Last Updated on June 10, 2022
Looks aren’t everything when it comes to replacing your countertops. Durability plays a leading role when choosing the best surface for your home or business. Busy kitchens and high traffic areas can take a beating, so it’s important to know the most durable countertops that will hold up against heat, stains, cuts, abrasions, and everyday impact.
“Consumer Reports” performed extensive countertop testing and revealed the top performers in this “Best Countertops for Busy Kitchens” article, which highlights the pros and cons of each. This month, we will sort through the list to help you choose the best countertop materials for your kitchen or bathroom. You can also check out our blog – “Choosing the Right Material for Your Kitchen Countertops” to help you decide.
Although natural granite remains one of today’s most popular countertop choices, it may have met its match with the growing popularity of engineered granite. Like natural granite, engineered granite is extremely durable and is heat and scratch-resistant, but its engineered characteristics take it a few steps further. These durable countertops are available in a variety of colors and patterns, and features a more uniformed and consistent look when compared to natural granite (which is limited to its unique colors and veining). Engineered granite from Granite Transformations exceeds expectations as the only granite countertop with ForeverSeal®, a polymer resin baked into the product. With ForeverSeal®, you never need to worry about sealing your countertops. As a result, they will be easier to maintain over natural granite, which will cost you additional money to seal every year. Learn more about Granite Transformations’ engineered granite and ForeverSeal® to see how this may be the best countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom.
Quartz countertops are a top contender when it comes to both durability and beauty. Quartz countertops are made from crushed quartz crystals that are bound together by an adhesive agent (polymer resin) and mixed with color, resulting in a nonporous product that is strong and easy to maintain – with no sealing required. The engineered characteristics of quartz countertops make them stain and scratch-resistant, and manufacturers can design them in a spectrum of colors that mimic granite and marble. Some experts recommend installing quartz countertops with rounded edges, since corners and edges have been known to chip. Being one of the most durable countertops on the market, quartz is also a great choice for commercial areas such as restaurants and bars.
3. Recycled Glass
This exciting countertop option offers a sleek and contemporary look that is durable, sparkly, and stunningly beautiful. Recycled glass countertops from Granite Transformations are composed of 78 percent recycled glass (which comes from colorful beer and liquor bottles) and are combined with man-made stones to create a shiny, eco-friendly finish. They are heat, scratch and stain-resistant, making them one of the best materials for remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, and commercial space.
Concrete countertops are a versatile and exciting new choice for today’s homes and businesses. Concrete serves as an extremely durable material for a countertop and it can exude the look and feel of natural stone, metal or wood. Concrete countertops are made from a mix of general-purpose mortar, sand and pigments, and are available in multiple color options. Note that concrete is porous and may stain, so it needs to be sealed upon installation. You will also need to regularly have your concrete countertop sealed. Large concrete countertops may also have visible seams, but these can be minimized with filler.
5. Solid Surface
Popular for its virtually seamless appearance, solid surface countertops are available in a variety of colors and patterns, and are used for counters, sinks and backsplashes. Since they are nonporous, they are resistant to mold and mildew and are easy to clean. Although they are resistant to most stains, solid surface countertops are not heat-resistant and they can scratch and cut easily. (Experts suggest always using a cutting board.) Solid surfaces can also be molded into nearly any shape when exposed to high heat, so this surface has no seams and can be used for other design elements in homes or commercial spaces.
See for yourself why granite is one of the best and most durable countertops, and learn more about the broad variety of countertop products from Granite Transformations. Schedule your free in-home design consultation today.
Last Updated on November 27, 2019
Granite and Trend Transformations has earned its stellar reputation in the home renovation industry with beautifully engineered products and an installation process that are second to none. From the consumer side to the business approach, the company has mastered a winning combination that has become a hallmark of the Granite and Trend Transformations experience. This month, we are spotlighting two of our franchisees and how they built their successful business around the Granite and Trend Transformations experience, dedication to their customers, and a passion for the product.
It all started with a phone call
For the past 15 years, Deb and Bob Varner, co-owners of four locations in the Pacific Northwest, have built their business by applying their years of combined experience and dedication to achieve customer delight. With three locations in the Seattle, Washington area and the fourth in Vancouver, British Columbia, Deb said it all started with a phone call from her mother 17 years ago.
