Stainless Steel Sink Buying Guide II

This is the video from a second presentation we did for a customer on What a Consumer Needs To Know About Stainless Steel Sinks.

 

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Kitchen Breakfast Bar Ideas

Breakfast Bars can add beauty and functionality to a kitchen. Here are some ideas to start you creative juices flowing.

15560_423774_IMG_09_0000 dining21 driggs-designs-kitchens-island-decor-interior-design-marble-counter-tops-lighting-storage-plates-breakfast-bar-stools-window-seat-hardwood-cupboards Kitchen-Island-with-Breakfast-Bar-Design Small-2-person-Bbar

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Best Kitchen Countertops – YouTube

As a supplier of sinks and faucets to the hard surface countertop industry and the Kitchen and Bath Industry, we find that there is a wide diversity of opinion on what is the best countertop. Not surprisingly the BEST countertop depends on who are you talking with and what their company sells. I found this video on YouTube and it seems to offer a product neutral assessment of the various available countertops.

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What Countertops Go with a White Kitchen?

Here are some options for a White Kitchen.

2

Marble countertops is light colors.

7

Black Quartz.

10

White Kasmir Granite Countertop

12

The choice of kitchen countertops can truly make a difference and if a kitchen is all in white color then the countertops can be used as a source to add in

Source: Amazing Interior Design 15 Countertop Choices That Go Well in a White Kitchen

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Gas Ranges VS Electric Stoves | Pros and Cons of Electric Stoves

This is our second article on the comparison between Gas Stoves and Electric Stoves. In the next few posts, we will share excerpts from an excellent article which appears of the Kitchen Sanity Blog.  There is a link to the complete article at the end of this post.

Gas & Electric Pros And Cons

In brief, here are the pros and cons you should keep in mind when choosing between a gas stove and an electric stove.

Electric Stove Comparison

electric stove range

Electric Range Pros

  • Cleanup is quick and easy.
  • The surface is flat for even cooking.
  • Startup is quick and safe with no pilot light to worry about.
  • Electric ranges typically have more special features included.
  • An electric oven typically provides more even heat distribution than a gas oven.

Electric Range Cons

  • An electric range is not a “forever” appliance. Electric appliances are easier to damage than gas appliances and they tend to look banged up and shabby within a few years after purchase.
  • An electric range is more likely to become obsolete in features more quickly than a gas range. You can expect to need to replace an electric range in fairly short order.

 

Source: Gas Ranges VS Electric Stoves | KitchenSanity

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Gas Ranges VS Electric Stoves | Pros and Cons of Gas Stoves

Here are the pros and cons you should keep in mind when choosing a gas stove.

gas stove range

Gas Range Pros

  • Heat is quick and responsive.
  • Gas as a fuel source is currently more affordable.
  • A gas broiler provides better results than an electric broiler.
  • Dual Fuel Options – What is a dual fuel range?

Gas Range Cons

  • Gas heat tends to be moist heat as opposed to dry heat.
  • Oven temperature tends to be uneven as heat rises to the top of the oven.
  • An open flame must always be watched carefully due to safety concerns.
  • It can be a bit difficult to keep a gas stovetop clean because of many removable and moving parts.
  • Using gas as a fuel source is less environmentally friendly than using naturally generated electricity.
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Granite vs. Quartz Countertops – Quartz Pros and Cons

Quartz 4 27 16

Quartz pros

  • It has less environmental impact. There’s still impact, though. Quartz production has an impact on the environment since quartz is made from natural resources. The Kitchn says quartz is the second most abundant material in the earth’s crust, but that it’s usually mined under toxic conditions in underdeveloped countries. They do add that many quartz manufacturers are certified as low-emitting by GreenGuard, which is a plus.
  • It’s twice as strong as granite. Today’s rocket science: quartz is made of more quartz than granite is. That means it’s more durable. Cambria, for example, is made of 93 percent pure quartz. According to Cambria, granite contains just 40-60% quartz. This kind of durability also lets you get more creative with your countertop’s edge shapes.
  • There’s less maintenance involved. Quartz isn’t porous like granite is. Granite countertops need to be sealed at least once a year to prevent staining from moisture. While sealing isn’t too difficult, it’s a task you have to stay on top of. Quartz doesn’t have to be sealed, so that’s one thing you can scratch off of your long to-do list. It may be a tradeoff worth considering.
  • It has more style options than granite. Granite has plenty of different styles, but they all have a lot of variation. Quartz comes in patterns that mimic natural stone and patterns with little to no movement.

