Benefits of Marble Look Quartz Countertops

marble look quartz countertops

As we summed up in our last blog, marble look quartz makes a phenomenal choice for spaces throughout the home thanks to its superb stain and moisture resistance, sublime beauty and budget-friendly options. Marble look quartz countertops in particular have been trending in recent years. So, let’s do a deeper dive into this specific application and why this surface works wonderfully for it! 

Benefits of Marble Look Quartz Countertops

When choosing a new countertop material, it goes without saying that you’ll want to pick something that can stand up to daily use – and possibly heavy use, depending on the day and what’s going on in your kitchen. Significantly harder than genuine marble, marble look quartz definitely checks the durability box! Let’s explore some additional perks of marble look quartz countertops:

  • Unlike authentic marble and many other natural stones, engineered quartz doesn’t need to be sealed. This allows you to skip a maintenance step while resting assured that your countertops offer excellent defense against stains, bacteria, moisture and other things you definitely don’t want penetrating your cooking and eating surfaces.
  • Quartz also gives you enhanced scratch protection over natural marble, thanks to its higher density. 
  • Many times, quartz has a lower price tag than marble. Especially for a large kitchen, opting for marble look quartz countertops rather than the real thing can potentially lower the price of your renovation project significantly!

As you can see, marble look quartz offers plenty of practical advantages for a kitchen countertop, a bathroom vanity top, a backsplash, wall cladding or any other application where you desire the look of classic marble but need extra strength, resilience or affordability. 

Possible Cons of Marble Look Quartz Countertops

Of course, no surface is without its potential downfalls. Here are a few things to be aware of with this one in particular:

  • Due to the binders and resins that help hold quartz countertops together, you’ll need to be selective about the cleaning products you use to avoid dulling or otherwise harming them. Typically, mild dish soap and warm water on a soft sponge or cloth will do the trick. Rubbing alcohol diluted with water is also safe for disinfecting quartz. Just be sure NOT to use harsh or acidic cleaners containing vinegar or bleach.
  • As another result of its composition, quartz and heat don’t mix. In turn, you’ll want to be extra careful about using hot pads, coasters and trivets for hot dishware placed on a quartz countertop.

One last important note: As we pointed out in our general guide to marble look quartz, there are actually some cases where certain types of quartz come at a higher cost than some marble varieties, once installation costs are factored in. So, if you’re working within a budget, keep this in mind and let your surfacing professional know.

Prepare to Be Dazzled by Our World-Class Quartz Collection 

Are you excited by the prospect of installing marvelous new marble look quartz countertops that will enliven your kitchen while heightening its utility? Allow the pros at Cosmos Surfaces to help you make your vision a reality! We give you an extensive range of stunning, top-quality marble looking quartz varieties to choose from, including Calacatta Telesto, Calacatta Brook, Calacatta Apex, Carrara Stratum, Calacatta Venatina, Calacatta Cane, Calacatta Dune, Calacatta Reed and beyond. 

Each of these options is magnificent in its own way, with some being more understated while others are more attention grabbing. Thanks to improvements in manufacturing, quartz can now be made with veining that looks nearly identical to what you might find in a piece of marble derived from the Earth. Whether you’re going for a uniform look or something with higher contrast, you can find it in our array of awe-inspiring quartzes!

Successful Surfacing Projects Start with Contacting Cosmos

If you’d like to see our quartz collection and other splendid surfacing options in person, we invite you to visit any of our showrooms across the country. Or, contact us from wherever you are in the U.S. for personalized assistance with choosing the very best surface for your purposes. If you’re on the fence between different varieties, we’ll be happy to help you compare their features to reveal the right choice for you. Reach out to our experts today to get started!

Color of the Month: Steely Gaze

Steely Gaze is an icy grey that pairs well with black for a cool and calm atmosphere. It works well in kitchens, dining rooms, and even laundry rooms.

Calacatta Venatina by Cosmos Surfaces delivers the classic and rare Italian marble look. Bold grey veins with subtle hits of gold across a soft white background are characteristic of this gorgeous Calacatta Venatina quartz. Bookmatch the veins to amplify its beauty and make a statement.

Calacatta Venatina is a part of the Calacatta Quartz collection by Cosmos Surfaces. This marble-looking quartz is a great choice for countertops, backsplashes, wall cladding, and vanities.

Calacatta Reed by Cosmos Surfaces is a beautiful white marble look quartz with intense black and gold veins. The high-contrast veins against the white background of this quartz make a dramatic statement in any area it is used in. Calacatta Reed Quartz can be book matched to intensify the impact of this stunning product.

This is a part of the Calacatta Quartz collection by Cosmos Surfaces. This marble-looking quartz is a great choice for countertops, backsplashes, wall cladding, and vanities.

A Complete Guide to Marble Look Quartz

marble look quartz

In spaces throughout the home, the neutral tones found in marble can help to imbue a serene and elegant look. For applications that call for extra durability, marble look quartz is a superb choice that encapsulates the timeless beauty of marble, but with added benefits like non-porosity. Read on to learn more about when and how this material might be used to elevate your interior surfaces.

A Complete Guide to Marble Look Quartz

When exploring possible stone varieties for a new countertop, backsplash, vanity or wall feature, you may wonder what the difference is between authentic marble and marble look quartz. Your stone experts at Cosmos Surfaces are here to break down some of the key differentiators:

  • What is marble look quartz made of? – Whereas true marble is a naturally occurring stone, quartz is engineered. Marble is a metamorphic rock containing minerals like calcite, iron, quartz and mica, while quartz is composed of pulverized natural stone pieces and remnants from ceramic tile and glass, plus binders/polymers. 
  • How can quartz imitate marble? – In the past, veined marble was tricky to mimic. But nowadays, thanks to advancements in fabrication techniques, quartz can be manufactured to very closely resemble marble, down to the characteristic veining patterns. 
  • What are the benefits of quartz? – One of the biggest perks of quartz is that it’s non-porous, meaning it doesn’t need to be sealed like marble typically does. Quartz is designed to resist moisture, bacteria and stains at the surface, making it a super durable and low-maintenance choice for kitchens and bathrooms. 
  • How much does quartz cost? – This will depend on the application and the specific variety chosen. In some cases, certain types of real marble can actually be more affordable when installation costs are factored in. But, marble look quartz can provide an excellent alternative if you have your heart set on the particular aesthetic of a more expensive marble that’s out of your price range. 

Hopefully you’ve learned something new and useful about quartz here! This is far from all there is to know, though – for instance, it’s vital to be informed on how to care for quartz surfaces if you’re considering adding them to your home. 

Keep in mind that certain popular cleaning products aren’t compatible with the resins and binders found in engineered stone, so it’s best to verify that any cleaners are safe for quartz before use. (We suggest sticking with mild dish soap on a soft, damp cloth for everyday care.) Quartz can also be damaged by heat, and it’s not recommended for outdoor use. To learn more about maintaining the brilliance of quartz that looks like marble, check out our do’s and don’ts for cleaning quartz surfaces

Discover Our Dazzling Marble Look Quartz Collection 

If your interest has been piqued by the option of combining the stately appearance of marble with the heightened resilience of quartz, look no further than Cosmos for an unmatched selection to choose from. 

Our recently released Calacatta Quartz collection features a range of marble look quartz products, such as Calacatta Reed, a dreamy white stone with dramatic gold and black veins that can be bookmatched to up its intensity. There’s also Calacatta Brook, a clean white marked by soft brown and rusty gold veining flowing across the surface like a bubbling brook. Other stunners in this collection include Calacatta Telesto, Calacatta Cane, Calacatta Venatina, Calacatta Apex and Calacatta Dune

Beyond this line, we also offer other sophisticated options like Carrara Stratum, a warm white quartz with dark brown and black veins that imitates the classic Italian Carrara marble. You can preview our full quartz catalog and read descriptions of each distinct variety on our website!

Collaborate with Cosmos for All Your Surfacing Needs

If you’re eager to browse top-quality natural and engineered stone surfaces, reach out to the pros at Cosmos, explore our online gallery or stop by our nearest showroom at your convenience! We have locations all across the country where you can see our surfaces in action.

As a second-generation family owned business, we take pride in offering the very best customer service and personalized assistance with choosing the right surface for your application, needs, budget and preferences. Whether you’re interested in marble, quartz or other surface varieties, we’ll help you compare the pros and cons of each material to reveal your perfect match.

Color of the Month: Steely Gaze

Steely Gaze is an icy grey that pairs well with black for a cool and calm atmosphere. It works well in kitchens, dining rooms, and even laundry rooms.

Calacatta Telesto is a part of the Calacatta Quartz collection by Cosmos Surfaces.

Grey and subtle gold veins on a brilliant white background characterize Calacatta Telesto. The varying greys in this quartz add dimension and are reminiscent of the soft yet stunning looks we see in rare Italian marble. If you are looking to add personality to any space, the luxurious Calacatta Telesto by Cosmos Surfaces would be a perfect choice.

This marble-looking quartz is a great choice for countertops, backsplashes, wall cladding, and vanities. To amplify its charisma, book-match the gorgeous veins in Calacatta Telesto quartz.

Calacatta Cane is a part of the Calacatta Quartz collection by Cosmos Surfaces.

Calacatta Cane is reminiscent of glacial surfaces with a subtle white and grey background. The delicate black and brown veins unfolding across its unique background make for a unique pattern and subtle experience. If you are looking for quartz suitable for areas with high usage that can still make an impression, the humble Calacatta Cane by Cosmos Surfaces would be the ideal choice.

This marble-looking quartz is a great choice for countertops, backsplashes, wall cladding, and vanities. To amplify its charisma, book-match the gorgeous veins in this quartz.

Pros and Cons of Onyx Shower Walls

onyx shower walls

For surfaces throughout the home, our planet gives us an endless array of magical options in the form of gorgeous, naturally occurring stones like onyx. Formed when limestone gets dissolved and then redeposited – often in caves – onyx tells stories through its colorful veins. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary that offers a range of benefits, onyx is worth considering for your kitchen or even your bathroom. Today, we’ll focus on onyx shower walls, whether they’re a practical choice and what to know if you decide on this beautiful natural stone to help make your bathroom an oasis. 

Pros and Cons of Onyx Shower Walls

When it comes to natural stone options for shower walls, traditional picks like marble, granite and quartzite often come to mind first. But, onyx can work here, too! 

Characteristics of onyx which can make it a possible choice for bathroom walling include:

  • Remarkable appearance – Marked by striking, swirling patterns and tones of green, gold, orange and cream, onyx looks truly otherworldly. So, if you’re going for a show-stopping shower design, it doesn’t get much more dramatic than this! At the same time, the hues found in onyx are also known to be soothing, contributing to a spa-like atmosphere.
  • Incredible lasting power – When lovingly cared for, onyx can maintain its allure and integrity for decades upon decades. Outlasting many other surfaces, onyx brings unique beauty that may be passed down through the generations. 
  • Backlighting options – Another thing that makes onyx special is that it’s translucent. This means that it can be backlit, creating the ambience-boosting illusion of glowing stone.

Like any stone surface, onyx has its fair share of things to be aware of when considering it for various applications. If you have your heart set on onyx shower walls in particular, here are some important factors to take into account:

  • Sealant required – Regular sealing is highly recommended for onyx, as it is porous like many other natural stone varieties. This maintenance step is especially vital in a high-moisture area like the shower or bathtub. For onyx shower walls, sealing will prevent water, bacteria, bath & body products and other substances from discoloring or intruding into the stone.
  • Softer than other natural stones – As compared to granite, marble and quartzite, onyx is soft and delicate. In turn, it’s not the best choice for high-traffic areas. 

With these pieces of knowledge in mind, you can see why onyx may be a better choice for something like a bathroom accent wall than for the walls of a shower that gets used on a daily basis. 

Well-Suited Applications for Onyx

Due to its fragility, onyx isn’t necessarily the best option for surfaces that take a lot of wear and tear. So, you may skip using it for demanding applications like onyx shower walls or your kitchen countertop. Still, there are plenty of ways to include onyx in your one-of-a-kind home design! Along with decorative accent areas, onyx works splendidly for:

  • Bathroom vanity tops
  • Backsplashes
  • Kitchen island bases

As we mentioned above, onyx can be backlit so it will appear to gleam, adding an element of luxurious relaxation to your home.

Caring for Onyx 

Due to its calcareous composition, onyx can be easily damaged by acidic substances. So, it’s important to avoid acidic or otherwise harsh cleaners no matter where in your home you use onyx. 

Instead, opt for mild dish soap and warm water or a cleaner specifically formulated for use on natural stone. Exercising care here will help preserve the exquisite look of your onyx surfaces and maximize their longevity. 

Realize Your Surfacing Dreams with Cosmos

Although rare, intricate onyx may not be the best stone for shower walls or kitchen counters, it can be incorporated into the home in several other ways. If you adore this stone, trust the professionals at Cosmos to help you pick the perfect application for onyx. Our exclusive onyx selection features Classic Green, Travertine, Rose, Red Dragon and more.

