• Phone: (714) 444-3004
  • Email us: info@kitchenandflooring.com
  • Working Days: Mon - Sat

Countertops

Make a statement of your own

A revolution in creativity and technology has raised countertops to a new level of prominence in contemporary room design. Whether stone, porcelain or ceramic, the elements of fashion and functionality are served with equal style. And with the skillful touch of our design specialists, every detail contributes to a lasting impression of beauty and statement.

Discover new elements of style for your kitchen and bathroom

From traditional to modern, let us help you create the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams. We offer a full selection of top-quality countertops, and we arrange expert installation from licensed, insured, courteous in-house installers. Our competitive price includes desigslan consultation, site preparation, and installation.

When it comes to designing your kitchen and bathroom one of the most important elements are the countertops. Countertops see a lot of action; in the kitchen they take some abuse from hot pans, chopping knives, and spilled liquids and in the bathroom they are the resting place for hot curling irons, hair dryers, spilled make-up and much more.

Countertops are functional but they also offer an aesthetic value to every space. They provide the perfect opportunity to enhance the visual appeal of your kitchen and bath. Other design opportunities include backsplashes in kitchens and baths and eye-catching materials for your shower walls and tub surrounds.

One general consideration for kitchen planning is to be sure to consider entry doors and what direction they swing. The clear opening of a doorway should be a minimum of 32” wide which requires a 2’10” door. Doors should not interfere with other doors or objects like cabinets or appliances. If space is an issue, consider using a bi-fold door or pocket doors. This is a simple item to plan for, but a costly item to replace if changed after the completion of the project!

There are a variety of materials available today for countertops and many times no one material is best for all surfaces. This is especially true from a design perspective; combining different materials in creative applications always makes for a show stopper space!

In this section on Countertops and Walls, you learn about the multitude of products available for these surfaces such as ceramic and porcelain tile, natural stone and slab, solid surfacing, Quartz and specialty products including soapstone and paperstone. We will cover everything you need to know before you make a purchase and how to maintain your new countertops to provide lasting durability and beauty.

Before you get started, consider the following:

  • Easy maintenance
  • Countertops of different materials
  • A natural material
  • Heat resistant materials
  • Stain resistant materials
  • Edge treatments
  • Backsplashes
  • Budget
  • Grout lines- do they bother you?
  • Islands- Do you have or are you planning one?
  • Integrated sinks

Ceramic tile is everywhere. We see it in beautiful residences and decorative commercial applications. For centuries it has been, and still is, one of the most intriguing and practical choices. Due to its endless design options, durability and easy maintenance, ceramic tile is often a popular choice for many households.

Since ceramic tile is man-made it is available in a wide selection of sizes, colors, patterns and finishes. Finishes range from matte to high gloss with some finishes being more suitable for specific areas in the home. For example, scratches are more noticeable on a high gloss tile making them more suitable for bathrooms, surrounds or back splashes rather than a kitchen countertop. Tiles are either decorated and glazed or are left unglazed. Your Design Consultant will be happy to answer any questions you have on choosing the type tile that’s right for you.

Many tile patterns today emulate the look of natural stone while staying within a ceramic tile budget. These tiles are intended to show variations just like stone. Solid color tiles provide a consistent look, however shade variation is inherent in all fired ceramic products and certain tiles will show greater variation within their dyelots. Color variations will also be present between the samples in the design center and throughout your countertop, wall tile or ceramic flooring.

Trim pieces complete the edges or corners of your countertop. These pieces are manufactured separately from the field tile, due to their shape, and may have slight variation in color and dyelot. In some applications, when the field tile differs in size and shape from the trim pieces, grout joints will not align.

The beauty of ceramic tile is the flexibility you have with design options, especially with the use of liners and decorative tiles. Liners, sometimes called feature strips or decos, can greatly enhance the look of your kitchen or bathroom. They do however sometimes vary in thickness, width, color or dyelot and in some cases, matching trim pieces may not be available. Liners, like trim pieces, with their varying shapes and sizes, will not align perfectly with the field tile, particularly if there are other items to tile around, such as an electrical outlet.

Once you have decided upon a tile you will then need to select a grout color. Grout can sometimes display uneven color or inconsistencies within the different areas of the same installation with the same grout color, or vary from the sample in the design center. This can be attributed to variations in temperature and humidity at the time of grouting. It is common to see slight differences in grout color when comparing the grout color in tile floor and the same color on the tile countertop or wall. Exact layouts, type of grout and grout joint widths are determined by the tile setter at the time of installation and are governed by the actual size and shape of the tile and the exact dimensions of the areas to be covered.