Quartz cons

  • It’s more expensive. It isn’t often that you find quartz for less than $65 per square foot (if you do, whip out your credit card). In most instances, you’ll spend $75-$120 per square foot depending on the size of your kitchen, the brand, and the style. For the budget-conscious, granite can be the more affordable option.
  • You can’t install it outside. You can’t let quartz countertops sit in the sun. According to Cosentino, the surface color gets damaged when it’s exposed to rapid changes in temperature, or under long-term exposure to the sun. Quartz wouldn’t be a good idea for any kind of outdoor surface.
  • It has less natural beauty than granite. Imitation never beats the real deal. There are beautiful patterns found in quartz that mimics those found in granite; however, the natural beauty of granite just can’t be replicated.

Source: Granite vs. Quartz Countertops – Tukasa Creations, Inc.

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Granite vs. Quartz Countertops – Granite Pros and Cons

Granite counter 4 27 16

Granite pros

  • It’s less expensive. Granite countertops cost more than laminate countertops, but that isn’t the case with quartz countertops. On average, granite countertops cost less than quartz. Expect to pay anywhere from $45 per square foot for entry-level granite to $85 per square foot for more exotic slabs (price includes installation and fabrication). According to The Kitchn, the price could be higher – up to $400 per square foot in some instances – depending on stone rarity and origin.
  • It won’t look like anyone else’s. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, set yourself apart. No two slabs of granite are alike. Because it’s a natural stone, granite has variation that only God and nature can control. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are man-made, and while there are small differences between slabs of the same style, there isn’t as much variation. If you want countertops that are unique to your home, go granite.
  • It comes in bigger slabs. The average length of a quartz slab is about 10 feet (certain manufacturers allow you to order jumbo slabs). Though that may seem long, it isn’t enough to avoid cuts in larger kitchens and islands. In other words, your countertops will definitely have seams. But some granite slabs are longer, in the 11-12 foot range. If you have a large island or spacious kitchen, granite may be the answer to avoid seams.
  • You can install it both indoors and outdoors. Granite is built to withstand the elements since it’s a natural mineral. It won’t weather or fade because of long-term exposure to the sun. It’s more versatile than quartz in this sense. Granite is perfect for outdoor kitchens and facades.

Granite cons

  • It has more environmental impact. Though there’s a myth that granite countertops emit harmful radiation, the Environmental Protection Agency says there isn’t sufficient evidence. The environmental impact here has more to do with how granite is made. The Kitchn notes that mining granite is resource intensive and that it takes a lot of energy to transport, and common sense tells us the environmental impact is significant any time you’re using natural resources.
  • There aren’t any “clean” styles. For the minimalist, granite just won’t cut it. Granite countertops have a lot of variation and movement. They aren’t like quartz countertops, which offer solid colors and clean, marble-white styles. If you’re planning a modern design, quartz countertops will likely be your best option.
  • You have to reseal it. Again, and again, and again. Otherwise, moisture can seep into the porous parts of your granite and damage it. You should reseal your granite at least once a year to make sure it’s properly maintained.

 

Source: Granite vs. Quartz Countertops – Tukasa Creations, Inc.

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Stainless Steel Sink Buyers Guide

Here is a short video recorded in April of 2016 that details what a consumer should look for when buying a stainless steel sink.

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How granite countertops became the new standard

“It has granite countertops!” This is how granite became the hottest countertop around.

Source: How granite countertops became an American obsession – Vox

 

A Brazilian granite and limestone quarry in 2014Tom’s note – Granite countertops have become more affordable and become the new standard. This affordability in part is based on better tools and techniques for fabricators. But the increase in affordability has also lead to many price only operations cutting corners and reducing value and quality as well as price. This article is excellent in chronicling the emergence of granite countertops, but you should note that in addition to being more available the swing in quality from high to low has increased particularly on the low-quality side so a consumer must be vigilant and do their homework on what exactly they are getting more than ever. Granite countertops have become a stone idol. If you’ve ever seen an episode of House Hunters, half of those people would rather have granite countertops than a roof.It hasn’t always been that way. In 1986, when legendary graphic designer Deborah Sussman used granite countertops in her kitchen, the New York Times called it a “down-to-earth” choice. The next year, it was singled out as a cutting-edge material in the Los Angeles Times, but still too expensive for most people. Throughout the ’80s, granite was still jockeying with marble for favor among California yuppies.

