Tag Archive | "Countertops"

Fabricator Profile: Cutting Edge Stoneworks

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Fabricator Profile: Cutting Edge Stoneworks

Posted on 05 April 2016 by cradmin

BrittanicaKitchenEven though Cutting Edge Stoneworks is hidden in the back of a standard business park in Mooresville, N.C., with virtually no signage, the company remains a local success. What’s even more intriguing is the fact that owner Mike Giordano believes the company’s success is directly attributable to flying under the radar and not following the crowd.

Cutting Edge Stoneworks has done what many other fabricators are now shying away from, which is building a successful and profitable business by specializing in only one market segment: wholesale. Most of the company’s clients are commercial builders and remodelers, but a smaller portion are residential kitchen-and-bath dealers, remodelers and general contractors.

Giordano has 22 years of experience fabricating and installing countertops, and he founded Cutting Edge Stoneworks in 2007, right before the economy started its downward spiral. Giordano and his wife say they were able to grow a strong business at this time despite the recession because of their passion, attention to detail and emphasis on quality work and the success of their customers.

At the business park, Giordano operates a 15,000-sq.-ft. fabrication facility decked out with state-of-the-art technology, including a five-axis CNC saw, advanced router, waterjet cutter and an inline detail machine. At the same time, he employs skilled crafters who perform detailed work by hand on a full range of countertop materials.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Cutting Edge Stoneworks

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VT Industries Acquires Capitoline Products

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VT Industries Acquires Capitoline Products

Posted on 22 September 2015 by cradmin

VT Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of postformed laminate countertops, recently acquired Capitoline Products, Inc. Both companies have facilities in Rome, Ga. Capitoline Products is a  regional laminate countertop and decorative panel manufacturer. Both companies are family-owned and Capitoline services Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and North and South Carolina. The integration of the two companies began immediately and will continue throughout 2016.

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New Freedonia ‘Countertops’ Report Now Available, Predicts Increases in Coming Years

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New Freedonia ‘Countertops’ Report Now Available, Predicts Increases in Coming Years

Posted on 08 September 2015 by cradmin

Freedonia countertops study 2015 chartThe Freedonia Group, an independent research firm, released its new “Countertops” report, which examines numerous areas of the countertop industry and makes predictions for future growth. The 389-page study, which the company sells, forecasts an overall countertops growth average in the United States of 4.2 percent through 2019. The prediction claims quartz surfacing (or engineered stone) will be the fastest growing segment, followed by granite/natural stone and then solid surface. It predicts laminate will be at the bottom, just above tile, when it comes to growth in the countertop segment. The report also makes claim that “niche materials” are will do very well in coming years.

You may also be interested in this article about 2015 Kitchen & Countertop Trends.

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Zinc Countertop Reactions with Food

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Zinc Countertop Reactions with Food

Posted on 20 August 2015 by cradmin

Metal countertops have come on the scene, and they have moved well beyond the stainless steel you may think of in a commercial kitchen, such as a restaurant. Nowadays both copper and zinc have made their way into the mix. This video, produced by Mio Metals, takes a look at what happens to zinc countertops when various food items are exposed to them. As is also the case with copper countertops, zinc countertops are known to take on a “patina” of stains, etching, dents, etc. over time that lovers of the product (and fabricators of it) like to think of as character. Certainly no two countertops made of this material are alike and in most cases, the countertops can be restored somewhat to their original look by a sound polishing. However, it seems few owners mind the ever-changing look and go through the work of heavy polishing. In this video, wine, lemon juice and other various foods are placed on a zinc test kitchen countertop just to see their effect.

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Understanding Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) for Countertops

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Understanding Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) for Countertops

Posted on 18 May 2015 by cradmin

This video is really a sort of online seminar presented by the Concrete Countertop Institute(CCI), designed t0 teach how polymer really works, what fibers actually do and the meaning and importance of flexural strength in glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) countertops. The video is basically a PowerPoint Presentation, narrated by CCI founder Jeff Gerard, which covers quite a bit of information.

Of course it is a bit self-promotional at the end where it discusses training programs offered by the CCI, but overall there is a lot of interesting and useful information for those working in the concrete countertop segment of the industry.