Often times the grout is joining two different surfaces together, for example, where wall tile meets with a wood cabinet. Changes of season can cause the other surface to expand and contract causing the grout to crack and separate. Grout can also darken overtime in areas with heavy water usage. Ask your Design Consultant for recommendations on how to protect your grout and tile and remember it is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain all caulked areas to guard against water damage.

Keep in mind that ceramic tile is very durable, but not indestructible. Do not use a ceramic countertop to sit or stand on, or as a cutting board. Ceramic tile or grout can crack or chip under extreme force.

The Basics

Types of Stone:

  • Granite – Granite is the number one choice for high use areas, such as a kitchen countertop, because it is extremely dense and durable.
  • Marble – Marble is a crystallized limestone that comes in many different color variations and usually displays a veining pattern that adds to its uniqueness. Marble is more porous than granite, therefore popular for bath applications rather than the more heavily used kitchen areas.
  • Limestone/Travertine – Typically, these stones are honed with the matte finish although some of the harder types can be polished. As these stones are even more porous than marble, they may require more preventative maintenance over time.

Natural Stone Slab

  • Slabs are solid pieces of stone that are used for countertops, backsplashes, wall and surrounds.
  • More expensive than natural stone tile.
  • Different stone types are better suited for different uses. Granite is the most popular slab for kitchen counters for hardness and durability.
  • Seams in slabs are possible and can be visible depending upon the application and layout.
  • Edge Treatments
      You will have a choice of edge treatments for slab. Some edge details are simply the edge of the slab rounded or cut in different styles such as a bullnose, bevel edge, or ogee. The other type is called a laminated edge where there are two pieces of stone laminated together to form more of an overhang. With the laminated edges you will see a seam.

What About Sealing?

It is highly recommended that you seal your stone tile or slab after it is installed to provide additional stain resistance and to protect the stone’s original beauty. There are different types of sealers depending on the type of stone. Scratches, stains, etching and dulling of the surface are all permanent damage and forever alter the appearance of your stone. Ask your design consultant for information about sealing.

The Value of Upgrading

  • Access to more durable stones
  • Wider selection of colors
  • Wider selection of edge details
  • Adds value to any home

Stone Types

Granite: One of the hardest and densest of all natural stone. Next to the diamond, it is the hardest of the natural stones.

  • Resists staining and scratching better than any other natural stone.
  • Beautiful in foyers, bathrooms, libraries or kitchens or as an accent with other natural stones.
  • Made up of mainly quartz, feldspar and mica.
  • Mother nature produces a variety of rich colors each with their own distinctive characteristics.

Marble: Marble is crystallized limestone that comes in many different color variations and usually displays a veining pattern that adds to its uniqueness. These veins are typically different in color from the overall color of the stone.

  • A timeless addition to any home, bearing the signs and marks of history from thousands of years.
  • More porous and softer than granite, making it more susceptible to staining and scratching. Therefore, marble is more suitable for bathroom countertops/walls, shower stalls, tub surrounds or fireplace surrounds.
  • Marble is not recommended for use in kitchens. Marble is very sensitive to acidic chemicals such as citric acids from lemons or limes. These acids can etch or dull a marble surface creating permanent damage.

Limestone: This stone has a more subtle look and is often offered in a “honed” or matte finish. This stone will require preventative maintenance over time, as it is a softer stone and very porous.

  • Created by the accumulation of organic materials such as shells and coral.
  • Colors tend to be softer and more neutral ranging from cream, beige, brown, pale rust and soft blue.
  • Clean and simple in appearance.
  • May not be suitable for all areas in the home because it will stain easily.

Travertine: Unique looking due to the “fill process”. In its original form, Travertine has thousands of holes running through it. These holes are filled and then the stone is polished. The stone polishes to a high sheen and the fill areas remain dull creating a beautiful floor. Like Limestone, this stone will require preventative maintenance over time, due to its porosity.

  • From the limestone family-so it shares some similar characteristics such as being soft and porous.
  • Comprised of layers of mineral composites that cool and crystallize into travertine.

Slate: This rustic, yet elegant stone, has become increasing popular over the years. The beautiful color variations turn any countertop or surround into a work of art. Slate can be used for interiors as well as exteriors making it the perfect product to bring the outdoors in!

