Natural stone including granite, marble, and other stones are mined from the earth, and not all are the same. Unfortunately, the grading is inconsistent and vary from supplier to supplier. The top slabs will be called premium, designer or other designation. Lower grades are commonly called commercial , standard or builder grade. The lower quality stones may have carbon deposits that appear as black spots or patches and are generally accepted as undesirable. The lower grades will also have more muted coloring and less dramatic veining.
In the video below we asked a local stone supplier to show us the differences in color and veining.
Note the some of the most dramatic slabs include many fissures and even repairs and may be difficult to fabricate. Viens are impurities in the slabs which can cause weak spots along with the dramatic look. These slabs most likely need a lot more work to fabricate into long lasting countertops.
Some price-based fabricators will not disclose the grade of the slab and supply lower grade to meet a price. It is important you get good advice from a trusted source when selecting a slab for a countertop.
What can you do with the remnants from your Granite, Quartz or other stone kitchen countertop project (or remnants for other people’s projects)? Try adding window sills. They can add class and long life to the sills in kitchens, living rooms or other heavy traffic areas. Here are some ideas.
The problem with design trends is that today’s trend too often becomes tomorrow’s outdated. If you or your designer design your kitchen following the latest trends make sure the trends fit your lifestyle long-term and not just Wow your guests at your first party.
Here are some current trends that may or may not work for you.
Open Shelving: This design can provide a unique look. Just make sure you are ready for the extra dusting and cleaning involved. It also makes it harder to hide the cereal boxes and other supplies that might not be a pleasing to view as the antique decorative plates.
Focal Point Kitchen Hood: Like a fireplace, it can provide a warm center for your kitchen but make sure the design will hold up over time.
Oriental Rigs in the Kitchen: Great way to add color and if you tastes change they are easy to replace.
Tile Backsplashes: Great way to add color and durability. They are thinner than granite backsplashes and can reduce the difficulty of placing large modern sinks and faucets. Like your countertop make sure you choose wisely because tile backsplashes are hard and expensive to change.
Did you ever wonder WHY the faucets and other items that you purchase at the Big Box stores cost less? If you believe the ads, it is because of their massive buying power and it is. The Big Box stores buy in quantity, and they can dictate price to the vendor.
That does not mean you are getting the same product!! If a chain store offers to buy a huge quantity of faucets at a given price, more often than not, the vendor goes back and tries to figure out how to make the product, so it looks like the vendor’s regular product but meets the price.
In this picture, the faucet on the left is a faucet offered by ANO, Inc. The one on the right is a faucet that was purchased at a chain Big Box store. On display, the faucet looks identical to the ANO product. The display shows only the faucet and not the pop-up drain assembly. If you purchase the faucet at the Big Box store, you do not know that the drain system is entirely plastic until you get it home and open the box.
Drain from Big Box Store
Drain from ANO faucet
This faucet is not unique. Many of the major brands create versions of
their faucets for the Big Box stores. The Big Box version of the faucet can be pounds lighter than the regular product produced for plumbing supply houses that understand quality.
And if you think you can beat the system by buying online, online you do not know which version of the faucet you are getting because the cheaper items (drain systems and interior parts you do not see) are not displayed on the websites.
What you need to know about stainless steel Apron Front/Farm sinks, before you buy.
Apron front or farm sinks in kitchens are trending these days. They look great in pictures and can add interest to your countertops. There are some things you need to understand before you buy rather than after you cut your cabinets and have a stone countertop installed.
The apron fronts on Farm House sinks are lower in the front than the rest of the sink. In a working kitchen, water splashes as you wash or rinse dishes. Because the front is lower, water tends to spill over the front and leave water marks on the sink. The front apron will need to be wiped and cleaned more often.
The apron is also in a perfect location to be scratched by belt buckles or other hard objects on clothing.
The apron in stainless steel also tends to collect fingerprints and other marks.
The farm sink is a great sink…. as long as you understand the limitations.
Thank you for visiting the ANO blog. We cover all things bath and kitchen, from redecorating to caring for your sinks and faucets. For more information please visit www.ANOsales.com or the
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