What Are the Advantages of Marble Fireplace Mantels?

Fireplaces generally form the focal point of any room they are added to, so opting for the best one possible only makes sense. There are times you can get away with looking for the second-best material, but this is not one of them; when you’re searching for a fireplace mantel, marble stands unparalleled.

Here are just a few reasons why you should strongly consider purchasing a marble fireplace mantel.

Marble Fireplaces are Stunningly Attractive

Marble has been valued since the times of the Ancient Greeks for its rich, luxurious style, and that popularity continues well into the present day. Strikingly beautiful and sophisticated, marble adds a rich sense of style to any room, and it works with a variety of design styles; whether you want to adopt a modern, minimalist tone or create an antique feel, marble is going to work wonders.

Marble Fireplaces Can Be Easily Maintained

Marble carries a reputation for being slightly tougher to take care of than other materials, such as quartz and granite. However, this is an issue that is more important when you’re considering flooring or countertops; your fireplace mantel won’t need to be as resistant to staining or scratching. Most drinks and foods will be simply dealt with using a damp washcloth. You will have to make sure soot isn’t allowed to build up, but that just means giving the mantel a quick wipe over once or twice a week.

Marble Fireplaces are Heat-Resistant

When you’re dealing with a fireplace, heat-resistance is clearly something about which you should be concerned. Marble remains wonderfully cool to the touch, even when used next to a fire. This is part of the reason it was so popular in the ancient world. Even the hot Athenian sun wouldn’t be able to rob the surface of its welcome coolness.

Marble Fireplaces Will Last for Years

Marble does tend to cost more than other fireplace mantel materials, but you should consider it an investment rather than a sunken cost. Marble is known for being exceptionally durable, so it should last for years to come without showing any signs of wear. When you finally come to sell the property, you can expect the marble fireplace to add value; going cheap with such a central part of the room in question is not likely to make potential buyers willing to accept a higher asking price.

Granite Counter Top Care: Do’s & Don’ts

Granite counters can be the stunning focal point of your kitchen, but you need to make sure they stay in good condition. That might sound like a tall order, but all you really need to do is learn good habits and avoid the bad ones.

With that in mind, here are all the granite counter care dos and don’ts that you need to take into account.

Granite Counter Care Dos

  • Quickly Blot Up Spills: Acidic substances, such as fruit juice, coffee, wine, and soft drinks, can leave stains of they are allowed to settle.
  • Clean Using a Sponge or Soft Cloth: Combine a natural stone cleaner with a soft cloth or sponge for cleaning. Repeated use of dish soap will dull the shine of your granite.
  • Use Coasters: Place them under all glasses, bottles, and cans. You might have sworn you’d never nag people about coasters, but it’s worth it to protect your counters.
  • Use Trivets and Hot Pads: When you take a pan from the oven or a pot from the stovetop, place it on a trivet or hot pad. Sudden heat can crack granite, though this is rare, and grit that gets trapped between the two can create scratches.
  • Use Cutting Boards: Knives can scratch granite counters, so always use cutting boards instead of cutting right on the counter.
  • Sweep Away Dust Regularly: Dust can cause scratches or stains if a build-up is allowed to be created over your granite counters, so try to keep them dust-free.
  • Use Door Mats, Runners, and Area Rugs: Avoid carrying in dirt, grit, and sand, all of which can cause wear and scratches.

Granite Counter Care Don’ts

  • Use Generic Cleaners: Bleach, de-greases, glass cleaners, these all contain acids, alkalis, and other chemicals that can only serve to damage your granite and make it more vulnerable to staining.
  • Use Vinegar, Ammonia, Lemon or Orange: These might seem relatively innocuous, especially when touted as ‘natural’, but their acidic compounds are awful for your granite counters.
  • Bathroom Cleaners: Bathroom cleaners typically contain abrasive elements. These are perfect for scrubbing stains from a bathtub, but they can scratch and dull your granite counters.
  • Sit or Stand on Them: Granite might be extremely tough, but it isn’t very flexible. Placing your whole weight across a counter could cause a crack.
  • Store Toiletries on the Surface: Perfume, lotions, creams, and hair products – all of them could leak to create nasty stains.

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Silestone Countertops: The Pros and Cons

Silestone isn’t quite as well-known as quartz and granite, but it comes with benefits that can make it a much better choice for your countertops. Made from natural quartz crystals, with polyester resin used to bind and hold those crystals together, it is closely related to standard quartz.

Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks that come with using Silestone for your countertops.

The Benefits of Silestone Countertops

Silestone presents an upscale appearance. Replicating the look of granite and marble more closely than quartz, it shines brightly and is available in a vast range of colours and styles, so you’ll be able to customize a first-class final product that perfectly fits around your own needs and wants.  The material works particularly well with clean, minimalist designs, so it’s a natural fit for new properties.

Beyond aesthetics, Silestone is able to deliver when it comes to practicality; it essentially unites the low up-keep of regular quartz with the beauty of granite or marble. The surface of Silestone will resist scratches and scorches, which is obviously going to be an important concern if the countertops in question are going to be based in the kitchen. It also boasts a non-porous surface, so stains won’t be something you have to worry about, and you won’t have to go to the bother of sealing it every couple of months.

The Drawbacks of Silestone Countertops

Silestone is a fantastic material for countertops, but it isn’t without its disadvantages. Cost, for example, is likely to be an overriding concern. Silestone, though usually not as expensive as high-grade granite or marble, usually rests at the higher end of the cost spectrum when it comes to countertops. This might change as the material becomes more widely-used, but that kind of process is going to take time.

Compounding this issue is the fact that not many people know about Silestone, so these countertops aren’t as likely to add value to your property as marble or granite ones.

Finally, Silestone countertops are not heat resistant. If you place hot pots and pans directly onto the surface, a ring may be left underneath, permanently marring the appearance of your countertops. Of course, this is an issue that can be combatted by making sure you always have a cutting-board or other surface to hand.

Types of Granite Countertops

Granite is sourced for kitchen countertops from locations all over the world, so you can pick up a wide selection of colours to suit the exact style that you’re trying to foster.

The main types of granite used for countertops are Costa Esmeralda, Black Granite, and Bianco Romano.

To help you select the right variety, we’ve created this quick and easy rundown of each option’s properties and how best to utilize them within your current renovation project.

Costa Esmeralda

Costa Esmeralda granite offers homeowners a greater array of hues and colours than either Black Granite or Bianco Romano. Colours range from light grey to blue to green, with blended veins typically running across the surface.

Costa Esmeralda doesn’t provide the same prominent colour contrasts of other marbles, but it does have a charm of its own. Its light and welcoming appearance puts owners in mind of soft rocks rising out of the sea; in fact, it shares its name with a stretch of beaches running along the coast of Mexico. This type of marble tends to work well in kitchens that seek to appear inviting and open.

Black Granite

Black Granite, as the name implies, is pure, dark, and simple. Of course, no granite will ever achieve a complete, unbroken blackness; Black Granite carries shining flecks across its surface. Overall, this is the ideal option if you’re trying to cultivate a bold or minimalist aesthetic within your kitchen.

Black famously matches anything, but Black Granite countertops can seem overbearing if you don’t use them correctly. Complement their style with lots of silver and light grey metals, or contrast with white cabinets. If you run from the homely to embrace sophistication, Black Granite could be right up your alley.

Bianco Romano

Bianco Romano translates simply to Roman White, and the name is a perfect indication of what you will receive. Often mistaken for the lustrous white marble that so defined the ancient city, this is a light granite from Italy; true to its Mediterranean origin, Bianco Romano works well if you’d like your kitchen to appear warm, sunny, and bright. It also makes for easy food prep as ingredients stand out well against it.

For the best results, try combining Bianco Romano with warm-toned cabinets and features; this prevents the room from looking washed out. You can also include secondary colours, such as grey and black.

 

The Advantages of DEKTON

Glass, porcelain, and quartz surfaces aren’t usually thought of as cutting-edge materials; with Dekton, they are. For the raw materials of those surfaces to be created, we used to need precise conditions, the right materials, and time – thousands of years of time. Employing Dekton technology, we can accomplish in hours what the natural world would realise over millennia.

That process is sintering; the compacting of atoms from different materials by heat and pressure to form one solid piece. Dekton imitates this process using proprietary technology in a state of the art facility that demanded a $172m investment. The raw materials used in the glass, porcelain tiles, and quartz surfaces are created here, and it’s a bold leap forward in terms of more than time. This is a more sophisticated material than couldn’t have been imagined just a few decades ago.