“My mother was shopping for granite countertops for her home and called Granite and Trend Transformations for a consultation,” Deb explained. “She loved the product and decided on a beautiful selection for her kitchen. She heard about franchise opportunities and called Bob and me immediately. The rest, you can say, is history. Mom truly knew best.”
After learning more about the franchise opportunities, Deb and Bob chose to leave their successful careers in the corporate world to start a new venture with this company. “It was important for us at that time in our lives to spend time with our children,” Deb said. “Our goal was to travel around the world with our family to visit seven continents. Granite and Trend Transformations gave us that opportunity to balance family and our business. For that, we are truly grateful.”
Building trust in the business
There’s no denying how building a successful business is hard work, but Deb said she and Bob have stayed true to their passion of putting their customers front and center from the time they meet for a consultation until the installation is complete – and beyond.
At the locations owned by Deb and Bob, the Granite and Trend Transformations experience runs like a well-oiled machine. Deb explained the in-home consultation is key, but the retail experience puts the icing on the cake for customers who crave the up close and personal experience. “It’s all about how you make people feel when they walk through your door,” Deb said. “Making our customers feel honored, heard, and cared for are the cornerstones of our business.”
It begins with the lead
Deb said you must treat every lead with the same respect and care as the one before. She explained that at least 25 percent of her leads are generated from the over 50 events they attend every year. “We participate in a host of local fairs and festivals throughout the year,” Deb said. “We bring our products to the public to gain a wider reach of customers.” She said going “outside the box” to gain more leads has been a profitable way to increase sales while spreading the word of their beautiful Granite and Trend Transformations products. She proudly claimed that in addition to gaining
outside leads, their dedication to customer delight has earned them repeat or referral business from more than half of their clients. Getting the lead may be the first step in the process of completing a home renovation but taking the customer through the complimentary in-home consultation experience is where franchisees put their skills to the test.
The in-home experience
Deb explained how mastering the in-home consultation process has put them on the map as a successful member of the Granite and Trend Transformations family of franchisees. Here’s a snapshot of Deb’s steps to success during the in-home experience:
- Acquainting themselves with the customer, building trust and putting them at ease.
- Understanding their needs for the home renovation. Are the renovations for their “forever home” or for resale purposes?
- Guiding the customer by providing professional design expertise in choosing the best designs and ideas for their home.
- Providing all-inclusive pricing at the end of the consultation.
- Scheduling the installation.
- Delivering exactly what the customer ordered.
- Following up to ensure customer delight and for possible future projects.
As with any successful business, Deb said that following up is just as important as getting the job done. Giving customers a comfort factor that you are there for them is just another step for growing future business.
Beauty that is built to last
When it comes to choosing the best products for your home renovation, Deb says Granite and Trend Transformations can take your kitchen or bath from basic to beautiful in less time than consumers ever thought. Here are just a few reasons why her devoted customers keep coming back for more:
- Beautiful products
- Ease of installation with little or no demolition
- Innovative higher technology
- Lifetime Limited Warranty
As with any home renovation, Deb said the key to customer delight is having the skills to unleash their customers’ creativity and design styles. “We love our customers,” Deb said proudly. “We pride ourselves on matching our product line to their dreams and visions to deliver the ultimate results. It’s all about individuality, and Granite and Trend Transformations has what it takes to tap into their unique styles.”
For more home renovation inspiration and information, contact Deb and Bob Varner in Seattle, North Seattle, South Sound, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Last Updated on May 14, 2019
Today’s homeowners are going “tub-less,” and for a variety of reasons. Although a bathtub provides the same purpose, not everyone feels the same way about them. Busy lifestyles and safety concerns are just two reasons homeowners are ditching their bathtub for a tub-to-shower conversion.