Plus, we offer a wide range of harder wearing surfaces like granite, marble, quartz, ceramic tile and beyond. If you’re eager to start exploring in pursuit of the perfect surface for your next home renovation project, reach out to us today or stop by one of our showrooms across the nation!

Color of the Month: Ancient Copper

Ancient copper is a muted apricot orange with undertones of cinnamon. It generates a feeling of warmth and celebration, especially in gathering places such as kitchens and dining rooms.

Swirling pinks and embers are how the rusty onyx of Red Dragon gets its name. Originating in Iran, Red Dragon resembles an aerial shot of a desert, a soft pink with rivulets of amber. With its polished finish and unique texture, Red Dragon looks great in bathrooms as a vanity, wall tiling, or flooring.

The dry browns and subtle oranges of Nacarado brings a desert scene to mind. Mellow and warm, the Brazilian quartzite of Nacarado is perfect for bathrooms, fireplaces, and exterior countertops. Available in several types of finish, Nacarado looks and feels great among brown and golds. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

All About Soapstone Kitchen Countertops

soapstone kitchen countertops

In homes across the United States and around the world, soapstone kitchen countertops aren’t quite as popular as other natural stone competitors like granite and marble. But, this certainly doesn’t mean you should leave it off your list of possible countertop options! In fact, soapstone has a lot to offer in terms of both aesthetics and practicality. 

For example, soapstone is one of the only natural stones that doesn’t require sealing, neither at the time it gets installed nor ever. Plus, it comes in a range of tranquil colors well suited to a kitchen inspired by the organic world. Today, we’ll answer some FAQs that will make the case for the underrated surface that is soapstone, along with noting some things to be aware of if considering this material for a countertop.

All About Soapstone Kitchen Countertops

A fantastic choice to complement a rustic, homey interior – or to tone down a more enlivened entertaining space – soapstone kitchen countertops can lend several unique characteristics, including a soft, inviting glow. Let’s break them down in more detail.

  • Why is it called that, and what is it made of? Texturally reminiscent of a dry bar of soap, soapstone features talc – a rather soft mineral – in its composition. The ratio of talc to other minerals (magnesite, chlorite, amphibole, etc.) in a specific slab will determine exactly how hard a piece of soapstone is. But, generally speaking, most soapstone is on the softer end of the natural stone spectrum, similar to marble. 
  • Why doesn’t soapstone need to be sealed? – As we mentioned above, one of soapstone’s standout qualities is that it doesn’t require application of a sealant, making for especially low-maintenance countertops. The science behind this is that even though it’s soft, soapstone is very dense and naturally non-porous, meaning it doesn’t take on moisture like many natural stone varieties. On the contrary, the talc component in soapstone makes it water and stain repellent. 
  • What maintenance is necessary for soapstone? – While you can safely skip sealing, there are some steps you should incorporate into your cleaning routine to preserve soapstone’s vibrancy and integrity. First, for everyday care, stick with a mild dishwashing liquid, water and a soft sponge or cloth to minimize the risk of chipping or otherwise damaging your soapstone kitchen countertops. Secondly, you’ll want to apply a coat of mineral oil on a somewhat regular basis, especially if you begin to notice dullness or discoloration. (This product can also help to accelerate the darkening process, if this is the look you desire.)
  • What are some other perks of soapstone kitchen countertops? – Two additional factors that make soapstone particularly well suited for kitchen surfaces include its high levels of acid and heat resistance. With soapstone, you won’t have to worry about spilling acidic liquids like vinegar, wine or fruit juice on your countertops, as this stone is chemically non-reactive (once again thanks to the talc!). Plus, soapstone can take some serious heat, so it can easily thrive next to a stove (or even near a pizza oven) without being damaged. Not to mention, bacteria won’t breed on this stone, so it’s very hygienic! 

As with any surface, soapstone does come with its fair share of possible downfalls. For instance, some homeowners find that it’s a bit too delicate to use for the countertops in their highly trafficked kitchen, since it can take on chips, nicks or gauges with heavy extended use. If you prefer a harder wearing countertop material like granite, you still might consider putting soapstone elsewhere in your home, such as on your fireplace, in your bathroom or even on the floor.

Source Soapstone Kitchen Countertops & Beyond from Cosmos 

As we’ve explained above, soapstone makes a lovely and relatively low-maintenance addition to a cozy kitchen and home. Taking cues from its place of origin, it’s available in a range of neutral earth tones as well as more eye-catching shades of blue and green. From Grey to Jade, there are several colors of soapstone available in the stunning selection at Cosmos Surfaces. 

With a reputation for exceptional quality and customer service that spans generations, Cosmos is proud to provide soapstone and a full range of other natural stone surfaces. To begin narrowing down your search alongside our friendly professionals, reach out to us today!

Color of the Month: Ancient Copper

Ancient copper is a muted apricot orange with undertones of cinnamon. It generates a feeling of warmth and celebration, especially in gathering places such as kitchens and dining rooms.

Like molten magma swirling and pooling deep within the Earth’s crust, Magma Gold granite is fierce and fervent. In its larger-than-life pattern, deep gray veins stretch in all directions, surrounding and blending into areas of rust, cream and gold. Specks of white on the gray add even more visual interest, putting the finishing touches on this excellent option for counter and vanity tops.

Agate Earth is a type of agate made from a custom blend of hand-picked, semi-precious stones. With tones of brown, red, and black, agate earth is both warm and familiar, a tie back to home and the earth. Strong and durable, agate earth can be installed both inside and out, as countertops, fireplaces, and more.

How to Clean Marble Surfaces

how to clean marble

A wishlist-topping choice for countertops, floors, shower walls and more, marble is one of the most versatile surfaces around. So, it’s no wonder that it’s stood the test of time – from the era of ancient Greece all the way up to the modern day. Adding marble to your home is a pathway to luxury as well as a level of durability you might not initially expect. But, to maintain the beauty and longevity of this natural stone, it’s important to know how to clean marble properly. Read on for helpful tips!

How to Clean Marble Surfaces

Whether you use marble for a kitchen countertop, bathroom vanity top, accent features or even flooring somewhere in your home, here are some general guidelines for how to clean marble:

  • Skip heavy-duty cleaners – Vinegar is a commonly used cleaner known to fight germs while being family and planet friendly. But, because it’s highly acidic, vinegar doesn’t pair well with marble. The same goes for harsh cleaning agents like bleach. This is because these products can trigger a chemical reaction called etching, resulting in dullness and white streaks on marble.
  • Manage moisture and abrasive debris – For best results, keep marble countertops (and other surfaces in moisture-prone areas) dry by wiping them down with a soft microfiber cloth as needed. Clean up spills soon after they happen to avoid staining, especially if it’s an acidic substance like coffee, wine or fruit juice. For marble floors, keep in mind that debris can lead to scratches if it gets dragged around, so you’ll want to stay on top of dirt and grime by sweeping, vacuuming or mopping regularly.
  • Use gentle cleaners – For any marble surface, pH-neutral cleaning sprays specifically designed for natural stone are your best bet. Warm water and dish soap are also typically fine to use when your marble could use a refresh. Stick with soft towels and avoid scrubbing with a textured sponge or brush, as this can cause premature wear. 
  • Dry thoroughly on a daily basis – Another important note on how to clean marble is to make sure you get it completely dry after wiping or mopping with water or a cleaning agent. Hard water deposits can etch marble, and cleaners may leave a film if they’re not fully wiped off after use.
  • Deep clean as needed – In a marble shower, you may notice soap scum buildup on the floor or wall tiles over time. A solution of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle should take care of any grime in no time. Simply spray, gently wipe, rinse with plain water and dry with a microfiber cloth. The necessary frequency of deep cleaning will depend on how often the shower gets used, but once every week or every other week should suffice.

Along with knowing how to clean marble correctly, sealing is crucial to protect your marble surfaces and simplify your everyday care routine! Sealing should be done at the time of installation, as well as in regular increments throughout marble’s long lifespan. By prioritizing this maintenance step, you’ll guard your marble against staining, moisture and bacteria, as the sealant will prevent these substances from penetrating the stone’s porous surface.

Personalizing Top-Quality Marble Surfaces Is Simple with Cosmos

If you’re intrigued by marble and its sublime appearance and resilience, look no further than Cosmos Surfaces for a broad selection of stunning varieties. Our surface experts can help you decide on the best fit for your unique project, whether you’re eager to install a marble shower, fireplace, kitchen countertop or bathroom floor. 

We can also assist you in choosing the right finish for your marble, depending on the application and your desired look. For example, a honed finish may be suggested to maximize traction for flooring, whereas a polished finish might be a more appropriate option for a design feature or countertop. Plus, we can always advise on how to clean marble of the particular sort that you select.

Partner with Our Experts from Anywhere in the Country 

At our showrooms across the United States and in our online gallery, you can explore options ranging from Arabescato Orobico to Zebra White marble. We also offer several other types of natural stone – including granite, quartzite and soapstone, just to name a few. To begin your journey to sourcing the gorgeous and long-lasting surfaces you desire for your home, get in touch with our pros today! 

Color of the Month: Ancient Copper

Ancient copper is a muted apricot orange with undertones of cinnamon. It generates a feeling of warmth and celebration, especially in gathering places such as kitchens and dining rooms.

Audax is a type of schist that is dynamically layered and one-of-a-kind. The layers create fluid bands of brown, black, silver, and white that is stunningly complex and pleasing to the eye. A work of art, audax looks great in kitchens and bathrooms. The long bands of layers can be installed as floors and countertops.

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold crisscross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Stone Countertops vs. Manmade: How Do They Hold Up?

Stone Countertops

Chances are, your kitchen countertop is among the most-used surfaces in your home. In turn, it’s critical to choose a very durable material that will stand the test of time, through daily cooking, wiping up and entertaining. At the same time, your countertop is a focal point of your kitchen design, so you also want it to be attractive. When looking for an option that satisfies both criteria, many homeowners land on stone countertops. But, which is better: natural or manmade? The answer all depends on the specific qualities and features you’re seeking in your countertop. So, let’s dive into some of the differences and explore what determines how well a countertop material will perform over time.

Stone Countertops vs. Manmade: How Do They Hold Up?

When it comes to how longwearing a particular countertop material is – in terms of maintaining its appearance and integrity – several things come into play. Key factors include:

  • Porosity – Kitchen countertops get subjected to a lot of water, from hand washing, ingredient rinsing and dish cleaning – not to mention possible spills of other liquids. So, the rate at which a surface absorbs moisture (its porosity) is a key consideration. Bear in mind that most stone countertops (with the exception of soapstone) will require regular sealing to arm against stains, etching, dark spots and bacteria/mold growth. Engineered countertop options like quartz are completely non-porous, meaning they don’t come with the extra maintenance step of applying and reapplying sealant over the years.
  • Finish – If you select a natural stone countertop, you’ll likely have a number of different finishes to choose from, while your options may be more limited with one of their manmade counterparts. A polished finish can look sleek, but a honed or leathered finish might be a more desirable option if you’re concerned about imperfections showing. On a countertop with light coloring in particular, opting for one of these textured finishes is a clever way to conceal any scratches or etch marks that might occur.
  • Resilience – Harder natural stones like granite and quartzite are well equipped to resist chips, scratches and heat, making them a wonderfully suited match for a countertop. Marble and soapstone are on the softer end of the spectrum, so these stone countertops are a bit more susceptible to damage in the course of daily use; but, they can be repaired in the event of a serious accident. Meanwhile, manmade materials like porcelain and quartz also make excellent hardwearing countertops that don’t require much maintenance. 
  • Care routine – As we mentioned above, it’s important to be attuned to whether your countertop needs sealing. Once you’ve established the right sealing schedule (if necessary), take the time to do your research to make sure you’re using appropriate cleaning products for the particular material. Harsh cleaners and rough scrubbers can cause damage like etching or break down the sealant (if applied), so they’re best avoided in favor of gentler products.

Last but certainly not least importantly, you’ll want to think about your price range for your new countertop when comparing options. Even if you’re on a budget, don’t count out more luxurious seeming materials like marble. They can actually be quite cost effective, depending on factors such as your chosen variety and finish. Just be sure to factor in fabrication and installation costs, which can be higher than you might expect for certain manufactured surfaces. 

Choose a Countertop That Checks All Your Boxes with Our Help 

If you love the unique blend of beauty and durability found in stone countertops and desire to bring them into your home, Cosmos Surfaces is here to help you do so for a competitive price. If you’re torn between stone countertops vs. manmade, our experts can assist you in making the best choice based on your maintenance preferences, budget and aesthetic vision. 

From elegant Absolute Black granite to exclusive Yukon Gold quartz, we offer something for everyone in our expansive selection. Preview the many outstanding options on our website, visit one of our showrooms scattered across the US or send us a message for individualized guidance on your search for your perfect surface! Whether it’s stone countertops, shower walls, a bathroom vanity or even flooring, our specialists can help you locate your ideal match and get it installed for enduring success.

