Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops Countertops
 
   
 
                                         Countertop Materials 
 
 


Granite’s intrinsic beauty, uniqueness, rich deep colors, hardness, and heat resistance has made it the countertop hallmark of quality and prestige for hundreds of years.  Granite is available in a large variety of colors and looks.  Today, with modern quarrying and finishing techniques, granite has become more affordable and more extensively used in homes.  In addition, modern sealers provide an excellent barrier to resist the natural stones staining and absorption of liquids.

Solid Surface was invented by chemists at DuPont®.  In 1967, DuPont® began marketing its Solid Surface material under the Corian® brand.  The name Corian® has become synonymous with all Solid Surface materials.  Available in a large variety of colors and looks, Solid Surface is an excellent countertop material.  It is non-porous, non-staining, does not support the growth of mold or mildew, and is 100% repairable.

Solid Surface was invented by chemists at DuPont®.  In 1967, DuPont® began marketing its Solid Surface material under the Corian® brand.  The name Corian® has become synonymous with all Solid Surface materials.  Available in a large variety of colors and looks, Solid Surface is an excellent countertop material.  It is non-porous, non-staining, does not support the growth of mold or mildew, and is 100% repairable.

Marble has been prized for sculpture since classical times, especially white marble.  This preference has to do with the softness and relative consistency and resistance to shattering.  As a countertop material its porosity, compared to Granite, is more susceptible to staining.  Marble offers limited color choices compared to Granites.

Limestone has been primarily used throughout the centuries in buildings and sculptures worldwide.  As Limestone is very reactive to acid solutions, when used as a countertop, it should be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkaline-based cleaner.  Limestone offers limited color choices compared to Granites.

Travertine, similar but different than Limestone and Marble in chemical composition, has been used extensively worldwide as a building and paving material.  It is highly porous and often has many voids when quarried into slabs.  When Travertine is used for countertops, the voids are usually filled with a clear or tinted epoxy at the quarry.  Travertine offers limited color choices compared to Granites.

Recycled Glass and Cement countertops are comprised of 100% recycled glass and cement mixture which creates a highly durable surface.  Although the material is very heavy and porous, it has gained popularity as a “green” countertop material.  Recycled Glass and Cement offers limited color choices compared to Granites.
Other Recycled & Hybrid Products are being introduced into the market as the demand for “Green” products increases.  These products provide the user with alternatives to the conventionally used surfacing materials mentioned above.  Each product, because of its composition, has its own character, performance characteristics, and appeal.
Soapstone is a relatively soft stone making it ideal for carving three dimensional shapes.  In recent years it has gained some popularity as a material for kitchen sinks.  Because of its high talc content it may feel soapy when touched, hence its name.  Soapstone will patina over time and exposure to various liquids.  Soapstone offers limited color choices compared to Granites.

Cultured Marble is a man-made surface material comprised of a thin coating of pigmented resin (Gelcoat) and filled with calcium carbonate (marble dust) in a binder.  The result is an inexpensive countertop material usually used in bathrooms.  Cultured Marble offers limited color choices compared to Granites.|


 
All of the commonly used countertop materials listed above have their pluses and minuses.  The Additional information sections describes each specific material but does not cover its strengths and weaknesses relative to countertop applications.


Material Comparison Chart


COUNTERTOP MATREIAL CHARACTERISTICS - COMPARISON CHART


MATERIAL CHARACTERISTICS

For centuries, the bellwether for countertop materials has been Granite.  Therefore, the following information will compare the pluses and minuses of other materials primarily to Granite.  As each material has its own unique characteristics, physical properties, benefits, and shortcomings, some of the alternate materials to Granite may not have direct characteristics to compare.  The following material properties describe each specific material but do not cover its strengths and weaknesses relative to countertop applications.

 

The following charts and comments have been gathered from years of Rembrandt’s in-plant and on-the-job experience with the materials.  Therefore, they may not echo the information disseminated by manufacturers of the man-made products or concur with what is considered common knowledge about the natural stones.  From Rembrandt’s experience and knowledge, Rembrandt’s comments are deemed to be honest and unbiased. They are not intended to slant the reader toward one material over another.


