Using Granite For Custom Indoor Bars

Granite is the most popular stone material to use for kitchen and bathroom countertops. The benefits of any granite countertop are evident upon first sight. You can see the value in the beautiful upgrade, which instantly transforms any kitchen into a luxury setting. The same thing happens in the bathroom. Granite may even encourage residents and guests to tidy up a little. Same principle carries into the basement, at the bar.

Designing your basement bar should take as much thought as designing any other room. Ideally, the bar is being designed with guests in mind. And guests can be impressed with how a bar is decorated just like they are with a kitchen. But we know it’s not all about “the look”. The same home value increase that’s added in the kitchen will be added in the basement. A granite countertop on the bar can cause a potential buyer to bid more on the house, seeing the bar as a bonus. Or not having granite could mean a lower bid, because they don’t see any value in keeping the bar. It would cost them to tear it down.

Think of all the rooms in the house that are prone to get wet. The bar is right up there on the list. Typically having its own sink, and a consistent pouring of drinks, “wet” comes with the territory. Instead of using a material that will absorb liquids and start to deteriorate, you will want to use granite, something impervious to liquids. Granite countertops are not only the most beautiful, but also a durable stone that’s really built for anything your bar can dish out.

Every basement is different, but a lot of basements use darker color schemes for less vibrant themes and moods. Still, other basements may want to liven up the atmosphere. This is where granite can certainly come in handy. It’s very versatile and can complement most any style and décor. When designing your basement bar, definitely consider all the benefits that a granite bar countertop will add to the home.


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The Origin of Granite: Where Does it Come From?

Granite is one of the most beautiful and luxurious building materials on earth. It’s used for indoor and outdoor home designing, as well as various outdoor structures. While most of us know the aesthetic and practical benefits of granite, you are probably unaware of where the stone actually comes from.

Nature’s Artwork

Many miles down, deep below the earth surface is where granite begins to be formed. Boiling molten rock called magma builds up pressure from the intense heat down there. It rises and seeps through cracks in the earth’s crust. As the magma rises it also solidifies and cools, turning into granite. Most of the granite remains buried under sedimentary rock, which makes up most of the earth’s surface.

Granite must then be extracted from the earth with as little damage to the rock as possible. Long and wide sections of the rock are outlined. These outlines tell them where to drill deep holes along rock. Explosive cables are wired down the holes, and when the explosives are set off, sections are broken off in the large sections. These large pieces are further broken down into sizes the manufacturers can handle, by using drills, steel pegs, plates, and wedges.

At the factory, the granite has to be cut using very large buzz saws. This is where slabs can be sliced off from the larger piece of granite material. The saw take a lot of time, about an hour to cut 22 square inches through hard rock. Additional saws are able to cut the granite down even further for use as the countertops. This machine combines several saws, all cutting the rock into individual slabs.

Once the slabs are cut, they are then ready to be turned into what we see as our kitchen and bathroom countertops. The granite goes through a polishing process, similar to sandpaper. It can go through a semi-gloss finish, or a high gloss finish. The more polishing heads it goes through, the higher the gloss will be.

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Decorating Options for Granite Countertops: The Backsplash

Anyone who has seen and felt granite as a home stone product knows how beautiful it can make any bathroom or kitchen countertop. Certain stone products, especially granite, are timeless. They’ve been used for centuries in ancient and modern civilizations throughout the world. Even though granite has stood the test of time, there might still be questions about how “dated” using granite is.

This is a fair question for anything that’s been depended upon for so many years. Technology, cultures, and trends bring about new ideas and new sensibilities all the time. Granite’s fairly recent popularity could add to a sense that granite may no longer be on the cutting edge of interior design.

Even if this thinking were popular, anybody who decided to make a change from their granite countertops would quickly realize all the aesthetic and tangible features they’d be missing. The practical benefits of granite, the beauty and the convenience, are more than enough to deter anyone from turning away from granite countertops. But, every once and a while, we may have an itch for a decorating change, or have an impulse to shake things up a bit. One of the changes a granite countertop can make is to the backsplash.

The backsplash options are numerous, and it would be wisest to make the backsplash the last choice in your kitchen design. It’s much easier to match the backsplash to the countertop, as opposed to vice versa. The color and material of the backsplash need to match or complement the countertop as much as possible. The most popular backsplash options are granite, marble, glass, and ceramic tile.