  • All slate has a natural clefting along the surface which gives this stone its unique textural look of layers.
  • The most dramatic of color variations. Rich reds, oranges and golds to black, brown and rust to mauve, lavender, green, blue, silver and grey. Colors range from warm and earthy to cool and sophisticated
  • Extremely durable and stain resistant. Although slate does not require sealing, the grout surrounding it does. Ask your design consultant about a product that will enhance the slate and seal the grout at the same time.
  • Resistant to cracking and chipping
  • Beautiful for kitchen countertops and backsplashes, bathroom countertops, backsplash and wall surrounds and fireplaces.

Tumbled Stone: is marble, travertine and limestone that are tumbled and distressed to evoke a timeworn look of stone from centuries past.

  • An old world look.
  • Suitable for both the casual and formal environment.
  • The perfect accent to polished granite, marble or limestone.
  • Stunning on countertops, surrounds or as backsplash treatments.
  • Available in many sizes and are often used in borders or decorative strips. Accent strips, mosaics, chair rails, listellos and smaller sizes such as 1×1, 4×4, 6×6.

Natural Characteristics
It’s important to remember that natural stone is a product of Mother Nature. No two pieces of natural stone tile will look the same. Veining and crystallization are natural characteristics of the stone, not imperfections.
Different stones are have different levels of hardness and porosity and are best for different uses. Be sure to ask your design consultant about which stone is right for the different areas in your home depending on whether it is a wet area, like a bath or a high traffic area such as a kitchen.
Tile Sizes
12”x12” is the size typically installed on countertops.
Tumbled Stone is also available in smaller sizes such as 4”x4”and 8”x8” and even smaller in many of the intricate decorative borders.

Tile Edges
There are two types of edges for natural stone tile.
A polished bull nose edge that has a rounded or curved appearance. A polished straight 90 degree edge.
Natural stone tile is less expensive than natural stone slab and still evokes an elegant look.
Selecting Grout for Natural Stone Tile

Natural Stone grout lines are typically done with unsanded grout and are usually much thinner than ceramic tile installations.
Design Options-grout can match, contrast or coordinate with your stone tile. Remember, grout will outline each tile creating a visual picture frame. If you want to highlight the beauty of your stone and make the grout less noticeable, select a grout that is close in color to the stone. A contrasting grout color, either darker or lighter, will enhance the appearance of the grout lines creating a checkerboard effect.
Grout darkens as it ages, so sealing is recommended. Remember that grout colors can change slightly from the sample in the design center to the grout installed in your home based on the temperature and humidity when the tile is installed.

What About Sealing?

It is highly recommended that you seal your stone tile or slab after it is installed to provide additional stain resistance and to protect the stone’s original beauty. There are different types of sealers depending on the type of stone. Scratches, stains, etching and dulling of the surface are all permanent damage and forever alter the appearance of your stone. Ask your design consultant for information about sealing.

The Value of Upgrading
You will have a wider selection of types, sizes and colors.
You will have access to more durable types of stones.
Decorative options such as accent strips, mosaics, patterns, etc.
A timeless finish that brings value to any home.

Solid surface products are designed for a lifetime of good looks and easy care. For the busy household or for the homebuyer who appreciates clean lines and durability, solid surface products fit the bill. Offered as countertops, integrated sinks, backsplashes, shower and tub surrounds they are manufactured from acrylic resins and/or polyester plastics with mineral fillers.

    • Manufactured into sheets that are typically ½” thick that can be formed into seamless designs or layouts that have nearly invisible seams.

These products can accommodate large areas however in some instances seaming is necessary.
Seams are joined with a color-tinted adhesive which becomes less noticeable after it is sanded

  • A vast selection of colors to choose from with finishes ranging from matte to high gloss.
  • Although white and black are gaining in popularity, the neutrals are still the big winners with the stronger colors being used on islands, inserts in edge treatments or on backsplashes.
  • Perfect in the kitchen as these countertops can stand up well to daily wear and tear.
  • Resistant to bacteria and mold.
  • Non-porous material that resists many common household stains.
  • Although known for their durability, these products are not indestructible.
  • Use of hot pads or trivets on kitchen counters are necessary.
  • They are not completely scratch resistant
  • Darker colors show scratches more than the lighter colors
    A choice of edge treatments.

Known for its Easy Maintenance

Can be cleaned simply with soapy water or an ammonia based cleaner.
This is the only counter where light scratches or burns can be sanded away to rejuvenate its appearance because the color and pattern run through the entire product.
Difficult stains can be cleaned with an abrasive cleaner and a green Scotch-Brite pad.