GRANITE

Attributes – Plus & Minus

GRANITE AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES

 

 

 

Granite Colors Granite and other natural stones are available in a large variety of colors and a very broad price rangePricing is more dependent on the stone’s abundance, accessibility, and mineral composition than appearance.  As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, an inexpensive stone may have equal or greater appeal than an expensive stone.  Conversely, a more exotic looking stone may only be slightly more costly than one in a lower price group.  Choice will have a very profound impact on the cost of any project.  Therefore keep your options open to similar looking stones when making a choice.

Rembrandt’s showroom features an extensive array of sample materials it fabricates.  In addition, the internet provides access to view materials offered by Rembrandt’s Trade Partners.  When it comes to selecting Granite and other natural stone, Rembrandt’s showroom samples are limited and Rembrandt encourages its clients to visit its trade partner’s warehouses to select the actual stone for their project. 

The following are a few examples of the most popular Granite colors Rembrandt regularly fabricates.  The examples shown are grouped into three price groups.  Keep in mind that material cost is more dependent on its abundance, accessibility, and mineral composition than on its appearance.  As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, an inexpensive stone may have equal or greater appeal than a more expensive stone.



Rembrandt’s clients can select materials from any of the following stone importers and distributors.  The actual wholesale material cost, is what Rembrandt charges its clients.  Therefore, all Rembrandt’s clients are able to take advantage of Rembrandt’s wholesale pricing and volume buying.


Each type of material may come from a different source.   By selecting materials form the Trade Partners Links listed below, you will be connected to the vast array of the materials they offer.  Many of their web sites offer the ability to order actual color samples.

 



Arizona Tile         http://www.arizonatile.com/gallery/gallery_by_material.aspx?cat=3
Cactus Stone      http://www.cactustile.com/catagory.aspx?id=3068
Dal Tile               http://products.daltile.com/catalog.cfm?log=4&subType=2
IMC Stone          http://www.imcstone.com/imc_slab_granite
Stone Quarry      http://www.stonequarryinc.com/stone_gallery.php?catid=1
MSI Stone          http://www.msistone.com/material-selector/
Stoneburg          http://www.stoneburg.com/index.taf?_menu=menu&level=1&fdid=prod&mnid=1061848809&wtyp=M&fkid=

 

Slab Selection Tips (Granite, Marble, Limestone, Travertine, and Soapstone)

The following comments lump together all of the natural stones used for countertops.  When selecting a specific stone the considerations may vary
from Granite.  In general they are very similar.  Thus, the following information specifically applies to Granite.

  1. Of all of the materials used for countertops, Granite has the broadest range of pricing.  It can range from the very inexpensive to extremely
    expensive.  As cost is always a primary consideration, knowing what the Granite cost, or what price group it is in, could save time in the selection process.

 

  1. As Granite is quarried stone created by nature, it inherently has many flaws and defects. The quarries will patch, fill, reinforce the back of
    the slab, and make other cosmetic enhancements in order to avoid scraping slabs.  Thus, carefully and thoroughly, visually inspect each
    slab.  Look for repairs, cracks, voids, fissures, and other imperfections.  If these material imperfections are in the center of the stone, it will
    become part of the countertop.  If they are on the edges of the slab, it may or may not be eliminated from the countertop.  Will these
    imperfections be acceptable?  If not, DO NOT select the slab.
  1. After completing the visual inspection, run your fingers over the Granite’s surface.  Your touch will uncover flaws that your eye missed.

 

  1. Finally look at the back of the slab.  If there is a mesh adhered to the back of the slab, the material is more prone to cracking and breaking. 
    The mesh is a red flag to look for quarry made repairs to cracks, voids, and fissures in the stone.  Even without the mesh backing, inspect
    closely for quarry made repairs and for un-repaired cracks, voids, and fissures in the stone.
  1. Does the Granite being selected have dramatic color variations and/or veining throughout the slab?  If so, seams in the fabricated countertop
    will be more apparent due to the color and/or grain shift from section to section. In order to minimize the apparent discontinuity, bookmarked
    slabs should be selected.  That is, the slabs are quarried from the same stone block and are taken from the block in consecutive order. 
    Bookmarking generally creates more waist from slabs as the color and pattern matching are more important than yield.

 

  1. To assure consistency in the Granite slabs, Rembrandt conducts this extensive and rigorous inspection process when material is received from
    the distributor.

