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Easy Ways to Clean Granite Countertops

Granite is a durable hard stone that is formed over time from volcanic magma. Granite has earned a reputation as a great building stone and is very popular in homes. It ranges in color but is known for how beautiful it is, especially for countertops. Granite has become a major selling point when prospective homebuyers are shopping for a new place to live in. Caring for granite countertops is necessary to protect the investment.

Pros

Granite countertops are gorgeous additions to a home, with each piece like a unique work of art. Due to granite being available in so many colors, homeowners have many options to choose from. Granite can be chosen to fit any decor or design scheme. Granite is also very durable and resists heat. This makes it great for kneading ​dough, making roll-out cookies, and other tasks that need a cool countertop for best results.

Cons

It’s a common misconception that granite countertops are effortless. In reality, granite requires regular maintenance to keep it looking beautiful. Besides just cleaning, you’ll need to make sure the granite is sealed periodically to protect this investment. Stains can be extremely difficult to remove, but not impossible. Dealing with stains quickly will give the best results. Countertops may also be susceptible to cracking, although proper installation can alleviate these concerns.

Basic Cleaning

To keep granite countertops clean, use a microfiber cloth to dust off the surface. Often a microfiber cleaning cloth, even a dry one, is all that is needed for basic cleaning. For times when spills or daily life happen, try to wipe down the granite countertop daily or as needed using only water. Once a week wipe your granite countertops down with a damp cloth and a stone cleaner formulated with a neutral pH.

Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your countertops, even if you think the stain or mess needs it. These types of cleaners can scratch, pit, and etch the surface of the stone permanently. For oily stains that have soaked into the granite, try a poultice made of a cup of flour or baking soda and five tablespoons of dish soap.

Add water to make it the consistency of sour cream or yogurt. Place the solution directly on the stain and cover with plastic wrap overnight, before washing away the poultice. Be sure to gently rinse the countertops and dry thoroughly.

Seasonal Maintenance

Sealing is a regular maintenance task for granite that cannot be ignored. There is a simple test that you can do to determine if your countertops need to be sealed again. Splash a little water on the surface of the countertop, and watch to see if the water sits on the countertop in small bead-like shapes or flows freely. Re-seal the countertop when water splashed on the surface no longer beads up. Be sure to perform this test on areas that get the most use.

It’s important to examine your granite at least once a year. Inspect areas to make sure there is no cracking or shifting at the seams. Inspect for stains and scratches as well. If there are stains or damage, contact a stone-care professional for repair. Delaying repair or treatment can lead to larger and more expensive repairs or even the need for a total replacement.

Many homeowners that don’t know about or forget to perform these extra seasonal tasks end up with costly repairs.

Reference: thespruce.com/easy-ways-to-clean-granite-countertops-1901058

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Why you should use granite in your house

Countertops are not the only place to use granite in your home. There are many other applications for this natural stone: walls, floors, facades and, of course, kitchen worktops. The beauty, resistance, durability and versatility make it an ideal product for construction and decoration. Here you have some great projects using granite: 

GRANITE FOR EXTERIOR FACADES

Granite is a type of hard and compact igneous rock formed by quartz, feldspar and mica. Its toughness and durability make it an ideal material for facades. Resistant to heat and cold, this natural stone gives your exterior wall cladding an aspect of strength and hardness. Large formats can create continuous surfaces with a timeless style.

The aesthetics of granite are affected by how it is extracted, processed and finished. This stone is available in thousands of colors and textures. Granite tends to retain its color and pattern for a very long time so you will have a facade that will last a lifetime.

Have a look at Mapfre Tower, clad in CUPA STONE granite, an icon of sustainable architecture in Mexico City.

GRANITE FOR INTERIOR WALLS

Granite tiles are perfect for adding a touch of elegance and shine for interior walls. It enhances the natural look of your home and helps connect indoor and outdoor spaces. A bedroom or a kitchen will completely change their appearance thanks to polished granite for a mirror effect or natural sensations with honed or aged granites.

GRANITE FOR FLOORINGS

You can use granite as a floor tile for your interior and exterior spaces. In this case, you have to choose the correct finish to ensure a non-slip floor. Chiseled, flamed or sandblasted finishes are suitable for floorings. Bathrooms, living-rooms or corridors are perfect for granite floors because of it great hardness, resistance to abrasion and low porosity.

GRANITE FOR COUNTERTOPS

Countertops are the most popular use for granite. In fact, they are strong, resistant to water and heat and easy to clean. Granite islands and countertops make a statement in any kichen. This natural stone can be used in contemporary and traditional designs. Similar to kitchen countertops, a bath vanity made of granite is an ideal material for bathrooms. Granite is resistant to mold and water. It will look great in large or small bathrooms, giving a sense of elegance.

Reference: https://cupastone.com/why-you-should-use-granite-in-your-home/

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5 Types of Stone Siding For Homes

One concept that we here at the Build Direct blog are most interested in is the idea of transformation, which to some of you who’ve come to know us here is pretty apparent., and what better way of creating a change then by adding a new look and a unique texture to the outside of your home?
Stone siding, or the suggestion of it, has been a favorite choice in achieving a transforming a home from the ordinary to the extraordinary. But, much like flooring technology, the innovation involved in creating stone effects for exteriors as well as interior character walls or fireplace surrounds have come a long way.
And of course, this means options for stone siding that can get you that unique look of permanence that only stone can give.
So, with that in mind, here are five types of stone siding that are open to you, and all with distinct advantages.