You might also be interested in this Trinic video on post tensioned GFRC for longer concrete countertop spans by Mark Celebuski.

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Freedonia Group Research Firm Puts Out ‘World Countertops’ Report

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Freedonia Group Research Firm Puts Out ‘World Countertops’ Report

Posted on 15 May 2015 by cradmin

The Freedonia Group, a research firm, has released a new report titled “World Countertops.” The 430-page research compilation predicts global countertop demand will rise 4.2 percent per year to more than 5.4 billion sq. ft. in 2018. According to the release, the increase is attributed to improved building construction activity throughout the world and modernization of developing areas that are constructing numerous structures, both housing units and nonresidential, to accommodate the needs of growing populations. The report also states that in 2013 solid surface accounted for more than 40 percent of countertop demand in China, and the Asia/Pacific region accounted for 47 percent of world demand, the largest market for countertops that same year. This trend is expected through 2018. It also lays claim that while laminate made up almost half of all countertop surfaces in the United States in 2013, only 2 percent of countertops were laminate in China.

Regarding North America, the report states that it was the second largest countertop market and that gains will continue because of continued recovery in U.S. building construction and growth in single-family housing completions.

Western Europe is also expected to benefit from rebounds in new housing construction turning around the declines experienced from 2008 to 2013.

You may also be interested in this countertops industry forecast put out by ISFA.

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ISFA 2015 Countertop Forecast Predicts Another Solid Year

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ISFA 2015 Countertop Forecast Predicts Another Solid Year

Posted on 20 March 2015 by cradmin

ISFA Q! industry forecast lead-inA few weeks ago, the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) published its annual Countertop Industry Outlook for 2015 in its magazine Countertops & Architectural Surfaces. This forecast for the coming year is the only one of its kind published openly that we are aware of, and it is not specific to only one kind of surfacing material. It is researched and written by the magazine’s editor and ISFA Communications Director Kevin Cole, who predicts fabricators and others involved in the countertop industry can expect “another year of continued growth.”

This is expected to be the third year in a row of industry growth after the economy began to recover from the Great Recession. According to the 2013 industry forecast, the economy was still a bit sluggish, but was beginning to look up. Since that time, growth has continued in the general economy and most industries.

Because there are very few sources available that specifically focus on countertops, the Industry Outlook is based on data that is indicative of countertop demand, beginning with the general economy and then looking at more closely allied areas, such as U.S. housing starts data, nonresidential building construction, home improvement product sales, remodeling predictions, cabinet sales and more. If you aren’t ISFA members receiving this publication, we strongly suggest you sign up for it. Right now subscriptions are free to qualified individuals in the United States.

Taking all of the sources into consideration, the forecast from ISFA has been anchored for the last three years by a 382-page report from The Freedonia Group offering predictions on the countertop market through 2022. According to this report, demand for countertops in the United States is expected to increase by 5.1 percent through 2017, spurred by building construction, single-family home completions and a relaxation in credit requirements for remodeling loans.

According to the Freedonia report, the demand for laminate countertops is expected to decrease from a 60 percent share of the market 10 years ago to 47 percent by 2017. Natural stone is predicted to make the largest gains with quartz surfacing/engineered stone coming in a close second. In addition, countertops made of “other materials,” such as concrete, metal and recycled products, should grow by 7.2 percent per year through 2017. It also makes predictions about tile, solid surface and other cast polymers.

Other specific factors that led to the favorable outlook for 2015 include the expected growth of the national GDP of 3.1 percent and increase in housing starts from 924,900 in 2013 to more than 1 million in 2014. In addition, predictions for nonresidential construction are up across the board.

However, beyond the ISFA forecast, one of the strongest indicators of a great 2015 for the countertop industry comes from anecdotal evidence provided to us by our general audience, which includes thousands of fabricators across the country. Talking with fabricators at KBIS and TISE this year and communicating with many others online and by phone, we have heard very little bad news. Most of our readers cannot deny that business is up, and many are expecting growth to continue in the future.

We are currently working to uncover specific information about the countertop industry (as well as how we are doing serving you) through our own Countertop Industry Survey, and we would love to hear what you have to say. To help you make our data as complete as possible, we invite you to take the survey and have your name entered for a drawing to win one of two $250 gift certificates to Best Buy. You can start the short survey by clicking here now.