 

Physical Description

Granite comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a crystalline rock.  Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock.  Granite has a medium to coarse texture.  Granites can be pink to dark gray or even black, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy.

Granite is nearly always massive (lacking internal structures), hard and tough, and therefore it has gained widespread use as a construction stone.  The average density of granite is 2.75 g/cm3 (172 lb/ft3) and its viscosity at standard temperature and pressure is ~4.5 • 1019 Pas.

Granite is named according to the percentage of quartz and feldspar within its composition.  True granite, according to modern petrologic convention, contains both plagioclase and alkali feldspars.  A worldwide average proportion of the different chemical components in granites, in descending order by weight percent, is: SiO2 – 72.04%, Al2O3 – 14.42%, K2O – 4.12%, Na2O – 3.69%, CaO – 1.82%, FeO – 1.68%, MgO – 0.71%, TiO2 – 0.30%, P2O5 – 0.12%, & MnO – 0.05%.

Granite is currently known only on Earth where it forms a major part of continental crust and is the most abundant basement rock that underlies the relatively thin sedimentary veneer of the continents.  Granite is an igneous rock and is formed from magma.  Granitic magma has many potential origins but it must intrude other rocks.  Most granite intrusions are emplaced at depth within the crust, usually greater than 1.5 kilometers and up to 50 km depth within thick continental crust.

Granite is a natural source of radiation, like most natural stones.  However, some granites have been reported to have higher radioactivity thereby raising some concerns about their safety.

Some granites contain around 10 to 20 parts per million of uranium.  By contrast, more mafic rocks such as tonalite, gabbro or diorite have 1 to 5 ppm uranium, and limestone and sedimentary rocks usually have equally low amounts.  Cellars and basements sunk into soils over granite can become a trap for radon gas, which is formed by the decay of uranium.  Radon gas poses significant health concerns, and is the #2 cause of lung cancer in the US behind smoking. Most materials sold as granite countertops or as building material are not thought an acute health threat. One expert, Dr. Dan Steck of St. Johns University, has stated that approximately 5% of all granites will be of concern, with the caveat that only a tiny percentage of the tens of thousands of granite slabs have been actually tested.  Various resources from national geological survey organizations are accessible online to assist in assessing the risk factors in granite country and design rules relating, in particular, to preventing accumulation of radon gas in enclosed basements and dwellings.

"A study of Granite Countertops was done (initiated and paid for by the Marble Institute of America) in November 2008 by National Health and Engineering Inc. of USA, and found that 18 of the 39 full size granite slabs that were measured for the study failed to meet the European Union safety standards.

Furthermore, all but one of the 39 full size slabs tested in the E, H, & E study had Activity Concentration Indexes above that which the EU regulations require dose assessments.  The Marble Institute dealt with this issue by stating that the European Union granite countertop regulations were flawed.  The stones tested include types of granite that comprise approximately 80 percent of the annual US market share for granite countertops, based on the most recent market data available."

Other researchers and organizations do not agree with the Marble Institute's stated position on granite safety, including AARST (American Association of Radon Scientists and Technicians) and the CRCPD (Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, an organization of state radiation protection officials).  Both organizations have committees currently setting maximum allowed levels of radiation/radon as well as protocols for measuring radiation/radon from granite countertops.  The European Union regulations will likely serve as the basis for new EPA based regulations for granite building materials here in the US.

ENGINEERED QUARTZ (ENGINEERED STONE)

Attributes – Plus & Minus

ENGINEERED QUARTZ (STONE) AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES





Engineered Quartz Colors

Engineered Quartz
is available in an ever growing variety of colors offered by an ever increasing number of manufacturers. 
Pricing is more dependent what the manufacturer chooses to charge and is not necessarily related to the cost of the material
content of the Engineered Quartz.  Inexpensive Engineered Quartz made by one company may have equal or greater visual
appeal than a more expensive Engineered Quartz from a second manufacturer.  Choice will have a very profound impact on
the cost of any project.  Therefore keep your options open to different manufactures similar looking Engineered Quartz when
making a choice.