Color of the Month: Serenity

Serenity is a misty light blue with notes of soothing grey. It creates a calming atmosphere in any room, perfect for a spa-like bedroom or bathroom.

A variety of colors and textures meld together to make up the quartzite named Fusion. Reminiscent of a canyon wall, waves of browns and reds merge with greens and silvers to create Fusion. The rich diversity of Fusion looks great installed as countertops and fireplaces, especially when paired with brown or black cabinets. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A beautiful silvery blue curtain makes up the background of the Brazilian marble known as Australis. The feature that sets Australis apart from other marbles is the deep sapphire streaks that glitter throughout. Australis makes for beautiful countertops and backsplashes, as well as bathroom floors, vanities, and walls.

Stone Flooring vs. Manmade: How Does it Hold Up?

stone flooring

Are you ready to upgrade the flooring in a certain room or all throughout your home? You may find yourself at a fork in the road where you must decide between a manufactured floor or natural stone flooring. Both can have their pros and cons, so the better choice will ultimately depend on your specific priorities. Today, we’ll give you a closer look at how various manmade vs. natural floors tend to stand the test of time, what type of care they require and other key considerations.

Stone Flooring vs. Manmade: How Does it Hold Up?

Natural Stone

From marble to granite to quartzite to soapstone, there are a number of different natural stone flooring options which can perform marvelously over time with proper maintenance. By nature, these stones tend to feature a high level of durability, slip resistance and heat/UV resistance. 

One thing to be aware of when considering natural stone options is that many are porous; in other words, they can absorb water, stains and spills. Here’s what this means:

  • Porous stone surfaces will typically need to be sealed to protect against moisture intrusion, staining and etching.
  • When sealed according to the manufacturer instructions and on a proper schedule, a natural stone floor will be easy to care for using a cleaner approved for use on such materials.
  • Impregnating sealers usually offer the best protection and the most longevity on stones like marble, granite and quartzite.
  • If you’re looking for a stone floor you won’t have to seal, check out soapstone. The rare non-porous natural stone, it’s great for moist areas like the bathroom, where a slip proof floor is key.

So long as you stay on top of sealing it regularly (if necessary), natural stone flooring can deliver years of beauty, resilience and easy maintenance. With many varieties being readily resistant to fading, foot traffic and other everyday wear and tear, natural stone brings boundless options for refreshing the aesthetic and lastingness of floors throughout your home. It’s also a distinctly sustainable option that allows you to bring the Earth’s own natural splendors into your interior.

Manmade Options 

While natural stone has clear advantages, there are some applications for which you may wish to explore manufactured materials as well. Engineered quartz, ceramic and porcelain are a few alternatives of interest for those seeking a durable and easily-cared-for floor that’s made to last. 

Here are a few notable benefits (and some possible downfalls) to keep in mind:

  • Ceramic and porcelain are both rather durable. However, porcelain is generally more dense and less porous, thus boosting its ability to stand up to moisture and heavier foot traffic. But, ceramic tends to have the upper hand in terms of ease of use and affordability. Either material is unlikely to require sealing, although the grout in between tiles/pieces probably will need to be sealed for best results.
  • Engineered quartz is available in a vast range of gorgeous patterns which make for a stunning floor. Remarkably tough and scratch/stain resistant, it has few maintenance requirements and usually doesn’t need to be sealed. But, this surface can be hard to handle and thus may have a high price tag compared to other comparably durable choices. 
  • By virtue of being manufactured rather than quarried, manmade flooring options can come with concerns about chemicals. Even with heightened standards to prevent health and safety hazards and minimize environmental impact, this is something to keep in mind.

Hopefully this has helped to expand your awareness of the major differences between natural stone flooring versus manmade surface options. If you still need help making the right choice for your particular flooring renovation project, look no further than the experts at Cosmos Surfaces! 

Expectation-Exceeding Products, Service and Expertise 

Our second-generation surfacing specialists bring extensive knowledge of all the different surface selections we offer, which span from natural stone to engineered alternatives. When you source your new floor from Cosmos Surfaces – whether you opt for natural stone or another material – you can count on a highly positive experience from start to finish.

A few standouts from our collection include Alpine White granite, Blue Sky marble, Citrino quartzite, Calacatta Vintage quartz and Taj Mahal porcelain, just to name a few. Eager to explore our inventory and get personalized recommendations for stone flooring or other suitable options that align with your preferences and project specifications? Browse our online gallery and get in touch today! 

Color of the Month: Serenity

Serenity is a misty light blue with notes of soothing grey. It creates a calming atmosphere in any room, perfect for a spa-like bedroom or bathroom.

Azurra Bay quartzite combines a light blue background, with interweaving greyish-white layers giving the illusion of overlapping waves. The multi-directional lines in this Brazilian quartzite draw your sight away from the center giving a sense of spaciousness to any room it is used in. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A cloudless blue sky meets the regal and dignified columns of ancient Rome is what Azul Imperiale brings to the imagination. A striking gold cuts through the mellow blue background, giving this Brazilian quartzite depth and beauty. Azul Imperiale creates a soft and light atmosphere, making it perfect for bathrooms and exterior environments. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What Are the Properties of Granite Surfaces?

properties of granite

Strikingly beautiful, resilient and simple to maintain, granite is a natural stone that has earned well-deserved acclaim around the world. It has a wide array of possible applications, ranging from indoor/outdoor countertops to backsplashes to tub surrounds to floors/walkways. To conserve the uniquely gorgeous appearance of these surfaces over time, it’s important to be aware of the properties of granite and the corresponding care requirements. This will be our focus today.

What Are the Properties of Granite Surfaces?

Granite is:

  • Impressively hard Ranking as a 6-7 on the Mohs scale of surface hardness (with 1 being softest and 10 being hardest), granite is quite hard. Its dense composition gives it a superb ability to resist scratches, chips and cracks, even with frequent, heavy use. This isn’t to say that these imperfections can’t happen, but they’re less likely to occur on granite than on softer stones.
  • Heat resistant – Going hand in hand with its scratch resistance, granite can take some heat without issue. Still, it’s best to use hot pads, trivets and chopping boards to be on the safe side, as the stone isn’t totally invulnerable. (Also, cutting directly on granite may damage your knives or compromise the sealant.)
  • Porous Most varieties of granite (as well as its natural stone cousins) are porous, meaning they have tiny “pores” which can take on water, air and bacteria. In turn, it’s highly recommended to seal and regularly reseal granite to protect against discoloration, mold/mildew and other potential damage from leaving the surface penetrable.
  • Varied in color – Originating from deep within the Earth, granite is a kind of magmatic rock that can come in a wide spectrum of different shades and patterns, depending on the mineral composition of a specific variety/slab and the conditions under which it formed. You can find granite featuring colors across the rainbow, from red to pink to yellow to green to off-white and black. No two pieces are exactly alike!

Keeping Granite Surfaces Fresh, Clean and Stunning 

Now that we’ve covered the main properties of granite, we’d like to tell you a bit more about how to properly care for it in your daily life and the long term. To do so, let’s answer a few FAQs:

  • What should I use to clean granite? – Cleaners specifically designed and approved for use on natural stone are always best. Sticking to these will help ensure your granite surfaces don’t lose their luster, look streaky from left-behind residue or develop unsightly marks due to a chemical reaction called etching. 
  • How do I prevent granite from becoming dull or damaged? – Small preventative maintenance steps done on a regular basis will go a long way to keep your granite looking like new. Practices to prioritize include cleaning up spills or splashes right away, wiping counters daily with a soft cloth and a gentle cleaner, promptly wiping up water around sinks/faucets, using coasters for cups and storing soaps/cleaning products on a dish to prevent water rings. 
  • How often does granite need to be sealed? – As we mentioned above, sealing is of paramount importance to keep your granite from absorbing and harboring liquids, food particles, stains and germs. Your fabricator/installer should seal the granite the first time, but you’ll want to reseal as time goes on. Top-quality sealers can offer up to ten years of protection, but keep an eye out for signs that resealing is needed sooner – dark spots and other types of discoloration are giveaways that the sealant coat isn’t doing its job anymore.

Hopefully the properties of granite overview and additional tips we’ve provided here have been helpful in informing you of granite’s qualities and what’s involved in its upkeep. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to our experts! We can also help you select the perfect surface for your project, according to your aesthetic tastes, application, care preferences and budget. 

Explore Granite & Much More with Cosmos Surfaces 

Granite is just the beginning of our wide selection of surfaces! Along with enchanting granites like Bianco Frost and Centaurus, we also offer marble, quartzite, soapstone, porcelain, quartz and other wondrous surface options. You can compare all the different choices via our online gallery, or make an appointment at one of our showrooms scattered across the nation!

Color of the Month: Silver Mist

Silver Mist is an arctic blue-grey with cool twilight undertones. It is perfect for adding an air of serenity to any room, especially when paired with rich dark cherry furniture.

Silver Lightning is a versatile type of granite that looks great among stainless steel and black cabinets. A flashy streak of silver cutting through a mellow gray sky, silver lightning is simultaneously calm and striking. The subtle crystalline texture and honed finish of silver lightning make this a perfect installation for kitchen countertops, floors, and bathroom vanities.

Luce Di Luna is an elegant, intricately textured type of dolomite marble. Thanks to naturally occurring, often intersecting lines in the stone, it’s easy to get lost in the pattern. Fittingly, its name translates to “light from the moon,” which perfectly describes its soft and brilliant white-gray coloring. It is commonly used for countertops, floors and interior walls.

Can You Use Bleach on Marble?

can you use bleach on marble

Since the era of classical antiquity, marble has been renowned for its stately beauty and spectacular resilience. In the modern day, whether you use marble for a countertop, floor or accent wall in your home, it’s important to keep it clean – and to use the proper materials and methods to do so. To sanitize marble in your cleaning routine, you might wonder: Can you use bleach on marble? Because bleach is a harsh, acidic cleaner, it can damage marble and other natural stones. Thus, it’s best to avoid using it. So, let’s talk about the right way to maintain the cleanliness of your marble surfaces on a day-to-day basis while preserving their beauty over time.

Can You Use Bleach on Marble?

Although natural stones like marble are known for being quite tough and durable, they don’t pair well with heavy-duty cleaning agents such as bleach, nor with environmentally friendly alternatives like vinegar. These acidic substances can damage natural stone by dulling its splendor or causing a chemical reaction known as etching, which results in difficult-to-reverse marks being left on the stone’s surface. Thus, we respond with a firm “no” to the question of “can you use bleach on marble?” – one of the most common mistakes made when cleaning natural stone

To avoid undesired blemishes, it’s best to stick with cleaners specifically approved for natural stone for marble and its relatives. Here are a few additional tips on caring for various natural stone surfaces:

  • Warm water and gentle dish detergent are typically fine as well, although it’s important to make sure you’re using a non-abrasive sponge. Our surface experts advise cleaning and wiping down marble counters, vanity tops or shower walls with a microfiber cloth for best results.
  • If you go for a natural stone floor, keep in mind that it can be scratched by abrasive debris. To prevent cosmetic imperfections, get in the habit of sweeping, mopping or vacuuming on a regular basis so your floors remain free of dirt and grime. For added protection and control in high-traffic areas like your entryway, you might also put down washable rugs or runners.

Now that we’ve clarified why the answer to “can you use bleach on marble?” is that it’s not recommended, we’d like to share a few more pieces of wisdom on keeping your natural stone surfaces pristine. Specifically, let’s talk about more things that can be potentially harmful to natural stone and how to safeguard your surfaces against them.

What Else to Know About Maintaining Marble

Beyond incompatible cleaners, other acidic substances may also lead to physical damage of natural stones such as marble. Examples include:

  • Fruit juice
  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Certain condiments/sauces

To protect natural stone surfaces against staining and etching as well as moisture and bacteria intrusion, it’s highly beneficial to have them sealed as recommended by the manufacturer. The necessary frequency of this maintenance step will vary based on the particular surface variety and application. 

With high-quality sealers, the guideline for resealing is around once every 3-10 years, depending on the material, its porosity level and how much use it gets. Because marble tends to be one of the more porous natural stones, it may need to be resealed annually to maintain a germ and moistureproof surface. If you begin to notice darkened spots on your natural stone, this is your cue to reseal.

As an important note, even on sealed marble, any spills should be cleaned up promptly to prevent etching, staining or premature wearing down of the sealant. 

Discover the Natural Stone of Your Dreams at Cosmos Surfaces

Eager to peruse a range of marble varieties and other excellent natural stone options for a renovation project you’re planning? Allow us to show you what’s in store at Cosmos Surfaces! 

With showrooms across the U.S., our selection is unparalleled, as is our customer service. Our experts are here to point you in the right direction based on your aesthetic goals, maintenance preferences and project budget. 