Not sure if a tub-to-shower conversion is right for you? Check out our top four reasons why homeowners like you are soaking up the benefits of going “tub-less”:
- Bathroom safety
Do you or a family member avoid the bathtub for fear of falling? If you’re a senior or live with someone with limited mobility, then you know climbing in and out of the bathtub can be challenging and poses a danger of slipping or falling. A tub-to-shower conversion can free you of that fear. Here are some of the safety benefits of a tub-to-shower conversion that can keep seniors safer:
- Low shower lip provides easier accessibility and reduces possibility of slips, falls, and loss of balance
- Easier on the legs
- Gives seniors and the disabled more freedom and independence
- Roll-in access for wheelchair accessibility is available
- Install grab bars for added security
- Include built-in tiled corner seat or shower chair for added convenience
- Install natural stone or textured tile to minimize slipping
- Use a hand-held shower head
- Increased home value
Did you know a bathroom remodel can return about 56-percent of your investment when you sell your home? Real estate experts agree to keep at least one bathtub in your home for resale value. That leaves the question: “Do you have an additional bathtub that’s taking up valuable space?” A tub-to-shower conversion can not only put cash in your pocket down the road, but also give you the beauty and-benefits you and your family can enjoy now. Here are some things to consider if a tub-to-shower conversion is right for you:
- Is the additional bathtub a standard alcove bathtub or free-standing? (Free standing tubs may require reconfiguring the space and moving some pipes.)
- Do you have the space for a tub-to-shower conversion? (Building codes require specific measurements.)
Benefits of a tub-to-shower conversion:
- Cost-effective when compared to a complete bathroom remodel
- Significant return on investment
Who likes cleaning their bathtub? Exactly. No takers here and for good reason. Here are some top reasons why a tub-to-shower conversion will make a believer out of you:
- Eliminates the need to lean over the bathtub for back-breaking scrubbing
- Eliminates unsightly soap scum
- Frees up valuable time to do what you love
- Open spa-like space
Have you ever imagined what creating an open spa-like feel in your bathroom would be like? Before you say you don’t have the space, think about this: Your bathtub may be the one obstacle standing in your way of having the bathroom of your dreams. A tub-to-shower conversion can turn dead bathtub space into a bathroom oasis. Here’s how:
- Removing the bathtub opens the space
- Allows creative color and tile options
- Upgrades the space to a more modern and stylish design
Is a tub-to-shower conversion right for you?
Contact Granite and Trend Transformations to schedule your free in-home design consultation and learn how you can add a touch of beauty with a tub-to-shower conversion.
Last Updated on March 17, 2021
Most homeowners agree that the kitchen is the heart of their homes and the room that sees the most traffic. It should be no surprise that homeowners want to give their kitchens a facelift when the cabinets become worn or outdated. Cabinet refacing has several benefits and has become a popular option over a major kitchen remodel in recent years, particularly since the materials and options have become more technologically advanced. The cost savings of a cabinet reface also makes it a more appealing option, as the cost to reface is typically less than a total cabinet replacement.
Cabinet Refacing Cost
According to the National Association of Realtors, cabinet refacing costs about half the amount of a total cabinet replacement. For example, a professional cabinet refacing job that uses laminate in a standard 10′ x 12′ kitchen starts around $3,000-$5,000 – compared to $5,000-$7,000 for real wood veneer. For a larger project with high-quality veneer, the cost could rise to $7,000-$9,000 or more.
It is recommended that homeowners budget for additional items such as pulls, knobs and hinges, which (on the low-end) can run $2 to $4 per piece and up to $20 to $50 each on the high-end.
Cabinet Refacing is Beneficial for You If:
- You plan to keep the same kitchen layout without moving any plumbing or electrical.
- You want to add or reconfigure some of your cabinets. (For example, if you are adding a wine rack or extra storage.)
Kitchen cabinets that are in good condition and have structurally sound cabinet boxes are the best candidates for refacing, when compared to those that are warped, have water damage or broken frames. Homeowners who are considering cabinet refacing can also replace the hinges, knobs, pulls and molding to complete the new look.
Pros of Refacing:
- Cabinet refacing is about half the cost of replacement
- No demolition is required
- Requires less time and hassle than total kitchen remodel (and can typically be completed within one week)
- Moisture, heat, scratch and impact-resistant
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Doors and drawers have uniform appearance
- “Green Solution” – you won’t be adding more to landfills
- Can match the cabinet boxes to the color of the doors and drawers
Cons of Refacing:
- Cabinet refacing won’t fix a bad kitchen design
- There’s a temptation to spend more on exotic veneer and hardware, which can increase the cost
Choosing the Right Material for Your Cabinets:
There are two options for choosing the right cabinet refacing material: Wood Cabinets and Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) with a Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) finish.