Rembrandt’s showroom
features an extensive array of sample materials it fabricates.  In addition, the internet provides access
to view materials offered by Rembrandt’s Trade Partners.  When it comes to selecting Engineered Quartz, Rembrandt’s showroom
samples are relatively complete.  Rembrandt encourages its clients to visit its trade partner’s web sites to all of the available colors
and patterns offered. 

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one manufacturer may offer a similar look and at a lower cost.  As the performance of
Engineered Quartz is virtually that same for all brands, careful selection is key to getting the most value for your money. 

The following are a few examples of colors offered by Cambria, one of many Engineered Quartz brands.



Rembrandt’s clients can select materials from any of the following manufacturers and distributors.  The actual wholesale material cost,
is what Rembrandt charges its clients
.  Therefore, all Rembrandt’s clients are able to take advantage of Rembrandt’s wholesale
pricing and volume buying.

By selecting materials form the Trade Partners Links listed below, you will be connected to the vast array of the materials they offer. 
Many of their web sites offer the ability to order actual color samples.





Silestone            http://www.silestoneusa.com/colors/
Viatera               http://www.lgviaterausa.com/productOverviews/83/by-product-line
Caesarstone       http://www.caesarstoneus.com/products/
Dal Tile Quartz    http://products.daltile.com/onequartz.cfm
Technistone        http://www.technistone.eu/en/index.php?obsah=barevne_rady
Hanstone            http://hanwhasurfaces.com/site/hanstonecollection#.UaTsJIrn9hE
Radianz              http://www.staron.com/radianz/eng/color/color.do
Cambria             http://www.cambriausa.com/collection.cfm
Eco                    http://usa.ecobycosentino.com/color.cfm
Zodiaq               http://www2.dupont.com/Surfaces/en_US/products/zodiaq/zodiaq_colors.html
Okite                  http://www.okite.us/colors.html
Basix                 http://basixsurfaces.com/quartz_colors.html
                         

Selecting Engineered Quartz (aka Engineered Stone)

As a man-made material, Engineered Quartz doesn’t have most of the flaws and inconsistencies of natural stone.  Outside of its physical
characteristics, selecting Engineered Quartz is totally dependent on an individual’s color and pattern preference.

  1. Like other materials used for countertops, Engineered Quartz has a moderate range of pricing.  It can range from somewhat more
    expensive than inexpensive granites to moderately priced granites plus its cost will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.  As cost
    is always a primary consideration, knowing what the Engineered Quartz cost, or what price group it is in, could save time in the
    selection process.

  2. As Engineered Quartz is manufactured, it inherently is consistent in its finish but does vary in color within each slab as well as from
    slab to slab.  Close inspection of each slab, preferably in bright sunlight, will identify any inconsistency in color.  Viewing multiple slabs
    side by side will identify the uniformity of color between slabs.

  3. Unlike Granite, Engineered Quartz is susceptible to damage from thermal shock.  Thermal shock can come from extreme hot and/or
    cold sources.  Should shattering of the quartz crystals occur, there is no currently known way to repair the damage.

  4. As Engineered Quartz is over 90% quartz, the surface will not have an overall uniform gloss.  This is due to the quartz polishing to a
    different luster than the resin used to hole the quartz particulates together.  Viewing the slab in bright sunlight and at a low angle will
    reveal the surface’s blemishes.

  5. Being a non-porous material, Engineered Quartz is approved by health departments as a surface for commercial food preparation and
    for hospital use.  It doesn’t support the growth of bacteria, mold or mildew nor will it absorb liquids that could degrade and contaminate foods.

  6. To assure consistency in the Engineered Quartz, Rembrandt conducts a rigorous inspection process when material is received from the distributor.

 

Physical Description


Engineered Quartz is a composite man-made material comprising rock and resin.  It is used primarily for countertop surfaces.

Engineered Quartz products are gaining in popularity and are sometimes preferred over granite products because Engineered Quartz requires less maintenance and has better resistance to stains and bacterial contamination.


The original Engineered Quartz brands began by using the same equipment and patented process.  Breton S.P.A, a privately held company of Treviso

Italy, is the original inventor and now a supplier of equipment for manufacturing Engineered Quartz.  Breton’s process uses a mixture of 93% quartz and

7% polyester resin that is pressed into slabs (or larger blocks) under pressure and elevated temperature.