Dekton engineering doesn’t just offer an accelerated version of metamorphic change, it also allows for numerous further advantages. The creation process results in zero porosity and a complete lack of micro-defects. There are no weak spots when you use Dekton. In fact, the material is even more resistant to abrasion than granite, and it will never need to be re-surfaced or re-finished. The slip of a knife won’t cause scratches, and the repeated traffic experienced by well-used sections of flooring won’t make an impact over time.

Even UV rays cannot damage it; you’ll experience zero fading or degradation over time, whether the material is kept inside or out. Staining from even wine, coffee, and rust cannot find a foothold, high temperatures will fail to burn, scorch, or crack, and Dekton’s low coefficient of thermal expansion means that it can’t be shocked by extreme cold.

Beyond the longevity, durability, and versatility that Dekton boasts, it offers a variety of design benefits. Your choices will be unlimited when you come to choose your colour palette. Since it enjoys over 5 times the flexural strength of granite, Dekton can be installed in thinner material over larger spans; you’ll be able to achieve a 12-inch supported overhang on countertops, bar tops, and islands.

Dekton looks like traditional surfaces, but it represents a radical evolution in the way they are made, the way that they function, and the things you can expect from them. With a diverse range of applications and a growing awareness of its advantages, Dekton is becoming increasingly acknowledged as a vital next step forward.

Marble Carving Robots

Marble has been seen as the gold standard of sculpture for millennia. From Ancient Greek statues to contemporary works of architecture, this is the material that demands nothing less than the eyes, hands, and heart of a dedicated craftsman. But all that might just be about to change. Just ask yourself, what if the works of Michelangelo could be rendered by a new breed of artisan robots?

This might have seemed like a situation best left to the realms of science fiction just a few short years ago, but it could soon become a reality. That was proven by Daniel Nguyen, a student the Yale School of Architecture. Collaborating with Yale, Autodesk, The Digital Stone Project, and Garfagnana Innovazione, he managed to fabricate a breathtakingly intricate facade out of marble using a state of the art robotic CNC milling machine.

The solid slab of marble was simply part of Nguyen’s course, but it was quickly chosen to be made in full scale in Italy. The final product is a part of a much larger façade, with each piece of marble milled in the same fashion.

The beauty achieved by robotics is just as impressive as its ability to sculpt marble in the first place. Nguyen’s design was incredibly intricate, a piece of work that would have demanded hour upon hour of attention from a craftsman, and therein lies the advantage for future designers.

While marble carving expertise have traditionally been seen as belonging to a select few, the ability of robots to carve marble suggests that we will see such carvings become cheaper and easier to find. After all, a robot can simply be loaded with a certain design and then left to work. The marble itself may still demand a premium price, but the cost of labour will be dramatically reduced.

At the same time, a sense of uniformity can now be achieved that would have been impossible under the hands of man. Should a designer want to create a piece made out of marble to appeal to a wide-range of people, their designs could be sent to robots across the world and then finished much faster than before. If you’re the sort of person who always found marble attractive but was held back by the cost, your reservations could soon prove groundless.

Best Uses for Marble in Contemporary Architecture

When people think of marble buildings, images come to mind of the ancient world. However, the material is still being used today to create jaw-dropping works of contemporary architecture, and this is happening from Oklahoma to India. Here are some of the best ways that marble has been used to breathe new life into the modern world.

Oslo Opera House

Out of a design competition that yields 350 entries, judges chose the marble design of Snøhetta for the Oslo Opera House. Extensive use of white Italian carrara marble – the same type used to make Michelangelo’s David – combines modern design with the traditional art of opera. A sloping roof allows visitors to walk to the top of the structure and survey the city around them. Overall, the soft white marble rising up out of the ground in strong, angular shapes evokes an iceberg rising above the waves.

Devon Energy Center

At 259-meters, this 50-storey skyscraper currently stands as the tallest building in the state of Oklahoma. Developed by the Devon Energy Corporation, its use of marble might seem a little odd within such a quintessentially modern structure, but its adoption of this material provides a grandiose feel to the building. Perhaps more importantly, it evokes sustainability and solidity while providing a more natural style that has been fittingly accented by wood and stone.

Venus Marble HQ

The Venus Marble Headquarters in Koropi, Greece is a building that you might naturally have expected to be made from marble. However, it’s the design that really stands out. Though strongly inspired by the square, solid pillars of classical architecture, jutting edges and angular shapes give the building a modern edge, as do the strips of glass embedded in deep slits within the beige marble exterior. The material also serves a practical purpose by keeping the building’s interior cool in spite of the hot Greek sun.

