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How to Clean Marble Countertops

Marble is used to create some of the most stunningly beautiful countertops around, but it does require a little extra TLC if you want it to remain free of dirt, scuffs, and stains. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the fact that some cleaning agents and methods can have a negative impact on their marble countertops. To make sure yours stay looking as wonderful as the day they were installed, keep the following points in mind.

Use the Right Cleaning Agents

Marble is closely related to limestone, so it is soft, porous, and quite sensitive to the acids found in wine, citrus fruits, and many everyday cleaning products. Spilling coffee on your marble countertop can cause staining, but using an acidic cleaner can do damage all by itself.

This means that you need to look for pH-neutral cleaning products, although it is easier to simply pick up a specialty marble cleaner. Make sure that it is resistant to grease and water, rinse-free, and able to provide a streak-free finish. Additionally, make sure you read the safety instructions carefully before you use it.

Keep it Regular

When dealing with marble, it is crucial that you clean regularly in order to prevent discoloration and staining. You don’t need to spend hours each day scrubbing away, but you should never let dirt build up.

The best thing to do is commit to a regular cleaning schedule. Take a mild, bleach-free detergent or speciality marble cleaner, then add it to water. Lightly wipe down your countertops, then rinse with clean water and dry them off quickly with a micro-fibre cloth.

Seal It Up

Your marble countertops will probably come pre-sealed, but that seal won’t last forever. This means that you’ll need to commit to resealing every six months or so to ensure that your surfaces remain free from damage. Since countertops are used to make food, you can’t use just any sealant; look for one that has been approved for food preparation areas.

Go Natural

If you need to clean a part of your marble countertop right away in order to avoid staining, just create a quick and easy cleaning product by mixing one-part baking soda to 20-parts water. Wet a cloth with the solution, then apply to the appropriate area. Instead of using an abrasive brush or cloth, simply use increased pressure across stained areas. Leave to dry for 1-2 hours, then rinse with water and dry off with a clean cotton cloth.

2016 Kitchen Countertop Trends

Few rooms demand as much consideration during remodelling as the kitchen.

These rooms need to be comfortable enough for everyday dining, stylish enough to work as one of your main entertaining spaces, and constructed with fittings durable enough to withstand plenty of foot traffic and lots of work.

One of the most important areas to get right is the countertop. After all, your countertops will tend to set the tone for the rest of the room, and you’re going to end up using them pretty much every day you live in the property. With so many factors to consider, choosing a countertop can be tricky.

If you need a little inspiration, just take a look at some of the top trends that have emerged during 2016.

Natural and Engineered Stone 

Stone countertops have shown an increase in popularity during 2016, and you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose.

The biggest distinction between your various options will be whether you opt for a natural stone, such as marble, granite, or soapstone or slate, or an engineered stone, such as quartz, Silestone, Caesarstone, or IceStone. The former varieties will possess a more authentic appearance, and each option carries its own unique advantages:

  • Marble: Provides a sense of polished refinement and a cool, minimalist aesthetic. You’ll find it perfect for rolling dough and baking, though it does take stains and scratches more easily than other natural stones.
  • Granite: Incredibly durable, this is one of the most common countertop materials. It’s still pricey, but costs have noticeably decreased over the years.
  • Soapstone & Slate: These low-maintenance stones are incredibly durable, but you will have fewer colour and design options from which to choose.

Manufactured stones won’t look quite as natural as these, but they will be available in more colours and resist stains and cracks more successfully. No matter your choice, you’ll find that stone countertops are long-lasting and able to fit around any design style you could wish to foster.

Thinner is Better

You might think that thicker countertops would be preferable, but this hasn’t been the case during 2016. The trend towards kitchens possessing open floor plans and simpler designs have helped make thinner countertops a more desirable option, and using one of the stones listed above means that you won’t have to sacrifice durability.

Neutral Colour Palettes

During 2016, we’ve been seeing a lot of greys, blacks, and whites used for countertops. That might sound a little dull, but using neutrals means being able to shift styles later on without changing the countertops. In the meantime, you can add colour across other areas, such as the range hood, backsplash, cabinet, and exposed appliances.