Rembrandt currently fabricates: LG Viatera®, DuPont Zodiaq®, HanStone®, CeasarStone®, Technistone®, Cosentino Silestone® & Eco®, Cambria®,

Staron Tempest®, Basix®, and Dal Tile One®.  In addition, Rembrandt is able to offer other brands, as they are continually entering the Engineered

Quartz market.

SOLID SURFACE (AKA CORIAN)

Attributes – Plus & Minus

SOLID SURFACE AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES

Solid Surface Colors

Solid Surface is available in a broad variety of colors and pricesPricing is more dependent what the manufacturer chooses to charge and is not necessarily related to the cost of the material content of the Solid Surface.  Inexpensive Solid Surface made by one company may have equal or greater appeal than a more expensive Solid Surface from a second manufacturer.  Choice will have a very profound impact on the cost of any project.  Therefore keep your options open to different manufactures similar looking Solid Surfaces when making a choice.

Rembrandt’s showroom features an extensive array of sample materials it fabricates.  In addition, the internet provides access to view materials offered by Rembrandt’s Trade Partners.  When it comes to selecting Solid Surface, Rembrandt’s showroom samples are relatively complete.  Rembrandt encourages its clients to visit its Trade Partner’s web sites to view all of the available colors and patterns offered. 

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one manufacturer may offer a similar look and at a lower cost.  As the performance of Solid Surface is virtually that same for all brands, careful selection is key to getting the most value for your money. 

Rembrandt’s clients can select materials from any of the following manufacturers and distributors.  The actual wholesale material cost, is what Rembrandt charges its clients.  Therefore, all Rembrandt’s clients are able to take advantage of Rembrandt’s wholesale pricing and volume buying.

By selecting materials form the Trade Partners Links listed below, you will be connected to the vast array of the materials they offer.  Many of their web sites offer the ability to order actual color samples.



Hi-Macs              http://www.lghausys.com/us/product/surfaces/hi-classic.jsp
Corian                http://www2.dupont.com/Surfaces/en_US/products/corian/pr_corian_colors.html
Staron                http://www.staron.com/staron/eng/color/color.do
Wilsonart            http://samples.wilsonart.com/c-103-solid-surface.aspx
Livingstone         http://www.livingstonesurfaces.com/colors.html
Basix                 http://basixsurfaces.com/basix_colors.html
Basix Prima        http://basixsurfaces.com/prima_colors.html
Avonite              http://www.avonitesurfaces.com/content/all-avonite-colors
Hanex                http://hanwhasurfaces.com/site/hanex 

 

Selecting Solid Surface (aka Corian)

As a man-made material, Solid Surface doesn’t have the inconsistencies of natural stone or Engineered Quartz.  Outside of its physical characteristics, selecting Solid Surface is totally dependent on an individual’s color and pattern preference.

    1. Like other materials used for countertops, Solid Surface has a range of pricing.  Price is driven by the brand of the Solid Surface selected, and then by the color and/or look of the material.  As cost is always a primary consideration, knowing what the Solid Surface cost, or what price group it is in, could save time in the selection process.

    2. As Solid Surface is manufactured, it is usually consistent in its size and thickness.  Color and appearance within a sheet of Solid Surface is usually very consistent.  However, from sheet to sheet the color may vary. Some manufacturers go so as far as to consecutively number the sheets coming off of their manufacturing line in order to assure that the color from one sheet to the next matches.  Color will also vary from lot to lot.  Therefore, when selecting a color, the actual color of the sheet may be visibly different than the showroom sample, when viewed side by side.  This is the nature of Solid Surface.  Expect some color variation between a sample and the actual finished product.

    3. Unlike Granite, Solid Surface is susceptible to damage from thermal shock.  Thermal shock can come from extreme hot and/or cold sources.  Heat from a cook-top is known to cause cracking in the Solid Surface at the corners of the cook-top.  To compensate for this potential problem special care in the fabrication is required.  Rembrandt always includes the construction of a reinforced layer completely around the cook-top opening and then adds a special heat conducting barrier between the cook-top and the Solid Surface.  These precautions have been very effective in eliminating this problem in all but the most extreme cases.
    4. In addition to heat produced by a cook-top, NEVER place a hot pot directly from the range or oven onto the Solid Surface countertop.  Heat from appliances like a crock pot, toaster oven, etc. can also cause damage.  To avoid damage use a trivet under the hot object.  Similarly, NEVER pour boiling water into a Solid Surface sink without FIRST turning on the cold tap water.