Available from Cosmos is everything from classic marbles like Carrara White to more unexpected choices like Caravaggio. Beyond marble, our array of surfaces includes everything from granite to engineered quartz to tile. To begin working with one of our surface specialists and learn more, reach out today on our website. We’ll be in touch promptly, but feel free to explore our online gallery in the meantime! 

Color of the Month: Silver Mist

Silver Mist is an arctic blue-grey with cool twilight undertones. It is perfect for adding an air of serenity to any room, especially when paired with rich dark cherry furniture.

True to its name, Macaubus Fantasy brings to mind a calm, cool breeze across relaxing oceans. Ideal for kitchens and bathrooms or outdoor surfaces and tiles, this versatile white quartzite swirls shades of blue, grey, and subtle tans across a white background. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Much like its namesake, this beautiful milky white Brazilian granite is adorned by small flecks of deep black. The gray crystals add an element of depth to the stone while the streaks of light gray add movement. The consistent and clean pattern of the Pitaya makes it a great choice for highlighting bolder design elements in the area. Pitaya is best used as a countertop, vanity top, or backsplash.

What Is the Most Durable Countertop Material?

most durable countertop material

Providing an area to prepare and enjoy meals, conversation and the company of your loved ones, your countertop is a pillar of your kitchen or entertaining space. Plus, it’s likely a focal point of the room design. So, it’s important to make sure it can stand up to frequent use while retaining its beauty over time. If you’re searching for the most durable countertop material, you have quite a few options, as there are many resilient choices. Quartz, soapstone, porcelain, quartzite and granite have all earned their place as standouts.

Ultimately, the right countertop material for your home will depend on your personal preferences and specifications. Our surfacing specialists are here to help you compare some of the top options by breaking down their features and differences.

What Is the Most Durable Countertop Material? 

In pursuit of a countertop that’s very well suited to your particular purposes, here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself:

  • Will your countertop be installed indoors or out? – If you’re shopping for an outdoor kitchen counter or bar top, it’s key to confirm its compatibility with the elements. Natural stones like quartzite and granite are built to last, even in the face of harsh weather and fluctuating temperatures. Porcelain is also commonly used for outdoor applications and sunny spaces, thanks to its capacity to resist fading along with moisture. For outside counters, you’ll want to avoid porous materials (which can be damaged by water), as well as materials containing resin binders (like quartz), as these may warp or melt when exposed to direct sunlight and high heat. 
  • Are you okay with having to seal your countertop on occasion? – Choosing a natural stone countertop means you’ll likely need to have it sealed at regular intervals to keep it from taking on moisture, bacteria and stains. If you’re more keen on a non-porous countertop that doesn’t require sealing, consider soapstone or quartz. 
  • How hard of a countertop would you like? – When it comes to countertops, hardness and durability go hand in hand. The hardness of various stones is ranked on the Mohs scale, with quartz, quartzite and granite being at the upper end. While less dense, soapstone and porcelain can still handle everyday wear and tear rather well, although there is a greater risk of scratches and chips in a high-traffic space.
  • What are your maintenance preferences? – Different surfaces have different care requirements. For instance, it’s best to use a cleaner that’s designed specifically for natural stone on granite and its counterparts. Meanwhile, soapstone and quartz are considered especially low maintenance, as they can be cleaned with a simple mixture of mild soap and water with no risk of harming the surface. If you’re seeking the most durable countertop material that’s also zero fuss, this may be something to think about.
  • What is your budget? – Countertop material pricing can vary quite a bit, even within a specific category. Also, when special equipment and techniques are required for proper installation, this can result in a higher price. Be sure to inquire about the cost of installation along with the price of the material itself when comparing different options. 

In addition to these factors, your desired aesthetic will also play a key role in determining your perfect countertop match. At Cosmos Surfaces, we offer a sweeping range of countertop options to explore, from various kinds of natural stone to man-made materials like engineered quartz.

In our showrooms across the nation and our online gallery, you’ll find a spectacular array of hues, patterns and textures to pick from, some made by the Earth and others by expert engineering. We are proud to have exquisite offerings for every budget.

Allow yourself to be dazzled by Cardinal Red quartzite, Evian White granite, Jade soapstone and a wealth of other elegant options available from Cosmos Surfaces. Feel free to peruse all the possibilities, or describe your design vision to us so we can help you narrow it down.

Reach Out to Cosmos for Help Selecting a Winning Countertop 

Eager to discover the most durable countertop material that best fits your needs and desires? Count on Cosmos Surfaces for professional guidance! Contact us via our website, and someone from our team of knowledgeable surface experts will be happy to assist you. Or, locate the Cosmos showroom closest to you and come see our amazing selection in person! Either way, we’ll provide top-quality advice to match our top-quality surfaces. 

Color of the Month: Emerald

Emerald is a muted, shaded aqua-green with jungle green undertones. Pair with lemony yellows for a soft glow, or with ebony black for a stunning contrast.

On Kamarica granite, sea foam green, rust orange, soft ivory and space gray swirl and twirl with one another to produce magical shapes. Bold yet sophisticated, this exotic, naturally occurring Brazilian stone is an awe-inspiring choice that works well for countertops, backsplashes, window sills, walls and many other interior design projects.

Like black soapstone, jade soapstone has a deep and dark color, rich in its elegance. Its sleek appearance matches its smoothly honed finish. Jade soapstone’s cool color makes it great for countertops and fireplaces, as well as backsplashes and poolside bars. Jade soapstone matches well with soft grays and wood alike.

Do Porcelain Tiles Crack Easily? & Other FAQs

do porcelain tiles crack easily

Porcelain tile is a common choice for a wide array of applications, both inside and outside of the home. When contemplating using this surfacing material for a specific project, it’s only natural to wonder: Do porcelain tiles crack easily? Whether you’re considering it for a countertop, an interior floor or a patio, getting the full scoop on porcelain and its properties is wise to verify that it’s the best match for your purposes. Our trusted second generation family owned surfacing products supplier is here to provide all the information you need to make an informed decision!

Do Porcelain Tiles Crack Easily? & Other FAQs

If you’re seeking a surface that’s as hardwearing as it is aesthetically appealing, porcelain could very well be just what you’re looking for. Thanks to advanced engineering techniques, porcelain tile can be tailored to fit renovation projects in your kitchen, bathroom or even your outdoor living space. Let’s answer a few popular FAQs about the features of porcelain tile:

  • Do porcelain tiles crack easily? – Simply put: no! Among tile options, porcelain stands out as a very strong and durable choice. It’s denser than its ceramic and vinyl counterparts, although not quite as hard as some natural stones (such as quartzite). Still, you can depend on porcelain to perform well over time, even when subjected to heavy traffic in a residential or commercial space. 
  • Is porcelain water resistant? – Yes indeed! Porcelain is made to repel moisture and, in turn, to minimize slipperiness and maximize traction, making it an excellent choice for showers, bathroom floors & walls and outdoor applications. Certain varieties are even rated as frostproof! 
  • How do I care for porcelain? – Since it’s water resistant, porcelain typically doesn’t require sealing like most natural stones do. However, it is important to regularly seal and clean the grout in between tiles to defend against bacteria, mold and stains there. The porcelain itself can be safely refreshed as needed using just about any household cleaner.
  • Will porcelain fade? – Not easily. Whether installed indoors or out, porcelain is known to retain its beautiful original coloring throughout the years. This is yet another point of favor for porcelain and its longevity. 
  • How much does porcelain cost to install? – The exact figure will depend on several factors, including the particular variety of porcelain chosen and the application. Because engineering and installing porcelain properly requires special knowledge and equipment, it can be a bit pricier than some other surfacing materials. Still, porcelain tends to be more affordable than natural stone in many cases, but with comparable levels of resilience and attractiveness.

Now that you’ve read up on porcelain tile’s properties, pros and potential cons, you may be excited to explore some options available from Cosmos Surfaces. We offer a vast selection of gorgeous, longwearing porcelain in a range of different hues, patterns, shapes and sizes, including large format slabs. Varieties span from subtly toned tile to charming wood-look porcelain to marble-mimicking porcelain featuring attention-grabbing veining. It all comes down to which look you most desire!

If you’re interested in large format porcelain as a possible wall, floor or countertop material, take your pick between Ocean Grey, Portoro, Sicily Gold and other elegant varieties. We also offer smaller pieces of porcelain tile to create dazzling tub surrounds, vanity tops and backsplashes. If you believe natural stone or another material may better suit your project, don’t stop at porcelain – feel free to browse our entire online gallery

Look to Us for Reliable Advice and Top-Quality Surfaces  

Want more details on a certain surface you’ve got your eye on? We’re always happy to answer questions such as “do porcelain tiles crack easily?” in the interest of helping our customers locate the all-around most ideal option for their project! Share your vision with our pros, and we’ll steer you towards surfaces that check all of your boxes and stay within your budget.

To begin working with one of our knowledgeable consultants, reach out to us online today. Or, find the Cosmos showroom closest to you (we have locations across the nation) to compare our stunning surface options in person with an expert from our team! Either way, our customer service-focused specialists look forward to helping you find the surface of your dreams.

Color of the Month: Emerald

Emerald is a muted, shaded aqua-green with jungle green undertones. Pair with lemony yellows for a soft glow, or with ebony black for a stunning contrast.

Named after the famous Renaissance artist, Botticelli is an artful masterpiece. Intensely complex, Botticelli is comprised of swirls, waves, and layers of color. Browns and golds meet grays and blacks in this Brazilian quartzite. Whether for flooring, tables, or countertops, Botticelli is sure to turn any room into a work of art. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Mountains of colors come to life in the quartzite named Galapagos. Galapagos brings to mind an aerial view of a cloudy mountainous, with peaks of green, rivers of blue and shadows of black. Unique layers and bands of color create a bold tone that looks great among blacks and silvers. Galapagos makes for interesting and artistic countertops and tables. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops?

pros and cons of granite countertops

If you’re ready to refresh your kitchen countertop, chances are granite is already on your radar as a possible material for this project. After all, granite has a long-running reputation for its ravishing beauty, resilience and numerous other benefits. Still, you’ll likely want to compare its features with those of other stone surfaces before making your final decision. So, let’s explore the pros and cons of granite countertops.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops?

Like any countertop material, granite carries a list of both favorable and potentially less desirable characteristics. Whether it’s a good fit for your new countertop will depend on various factors, ranging from your budget to your wear-and-tear expectations to your desired aesthetic. Even details like the type of kitchen sink you have (or plan to install) can play a role in determining whether granite is your best-matched option.

No matter who you are, here are some things you’re likely to love about granite:

  • It’s available in so many different patterns and color palettes, all created by our planet! From tame to exotic, there’s a granite variety for virtually any design setting and taste.
  • It’s heat resistant, meaning it’s unlikely to crack or melt from hot pots, pans or dishes being placed on it. To be on the safe side, though, it’s advisable to use trivets or hot pads, especially for cookware that retains heat for an extended period.
  • It’s scratch resistant, so it can stand up to everyday hustle and bustle in your kitchen without issue. In fact, granite is one of the densest stones out there, with a rating of 7 out of 10 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale! As an important note, it’s best to avoid cutting directly on your granite countertop. To prevent damage to your knives and counters, use a cutting board for chopping ingredients.
  • It’s chemical resistant, meaning it can stand up to acidic substances in the kitchen. Still, it’s best to clean up spills as promptly as possible, as the sealer on your granite can be broken down by certain substances. Speaking of sealer – so long as your granite countertop remains properly sealed, it will also be super stain resistant! 
  • It’s compatible with undermount sinks, which make cleanup a breeze since they allow liquids and food scraps to be wiped directly into the sink without needing to go over a lip.

Now, for a few things to be aware of when considering granite:

  • As we mentioned above, regular sealing is recommended to preserve your granite over time. This is because granite is a porous natural stone, meaning it can take on liquids, bacteria and stains if left unsealed. Nowadays, it’s a routine practice to seal granite at installation, and many quality sealers can offer protection for up to a decade. You can learn more about why it’s beneficial to keep up with this maintenance step in our post, “Does Granite Need to Be Sealed?
  • Depending on the specific granite variety you choose and the layout of your kitchen, it may be unavoidable to have one or more seams connecting different slabs. The good news is that these seams will only be about ⅛” thick and so shouldn’t be too noticeable.
  • While budget-friendly options are out there, granite can come at a higher price point than certain other stones. This is of course something to keep in mind when making your selection, especially if you have a large amount of countertop space and/or a limited budget.

So there you have it – some of the foremost pros and cons of granite countertops to think about when contemplating the best surface for your project.

Design Your Dream Countertop with Cosmos 

Now that we’ve laid out granite’s most enticing features as well as its potential downfalls, we’d like to invite you to explore our wide selection of gorgeous granites. From kaleidoscopically veined Brass Blue to pristine Alpha White to brilliantly bespeckled Spartacus, we have dozens of granites to make your kitchen countertops stand out – or blend in seamlessly! 