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A Look at Zinc Countertops

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A Look at Zinc Countertops

Posted on 19 March 2015 by cradmin

In recent years there have been any number of materials being used for countertops. Here is a video put out by Brooks Custom going over the use of zinc in countertops. The narrator goes over the attributes of the materials, typical applications, common finishes. He then discusses the process for making zinc countertops using the zinc sheets as a lamination over a waterproof fiber core.

The video shows plenty of examples and also compares the look directly to stainless steel. There is also a short discussion of how zinc can be welded/soldered to create integral sinks, but the narrator also mentions that for joining sections of countertops, his company usually will do so mechanically, leaving a visible seam.

Edge options are displayed as well as some matching accessories for kitchens, such as range hoods.

While the video is obviously a little self-serving, in that it is one company’s take on the product and what they offer, it does provide some interesting insight into the material as a countertop option.

You may also be interested in this video on how stainless steel countertops are made.

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DIY Countertops and Renovation

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DIY Countertops and Renovation

Posted on 12 December 2014 by cradmin

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A trend in home improvement and restoration is seeing a growing number of people completing home renovations on a do-it-yourself basis. For the most part, this has traditionally been done by contractors and retirees, but new products and innovations are leading a new breed of homeowner to attempt these feats themselves. When it comes to kitchen renovations, nothing tops countertops, and while some DIY renovators have come up with some truly unique and impressive designs, others are simply buying epoxy or urethane overcoats. These products are marketed as a revolution in technology that gives buyers a like-new countertop for less than $100, but are they getting all that is being promised?

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Unique Countertops from Scratch

While epoxy coating is being used by people of all types and skill levels in attempts to improve existing countertops, others actually have the talent, time and experience to create some truly unique designs. Some of these designs use concrete, and others employ backlighting technology, both of which are being routinely accomplished by contractors in every major city. However, others have built masterpieces that can be seen nowhere else in the world. Of course, some are completely novel, like the countertop made of pennies we featured in 2013 or this new countertop constructed of 20,000 Lego blocks.

The Backlighting Trend

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Not everyone is savvy enough to complete their own backlighting projects, but at least one homeowner has done so using a new technology known as SLABlite from Tylerco, Inc. Other backlighting options are available, such as those from Nu World, Outwater and Evo-Lite, but none of them are as well suited to DIY projects. That being said, if reader interest here at CountertopResource.com is any indication, backlit countertops are dramatically increasing in popularity, and they offer aesthetic appeal and ambiance that is difficult to match in low-light environments.

Epoxy to the Rescue?

Now, the heart of the matter and the whole reason I developed this blog post is that homeowners are increasingly being steered to complete countertop restorations on their own with over-the-counter epoxy products. While, in my opinion, trying to save money on a kitchen rennovation by making or refinishing your countertops is a bad idea, it is happening. This trend has been reinforced by the concrete flooring industry, with which I have a marginal relationship through writing promotional material. Since polished concrete was “invented,” or more aptly discovered, in the 1990s, it has become a popular option for floors of all types, including those in residential living spaces. The companies that install polished concrete floors recommend that they be coated with epoxy for protection, texture or color enhancement, and this has seemingly carried over into the countertop industry.

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Epoxy coatings are available in a variety of types, and some of the work people have done with them is extraordinary in appearance. For instance, this woman created an amazing faux marble countertop using a combination of paint, glitter and epoxy for less than $30. In addition, this epoxy coating distributor based in Grand Junction, Colo., offers classes for both contractors and DIY homeowners and has some impressive work displayed on its website. Not only that, but major home-improvement box stores, such as Home Depot are providing consumers step-by-step instructions for homeowners to complete this work without the help of professional contractors. Finally, the DIY guru himself, Bob Vila, teaches the process through written instructions and video tutorials.

What I am curious to discover, and what I hope my readers hope to know, is what, exactly is the stance taken by fabricators and professional installers concerning DIY epoxy countertop coatings? What do you tell customers who want this service? Do you steer them toward higher-end resurfacing or try to sell them on the benefits of a total replacement? Do you offer professional epoxy restoration? What pitfalls should homeowners be warned about with the products available off the shelf? Do you offer superior service or an epoxy product not available in the retail consumer market.