      Should a crack occur in a countertop, the damaged area can usually be repaired and the end result should look like the original surface.  Extreme cold sources can also cause thermal shock and the same precautions mentioned for hot objects also apply for cold objects.

    5. Solid Surface is softer than stone.  Therefore, it is more easily scratched and scuffed than some other countertop materials.  As most superficial scuffs and scratches can be buffed out by the user, it is an easily corrected condition.

    6. Being a non-porous material, Solid Surface is approved by health departments as a surface for commercial food preparation and for hospital use.  It doesn’t support the growth of bacteria, mold or mildew nor will it absorb liquids that could degrade and contaminate foods.

Physical Description


Solid Surface is a man-made material comprised of high performance resins, pigment, and filler.  Different brands may use different resins such as acrylic, acrylic blended with unsaturated polyester, and unsaturated polyester.  Whatever resin system is used, all are blended with alumina-tri-hydrate (ATH), in approximately a ratio of 40% resin and 60% ATH.  All true solid surface products do not use gel coats in their formulation or manufacturing.  Solid Surface material is used primarily in counter tops, shower pans, and wall panel applications.  The primary reason solid surface is used is for its physical characteristics of being non-porous, non-staining, it doesn’t support the growth of mold or mildew, and is 100% repairable.  Since the color is homogeneous through the product, scratches, chips and stains can be easily sanded out.

A design benefit of solid surface materials is its ability to be machined like wood, though special equipment and fabrication procedures are required.  It can be precisely cut and bonded to fit nearly any surface shape.  The bonded edges of solid surface usually result in a nearly invisible seam.  Solid Surface materials can also be routed for decorative edge effects.

Solid Surface materials are sold under a number of brand names including Corian®, LG Hi-Macs®, Livingstone®, Staron®, Avonite®, Formica®, Wilsonart® and many more.  Rembrandt is authorized to fabricate all of these products. 

MARBLE

Attributes – Plus & Minus

 

MARBLE AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES



Marble Colors

Access color links in the Granite Colors Section above.  

Slab Selection Tips

Access Selecting Granite Tips above.  

 

Physical Description


Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone.  It is composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3).  It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications.  The word marble is colloquially used to refer to many other stones that are capable of taking a high polish

Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of very pure limestone.  The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone.  These various impurities have been mobilized and re-crystallized by the intense pressure and heat of metamorphism.  The veining in marble is actually cracks in the stone.  Some marble slabs have been filled with resin at the quarry before it is ever shipped to the U.S. in order to hide its imperfections.  It is not uncommon for the fabricator to do additional repairs on fragile marble.

Due to the Calcium Carbonate composition of marble, it is much softer than granite.  Marble will easily scratch and is very sensitive to acid.  Etching (chemical damage to the surface of marble) is always a concern for Marble tops.  Please see Care & Maintenance to learn more about etching.  Marble slabs are generally smaller than granite but will usually be at least 58" x 100".  Marble may be available in 3cm (1 1/4" thickness) but most colors are available only in 2cm (3/4").

Like granite, marble must be sealed to help protect against staining.  Rembrandt will properly seal all Marble tops.  Please refer to Care & Maintenance for more information about caring for your Marble top.


LIMESTONE & TRAVERTINE

Attributes – Plus & Minus

 

LIMESTONE AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES



TRAVRETINE AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES


 

Limestone & Travertine Colors

Access color links in the Granite Colors Section above.  (link to Granite Colors Section above)

Slab Selection Tips

Access Selecting Granite Tips above.  (link to Selecting Granite above)

Physical Description

 

Limestone, is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3).  Limestones often contain variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or flint, as well as varying amounts of clay, silt and sand as disseminations, nodules, or layers within the rock.  The primary source of the calcite in limestone is most commonly marine organisms.  These organisms secrete shells that settle out of the water column and are deposited on ocean floors as pelagic ooze (see lysocline for information on calcite dissolution).  Secondary calcite may also be deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters (groundwater that precipitates the material in caves).  This produces speleothems such as stalagmites and stalactites.  Another form taken by calcite is that of oolites (oolitic limestone) which can be recognized by its granular appearance.  Limestone makes up about 10 percent of the total volume of all sedimentary rocks.