If the granite countertops have already been installed, and you are looking for decorating change, the backsplash is a great place to start. With so many options, it’s good to give them all the eye test, and see what best enhances the countertop. Check out different tile samples, or different shades of granite combinations. The backsplash is a place where homeowners can retain their quality of stone product while flexing some design muscle.

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Genuine Granite vs. Faux Granite

There is always a reasonable alternative to “the real thing”. A lot of substitutions have become widely accepted, if not commonplace. The cosmetic industry makes its highly lucrative living off of providing substitutes for what’s real. Giving people the personal look and feel that they want will usually come at a price. Designing or remodeling your home’s kitchen will take the same type of consideration that a new toupee or wig for your head would. Should you go with what’s real? Or should you take the most inexpensive route?

The Bottom Line

The answers really depend on personal preference, and priorities. For some people, it’s just not enough to cover a bald spot with a toupee. But it’s also important that the hairpiece looks authentic. For others, money is simply the bottom line. If the toupee can cover the bald spot, and it won’t cost an arm and a leg to purchase it, then that’s the one for them. That rationale may seem overly simplistic. But for many, these choices are not much more difficult. The rest of us may require a little more information on our countertop choices before deciding.

Consider The Costs

Before moving off of money, let’s consider pricing again. If the cost is the only determining factor, faux granite should win hands down. Even though the costs of faux granite are exceptionally lower than genuine granite, a consumer should still do their due diligence in researching. Many companies may promote costs that do not cover everything that’s going to be required. For instance, an advertisement for faux granite might appear really cheap, but may fail to include labor costs for installation. Failing to do simple research could have a consumer end up spending more than they ever expected. They might have considered getting real granite had they known the actual cost.

Genuine granite can be out of many homeowners’ budget ranges. When all factors are considered, its overall costs may be closer to the faux granite than originally expected. With that in mind, genuine granite countertops should be viewed as an investment. Granite countertops will definitely add value to your home, which will make its resell potentials much higher. On the contrary, faux granite may actually be a liability in the eyes of some future buyers. The money any buyer would have to invest in a home without high quality countertops will more than likely be deducted from any bid.


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Are Your Granite Countertops Safe?

Granite has long been considered a beautiful and luxurious stone for interior and outdoor designers. While it had been thought of as a “high-end” construction material, it has become an increasingly popular stone building material. It’s proven affordable and aesthetically satisfying. It’s no surprise reports of granite’s safety in family homes has been called into question. People want to know: Is granite safe for my countertops?

In a word, yes. Opponents of granite would have us believe that it contains some unseen deadly toxin like carbon monoxide. Granite does emit Radon, however. This is apparently the root of the controversy. If anyone has been listening to the critical media reports, they might be panicked or needlessly concerned. Radon is a naturally occurring gas found in our environment. It should not be used interchangeably with the word Radiation, like many reports have done. The sun is what gives off most of our radiation.

Radon is commonly found in the basements of homes built in the Midwestern or Eastern regions of the U.S. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the primary source of Radon is found in the soil underneath and around the structure of our homes. In response to these reports, many respected scientists have questioned the scientific basis behind the criticisms of granite. Dr. John McCarthy, president of Environmental Health & Engineering states:

“All the data we’ve seen to this point, certainly indicates that there’s not a problem.”

Dr. McCarthy goes on to explain that we are exposed to several forms of radiation, and that we have radiation in our bodies, and in our food.

Author, Consultant, and former Instructor at the Harvard University School of Public Health, David Ropeik, described the relationship between Radiation and Granite as a non-issue. He also described the relationship between Radon and Radiation the same way.

The reasons for railing against the popularity of granite could be many. But the most obvious is because of business competition. Granite’s popularity has compelled many synthetic stone manufacturers to create a material that could compete in a more cost-effective way. Synthetic stone materials have not been nearly as successful as they had hoped. It would, however, turn the tide if there were reports that can scare consumers away from the ever-popular granite.

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Restoring Older Granite Countertops to Their Original Beauty

The addition of a granite countertop to any kitchen or bathroom design immediately gives the room a sophisticated glow. This quality transformation is evident to any witnesses to the before and after. That shine lasts for years if owners tend to even the minimal upkeep practices. However, despite the best efforts, time can be unfriendly even to granite. While its durability is one of the advantages that place it heads and shoulders above other countertop materials, time will eventually bring the need for restoration.