Whatever your kitchen design goals entail, our surface experts can help you achieve them with granite or another spectacular surfacing option from our collection. We’re here to tell you more about the pros and cons of granite countertops, plus help you compare and contrast it with other materials. To begin collaborating with our stone specialists, contact us today or locate your nearest Cosmos showroom!

Color of the Month: Pacific Blue

Pacific Blue is a deep orchid blue with neutral violet undertones. It lends a stately Colonial appeal to any room and pairs well with floral prints and elegant golden tans.

Oxford Blue is the Northern Lights come to life, your favorite pair of faded blue jeans personified, a sunset on the ocean. Layers of blue, white, and pink meet in this Brazilian quartzite. Creating an atmosphere of liveliness and nostalgia, Oxford Blue looks great in busy aquatic environments, such as a poolside counter or a waterfall. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Named for the artist himself, Raphael is an exquisite work of art when installed in any space, interior or exterior. Rivers of blue and roads of gold traverse a white backdrop to form this masterpiece. The complex variety of color and layering in Raphael make it a perfect match with any aesthetic, modern or rugged, warm or cool. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Does Granite Need to Be Sealed? & Other FAQs

does granite need to be sealed

Synonymous with majestic beauty and spectacular strength, granite is an igneous rock formed by magma crystallizing deep underground over millions of years. One of nature’s many splendors, granite makes for awe-inspiring, highly durable surfaces throughout the home, from countertops to floors to accent walls. Mention of its versatility and resilience begs the question: Does granite need to be sealed? In this article, the pros at Cosmos Surfaces will answer this common question, along with other FAQs about granite.

Does Granite Need to Be Sealed?

Like any surfacing material, granite comes with its own distinct features and care requirements. So, it’s important to be aware of these before committing. Without further ado, let’s launch into some key things to know about granite:

  • Does granite need to be sealed? – Like most natural stone varieties, granite is porous, meaning that moisture, bacteria and stains may be absorbed into the “pores” of the stone. This is where sealing comes into play! Proper sealing at the time of installation and on a regular basis afterwards is very important to protect your granite and extend its beauty and longevity. For granite kitchen countertops, sealing is also vital to maintain a healthy and safe place to prepare food. 
  • How often does granite need to be sealed? – The exact time frame will vary depending on the specific variety of granite you choose, its porosity level, how heavily it gets used and other factors. The best quality sealers can offer up to ten years of protection.
  • How will I know when it’s time to reseal my granite? – If you begin to notice darkened spots or rings that persist after wiping up your granite surface, this is a sign that resealing is needed as soon as possible.
  • How do I protect my granite surfaces between sealer applications? To maintain gleaming granite, get in the habit of wiping up spills promptly and keeping areas around sinks/faucets dry. For everyday maintenance, use a neutral cleaner, ideally one that’s designed for natural stone. Even though granite is hard wearing, you should avoid placing very hot cooking implements or cutting directly on it. Use trivets, coasters and cutting boards to preserve the integrity of your granite surfaces and prevent scratches, cracks or chips.

We hope this crash course in granite maintenance has been informative to you and will help you decide if it’s the right surface for your project. If you’d rather not have to keep up with sealing your countertop or other surfaces, soapstone is a wonderful option worth considering.

Because it contains hydrophobic (water resistant/repellent) talc, soapstone doesn’t require any sealing at all. In turn, it’s one of the most easily maintained stones out there! However, it’s not quite as hard as granite, which can make it somewhat more susceptible to chipping and scratching over time. To learn more about the differences between granite vs. soapstone, check out our detailed side-by-side comparison of these two popular materials.

Choosing a Granite Variety 

If you decide to go with granite, you might wonder where to start to pick a well-matched variety for your home. While different kinds of granite have certain characteristics in common, this natural stone’s appearance can vary quite a bit from slab to slab. The pattern and coloration will be determined by the mineral content in a particular piece, while the size of visible mineral grains will depend on the rate at which the minerals cooled beneath the Earth’s surface. 

Generally speaking, granite may contain minerals like feldspar, quartz, garnet and amphiboles, among others. Hinging on a granite slab’s unique mineral composition, the resulting tableau may feature colors like:

  • Milky white, from quartz
  • Dark green or black, from amphiboles
  • Off-white, from feldspar
  • Rich red, from garnet
  • Gold or yellow, from muscovite
  • Coral, from potassium feldspar
  • Black or dark brown, from biotite

Different combinations of minerals make for striking granite varieties such as Agatha – a deep black granite with repeating bands of ethereal gray and white – and Kamarica –  an intriguing scape of swirling seafoam, gold, milky white and tempered gray.

You’ll Be Dazzled By Our Surfaces, Selection & Service!

At Cosmos Surfaces, granite and other stone surfaces are our specialty. If you’d like professional assistance with choosing the best sort of surface for your application, in terms of everything from look to porosity to maintenance requirements, reach out to our experts anytime. We have showrooms across the U.S. where you can browse our vast selection. Or, we can help you make your project a success from afar! Check out our online gallery, and contact us to begin comparing beautiful options with our expectation-exceeding surfaces supplier.

Color of the Month: Pacific Blue

Pacific Blue is a deep orchid blue with neutral violet undertones. It lends a stately Colonial appeal to any room and pairs well with floral prints and elegant golden tans.

Azurra Bay quartzite combines a light blue background, with interweaving greyish-white layers giving the illusion of overlapping waves. The multi-directional lines in this Brazilian quartzite draw your sight away from the center giving a sense of spaciousness to any room it is used in. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A cloudless blue sky meets the regal and dignified columns of ancient Rome is what Azul Imperiale brings to the imagination. A striking gold cuts through the mellow blue background, giving this Brazilian quartzite depth and beauty. Azul Imperiale creates a soft and light atmosphere, making it perfect for bathrooms and exterior environments. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

All About Using Quartzite in Bathroom Projects

quartzite in bathroom

Deep beneath the Earth’s surface, quartzite forms as sandstone and quartz crystals are exposed to extreme heat and pressure over time. The result of this metamorphosis is a marvelous and impressively enduring stone which lends itself to use throughout the home. Not to be confused with quartz – an engineered stone – quartzite is naturally occurring, giving it a distinct and unmatched organic beauty. Quartzite in bathroom applications is particularly popular, thanks to the material’s ability to withstand everyday wear and tear coupled with its tranquility-invoking appearance. 

With a hardness level comparable to granite and an alluring mystique reminiscent of marble, quartzite truly gives you the best of both worlds. Let’s walk through what to know when thinking of incorporating quartzite into a new or refreshed bathroom.

All About Using Quartzite in Bathroom Projects

From high durability to one-of-a-kind beauty, quartzite in bathroom applications has a lot to offer. But as with any surfacing material, it has certain characteristics and maintenance requirements which you should be aware of up front. Without further ado, let’s answer some key questions about using this natural stone for bathroom features like a backsplash, vanity, floor, tub surround or wall cladding:

  • Will my quartzite surfaces need to be sealed? – By virtue of being a natural stone, quartzite can differ in its porosity level depending on the specific variety. But, in a high-moisture environment like the bathroom, sealing and occasional resealing will almost always be recommended. An easy way to tell it’s time to reseal quartzite is when areas that are subject to splashing begin to look darkened, indicating that liquid is being absorbed into the material. Typically, sealing of quartzite in bathrooms is needed only about once per decade, but the timeline can vary.
  • Do I need to worry about stains on quartzite? – Quartzite surfaces are generally quite resistant to staining and fading, but once again, sealing will make them even more resilient. If you begin to notice discoloration in certain spots, even after thorough cleaning, this is a tell-tale sign that it’s time to seal your quartzite again.
  • How should I care for my quartzite surfaces? – A soft cloth or sponge and a mild, neutral cleaner approved for stone surfaces should do the trick to clean quartzite! To prevent water marks and grime, it’s good to get in the habit of wiping quartzite around your sink or shower dry promptly after each use. As an important note, you should never use harsh cleaners like bleach or abrasive scrubbing pads on quartzite or any other natural stone surface.

As you can see, quartzite is rather low maintenance and holds up well over time, making it a wonderful choice for a busy bathroom. It’s also among the more affordable natural stone surfaces, adding to its advantages for those on a budget.

Choosing the Right Quartzite for Your Bathroom

If you’re attracted to the aesthetic and practical benefits of quartzite, then the next question is which variety is the best match for your personal bathroom design. Regardless of your style, there’s a lot to choose from!

For example, Montezul is a gorgeous gray, gold and white quartzite with veining that tells the story of its time underground. Dense yet delicate looking, it makes for a glorious bathtub foundation or sink surround. 

Citrino is another showstopping quartzite with iridescent, celestial white and rich tones of gold and black sprawling across its surface. Particularly striking in bright light, this versatile quartzite can be at home in classic and contemporary bathroom schemes alike.

At Cosmos Surfaces, we have these and many other stunning varieties of quartzite in our vast inventory. Drawing on decades of experience, our natural stone authorities are available to help you decide on the perfect pick for your project!  

Browse Quartzite & Other Natural Stone Surfaces with Our Specialists

Whether you’re already eager to put quartzite in bathroom or you’d like to discover our full range of natural stone offerings before making your decision, it’s easy to get started with us. 

Browse our online gallery to learn more about our magnificent quartzites and other products we carry, and reach out anytime to consult our knowledgeable surface professionals about what will work best for your project. We also have showrooms across the U.S. you can visit to see our top-quality products in person! Begin your journey to finding and acquiring your ideal bathroom accents today with Cosmos, one of the nation’s leading surface suppliers.

Color of the Month: Paperplane

Paperplane is a soft, gray, sepia greige with an umber undertone. This soothing, pleasing neutral elevates any room and pairs beautifully with grayed or creamy whites.

The pale white background of this Brazilian quartzite is adorned by rays of charcoal and grey. The predictable patterns of the Invictus quartzite stone make it an excellent choice for adding elegance and energy to any space. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Dark grey and green veins and waves cascade across a white background making Destin White a dynamic choice for any space. This high variance marble from Vermont, USA ensures that each application is a wholly unique experience.

Benefits of Composite Sinks for Kitchen Use

composite sinks for kitchen

When shopping for a kitchen sink, there’s more to consider than you might initially realize. There are numerous sink materials to choose from, each offering its own list of advantages. For example, composite sinks for kitchen applications can lend beauty and durability to an everyday cooking space while complementing certain countertop materials and kitchen designs. To help you decide if this type of sink is well suited to your personal kitchen, let’s go through some of the most noteworthy features offered by composite sinks.

Benefits of Composite Sinks for Kitchen Use

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty and practical yet stylish sink, there are plenty of reasons to consider composite. Favorable characteristics of these sinks include:

  • Stain resistance – Because they’re typically nonporous, composite sinks won’t absorb food or liquids easily, making them virtually stain proof. Still, it’s a good idea to wipe down the basin frequently, for sanitation purposes and to prevent water marks. 
  • Easy maintainability – With regular wiping, your composite sink will stay fresh and gleaming. If you do happen to notice any grime or leftover food stuck to your sink, a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge, warm water and mild dish soap should take care of it. A coat of mineral oil or olive oil can help to restore the sink’s luster as needed.
  • Impressive resilience – Made from a blend of tough materials like granite and quartz mixed with acrylic resin, composite sinks can stand up to everyday use in a busy kitchen. They resist scratches, dents and chips remarkably well, meaning that composite sinks for kitchen are a durable and fuss-free choice for culinary enthusiasts and families alike.
  • Heat resistance – Along with being longwearing, the components of composite sinks tend to be quite heat tolerant, so moderately hot pots and pans shouldn’t pose an issue. Even so, it’s a good idea to let them cool down a bit before placing them in the sink for washing.
  • Aesthetic appeal – The dark hues of a composite sink invoke intrigue and forward a sleek, elegant and unique look in kitchens of various styles. Alongside quartz or granite countertops in particular, selecting a composite sink in a coordinating hue can help create a continuous and harmonious design.

Making a statement and affording many practical benefits, composite sinks are a top contender for those seeking a high-performing kitchen sink. Cosmos Surfaces offers several varieties of composite sinks for kitchen, including our black Vortex single bowl sink and double-bowl sinks.

Possible Drawbacks of a Composite Sink

As with any sink material, there are a few potential negatives to keep in mind which may impact your decision to purchase a composite sink. Here are some important things to consider before committing:

  • The flip side of composite sinks being very hard and durable is that dishes can break or chip more easily if dropped into them.
  • Since they tend to be heavier than other sink materials (like stainless steel), composite sinks may require extra support to be added during installation.
  • Although composite sinks are considered heat resistant, they are not heatproof. Thus, extremely hot pots and pans can potentially warp or melt the acrylic resin binders and damage the sink.

If any of the above is a major concern for you – or if the look of composite sinks for kitchen doesn’t quite align with your design vision – then you might consider a stainless steel or porcelain sink instead. For more details on these options and their respective pros and cons, check out our detailed comparison of porcelain vs. stainless steel vs. composite sinks.