Pure limestones are white or almost white.  Because of impurities, such as clay, sand, organic remains, iron oxide and other materials, many limestones exhibit different colors, especially on weathered surfaces.  Some Limestones commonly used for countertops have grayish veins or "glass seams" as called by the quarry.  These are naturally occurring and unavoidable.  It is not uncommon for the quarry to make repairs in Limestone before it is ever shipped to fabricators.  It is still very beautiful but something you should be aware of.  Limestone may be crystalline, clastic, granular, or massive, depending on the method of formation.  Crystals of calcite, quartz, dolomite or barite may line small cavities in the rock.  Folk and Dunham classifications are used to describe limestone more precisely.

For additional information on Limestone go to the COLOR (make this word a link) section where links to various stone distributor’s web site is listed.

Travertine is a banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams, particularly where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs.  Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution that is supersaturated with chemical constituents of calcite.  Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls.  Coquina is a poorly consolidated limestone composed of pieces of coral or shells.  During regional metamorphism limestone recrystallizes into marble.

 

RECYCLED GLASS & CONCRETE

Attributes – Plus & Minus

RECYCLED GLASS & CONCRETE AS COUNTERTOP MATREIAL - PLUSES & MINUSES

Recycled Glass & Concrete Colors

Recycled Glass is available in a limited number of colors and patternsRecycled Glass is classed as a “Green” product.  Because of its “Green” classification and uniqueness, Recycled Glass is gaining a foothold as a countertop material.  Relative to most Granite, Recycled Glass is appreciably more expensive.  Different colors from one manufacture may also have a large price variation.  Less expensive Recycled Glass made by one company may have equal or greater appeal than a more expensive Recycled Glass from a second manufacturer.  Choice will have a very profound impact on the cost of any project.  Therefore keep your options open to different manufactures similar looking Recycled Glass when making a choice.

Although IceStone is listed below, Rembrandt WILL NOT fabricate this produce due primarily to its fragility.  Rembrandt has experienced IceStone slabs breaking when handling during manufacturing, transporting, during installation, and just sitting on cabinets without any outside influences.  Further Rembrandt has experienced a problem with the slabs warping and with the company’s material warranty.

Rembrandt’s showroom features an extensive array of sample materials it fabricates.  In addition, the internet provides access to view materials offered by Rembrandt’s Trade Partners.  When it comes to selecting Recycled Glass, Rembrandt’s showroom samples are relatively complete.  Rembrandt encourages its clients to visit its Trade Partner’s web sites to view all of the available colors and patterns offered. 

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one manufacturer may offer a similar look and at a lower cost.  As the performance of Recycled Glass is virtually that same for all brands, careful selection is key to getting the most value for your money. 

Rembrandt’s clients can select materials from any of the following manufacturers and distributors.  The actual wholesale material cost, is what Rembrandt charges its clients.  Therefore, all Rembrandt’s clients are able to take advantage of Rembrandt’s wholesale pricing and volume buying.

By selecting materials form the Trade Partners Links listed below, you will be connected to the array of the materials they offer.  Many of their web sites offer the ability to order actual color samples.

 

Vetrazzo             http://vetrazzo.com/products_palette.asp
IceStone             http://www.icestone.biz/product/color-palette

Physical Description

Recycled Glass countertops are comprised of 100% recycled glass and a cement or resin mixture which created a highly durable surface.  Material content is derived from decommissioned traffic lights, windshields, used bottles and plate glass windows for example.  The ultimate goal is to conserve the planet and help consumers choose a color palette that reflects their style and values.

This is a very fast growing segment as many people are trying to do their part in the "green movement".  New manufacturers of these products are surfacing at a rapid pace.  The two most common products that CMC fabricates are Icestone and Vetrazzo.  Please check our link page to find out more about these products.  If you are interested in a new or different eco-friendly product not listed here please contacts us.  It is likely we are familiar with the product and can fabricate it for you.

Generally speaking, the environmentally sensitive products like Recycled Glass are more expensive than Engineered Quartz and most natural stone. 