If you have any experience with this or if you can answer any of the above questions, we want to hear from you. Feel free to tell us your story in the comments below or drop me an email at info@countertopresource.com. I look forward to what you have to say.

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Is the Granite Countertop Boom at an End?

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Is the Granite Countertop Boom at an End?

Posted on 17 November 2014 by cradmin

While both fabricators and contractors are still reporting robust sales of granite countertops, several media outlets say that granite may be on the way out. While I am not certainly not sold on this prediction, if true, it could mean declines in sales for fabricators dealing solely or primarily in granite, but those who offer a variety of countertop materials may simply see a shuffle in the origin of their revenue.

Benefits of Granite

One article published in News & Observer, Living Space: Are granite counters on the way out? is quick to point out that nearly everyone who already owns granite countertops love them because they are durable and visually appealing, but hold some reservations because they require some degree of maintenance. Another reason why people choose granite according to the article is that it is a natural product made of natural minerals instead of a material developed in a laboratory.

Another article that has an identical name but was published by HowStuffWorks also begins with a section on the benefits of granite. According to this article, granite is more durable, heat resistant and scratch resistant than many of its counterparts, but sales have been declining because of a limited color selection and price. Today, however, granite countertops can be found in a wide variety of unique colors and patterns.

Finally, the price of granite has fallen substantially over the past two decades. While high-quality granite and installation may still carry a high price tag, entry-level granite is now available at prices that allow nearly any homeowner to enter the market.

Is Something Driving People Away From Granite?

The 2012 Kitchen & Bath Style Report published by the National Kitchen and Bath Association states that granite use in kitchens dropped to 87 percent from 91 percent in 2011, but it held steady at 87 percent in the 2013 report. Another survey conducted by The Marble Institute found that 75 percent of homeowners intending to remodel their kitchens in 2012 were planning on installing granite countertops.

These surveys show that granite remains a popular choice, and very little new data shows any sign of a downturn, yet the Huffington Post Home Advisor states that designers are dropping natural stone in favor of six other materials that are less expensive, not as heavy and have greater color variety. In this piece, the author harshly urges homeowners not to “waste your kitchen remodel investment on this fading material.”

In the same vein, Today Home claims that “granite is great,” but provides a list of “eight kitchen counter options to make you forget granite.”

Alternatives to Granite

Several alternatives have been named as rising stars and are reportedly filling the gap left in the alleged decline of granite countertops. Following are few of the most popular and the reasons claimed as to why they may be moving up in the countertop market:

Quartz

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Quartz has become granite’s top rival and has been growing dramatically. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns, and it doesn’t need to be sealed or treated.

Solid Surface

Solid surface does an excellent job of mimicking natural stone and has many other color options, and in many cases it requires less maintenance than granite. It can also be less expensive than higher-end granites.

Marble

Even though marble is gaining in popularity and is very attractive, it is not resistant to staining and scratching like granite is.

Soapstone

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Soapstone is available in a limited range of colors and may become easily scratched or nicked by sharp objects, but it is stain and heat resistant.

Butcher Block

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Walnut, maple, bamboo, oak and cherry butcher block countertops are growing in popularity because they are seen by many as a green, recyclable alternative to granite.

Glass

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Glass can resist high temperatures without scorching, does not stain and it is 100 percent non-porous. Glass countertops are increasingly becoming viewed as a versatile alternative.

Concrete

New innovations in concrete manufacturing and fabrication are making this material more popular for kitchen countertops each year.

Waiting for the Results

The latest results on where granite stands after the 2014 calendar year have yet to be gathered, but if the media reports show even a sliver of truth, then granite countertop sales may have fallen. However, I’m not sure if  I would place any wagers on that at this point. I believe the jury is still out. Either way, it will be interesting to see whether granite can maintain its lead in the industry or if quartz and other surfacing materials will make gains on its top position. 

I’d love to hear from some of you as to whether you have seen any decline in granite sales and/or migration to other products, or if you believe it is all hype. Post a reply in the comment section below or email us at info@countertopresource.com.

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