Work with Our Knowledgeable & Friendly Surface Specialists

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose which type of sink best matches your needs and desires, in terms of both appearance and functionality. If you’d like some expert guidance on the benefits of composite sinks as you explore the options, the Cosmos Surfaces team is here to help! 

Drawing on decades of experience in the world of sinks, countertops and other kitchen surfaces, we can assist you in your search for the most ideal kitchen sink for your home, budget and design preferences. We’re dedicated to providing helpful information and top-quality products to customers across the nation, so feel free to reach out from anywhere in the U.S. Contact us online today or locate your nearest Cosmos Surfaces showroom to get started!

Color of the Month: Paperplane

Paperplane is a soft, gray, sepia greige with an umber undertone. This soothing, pleasing neutral elevates any room and pairs beautifully with grayed or creamy whites.

Chilly, light granite is tempered by warm eggshell coloring and flecks of grey in White Ice to create an atmosphere that is just right. Sourced responsibly from Brazil, this granite countertop looks decidedly cool in both bathrooms and kitchens.

Imagining you’re on a crackled snowy rockface isn’t difficult when looking at the textured marble of Bianca Venatino. Like crackled grey stone and white snow, Bianca Venatino creates a cool atmosphere that is calming and subtle. It complements well with black and looks great in minimalistic spaces, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Natural Stone Backsplash FAQs

natural stone backsplash

If you’re aiming to beautify your kitchen or bathroom, adding a natural stone backsplash will definitely help you accomplish this goal. Not only will it look exquisite; a stone backsplash will also make any food or liquid splatter easier to clean off. Different types of natural stone have varying properties, so let’s answer some commonly asked questions that will help you determine the very best option for your personal kitchen or bathroom.

Natural Stone Backsplash FAQs

When considering natural stone for a backsplash application, there are several things you might be curious about. For instance:

  • Which materials are best? – The answer to this depends on the look you are going for, as well as practical considerations like hardness/durability level. Natural stones range in hardness – from softer stones like soapstone and marble to harder stones like granite and quartzite – as well as in their typical hues and patterns. Before saying yes to a natural stone you love the appearance of, be sure to discuss its durability, expected longevity and care needs with a reputable surfaces supplier like Cosmos.
  • Does natural stone need to be sealed? – Sealing/resealing requirements may vary based on the specific type of natural stone you select. Most natural stone surfaces are porous and so will need to be properly sealed and resealed over time to prevent staining and moisture intrusion. This is especially true for a backsplash in an active kitchen or bathroom, where splashes are bound to end up on the walls from time to time. As an example, it’s advised that quartzite be resealed around twice a year in a room that gets daily use.
  • What about the grout? – Like the stone itself, the grout in between pieces on a backsplash will most likely need to be sealed on a regular basis. This maintenance step will help slow down wear and tear, strengthen the grout to prevent damage to the stone it surrounds and guard against grime, moisture, mold & mildew and staining.
  • How do you clean a natural stone backsplash? – Simply wipe the stone with a cloth or non-abrasive sponge as needed to keep it looking pristine. For both everyday care and tougher messes, be sure to use a cleaner that’s approved for natural stone surfaces. Generally, pH-neutral cleaners work best, and acidic products should be avoided to prevent damage/possible chemical reactions with the stone.
  • How do you clean the grout? – We can’t emphasize enough that caring for the grout is an essential step in preserving the unique beauty of a natural stone backsplash! To handle stubborn buildup, discoloration or stains on grout lines, a stone-safe grout cleaner and a soft-bristled scrub brush will work wonders. 

We hope this overview has helped you understand the possible pros and cons of choosing a natural stone backsplash. If you’re interested in getting more in-depth information on the features of specific stones, check out our comparison of different kitchen backsplash materials.

Alternatives to a Natural Stone Backsplash 

Looking for a no-fuss backsplash material that doesn’t require sealing? Engineered quartz is a terrific low-maintenance option that comes in a vast range of colors and patterns, some of which can even impressively imitate the distinct look of natural stone! For instance, Calacatta Luna is a striking white and gray quartz that brings traditional marble to mind.

Ceramic tile is another man-made material which can be fashioned to look like marvelous natural stone or even hardwood, thanks to manufacturing advances.

*Keep in mind that the grout between tiles will still need to be sealed for these natural stone alternatives.

Partner with Cosmos to Find Your Ideal Backsplash

From one-of-a-kind, earth-forged natural stone (including soapstone, granite, marble, quartzite and more) to ceramic tile to quartz, Cosmos Surfaces provides a world of wondrous options fit for your kitchen or bathroom backsplash. We even offer dazzling semi-precious stones like Blue Agate for the discerning homeowner eager to make their backsplash a true work of art.

If you’re eager to discover the perfect match for your design vision, room setup and care preferences, reach out to our surfacing specialists today. We’ve curated an online gallery where you can view samples and learn more about our superb selections, and we also have showrooms across the country that you can visit to see them in real life before making your decision. 

Color of the Month: Paperplane

Paperplane is a soft, gray, sepia greige with an umber undertone. This soothing, pleasing neutral elevates any room and pairs beautifully with grayed or creamy whites.

Azurra Bay quartzite combines a light blue background, with interweaving grey-white layers giving the illusion of overlapping waves. The multi-directional lines in this Brazilian quartzite draw your sight away from the center giving a sense of spaciousness to any room it is used in. 

A wondrous plateau of glimmering alabaster, charcoal gray, caramel and hints of cherry red, Bianco Romano is a type of granite fit for royalty. Capable of withstanding freezing temperatures, this Brazilian stone can be used in outdoor applications as well as indoor ones. Leverage its grace and panache to fashion outstanding countertops, outdoor living area features and more.

Pros and Cons of a Marble Kitchen Floor

marble kitchen floor

Dating all the way back to the period of ancient Greece & Rome, marble is an ornate yet durable stone with an abundant array of possible uses. Easily identified by its sprawling veining pattern, this naturally occurring stone has certainly earned its reputation for elegance, endurance and ease of maintenance over time. With all of this in mind, you might contemplate adding a marble kitchen floor to your home. Today, Cosmos Surfaces will walk you through the distinctive features, advantages and things to be aware of when considering this surface for kitchen flooring.

Pros and Cons of a Marble Kitchen Floor

There are so many wonderful things about marble – but is it a good option for kitchen floors? Indeed, there are numerous advantages offered by a marble kitchen floor. Some of the main ones include:

  • Marble is uniquely and dramatically beautiful – Quarried in Brazil, Italy, the US and other countries around the world, marble is one of nature’s wonders. No two slabs are the same, making for a standout, one-of-a-kind kitchen floor. From classic to more daring, there are ample varieties to choose from to bring your kitchen design vision to life!
  • A range of finish options are available for marble – For a kitchen floor in particular, a honed finish is a suitable choice because it provides traction to minimize the risk of slips and falls. This finish is warmer and more matte than a polished finish, but ultimately safer and more practical for flooring applications.
  • Marble is relatively dense and long-wearing – While other natural stone floor options like granite may be a bit harder, marble’s durability is typically sufficient for a kitchen floor. The lower degree of hardness can actually be a good thing, too, as it lends a warmer and more inviting feel.
  • Marble retains and radiates heat readily – This makes it more comfortable under foot, whether you’re cooking, doing dishes or just passing through the kitchen space. 

Like any surfacing material, marble comes with drawbacks in certain settings. Here are a few potential downfalls to take into account when deciding if a marble kitchen floor is right for your home and family:

  • Installation can be costly – This is owing to the fact that properly installing a marble floor requires special techniques and professional expertise.
  • Marble itself can come at a premium price, especially for a larger surface area  – For some homeowners, this stunning stone featuring non-repeating patterns originating from the earth is well worth the cost.
  • Marble may scratch or chip more easily than its counterparts – This is a possible side effect of it being among the softer stone surfaces. Fortunately, it can be resurfaced, repolished and/or rehoned by a professional, should damage occur.
  • Marble is porous – In other words, it will be susceptible to intrusion by liquids and bacteria if left unsealed. So, you’ll likely want to keep up with having your marble kitchen floor sealed on a regular basis to prevent staining or water damage.

Preserving Marble Floors 

If you’ve made it through the pros and cons list and are still thinking you might love a marble kitchen floor, then it’s time to talk about best practices for marble care and maintenance. Thanks to their resilience, it doesn’t take much to take good care of marble floors. But of course, there are tips and tricks you should know and follow to avoid damage and extend the life of your marble kitchen floor:

  • To stay on top of dust and dirt, try to make sweeping your marble floor a part of your daily or weekly cleaning routine, depending on how much foot traffic your kitchen receives. Keep in mind that vacuuming isn’t recommended, since it can cause scratches and other imperfections on the porous surface.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as possible – especially acidic liquids like coffee, vinegar, fruit juice or wine. Most messes should be manageable with a damp microfiber cloth and mild dish soap. Avoid the use of scrubber sponges, as they can leave scratches on marble.
  • Any mild, non-abrasive cleaner should work safely and effectively on a marble floor, but it never hurts to double-check the manufacturer’s care instructions to make sure a product is a good match before using it.
  • Hard water deposits can etch marble surfaces. So, be sure to dry floors thoroughly with a dry mop pad after cleaning to prevent them from losing their brilliance or taking on etch marks.

Discover a World of Splendid Premium Marble for Various Applications

Now that you’ve gotten the full scoop on what to expect when installing marble as a kitchen floor, you might be eager to see examples of different marble varieties. Look no further than Cosmos Surfaces for a full selection of invigorating marble slabs and tile, spanning from traditional varieties like Calacatta Berrini to more colorful and charismatic choices like Blue Sky.

Whether you’re perusing for the perfect kitchen floor or for another surface in your home, our experts are here to help you make an informed, outstanding choice based on your project requirements and budget. We know the ins and outs of marble and other natural stone surfaces, as well as of engineered alternatives that mimic the look of nature-made stone. Browse our online marble gallery, visit your nearest Cosmos showroom or contact us on our website today to get started! 

Color of the Month: Intrigue

Intrigue is a dark spiced brown with warm red-rock undertones. It lends exquisite depth to a room when paired with light cream accents as a trim or accent wall.

Audax is a type of schist that is dynamically layered and one-of-a-kind. The layers create fluid bands of brown, black, silver, and white that is stunningly complex and pleasing to the eye. A work of art, audax looks great in kitchens and bathrooms. The long bands of layers can be installed as floors and countertops.

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold crisscross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

All About Blue Agate Countertops

blue agate countertops

Categorized as a semi-precious natural stone, blue agate is a bold and beguiling choice for spaces around the home, from kitchen to bathroom to living room. On an agate countertop, hand-selected stones marked by vibrant blues, moody grays and other varying tones give a nod to nature and honor the astonishing power of our planet. But, appearance isn’t all there is. If you’re interested in blue agate countertops, it’s important to familiarize yourself with their features and care requirements. Cosmos Surfaces is here to tell you more about these whimsical, long-enduring, one-of-a-kind premium stone slabs for countertop applications and beyond.

All About Blue Agate Countertops

Using a gemstone like agate for a countertop is sure to garner attention and spark well-deserved interest. Along with mystifying shades of blue, this stone can feature many different striking hues, including pink, red, brown, white and gray. 

The product of silica from groundwater being deposited in the cavities of igneous rocks, agate’s wide color spectrum occurs in unique banded patterns reminiscent of growth rings on a tree trunk. In similar fashion, agate’s lines tell the story of its past and of changes in the groundwater composition as it was formed. 

Once you bring agate into your home, how will it fare over time? Let’s cover some key things to know about its properties:

  • Heat resistant, agate lends itself well to placement next to stoves and other heat-producing appliances or fixtures.
  • Scratch resistant, agate countertops can stand up to everyday use in your cooking area or on a bathroom vanity.
  • Ranked as a 7 on the hardness scale, agate is similar to granite in that it offers high levels of strength, durability and longevity.
  • Non-porous by virtue of being bound together with resin, blue agate countertops are simple and stress free to maintain. Much like when caring for engineered quartz countertops, you’ll want to use a mild, pH-neutral cleaner and a soft, damp cloth to revitalize agate surfaces, plus wipe up any spills promptly to avoid staining. 

Owing to their captivating beauty and other favorable features, agate slabs are an alluring choice for countertops – but smaller pieces can also be used for numerous other applications, including decorative accent walls, fireplace surrounds, backsplashes and even water features.

Blue Agate & Other Stunning Varieties Available at Cosmos Surfaces 

If agate has caught your eye, it’s no wonder – these impossible-to-ignore gemstone surfaces are sure to make a statement in any space, while also offering a slew of practical and delightful benefits. Blue agate countertops are a popular standout, but they’re certainly not the only option. 