Sealing the Granite

Granite will embody that brilliance all on its own. And thoroughly wiping down the countertops will remove smudges, watermarks, and daily spills. The real routine maintenance is to occasionally seal the granite. Since natural stone like granite is porous to some degree, it’s necessary to seal the countertop.  If left undone, there is a higher probability of liquids penetrating the surface and leaving a stain, especially over time. The process of sealing the counter is very simple, taking minutes, while leaving about and hour between applications. It should also be done once every 1 – 3 years.

Polishing the Granite

Even if you’ve sealed the countertops, time will naturally bring a little dullness to that original glow. Polishing could be just the magic that older countertop needs. Polishing should probably be left to professionals, but the materials required can be purchased for any ambitious Do-It-Yourselfers. An appropriate sanding or smoothing machine with various resin pads, and polishing compound are needed to carefully smooth down the surface. This polishing can return any aged countertop to its original finish.

Scratching the Granite

Accidents are also a common problem. Especially when granite has not been properly sealed, it can be easier to scratch the stone. Repeatedly placing heavy, jagged objects on the counters will eventually dig in unsightly scratches. The process of smoothing the granite is similar, but more laborious, to the polishing. The good news is that scratches can certainly be removed, leaving no trace of the scratch. The more experienced the person is who tackles the job the better.

Cracking the Granite

Even in the most drastic of cases, there can be a crack that needs repair. A heavy enough kitchen object, like a refrigerator, impacting the counter is more than enough to cause visible crack. The crack will require an acrylic fill, and the sanding to make sure the countertop is smoothed evenly across the entire counter. A thorough inspection of your counter may present some unsightly blemishes, but there is almost no reason that your granite countertop cannot return to its original beauty.

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The Durability and Beauty of Granite Floors

Granite is a naturally occurring rock formation. This rock is not something a person with an artistic eye designs. It is a product of our wonderful earth. Granite in a home is easy to spot. Its eye-catching beauty and durability make it a great addition to any home.

Most homeowners do not know the geology of this fantastic rock. There is more science behind it than meets the eye. Granite is an igneous rock that takes many years to form. It all starts with molten lava. Lava makes its way between layers of solid rock, where it then cools and hardens. During this process, the lava combines with other substances such as mica, quartz, and feldspar. These substances are what determine the color and texture of the granite. Usually the colors are red, black, ivory, blue, beige, or brown.

After this natural process comes the factory. Here granite is cut into specific sizes, and are then polished, calibrated, and gauged to tailor to homebuilders’ architectural needs.

Granite not only beautifies a home, but it also gives the home a long-lasting surface. Granite is second to diamonds in hardness. Simply put, this means it is hard to scratch and chip. Your money will be well spent.

Due to its durability, granite is very resistant to heat and moisture. Your granite should be properly sealed to protect it from moisture.

If you plan to install granite as your floor, it is perfect for any area that needs to be slip resistant. An unpolished granite floor will give you the extra grip you need to stay on your feet. If slip resistance is not important, polishing the granite will give your home that new, modern feel.

Granite is the hardest and most durable of all stone flooring. It is extremely easy to maintain and also very stain resistant, making it the perfect choice for kitchen counters. Kitchens are highly prone to spills and cooking catastrophes. Grease, oils, coffee, acidic foods, and juices are no match for this natural stone. It can also take on heavy objects like pots, pans, and glass. Since it is highly scratch resistant, it lessens the damage caused by many household items.

However, if there is a large amount of calcite in your granite slab it will not be as absorbent. Here is a tip to use to determine granite’s absorbency when you are out shopping:

The Oil and Lemon Juice Test. Before you purchase granite for your home, try this test. Mix together a small amount of lemon juice and cooking oil. Using a dropper if possible, apply a few drops on the granite sample. Give the drops five or so minutes to sink in. If the granite turns dark quickly, there is a large amount of calcite in the granite. This makes it less stain resistant. If it takes 30 seconds or more to turn dark, the granite has most likely been decently sealed with a sealing product. If it takes longer than 5 minutes or does not change, this is your best option.

Granite is a great option for any home. Its beauty and durability will impress both you and your company. So select it carefully, and your investment will be worthwhile.

