertops because they are a part of the engineered stone family while granite and marble are natural stones. When you go shopping for quartz countertops you’ll find a variety of colors and patterns inspired by natural stone to fit your design needs at one of our Onslow Stoneworks showrooms located in Swansboro, New Bern, or Morehead City.

Is quartz or granite more expensive? 

 

The price of quartz and granite will vary considerably from one fabricator in North Carolina to the next. There are many factors that play into the price of a material such as where it originates from, the design of the countertop and the complexity of the project. In regards to kitchen and bathroom countertops, homeowners can expect to pay about the same for granite and quartz. 

 

Is quartz a better countertop material than granite?

 

Quartz and granite are both premium countertop materials that will increase the value of your property. To say if quartz is better than granite depends on the design preferences, where the material will be placed and the lifestyle needs of the buyer. Granite often appeals to customers who are wanting to use all-natural materials, while quartz offers easier maintenance, slightly better durability and a modern look.

 

What are the pros vs. cons of quartz countertops?

 

Quartz countertops have a number of attractive qualities such as the durability and beauty they offer. Let’s take a look at a few of the strengths and weaknesses of quartz countertops.

Pros:

  • Quartz is one of the most durable countertops materials 
  • Quartz will not need to be resealed regularly 
  • Variety of options for color and pattern
  • Non-porous which makes it resistant to staining and bacteria
  • Resistant to scratches

Cons:

  • Quartz is an engineered stone and will not have the natural look when compared to marble and granite
  • Direct sunlight over an extended period of time can cause damage
  • Not as resistant to heat as granite

 

What color do quartz countertops come in?

 

Quartz countertops, as a man-made stone, are uniform in appearance. This material comes in a variety of colors and patterns, from deep black to bright white. It is inspired by the most breathtaking hues and textures in nature and can be made to mimic the color, pattern, and veining of other stones. 

 

What are some popular quartz colors?

Stellar

 

 

White Sands 

 

 

Serenity 

 

 

Tranquility 

 

 

Quartz is a great investment for any home and is a great material for both kitchen and bathroom renovations! If you are looking for quartz countertops in Swansboro, New Bern, or Morehead City contact our team at Onslow Stoneworks to learn more about our selection!

 

 

Granite Countertops 101 – Everything you need to know!

By | Blog | No Comments

At Onslow Stoneworks our goal is to bring you high-quality countertops. We know that searching for new countertops can feel intimidating due to the multiple considerations involved. To help you through the process, we’ve prepared a brief overview of some essential granite information.

 

 

Where Does Granite Come From? 

 

Granite is sourced from places around the world like Italy, India, and Brazil. It is quarried from the earth in large blocks, which are then sliced into slabs to make countertops. Some granite is only available from specific locations, and the cost of transport from that location can factor into the price of your countertops.

 

 

What is Granite? 

 

 

Granite is made up of the minerals quartz and feldspar. It is an igneous rock that formed millions of years ago, hardening from molten slag. The formation of granite occurs under intense heat and pressure beneath the earth. As a result, granite becomes strong, hard and dense. Granite falls into the natural stone category and has been used for years in numerous ways. It is a timeless material with great characteristics, one being strength, which makes it a top choice for a countertop surface. It is a perfect option for high traffic areas such as the kitchen countertops or a fireplace surround for a unique design feature.

 

 

What Are The Characteristics of Granite? 

 

 

Granite is widely known for its durability and is highly resistant to scratches. When properly cared for it will not be affected by common sources of stains. Granite is a popular countertop material amongst homeowners for the kitchen because it is heat-resistant, making it an ideal choice for around the range or cooktop. Also making it ideal for kitchens or bathrooms is its resistance to bacteria–although nothing is completely impervious to bacteria growth, granite is so easy to clean that what bacteria do grow can simply be wiped away.

 

 

 

 

What Color is Granite?

 

 

Granite slabs come in various colors. This can be attributed to the minerals that become trapped inside the stone during the cooling of the molten rock. The color of granite will vary from slab to slab and that’s why it is important to view your stone of choice in person so you can see the variation in color and shading. Granite slabs can feature blues, grays, greens, yellows, whites and blacks so you are sure to find the color that fits the vision of your project.

 

Popular Granite Colors

 

Alaska White Granite

 

 

This granite is a frosty blend of whites and pale silvers, marketed with onyx hues and warm neutrals. Alaska White granite is a striking stone that works well with many different color schemes and designs. 

 

White Ice Granite

 

White Ice granite has a pale steel grey and white background flecked with black. Most slabs also include sparkling quartz deposits giving it a great shine and luxurious appearance!

 

Blue Flower Granite

 

Blue Flower is a stunning white stone swirled with blue, brown and white patches. The shades of the mineral deposits can vary greatly giving depth to this gorgeous stone. You can also see white quartz crystals deposited throughout, although not extremely noticeable this feature gives the stone a subtle sparkle and shine.

 

How Much do Granite Countertops Cost? 

 

The cost of granite countertops can vary depending on where the stone comes from. A few other factors that affect the price of a slab are things such as the thickness of the stone, the design of the countertop, the difficulty level of the project and the size of the countertops. Many homeowners are willing to pay more for granite countertops because they offer a great return on investment. Unique, high-quality granite counters improve the look of the whole room and stay gorgeous for years.

 All in all, granite is a great investment for any home! If you are looking for granite countertops in North Carolina or have additional questions contact our team here at Onslow Stoneworks to help you make the best selection!