At Cosmos Surfaces, we offer several different types of agate to fit different design schemes and styles:

  • Agate Azure is our bold and beautiful choice for admirers and desirers of blue agate countertops. It features complex lake and geyser blues, robust grays and tones of white and brown dispersed throughout its bands. Due to its translucence, it pairs magically with under-cabinet lighting and white backsplashes.
  • Agate Earth is a bit warmer and more subdued in contrast to Agate Azure. Its tranquil characteristic hues of amber, red, brown, gold and black serve as the perfect complement to brighter crystalline whites scattered throughout. 
  • Agate Vermell stimulates the senses with bands of spirited reds, browns, blues and tans. Unexpected and inspiring, it looks particularly remarkable alongside wood design features.

Regardless of which agate variety you choose, you and your guests will surely not soon tire of gazing upon the natural splendor of this gemstone. Whether you display it on your countertops or use it for another application – indoors or out – you can count on agate to serve you well for years to come.

Discover a World of Wonderful Surfacing Options at Cosmos 

If you’d like to learn more about agate and explore a full selection of semi-precious stone surfaces, trust the professionals at Cosmos Surfaces to be your guides. From dazzling slabs of agate for countertops to white quartz for floors, we offer a vast selection of gorgeous and long-wearing stone surfaces for an array of projects.

Cosmos works with both homeowners and businesses across the US, delivering top-quality surfaces and service. You can visit one of our showrooms to see our stunning surfaces in person, or consult our experts from wherever you are to get reliable recommendations and advice for your project. Feel free to reach out to us anytime for assistance in bringing your design vision to life!

Color of the Month: Intrigue

Intrigue is a dark spiced brown with warm red-rock undertones. It lends exquisite depth to a room when paired with light cream accents as a trim or accent wall.

Citrino is a canvas of crystals, a work of art come to life. Baubles of white, gold, and black make up this Brazilian quartzite. Elegant and stylish, Citrino responds differently depending on the lighting. Mellower in low light, but striking in bright light, Citrino is a unique and classy choice for kitchens and bathrooms alike. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A sheet of gold, it’s no surprise how Golden Paradise got its name. But it’s not just gold – look deeper to see the crystals of whites and greys that make up this Brazilian quartzite. Highly translucent, Golden Paradise makes for spectacular floors, walls, and fireplaces and matches well with blacks and woods. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tile for Bathroom Floor

porcelain tile for bathroom floor

When designing spaces throughout the home, it’s important to think about both function and aesthetics. For bathrooms in particular, elements which evoke feelings of serenity and will stand the test of time in a high-moisture environment are commonly wished for. To strike this balance, you might consider porcelain tile for bathroom floor. Today, our surface professionals are here to fill you in on the pros and possible cons of porcelain bathroom floors to help you decide if they’re a good fit for your project.

Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tile for Bathroom Floor

To land on the best flooring material for a bathroom renovation, it’s wise to take a comprehensive look at the perks and potential disadvantages of each option. Doing so will help you avoid unexpected surprises and make an informed choice, leading you to a floor that aligns with all your top priorities. 

Here’s a big-picture overview of what to know when evaluating whether porcelain tile fulfills your particular needs and desires for your new bathroom floor.

Pros 

  • Available in a wide range of patterns, porcelain gives you freedom to bring just about any design vision to life. Your eye might be caught by a spectacular veined slab simulating the look of marble (but at a more affordable price point), a more muted neutral-toned porcelain that lets surrounding elements take center stage or even a wood-look porcelain tile. The world is your oyster!
  • Versatility in tile size & shape adds to the allure of porcelain. By virtue of advanced engineering techniques, porcelain can be made in a full spectrum of sizes and shapes to suit different applications. Dazzling countertops and flowing floors for bathrooms can be easily achieved with large format porcelain slabs, while smaller projects like backsplashes and tub surrounds are also possible with porcelain tile.
  • Slip and water resistant, porcelain makes for a safe flooring option for bathrooms and beyond. You can count on it to give you great traction underfoot, even when used for a shower floor or another area where moisture is often present.
  • Invulnerable to sunlight, porcelain resists fading and maintains its color and radiance over time. You don’t have to fear using it in sunny spaces, or even outdoors!
  • Unfussy compared to its natural stone cousins, porcelain is among the most easily maintained options for bathroom floors, shower walls and more. It’s safe to use most household cleaners on porcelain surfaces, and you generally don’t have to worry about buffing or sealing them to keep their finish fresh. 
  • With inherent antibacterial/antimicrobial properties, porcelain is an especially excellent choice for the bathroom of a health-conscious homeowner. As an important note, it’s essential to regularly clean and seal the grout between tiles to prevent staining and mold growth. Luckily, large format tile typically doesn’t come with an excessive number of grout lines to maintain.

Possible Cons

  • Installation can be more costly for porcelain than for certain other materials, as special equipment and expertise are required to engineer and install porcelain properly. 
  • Porcelain is less hard than some natural stones (like quartzite), meaning it can be more susceptible to damage – especially with very heavy use over time. 
  • Scratches or chips may stand out – more so than on natural stone – since the surface pattern on porcelain might not run through the entire slab. 

As you can see, there’s a whole lot to love about porcelain tile for bathroom floors and more. But as with any surface, it comes with some characteristics that can be less than ideal, depending on what exactly you’re looking for. 

Before deciding on porcelain tile or another bathroom floor material, it’s important to be fully in the know about the features, from cost to maintenance requirements. Hopefully this rundown has been helpful in providing more insight into whether porcelain tile for bathroom floor installation might be right for you! For any questions you may still have, our surface specialists are here to assist.

Consult Our Pros for Help Finding Your Ideal Surface

If you’re eager to begin exploring porcelain slab, tile and other beautiful, versatile, long-wearing surface selections, we invite you to take a look at our online gallery. We also have showrooms across the US that you can visit, in case you’d like to compare our offerings in person. 

Whether you’re seeking an envy-worthy bathroom floor, kitchen counter or some other unique surface to enrich your home’s beauty, comfort and value, our knowledgeable team will be glad to help. Fill out our contact form today to get started!

Color of the Month: Onyx

Onyx is a cool, dark black with stone undertones. It lends a stately, serious look to any room, but is versatile enough to use alongside any color or texture.

Maori granite has a pattern that’s reminiscent of drawings on a chalkboard, with thin-to-wide, grayish-white lines intersecting on top of a stark black base. A striking and stylish stone, Maori is a suitable selection for anyone seeking an adventurously decorated granite countertop that will continue making a statement for years to come.

Waves and ripples of white and gray adorn this brilliant black granite dubbed Via Lactea from Brazil. The gentle veins and patterns of the Via Lactea create a compelling sight to behold when set against white cabinets.

Porcelain Vs. Stainless Steel: Sink Material FAQs

porcelain vs stainless steel sink

In most homes, the kitchen and/or bathroom sink can’t escape daily wear. Sinks also tend to reside in major focal areas of the home. These two factors combine to make choosing the right sink materials for your home essential. In today’s post, our experts discuss porcelain vs stainless steel sink properties and answer sink material FAQs.

Looking for high quality sinks? Browse our sink options now or contact us online with any questions. 

Sink FAQs: Porcelain Sinks vs Stainless Steel

Kitchen and bathroom sinks need to be durable and easy to clean — not to mention, easy on the eyes. Sink options like composite sinks, porcelain sinks and stainless sinks all bring a unique set of properties to the table (or counter, if you will). The best sink materials for your home will depend on your needs, your budget and your design style. 

Let’s take a look at how porcelain and stainless steel sinks compare.

Porcelain Sink Properties

Porcelain sinks are a timeless classic. This man made material is easy to customize in terms of its looks. Though more widely seen in bathroom settings, options like our Orion Farm Sink can turn any kitchen into a farmhouse style dream. Keep reading to learn more about porcelain sinks. 

What are the Pros of Porcelain Sinks?

Porcelain is a popular choice for sinks, and for good reason. Here are the pros of installing a porcelain sink in your home:

  • Versatility — Due to its man made nature, porcelain sinks can be made with patterns or colored glazes not found in nature. Of course, a classic white porcelain sink will never go out of style.
  • Durability — Porcelain sinks are highly durable and stand up well to everyday wear and tear, though care should be used not to drop heavy items in the sink. 
  • Heat and Cold Resistant — Porcelain is made of highly dense clay, which is fired at extremely high temperatures. The result is an incredibly durable material that can withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.
  • Easy to Clean — This is a big one. Owing to the glaze that’s applied to porcelain, these sinks are smooth and non-porous, which makes them a breeze to clean and maintain. 

What are the Cons of Porcelain Sinks?

All materials have their downsides, and porcelain is no different. Here are the cons of porcelain:

  • Chipping — As it is a very hard, dense material, porcelain can chip, especially if heavy items are dropped on it. That said, you can always get your sink refinished to repair such damage.
  • Weight — Porcelain sinks can be on the heavy side, which complicates installation and may necessitate installing supports. 
  • Be Mindful of Cleaning Products — Harsh chemicals like bleach can damage the finish on your porcelain sink. Always check in with a manufacturer to ensure a cleaning product is safe to use on your sink. 

Do Porcelain Sinks Stain?

Compared to stainless steel sinks, porcelain sinks are more susceptible to taking on staining. In the kitchen, certain types of foods and spills should be wiped up and thoroughly cleaned immediately. In the bathroom, cosmetics are often the culprit, so always be mindful of what’s left out. As with all surfacing materials, a little bit of proactive care and maintenance can go a long way. 

How Long Do Porcelain Sinks Last?

Porcelain sinks have an average lifespan of 20–25 years. While all materials take on wear and tear over time, porcelain sinks can be refinished to keep them looking brand new and gorgeous for decades. 

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

It’s all in the name — stainless steel sinks are beloved in high-traffic kitchens for their durability, stain resistance and hygienic properties. Let’s dive in to learn more.

What are the Pros of Stainless Steel Sinks?

Stainless steel sinks are highly popular in homes and in commercial settings. Here’s why:

  • Durability — Stainless steel sinks can look good as new for many decades, even with daily wear, and high-quality stainless steel won’t dent easily, even if heavier items are dropped in them (though exercising caution is always wise). 
  • Easy to Design Around — Stainless steel sinks are typically grayish-silver in color, which makes them a neutral design element to match with surrounding colors and/or other stainless steel kitchen appliances. 
  • Easy to Clean and Maintain — Stainless steel sinks are almost impossible to stain (hence the name), and they’re easy to clean and maintain over time.
  • Environmentally Friendly — Stainless steel sinks are highly recyclable, which makes them an excellent choice when it comes to sustainability.  

What are the Cons of Stainless Steel Sinks? 

No one is perfect, and neither are stainless steel sinks (though they do come close). Here are the downsides of selecting a stainless steel sink:

  • Noise Levels — This tends to be more of a problem with thinner gauge, low-quality stainless steel sinks, but this material is susceptible to crashing and clattering sounds. The issue can be solved by installing noise pads and/or investing in a sink with a sound spray finish.  
  • Lack of Variety — Stainless steel sinks are limited to their distinct steel gray coloring, which may or may not be an issue depending on your design aesthetic.

What is the Best Grade for Stainless Steel Sinks?

Grade-304 is considered the best grade for stainless steel, which is exactly why we use it for products like our Phoenix Ro Single Bowl Sink.  

Do Stainless Steel Sinks Scratch?

While they’re not likely to chip or crack, even with extreme wear and tear, stainless steel sinks can be susceptible to scratching. Use caution when placing hard items in the sink and avoid harsh cleaning products like steel wool and scouring pads. 

Shop Kitchen Sinks at Cosmos Surfaces

Your home deserves the best — and here at Cosmos Surfaces, our team is dedicated to providing the best materials on the market. Browse our composite sinks, porcelain sinks or stainless steel sinks today. You can also reach out to Cosmos with any questions, comments or concerns — our team is always happy to help. 

Color of the Month: Onyx

Onyx is a cool, dark black with stone undertones. It lends a stately, serious look to any room, but is versatile enough to use alongside any color or texture.

Python Black’s smooth surface, broken up by subtle, patterned streaks of white and grey, bring a clean look and modern feel to any project. Ideal for monuments, fountains, and other exterior works, this black granite sourced from Brazil is also versatile enough to fit countertops, walls, and most residential interior needs.

Truly unique and eye-catching, Portoro is a black porcelain that is sure to make a statement. Its deep, dark black background is complemented by splashes of white and gold tones, bringing a royal finish to its shiny surface. The contrasting flashes shine bright, reflecting light beautifully to transform any surface into the spectacular.

What Are the Most Popular Quartzite Colors?

most popular quartzite colors

Quartzite is a virtually indestructible natural stone. This gorgeous metamorphic rock begins its journey as sandstone. When exposed to extreme heat and pressure from tectonic compression, sandstone transforms into the gorgeous, durable quartzite we know and love. The breathtaking beauty of quartzite is rivaled only by its uses in the home. Perfect for high-traffic kitchens, quartzite is available in a wide range of colors and patterns, but what are the most popular quartzite colors? Keep reading to find out and learn more about quartzite. 