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 Top 6 Kitchen Trends for 2016

Kitchen trends have continued to evolve during 2016, and people naturally want to stay in the loop.

If you’re thinking of changing things around in your kitchen this year, try following the current swing of things by taking the following trends into account.

  1. Fewer Boundaries Between Kitchen and Living Spaces

Kitchens have always been a social hub within the home, and we’re becoming more and more casual in our arrangements. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that kitchen and living spaces are continuing to blend in 2016. Open plans are being embraced and kitchen styling is becoming more casual and homely.

  1. Colours Are Going Either Paler or Bolder

2016 does not seem like a year for compromises. Light tones and ceramic whites are being used more and more across walls and cabinets, but this doesn’t mean we’re getting boring. People complement those tones with bolder accents across areas such as splashbacks and shelves.

  1. New Materials Are Becoming Popular

Before you carry out your next set of kitchen renovations, make sure you ask about some of the newer materials on offer. Additions include Dekton and Neolith; both can be used externally as well as internally, so they’re perfect for transitioning between inside and outside spaces. They also come in a comprehensive range of colours.

  1. Pendant Lighting Picks Up Steam

Pendant lighting, which was extremely popular during the middle of the 20th century, has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance, with metallic, matte ceramic, and coloured glass finishes becoming most popular. In the kitchen, it’s a good idea to create a cluster arrangement to ensure that you still get plenty of light.

  1. Minimalism Falters

In 2015, we saw black, simplistic designs and glossy worktops enjoying a brief period in vogue, but these styles are now winding down as people begin to look for kookier and more eye-catching colour schemes.

  1. Greenery Enters the Kitchen

You probably already have some greenery in your kitchen in the guise of chopped herbs and a few lettuce leaves, but those items aren’t exactly there to brighten things up. During 2016, we’ve seen leafy plants and hangers making their way into different parts of the kitchen. One of the great things about this is that you can completely reinvent the appearance of your kitchen without having to spend very much money.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen This Summer with Quartz Worktops

The warm sunshine and long days that come along with summer make it everyone’s favourite time of year, and it also represents the perfect time to take care of some renovation work.

You’ll be able to have tradesmen come and go without tramping rainwater into your home, and there will be no unpleasant breezes coming in as the transformation takes place. Best of all, you’ll be all sorted by the time winter rolls around.

Kitchens are usually the focus of such renovations, and worktops often represent the bulk of the work. When you choose new worktops, one of the first things you’re going to have to decide upon is what kind of material you’d like to use. There are plenty available, from bamboo to granite, but quartz is one of the best.

Here are just a few reasons why quartz has become the go-to material for kitchen worktops all over the country.

Reduced Cost

Keeping to your budget is always going to be important, and quartz can help make that happen. Of course, stone will usually be pricier than other options, but you’ll find the costs associated with quartz far more manageable than those associated with granite and marble.

Styling

One of the most appealing things about quartz is that it isn’t actually a natural product; rather, it is manmade in factories. This means that you can control the colour, texture, and pattern that you’re after, and you don’t have to worry about flaws.

Durability

Quartz counters are made of at least 90% natural quartz mixed with resin binder and colourant. The result is an extremely tough stone that is stronger than either marble or granite. Durable and scratch-resistant, it can take dropped dishes and slipped knives without enduring a dent or a scratch.

Non-Porous

Not all stones are non-porous – many contain small capillary channels between minerals, and this can cause problems. To start with, spilled substances sink into these channels and stain the stone. Furthermore, bacteria can invade and start to make your stone countertop less hygienic. To help prevent this, other stone countertops require regular sealing; quartz countertops do not.

Heat Resistant

You shouldn’t go leaving hot pots and pans directly on the surface of a quartz countertop, but this material does boast an impressive resistance to heat. If you place those pots and pans on a wooden or plastic surface, you’d probably be faced with either a large black scorch mark or a ring of melted plastic.