Marble In The Kitchen

Currently, one of the latest designer trends is having marble installed for your kitchen countertops. This has always been discouraged due to the fact that marble is softer and more porous than some other materials like granite, Silestone or Cambria. But many designers and homeowners are doing it anyway.

Below is a photo of a beautiful kitchen we installed a few weeks ago. The island marble surrounding the sink is inlaid in a large butcher block piece of wood. This homeowner also chose to have a large piece of marble installed behind her stove as her backsplash. The look is simple and and very elegant.

Carrera White marble in the Kitchen

Carrera White Countertops

If you are tempted to use a marble in your kitchen, there a few things to remember. Marble is more porous and softer than some other choices. Even though it will be sealed after installation by Queen of the Tile, you will probably end up staining it at some point. Some foods like lemon juice or wine, and many cleaners are acidic. If left on your marble countertops, the acid will etch the surface. You may probably drag a large pot or cookie jar across it or drop a heavy item from the cupboard. You will end up “beating” it up a bit. These things are to be expected and will only add to the vibrance and character of your marble as the years pass.

As I like to tell my customers, your countertops will be like your favorite pair of leather shoes. The more you wear them, the more you love them as you break them in.

This kitchen remodel, along with the pantry, guest bath and laundry room were all done by Holliday Interiors of Spring, Tx.

Elegant Vanity in Powder Bath

Gorgeous Vanity with Marble Top

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‘Cuz this ain’t your Grandma’s Backsplash

3 x 6 Subway Tile with 3/8" Glass MosaicAre you thinking about sprucing up your kitchen? Along with updating your countertops, you will have to decide on what to do with your backsplash. Before we talk about the options, what is the purpose of a backsplash anyway? Well not only is it a chance to personalize your kitchen, it does serve a purpose and that is to protect your walls from liquids when cleaning your countertops or if a spill occurs.

The easiest and least expensive option is a  4″ backsplash made of the same material as your countertops like granite or silestone. The rest of your splash is painted sheetrock. This is a simple decision and usually gets installed on the same day your countertops are installed.

The next option is 1 or 2 rows of tile that compliment your slab countertops. The tile chosen is usually a 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 porcelain tile or a natural stone tile like tumbled travertine.

The next option is to tile the whole space from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinets.  This can be done with a simple field tile and a few rows of nice glass mosaic or even a few glass inserts.  Some people like to be creative in the space above the stove or cooktop since there is often more room below the vent hood or microwave.

The last option is to do a full slab backsplash of the same granite or silestone you used on your countertops.  This is often a very dramatic and elegant look.

The bottom line is that you have many choices for your backsplash and the chance to be very creative if you wish.  So have fun and explore all your options so you and your family can enjoy your kitchen for years to come!

Granite and Silestone Edge Options

Edge Options for Granite and Silestone Countertops

3 Edge Options for Slab Countertops

There are 4 things that will decide how much you pay for your granite countertops.  The material and color  you choose, the edge option you choose, the slab yard your material comes from and the fabricator you choose to do the fabrication and installation.  I have already touched on the slab yard experience that is a must for your project.  In fact, if your granite fabricator or remodel store does NOT let you select your own slabs*, you should not use them!!  This means that they might be buying inferior material from an natural stone importer that is bringing in poor quality slabs.  If you are “flipping” a house or your project is for a rental property, this might be okay.  But if your project is for your home, I would run away from this fabricator or remodel store!  I encourage customers to make that trip to the yard so they know exactly which granite slabs (and color shading) will be going into their home.

Let’s talk about material thickness today.  Natural stone and quartz slabs come in 2 thicknesses:  3/4″ (also called 2 cm) and 1 1/4″ (also called 3 cm).  You have 3 common options on what edge thickness you will have installed.  Please see the sketch I have drawn to better illustrate the edge options.  What’s the difference in the two materials, you ask?  Obviously, 2 cm material costs less(on average about $ 5.00-$ 7.00/SF) than the 3 cm material because you are buying less material.

The common edge choices when using the 2cm thickness is a 3/4″ edge or a 1 1/2″ laminated edge.  The second choice is laminated because a 1 1/2″ strip of material is glued to the bottom edge of the countertop, making the edge 1 1/2″ thick.  When using 3 cm thick material, the common edge is 1 1/4″.  We have laminated the 3 cm material before, making the final edge thickness equal to 2 1/2″ thick.  We have also used 2 laminations on the 2cm material, making the final edge thickness equal to 2 1/4″.  These were done due to the need to cover 2 layers of plywood decking for a bartop or just due to customer preference.  You must be careful that your granite laminations do not interfere with the drawers opening after installation.  On some occasions, more plywood decking must be installed.

As noted earlier, the 2 cm natural stone material costs less than the 3 cm material and there are often more color choices in 2 cm material.  I’m not quite sure why, but the Houston countertop market has focused more on the 2 cm material, while the Austin and Dallas markets install more 3 cm granite material.  It is also a common miconception that using 3 cm material will lower your labor costs since the fabricator is skipping the lamination step. While this is true, 3 cm material is so much heavier to install that 4 – 6 men or more are required to lift these pieces when a 2 cm job is usually installed by 2 men.  You will save some money due to the fact that plywood decking** is not necessary for a 3 cm installation.

*  If your selection of countertops is a quartz product like Silestone, you won’t be asked to go select your slabs because this product is a man-made product.  While some specific colors will probably vary a bit, the overall color and pattern remain fairly consistant to the samples you see in the store.

**  Plywood decking is not required when installing a quartz material like Silestone since these quartz products have a bit more flexibility than a natural stone has.

Hello Stone and Tile Lovers!

4 x 12 Caramel Clear Glass installed on Backsplash
A Beautiful Kitchen!

I LOVE Natural Stone and Tile!

My name is Marisa, owner of Queen of the Tile and Medusa Tile. Queen of the Tile is my granite countertop business. We fabricate and install natural stone slabs like granite, marble, slate and onyx and man made quartz slabs like Silestone, Cambria and Icestone. Our installations include kitchen and bath countertops, tub decks, showers, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and floors.

Medusa Tile is my tile business. We install all tiles including porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, glass and stone and glass mosaics. We have done backsplashes, showers, tub decks, fireplaces, floors and walls.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge of the industry, posting pictures of installations and answering any questions people may have.