1. SOLID STONE SIDING

Starting from the beginning, solid stone siding has been used in exterior surfacing projects for hundreds of years, with the benefits of superior durability and of the authentic look of naturally occurring stone. These benefits are significant, of course. And it is from these that the technology to reproduce them began. Of course, it is also from the drawbacks of solid stone siding that also sparked innovation. For instance, the problems of excessive weight, and the labor-intensive harvesting of solid stone (done by hand) required alternatives to reduce costs of shipping and to reduce the time it takes to complete the job. And there are a few of those, luckily.

2. MANUFACTURED STONE SIDING

What is required of any alternative to a naturally occurring material is that its look and durability remain intact while minimizing some of its limitations? Sometimes called a cultured stone, the manufactured stone does this and then some. Created through the use of molds that replicate the look of real stone, manufactured stone siding casts individual cement ‘stones’ and creates a new type of stone siding that is installed similarly, but weighs less, and therefore costs a bit less to ship.

3. POLYURETHANE-BASED FOAM PANEL ‘STONE’ SIDING

For a very lightweight alternative to real stone, foam panel siding or faux stone panel siding, which is made from densely rendered polyurethane, maybe the answer, and because this type of stone-like siding is created to be installed in panels, and not by on a stone-by-stone basis, installation is more straight-forward as well. As far as appearances go, the technology that goes into this option of stone siding is amazing. Only a touch will reveal this type of siding to be something other than natural stone. And of course, it’s made to be weather-resistant for the long-term, too.

4. NATURAL STONE CLADDING

Another option for natural stone surfaces is cladding. This variety of stone siding is offered not in harvested stone, but rather in cut-to-size units from more massive slabs. A favorite type of coating of this type is derived from granite slabs. Granite is a very dense variety of natural stone that resists cracking, which can result in forms of rock which allow moisture penetration that makes many types of stone to be susceptible to freeze-thaw cycles. The surface of the stone cladding tends to reflect irregular contours, much like traditional masonry. But, the backing of each piece is flat. The cladding is fixed to a substrate in a staggered pattern, much like the brick is laid.

Reference: www.builddirect.com/blog/types-stone-siding-for-homes/

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What’s The Best Kind of Exterior Stone Veneer To Use On Your House?

Stone in particular is a frequent topic, because while everyone knows what stone looks like, they aren’t often aware of the wide variety of stone types and colors, and don’t always know “real” stone from “cultured” stone – something that can impact the design of a home from the very beginning.

Stone as a building material dates back to the very earliest days of civilization. The ancient Egyptians, and later Romans quarried huge quantities of stone for their pyramids, colosseums, roads, and temples.

The art of stone building reached its peak in the Middle Ages with the construction of the great cathedrals of Europe, when, like ancient builders, stone was both the structure and the decoration of buildings.

Today, we rarely use stone as a structural material. Especially on homes, stone is typically a veneer – a relatively thin layer applied over the wall structure. How thin that veneer depends on the type of stone you’re using, and how you’re applying it to the walls.

Full Dimension Stone

“Real” stone is still cut from quarries. The most popular type of full-dimension wall stone used on houses today is limestone.  Limestone is very common throughout the eastern United States in hundreds of quarries, each yielding their own particular stone character.  When you’re at your local stone dealer you’ll be selecting from a dozen or more types of stone.

Full-dimension wall limestone is usually 4” to 6” thick. Since it weighs around 150 pounds per cubic foot, wall stone must be supported on the building’s foundation by adding a ledge to the foundation design.

Installing limestone takes more skill and effort than other masonry veneers – wall stone is delivered to the building site “rough” – as each piece requires a little hand-shaping before it’s placed, and the irregular sizes must be artfully fitted together.

The result of this additional effort and skill, however, is an attractive stone wall that looks solid, permanent, and not like a “veneer” at all.

Natural Thin Veneer Stone

This is also “real” stone, but machine-cut to about an inch thick.  At a tenth of the weight of full dimension limestone, thin veneer doesn’t require a foundation ledge to support it – the weight of the stone is carried by the wall itself.

Thin veneer is installed directly on the wall with mortar, essentially “gluing” it to the wall.  It’s easier and faster to install than full dimension stone, costs less, and in the hands of skilled installers, can come close to the look of full dimension stone.

The key here is “skilled installers” – install it improperly – especially at corners and openings – and you won’t get the effect of “real” stone at all.

Cultured Stone

A relatively new product, “cultured” stone is made by mixing cement and colored stone dust in molds made from real stone.  Since it doesn’t come from quarries, cultured stone manufacturers can mimic any type of real stone, even textures, colors, and styles that aren’t available from local quarries.

Cultured stone is installed the same way thin veneer stone is without the need for a special foundation ledge.  Like a thin veneer, the success of a cultured stone installation depends on the skill of the installers.  Get it right, and it can fool a discerning eye into thinking it’s real stone.

What’s Best For You?

Each of these materials has its place in homebuilding, but those places aren’t always interchangeable. Regular readers of my blog know that I prefer honesty in building materials whenever possible, and honesty in the use of the various kinds of stone veneer is no exception.

Real, full-dimension stone is expensive to buy and to install properly.  If you want a stone house, but can’t afford real stone, then – in my opinion – you can’t just switch to thin veneer or cultured stone instead.  Maybe a combination of materials – wood siding, with some areas of real stone for example – is better for your project.

Thin veneer and cultured stone, on the other hand, are best suited for applications where a foundation ledge is impractical – an existing foundation, for example, or a chimney that extends through the middle of a roof. Detailing the change from siding to stone, or from roofing to stone is critical in both of these situations.

They’re also great for interior applications – around a fireplace, or on the walls of a wine cellar. But keep honesty in mind here again – don’t use thin veneer or cultured stone as simply a wall decoration, or in places where real stone would never be used.

 

Reference: http://www.rtastudio.com/2016/04/whats-the-best-stone-to-use-on-my-house/