 

OTHER RECYCLED & HYBRID PRODUCTS

Other Recycled & Hybrid Colors

Other Recycled Countertop Materials are making their way into countertop applications, partly because of their “Green” classification and their uniqueness.  Depending on the specific product, these materials are usually available in a limited number of colors and patterns.  Relative to most Granite, Other Recycled Countertop Materials are appreciably more expensive.  Different colors from one manufacture may also have a large price variation.  As the look and physical characteristics of Other Recycled Countertop Materials vary dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer, the consumer will have to compare uniqueness and look to the material’s cost.  Therefore keep your options open to different manufactures offering Other Recycled Countertop Materials when making a choice.

Rembrandt’s showroom features an limited array of sample materials it fabricates.  In addition, the internet provides access to view materials offered by Rembrandt’s Trade Partners.  When it comes to selecting Other Recycled & Hybrid materials, Rembrandt’s showroom samples are limited.  Rembrandt encourages its clients to visit its Trade Partner’s web sites to view all of the available colors and patterns offered. 

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one manufacturer may offer a similar look and at a lower cost.  As the performance of Other Recycled & Hybrid materials are from brand to brand, careful selection is key to getting the performance and look desired. 

Rembrandt’s clients can select materials from any of the following manufacturers and distributors.  The actual wholesale material cost, is what Rembrandt charges its clients.  Therefore, all Rembrandt’s clients are able to take advantage of Rembrandt’s wholesale pricing and volume buying.

By selecting materials form the Trade Partners Links listed below, you will be connected to the array of the materials they offer.  Many of their web sites offer the ability to order actual color samples.

ForzaStone         http://forzastone.com/Gallery/Residential-Gallery.aspx
Alkemi/Acrylic     http://renewedmaterials.com/products-acrylic/about.html
Alkemi/Polyester http://renewedmaterials.com/products-polyester/colors.html
PaperStone        http://www.paperstoneproducts.com/products-panels-slate.php

Physical Description

Paperstone is an earth friendly composite of recycled paper saturated with phenolic resins fused together to form sheets for countertop and other applications.  It is a non-porous composite product that does not delaminate. Ordinary paper is transformed into an extremely strong and durable solid surface material with incredible longevity and resistance to water, has a class A fire and smoke rating and is heat resistant to 350°F..

ForzaStone is a combination of a 5mm travertine or marble veneer bonded to a 4mm aluminum composite substrate.  The panels are lightweight, long lasting and 800% stronger than a 3 cm thick stone slab.  ForzaStone panels are made by recycling wastewater, aluminum and stone scrap and using only green certified sealers and low-VOC lifetime epoxy adhesives.



SOAPSTONE

Physical Description








Soapstone
(also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist.  It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is rich in magnesium.  It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occurs at the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting.  It has been a medium for carving for thousands of years.

The rock steatite (also called soapstone) is the material we use to fabricate countertops.  Steatite, because of its additives, is harder than talc, and hence suitable for the applications cited above.  Soapstone (steatite) in its initial state only comes in shades of gray.

This naturally quarried stone is softer than most other naturally occurring minerals.  Although soft, soapstone is a very dense (non-porous) stone; more so than marble, slate, limestone and even granite.  Since soapstone is impenetrable, it will not stain, no liquid will permeate its surface.  Other stones, including granite, have a propensity to soil; this is why soapstone (steatite) is widely used in chemistry lab countertops and acid rooms.

CULTURED MARBLE

Physical Description

Rembrandt doesn’t offer cultured marble.  The information contained below is for the reader’s reference.

In the United States, cultured marble (also known as cast polymer, man-made marble, tiffany marble and plastic cement, cultured onyx, cultured stone, cultured solid surface) is used in about every home and commercial establishment due to its low cost relative to natural stone, Engineered Quartz and solid surface. This lower cost material is also less durable and more susceptible to yellowing and cracking (especially at sink drains) than the products Rembrandt offers. 

Cultured marble is a combination of a gel-coated clear resin surface, pigment, marble dust (calcium carbonate), and catalyst.  After applying the gel-coat to the mold’s surface the remaining mixture is then poured into molds where it will harden into the shape of the mold.  Although solid surface and cultured marble are both referred to as cast polymers, there is a wide gap between the manufacturing process, raw materials, quality, durability, reparability, uniformity of the total material, and performance.

 


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