Wood Cabinets – When choosing wood cabinets for your refacing project, you have some decisions to consider. First, you must choose between type, color, grain and whether or not you want cabinets made from a “hard” or “soft” wood. Hardwood cabinets (like cherry, oak and maple) are derived from broad-leaf trees, whereas softwoods come from needle-bearing evergreen trees (like pine). Keep in mind that wood cabinets may have an inconsistent look due to their naturally occurring grain patterns. If cabinets are not sealed or finished, over time they may be prone to warping if exposed to heat and moisture. View Wood Cabinet Color Options from Granite Transformations.
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) – MDF cabinets are made from wood particles and resin. The process consists of uniformly separating the particles to make a fine, consistent material that is cooked and pressure steamed. It is then bound with an adhesive and heat pressed, producing a solid board. The result is a material that is smooth, uniform, extremely dense and free of knots and grain patterns. This makes it a great substitute for solid wood in various applications, as well as being a perfect choice for painting since there are no wood grain characteristics. MDF has become the most popular composite material in recent years on account of its versatility, as it is used in furniture, shelving and decorative molding.
- Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) – RTF is a laminate, consisting of flexible sheets of vinyl film that is bonded to MDF, using high heat and pressure. The result is a durable product with the look of natural wood with grain texture built right in. Rigid Thermofoil cabinetry has been praised by “Better Homes and Gardens” as the “40-year kitchen” and has become the most popular choice for homeowners who dream of beautiful kitchen cabinets (without the care and maintenance required for natural wood cabinets). Rigid Thermofoil holds up well in high humidity with regular cleaning. Should it get damaged with deep scratches, chips or dents, however, it will lose its resistance to moisture and can begin to fall apart quickly. View MDF/RTF Cabinet Color Options from Granite Transformations.
Remember, what’s old can look new again! We invite you to check out the benefits of cabinet refacing at granitetransformations.com today. You can register for a free in-home consultation and see how quick and easy it can be to give your kitchen the new look you’ve been dreaming of – without the cost and downtime of a total kitchen renovation.
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Last Updated on May 2, 2019
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, pun intended, you’ve most likely heard of quartz countertops. This popular countertop surface has been gaining popularity in the U.S. for the past 20 years or so, vying for first place with granite. What follows are some interesting facts that help put quartz countertops on the map.
What is quartz?
Quartz is one of the most abundant and hardest minerals on Earth, so it makes sense that it would be a great option for a countertop surface. The fact is that’s farthest from the truth. The reality is quartz is unviable as a countertop material – on its own. It wasn’t until the 1960s when manufacturers saw the potential of reinforcing the mineral with polymer resins to make a solid surface that was durable, heat-resistant, and nonporous, just to name a few benefits.
The Italian connection
The process of engineering quartz kitchen countertops was developed in Italy in the early 1960s. It didn’t take long before quartz countertops became popular in Italy and throughout Europe over the next decades. So, why did it take so long to catch on in the U.S.? Experts theorize that as fashion trends which originate in Europe tend to take a while to catch on here, the quartz countertop trend followed suit. Others believe during the 1960s and 1970s, American homeowners were satisfied with laminate and other popular choices and weren’t ready to embrace the natural stone look.
Are quartz countertops “really” quartz?
No one is pulling your leg when speaking of quartz countertops. It’s true they contain some quartz, but its composition goes way beyond that—and for the benefit of homeowners. About 90 percent of quartz countertops are comprised of crushed materials which include ceramic, silica, glass, and of course, some quartz. The other 10 percent is the polymer resin material that binds the materials together to give the “quartz” countertop the look of natural stone.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Nonporous and stain-resistant
- Environmentally green
- Available in a variety of colors
Although some consumers are die-hard granite fans, quartz is taking over as the more popular choice. During the 1990s, American consumers started catching on to the revolutionary benefits of quartz countertops. Television shows like Home and Garden Television (HGTV) reported that in 2004, quartz countertop sales in the U.S. increased by 60 percent. The rest, as they say, is history.
Spring is the perfect time to start thinking about a kitchen or bath renovation. Quartz countertops make a beautiful addition to any home and it doesn’t have to require any demolition. Contact Granite and Trend Transformations for a free in-home consultation. With most jobs completed in as little as one day, you can be enjoying the benefits of quartz countertops in your home in no time.