The Value of Upgrading

  • Wider selection of colors and designs
  • Wider selection of edge treatments
  • Options to incorporate matching sinks, backsplashes and surrounds.
  • Integrated sinks are not available in quartz countertops. However there are many options of under-mounted or flush mounted sinks.
  • Engineered stone can be used in virtually any indoor surfacing application, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, tub and shower surrounds, backsplashes, floors, walls, wet bars, tabletops, desktops, fireplace surrounds, and more.
  • Different manufacturers offer different warranties and colors. When shopping, be sure to see what each different manufacturer has to offer.
  • Because engineered stone is a natural stone product, seams are required for any application that is longer /or wider than the slab size
    These seams are visible, but are often less noticeable than a typical granite seam – where the seams may show changes in pattern and shade.
  • Natural rock is variable by nature … colors and patterns may shift and change on a large slab. Surface pits are a mark of granite. Engineered stone on the otherhand, displays a consistent variability of color and texture throughout a quartz countertop. Each slab looks the same, which helps minimize the visible seams in the countertop.
  • The actual appearance of the quartz surface varies depending on the size and mix of the granules. Smaller, finer crystals give a more uniform appearance, while larger ones provide a more mottled look.
  • Quartz surfacing is available in many colors not found in nature, as the crushed stone is generally mixed with pigment. Colors differ between manufacturers, but range from conservative neutral hues, to daring bright colors.
  • There are colors to match virtually any décor. Since they are solid, the color and natural mottling from the quartz crystals runs throughout the material.
  • In addition to granite, some manufacturers produce engineered stone that looks like marble, travertine, concrete, and other natural stone.
  • Slabs are fabricated into countertops with edge profiles that range from simple bevels to bullnose and ogee.

Backsplashes do more than just protect the walls from grease and cooking splatter. Backsplashes are a wonderful way to jazz up your kitchen with an element of style that reflects your personality.

Considerations:

  • Generally, you have about 18.5” to work with from the top of the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets.
  • Sometimes, behind a cooking surface you will have more room to tile between the countertop and the hood or microwave
  • You can tile from the countertop to the bottom of the top cabinets or from the 4” or 6” backsplash that matches the countertop. Keep in mind, this limits your space to tile to approximately 12-14”. This can be helpful or not so helpful depending on the size of your tile.
  • If you choose a decorative pattern for your tile, remember items like pot fillers that can end up right in the middle of your decorative pattern!
  • Choosing to mix different tiles to create a pattern in encouraged, but be careful about mixing tiles with different thicknesses. Check with your tile designer or tile setter to see if your choices will work together for a smooth installation.
  • Textured tiles or 3 dimensional tiles with patterned reliefs are beautiful – if you are not the person that has to clean them!

Options:

  • Finishing the tile – be sure to find out if the tile you select has a coordinating bullnose to finish off the edges of the last piece of tile.
  • If your upper wall cabinets do not end on the same line as your base cabinets and countertop, be sure to clearly choose a stopping point for the tile.
  • Using a sealer for your grout to help staining
  • If you choose not to seal your grout, be sure to choose a color that will hide kitchen stains the most.

Backsplashes can be made from the following materials:

  • The same material as the countertop, i.e. tile, granite, solid surface, etc. either 4” or 6” high or from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets. Not very exciting, but practical.
  • With some surfaces like solid surface countertops the transition from the countertop to the backsplash can be seamless. This is helpful from a maintenance standpoint.
  • Granite, marble or other natural stone tiles
  • Ceramic or porcelain tile
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Backsplash

Decorative Design Options:

  • Set the tile square or straight lay with no added options
  • Set the tile at a 45 degree angle or on the diagonal
  • Set the tile with a brick joint or running bond pattern
  • Add a decorative listello at the top, bottom or both (straight or diagonal lay)
  • Clip the corners of the tiles turned on the diagonal and insert a decorative “dot’ made from tile, metal, glass or stone. This works best with a 4” or 6” tile
  • Alternate colors to make a checkerboard pattern
  • Mix some of the elements above and set the tile straight, but turn one row in the center on the diagonal. This can be outlined with a listello at the top and the bottom of the diagonal band if you have room or a decorative dot can be inserted in between the diagonal tiles.
  • If you have a large enough area behind the cooking surface, add a feature like a decorative picture frame. This can be created with a listello as the frame and it gives you the option of the choices listed above to accent the interior.
  • Solid mosaic backsplashes can be a timeless choice with an element of “punch” that will be great for you and good for resale as well.