In need of granite or marble in your home? Call Affordable Surface Products in Greensboro, North Carolina at (336) 375-5672.

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Historic Uses of Granite

We’re big fans of granite over here at Affordable Surface Products and so are our clients.  Granite is an extremely popular option used by many for remodeling projects due to its beauty, affordability and durability.  But few realize that historically granite has had multiple uses.  A recent article in USA Today outlines some of those uses.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

One of the more famous areas of America using granite is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  The face carvings of four U.S. presidents on the south eastern side of Mount Rushmore is all granite.  Initially the idea was to promote South Dakota’s politicians.  But others insisted the project should honor national leaders and their accomplishments.  Over 3 million people visit the monument annually.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located in Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.  What made this possible, according to the USA article, is fundraising of veterans and families who wanted to honor soldiers lost in combat.  This is made with granite, sandblasted with more than 58,000 names of veterans who died or were missing in action.  It’s a touching place and well worth a visit.

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial fountain

The beloved Princess of Wales is honored in London’s Hyde Park with a memorial fountain. It is made from 545 pieces of Cornish granite and shaped by computer-controlled images.  This is said to reflect the beloved Princess’s life.  The granite fountain flows from the highest point cascading into a pool.  Three bridges can be crossed directly to the fountain.  This symbolizes the princess’s openness and quality, Royal Park officials say.

Want to learn more about granite?

Granite was quarried long, long ago in ancient Egypt.  Historians say its original purpose was for construction.  This natural stone was even then admired for being strong and durable and for having a huge range of textures, including medium to coarse.  In addition to its textures, its range of colors was admired as well.

Want to learn more about how we work with granite?  Call us at 336-375-5672 or write to us today!

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Color Choices: How to Select the Right Color Granite for Your Next Project

How exciting!  You’re using granite for your next remodeling project.  You won’t regret it.  Granite is a superior remodeling product offering durability and elegance.  You may struggle however with deciding which color granite to use, mainly because there are a surprising number of options. We here at Affordable Surface Products for instance offer the following colors: Bain Brooke Brown, New Caledonia, Santa Cecelia, Ming gold and white pearl.  Granite falls under six color palettes which are black, azul, white, gold and copper, green and rose. You can click here to see the full range and our blog offers some suggestions to help you select the right color granite.

Light versus dark

First, expert suggests choosing light versus dark granite.  Each will offer a different look and feel.  If your kitchen is dark, you may want lighter granite to offer a stark contrast, or, you may want to keep everything in the darker tones.

Black can make an area look smaller

Black granite is really popular because it offers a stunning, dramatic countertop to your kitchen or bathroom.  However, experts say black countertops will make your area look smaller, so keep this in mind if your kitchen is a relatively small space.

Lighter granite makes an area look more spacious

Adding lighter colored granite countertops to your kitchen will open up the kitchen, making it look more roomy and spacious.

Find granite that contrasts your cabinets and hardware

Another tip from the experts is choosing granite that offers a color contrast to your cabinets, refrigerator and microwave.

Find a color that would appeal to others

We suggest this only because granite countertops add so much to the resale value of your home.  Therefore, choose a color that may appeal to others.

Keep us in mind when planning your next granite project.  We would love to work with you!  Call us at 336-375-5672 today.


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Little Granite, Big Changes: Small Projects Can Add Value to Your Home

Granite has long been appreciated by renovators and decorators and what’s not to like? Granite is durable, gorgeous, elegant and affordable. This blog outlines some small projects using granite that can add value and style to your home.

Granite countertops

Adding granite countertops to your kitchen or vanity tops to your bathroom are quick fire ways to add massive value to your home. And this doesn’t have to be any major undertaking, especially when working with experts at Affordable Surface Products. Many customers find granite countertops look breathtaking and are super durable too. Experts say adding granite countertops can add at least 10% to the re-sale value of your home.

Add a granite island

A granite island is a stunning centerpiece for any kitchen and another great way where a little granite can make big changes to the value to your home. A granite island offers more room for kitchen, more elbow space.

Build a granite fireplace

A granite or stone fireplace is gorgeous, rustic and really lifts a living room, bedroom or den. Create this homey feeling in your home and add instant re-sale value too.

Call us at (336) 375-5672 anytime to discuss your ideas on some small granite projects for your home!





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