So how did granite go from niche countertop to mass fixation? American imports of granite have increased about tenfold in the past 20 years. It’s not only changing consumer tastes that caused the shift — big global market forces have a hand in the granite takeover as well.

Emerson Schwartzkopf has been covering stone for more than a decade and is the editor of the industry publication Stone Update. He used his expertise to guide me through how homebuyers became granite-obsessed maniacs.

1) More countries started getting into granite. Especially Brazil.

Ricardo Funari/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Brazilian granite and limestone quarry in 2014.

If you’re a bettor, it’s generally a safe wager that someone’s granite countertops came from Brazil.

Before the mid-’90s and 2000s, Italy had a leading position in granite processing, but things opened up after that. “In the early 2000s,” Schwartzkopf says, “you started to have a number of different countries enter.” More were both quarrying granite (getting it out of the ground) and processing it into worked granite (refining it to be cut). The United States has granite, but other countries could provide more at a lower price. That led to more countertops, creating a cycle in which supply and demand surged.

For the most part, American imports of finished granite are dominated by Brazil, China, and India, with Brazil providing about half of the worked granite supply. That means your granite probably came from an international market and likely landed somewhere in Brazil or China along the way.

Just what kind of scale are we talking about? It’s massive. Based on estimates from the US International Trade Commission, total United States imports of processed granite were about 206,000 metric tons in 1996. Last year, they exceeded 2 million metric tons.

“In the real heights of 2006,” Schwarzkopf recalls, “importers from Brazil were going around the United States trying to find excess capacity to take granite.” Granite supply isn’t a problem — it’s about which countries can get it out quickest and cheapest, and right now those countries are Brazil, China, and India.

2) Shipping granite got easier

An illustration shows how a container ship is packed fullDeAgostini/Getty Images

An illustration shows how a container ship is packed full.

In the past, people typically got their domestic granite from local suppliers, and that kept them roughly in sync with local costs. As global granite became more easily shippable, it became more affordable for builders and consumers.

“Containerized shipping is not the newest thing on the block,” Schwartzkopf notes, but its rise had an influence in lowering granite prices.

Because granite slabs intended for countertops could be precut on site and then safely packed and shipped, which was largely new to the ’90s, it became possible for people to get granite from around the world.

3) Granite became easier to cut

A worker sands granite after it's been cutSarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A worker sands granite after it’s been cut.

When a granite slab arrives at a shop, it gets cut into the appropriate rough size and is then hand-shaved by someone operating an industrial grinder. But today, computer controlled saws can make major cuts, like the hole for where your sink goes, more easily.

“Everything has been influenced by computerized controls,” Schwarzkopf says. While granite used to be impractical and niche, computer cutting has made it much easier to work with.

4) The housing boom exaggerated every trend

Granite, granite everywhereNicole Wilder/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Granite, granite everywhere.

The timing of the granite boom is closely tied to that of the housing bubble of the 2000s. That’s probably not a coincidence. Trends in home construction during that period probably helped change public opinion on what a “good” countertop looked like.

As builders put granite into their homes, it quickly became a standard. In turn, even older houses needing renovation latched onto that granite mania. One trend — a boom in home construction — took granite along for the ride and perpetuated the impression that granite was the prime material of a “new” building.

“Granite went from being a premium option to a sales come-on,” Schwarzkopf says. “You started seeing ads for ‘free granite countertops!'”

Post-bust, granite fell, but it’s picked up again without the housing boom’s artificial highs.

Admittedly, there are some benefits to granite as a material. New varieties have given it more color and range since the ’80s, and it has some advantages over competitive materials like marble, which is likely to etch or stain. But a big part of its appeal is an impression of luxury that, thanks to changing globalization, technology, and housing trends, makes it an affordable indulgence for the middle class.

Can anything stop granite mania?

A lot of people like granite well enough. But for anyone who’s spent too much time watching HGTV, it’s hard not to wonder if our nation’s brightest minds will ever break free from their granite addiction.

For now, it’s granite ho, Schwarzkopf says, but with a few important caveats. Marble is rallying as white becomes a big color again, and there’s a strong trend in recycled surfaces that allow for both flash and environmental consciousness. In a few years, you might see more countertops made from materials like recycled Skyy vodka bottles:

Cobalt Skyy: better than granite?Vetrazzo

Cobalt Skyy: better than granite?

Still, for the most part, there’s little reason to believe that the granite fervor will disappear. The big trends that helped it become a hit continue to make it a realistic luxury option for the middle class. So be prepared — you’ll probably be seeing people screaming, “Oh my god, granite countertops!” for a while.

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