Prem Mandir

Located in the northern Indian town of Vrindavan, this stunning spiritual complex dedicated to Shri Krishna represents one of the most extensive and ambitious uses of marble in the modern world. Costing over $23 million to build, it’s carved out of the same carrara marble used by the Oslo Opera House – 30,000 tons of it was imported from Italy. However, what really makes this building unique are its hundreds of intricate carvings. Once more representing a fusion of old and new, these are carved using a combination of experienced artisans and advanced robots.

Applications of DEKTON

Dekton is one of the newest construction materials available, but its advantages have already seen it employed across a wide and diverse range of purposes. Exactly replicating the appearance of glass, porcelain, and quartz while enhancing the properties of each, this is a material that boasts the strength, versatility, and longevity demanded across all design and construction jobs. Here are just a few of its applications.

Worktops

Kitchen countertops are incredibly well-suited to Dekton, and this is expected to be one of the most popular areas of initial use. The added workability of Dekton over traditional materials means that one piece can be installed without any cuts or joins, ultimately creating a completely uniform surface.

Beyond styling, Dekton is able to handle everything you could throw at a kitchen worktop. Highly resistant to stains, scratches, heat, and freezing, it can last a lifetime without ever even needing to be treated.

Facades

The façade of a building is more than a way to protect the exterior – the choice made also represents a visual statement about the building itself. Dekton can be used to emulate other premium materials, and it will continue to look impressive over time.

With the ability to resist the effects of anything from UV rays to graffiti, it can handle the rigors of outside use like few other materials. It also boasts outstanding flexural strength and can be used in thinner slabs than traditional options.

Flooring

Dekton’s ability to resist any damage caused by fluctuations in temperature make it an ideal material for either exterior or interior flooring.

Additionally, while glass, porcelain, and quartz surfaces are tough to use for stairs, Dekton fits the bill. The same structural versatility that makes it ideal for facades and countertops also proves vital here, and the high resistance to abrasion means that high-traffic areas won’t see it become worn down as time goes by.

Cladding

Dekton can be clad across both indoor and outdoor walls. Given that there are no limits as to the shape and design of the end product, the material can provide cladding in a number of formats, whether you need one large piece or several different ones to combine together.

Its excellent dimensional stability reduces the need for joints and the resilience to damage and staining that comes as a result of its minimal porosity means that you will have few problems when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

5 Items You Wouldn’t Expect to be Made from Marble

From laptop skins to Chinese boats, here’s our top five things you wouldn’t expect to be made out of marble.

Here at Paramount Marble, we’re fortunate enough to be able to dedicate ourselves to finely crafted marble during every day of work, so we’re always intrigued by innovative modern uses of the material. Though traditionally used for kitchen worktops and fireplaces, the subtle and evocative beauty of marble means that it has been applied across numerous interesting projects.

Here are just 5 of our favourite.

  1. A Wi-Fi Router Cover

Few items sitting on display in your home will have become quite as ubiquitous as the Wi-Fi router. It would only be a decade or so ago that these new pieces of technology would rarely be seen, but now you’d be hard-pressed to find a home without one. If you want to apply classical styling to advanced technology, try the APOLLO marble router case by Claudio Larcher.

  1. A Phone Cover

Phone covers have formed into one of the many ways in which modern consumers broadcast their personalities to the world. Marble remains a symbol of first-class taste and high-end luxury, so it should come as no surprise to learn that there are a range of marble smartphone cases on offer.

  1. A Chinese Boat

Head to the Beijing Summer Palace and you’ll find a whole boat made from marble. It is inlaid with coloured glass windows and wheels, paved with coloured bricks, and fits huge mirrors across each deck to ensure that you can enjoy the exquisite lake scene while sipping tea. The whole structure is 36 meters long and two stories, eight meters high.

  1. Modern Art

The marble statues of antiquity are the most enduring and strikingly beautiful examples of the type of art that can be sculpted out of marble, but artists like Alex Seton are bringing the material back to the artistic cutting-edge. Seton leverages his unparalleled craftsmanship to refine marble into unexpected forms, including hoodies, national flags, and blankets. They look indistinguishable from the real thing, until you try to lift them up, and provide literal weight to pressing present-day issues.

  1. Laptop Skins

Laptops have become one of the central hubs of our lives. We work on them; we play on them; we communicate on them. As with phone covers, you can complement your laptop with a marble-like skin, which will have been laser cut to ensure a perfect fit.