Looking for gorgeous, high-quality quartzite? Browse our collection here.      

What is Quartzite?

Quartzite is often confused with quartz countertops, though they are completely different. Quartz countertops are man-made and combine roughly 90% quartz minerals with resin binders, pigments and other materials like crushed stone and recycled glass.

Quartzite, on the other hand, is a completely natural, quarried stone. One of its most significant and impressive properties is its hardness and durability. Quartzite is twice as hard as glass and harder than the blade of a knife, which means it’s unlikely to take on scratches, etches or other forms of damage. The sealer on the surface, however, might show wear, so it’s always important to use caution, even with durable stones like quartzite and granite.  

To learn more about quartzite, check out our blog post covering quartzite FAQs. You can also learn more about the difference between quartzite and quartz countertops and see how they compare here.   

The Most Popular Quartzite Colors

Natural stone can instantly elevate the look of a space. Whether dramatic, breathtaking patterns or serene, calming colors are more your speed, you’ll find a quartzite variation to make your heart sing. 

These are the most popular quartzite colors:

Taj Mahal 

Taj Mahal quartzite countertops are a consistent bestseller — and it’s easy to see why. This gorgeous natural stone may originate in Brazil, but its beautiful ivory white coloring serves as an instant reminder of the majestic monument to love it was named for. With a complex crystalline structure, Taj Mahal quartzite adds the perfect amount of detail balanced with a simple, soothing color scheme.   

Macaubus Fantasy

Invite the ocean breeze into your home with the calming swirls of Macaubas Fantasy quartzite. Soft, relaxing shades of blue, gray and touches of tan move gently across a white background, making it easy to match this stone with surrounding decor. Macaubus Fantasy makes a wonderful addition to kitchens, bathrooms, and even outdoor areas.        

Azurra Bay

True to its name, Azurra Bay quartzite features a light blue background with gray to white layers interweaving across its surface. The result is a stunning display that often reminds onlookers of overlapping ocean waves. Azurra Bay quartzite adds a level of detail and interest while maintaining a mostly neutral color scheme to suit a variety of design styles.

Dakar

Originating in Brazil, Dakar quartzite features a unique, dramatic pattern that instantly evokes the power of water. Dark gray veining sweeps and swirls across a light gray and white background, creating a sense of energy and movement. This eye-catching pattern makes Dakar quartzite perfect for use as an accent wall or main fixture in the home. It’s neutral tones can easily match surrounding furniture and decor, while the desirable properties of quartzite will make this stone easy to maintain over time.   

Calacatta Lux

Featuring light gray veining across a soothing white background, Calacatta Lux is an excellent option for anyone looking to create a spa-like sanctuary in their home. The light, bright palette of this stone can help open up your space, make it appear larger and reflect light to enhance the sense of a bright, fresh atmosphere. The veining patterns in Calacatta Lux are multi-directional, which helps create a gentle sense of rhythm and movement. 

Quartzite is highly resistant to staining, fading, taking on scratches, and showing wear. You can find a comprehensive guide on how to clean and maintain quartzite here

Where to Find Quartzite Countertops

If you have questions about quartzite or if you’re on the hunt for a reputable quartzite supplier, we’d love to hear from you! 

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation family-owned business, and we’re passionate about sourcing high-quality surfaces for homes and businesses. You can get in touch with our team by filling out our contact form today.

Color of the Month: Castle Stone

Castle Stone is a subdued, midtone green with azure undertones. It is a soothing color that works well in bedrooms and sitting rooms. Pair it with soft cream or and white trim for a light and airy effect.

A gorgeous gathering of greens from forest to seafoam, Verde Karzai green quartzite is the perfect material for bringing an earthy accent to your space. One of the perks of quartzite is the naturally occurring collage of colors and crystalline minerals. Verde Karzai green quartzite has that beautiful natural variation plus a pop of color.

Mountains of colors come to life in the quartzite named Galapagos. Galapagos brings to mind an aerial view of a cloudy mountainous, with peaks of green, rivers of blue and shadows of black. Unique layers and bands of color create a bold tone that looks great among blacks and silvers. Galapagos makes for interesting and artistic countertops and tables. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What is the Best Stone for Shower Walls?

best stone for shower walls

There’s nothing quite like a warm shower to help you unwind at the end of a stressful day. Adding natural stone elements to your bathroom can elevate this space and help you create a serene sanctuary, but what is the best stone for shower walls?

We invite you along as our experts discuss.

What is the Best Stone for Shower Walls?

Durability, aesthetics and ease of maintenance can all factor into the materials we choose for our homes. When it comes to selecting the best stone for shower walls, homeowners have several gorgeous options to consider. Let’s dive in. 

Marble for Shower Walls 

Marble is synonymous with luxury. This impressive stone has many desirable features for bathroom uses. Known for its soft, light coloring and intriguing veining patterns, marble is a timeless classic that will serve you well in the bathroom for many decades.   

Natural stone marble is porous, and one of the most notable points about selecting it for the shower is the importance of sealing and cleaning it often. Very light variations of marble can stain over time if homeowners neglect the necessary maintenance steps. 

As some marble has a high iron content, frequent exposure to water can cause it to rust and discolor unless it is properly sealed. By using an impregnating (penetrating) sealer, you’ll protect your marble investment from moisture damage, mold and staining or discoloration.

Marble sometimes gets a less favorable reputation as a high-maintenance stone, which might concern some homeowners. It’s wise to remember, however, that any material in the bathroom will require a little extra TLC to keep it from taking on moisture damage, discoloring with use and developing mold/mildew growth. 

Learn all about how to clean a marble shower here

Pro Tip: The vein composition in marble can be slightly more vulnerable to moisture damage. To mitigate this, opt for high grade marble with fewer inclusions and minimal veining. 

Granite for Shower Walls 

Granite is a beloved natural stone in the home. Durable, easy to maintain and available in a wide range of dramatic colors and patterns, granite can help you design the bathroom of your dreams. 

Granite is durable with a dense composition. This makes it less prone to absorbing moisture. Just like marble, however, granite will also need to be sealed and resealed often to protect it against moisture damage, staining and mold/mildew growth. 

Homeowners looking to incorporate a darker color scheme in their bathroom design will find plenty of gorgeous options in granite, though a range of lighter shades are available too. 

Pro Tip: Homeowners looking to install natural stone on shower floors will want to go with a slip-resistant natural stone finish, like a flamed or leathered finish.  

Quartzite for Shower Walls 

Quartzite is one of the hardest surfacing materials, which makes it perfect for standing up to daily wear and tear in a busy bathroom or kitchen. Compared to marble, which stands at a 3 on the Mohs hardness scale, quartzite has a Mohs hardness of 7.

Even though quartzite is so hard, it is still porous, which means it needs to be sealed. You can expect to have to seal quartzite about once every 10 years, or when you notice that the surface seems to be absorbing water and turning darker in wet areas. Properly sealed quartzite is easy to clean with mild household cleaners and a soft sponge.

Most quartzites are white or light in color due to their quartz content, but additional minerals in the stone can produce vivid colors. If you’re thinking of a lighter color scheme in your bathroom, quartzite is definitely a natural stone to consider.

Porcelain for Shower Walls

While not a natural stone, large format porcelain slabs should also be considered for shower walls. A porcelain slab shower is a low-maintenance, hardwearing option that is available in a wide range of colors and patterns. It can be cleaned with common household cleaning products and doesn’t need to be sealed. Porcelain is slip-resistant, which makes it a safe option for bathrooms. Some porcelain is even antibacterial and antimicrobial.

If you love the distinguished look of marble but want a lower-maintenance option for your shower, porcelain that looks like marble is a great option. Thanks to an advanced engineering process, porcelain can be made to mimic the characteristic veining and smooth texture of marble. Although porcelain slabs may be more affordable than natural stone, they can come with higher installation costs due to the experience and equipment needed to handle them.

Natural Stone Care for Bathrooms 

Diligent care is always important to help preserve natural stone investments in the home. This fact is even more pronounced in bathroom areas. Neglecting the proper cleaning and maintenance requirements can lead to cracks, mold growth, staining and discoloration. 

To care for natural stone in the shower, consider these cleaning tips:

  • Clean Stone Weekly — Opt for non-abrasive, neutral cleaners and clean stone showers weekly to remove dirt, grime, soap scum and mineral deposits. Always check in with a manufacturer to ensure that a cleaner is safe to use on your natural stone of choice. 
  • Ventilate the Area —  To prevent mold and mildew growth on stone surfaces and in grout, ensure proper ventilation after using the shower. This includes running the fan and opening doors and windows after each use. 
  • Wipe Down Excess Water —  Stones like marble can take on water stains and lose its luster with constant exposure to water. Homeowners can mitigate this by wiping down excess water after each use (a squeegee can also help remove residual water). 
  • Clean and Seal Grout — Whether you opt for natural stone or porcelain, the grout between any kind of tiles can become porous and vulnerable to staining and mold growth. It’s important to keep up with cleaning and sealing grout lines. You can find a primer on sealing grout here.  
  • Seal Stone Regularly — One of the most important maintenance activities you can perform on natural stone in the bathroom is to seal it regularly (every 1-3 years) with an impregnating sealer. Be sure to check in with a natural stone fabricator on how often to reseal your natural stone.  

Buy Natural Stone for Shower Surfaces 

If you have any questions about selecting the best stone for shower walls or bathroom areas, reach out to Cosmos today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our pro team is always happy to help. 

Ready to browse natural stone? See our selection here

Color of the Month: Castle Stone

Castle Stone is a subdued, midtone green with azure undertones. It is a soothing color that works well in bedrooms and sitting rooms. Pair it with soft cream or and white trim for a light and airy effect.

White crystal bands and silver streaks dance through the vast and layered green and brown background of this Brazilian granite. The high contrast color palette coupled with the unpredictable patterns of Vostok granite are sure to add motion and momentum to modern design elements.

True to its name, Macaubus Fantasy brings to mind a calm, cool breeze across relaxing oceans. Ideal for kitchens and bathrooms or outdoor surfaces and tiles, this versatile white quartzite swirls shades of blue, grey, and subtle tans across a white background. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

All About Using Quartz for Kitchen Surfaces

quartz for kitchen

Quartz is one of the most popular materials used in kitchens today. Owing to its durability, versatility and ease of maintenance, this eye-catching countertop option rivals long-standing kitchen favorites like granite and marble

Keep reading to learn all about using quartz for kitchen surfaces, why you should consider it and how to maintain quartz surfaces to keep them looking gorgeous long-term. 

What Are Quartz Countertops?

Before we dive in, there’s an important distinction between quartz and quartzite countertop materials. While quartzite refers to all-natural quarried stone countertops, quartz countertops are a form of man-made or engineered stone. 

Quartz counters typically consist of pulverized natural quartz particles (around 90-95%) mixed with polymer resins (around 5%) to bind it all together. In some instances, small amounts of recycled crushed glass or metallic particles are added during the manufacturing process, along with pigments. As it is a man-made surfacing option, quartz countertops can be designed to mimic the patterns and veining structures of natural stones like marble.   

The Pros of Quartz Kitchen Surfaces

Kitchen surface materials typically see a great deal of use. Aside from aesthetics, quality countertops need to stand up to everyday wear-and-tear while keeping maintenance simple. 

Here’s where quartz countertops really shine:

  • Durability — The natural quartz components found in quartz countertops are hard and durable, which means they stand up well to the high-traffic challenges common in kitchen areas. 
  • Aesthetics — The manufacturing process behind quartz countertops makes it possible to manipulate the look, colors and patterns on quartz surfaces to match design styles or mimic natural stone. 
  • Stain-Resistance — The resin binders in quartz kitchen counters makes them non-porous, which means they are highly stain-resistant and anti-microbial.
  • Ease of Maintenance — Warm water, mild dish detergent and a soft cloth or sponge is all you need to clean quartz countertops. Because they are non-porous, quartz surfaces don’t need to be sealed.  

These are all highly desirable qualities in the kitchen. If you’re ready to browse quartz kitchen countertops, you can find our quartz products here. 

The Cons of Quartz Kitchen Surfaces

While no home surface material is 100% perfect, the cons of using quartz for kitchen surfaces won’t be problematic for everyone. Whether or not quartz is a good option for your household simply depends on your needs and budget. 

Here are the main drawbacks of using quartz in the kitchen:

  • Heat-Resistance — The resin binders found in quartz products can melt or warp when exposed to extreme heat, so be sure never to place hot items like pots and pans directly onto quartz countertops.
  • Affordability — While typically less expensive than its natural stone counterparts, quartz tends to have a higher price point than DIY options like wood or concrete. 
  • Indoor Use Only — While quartz countertops are durable enough to hold their own in indoor kitchens, they aren’t suitable for outdoor environments, where exposure to the elements can damage resin binders.

How to Clean Quartz Kitchen Surfaces

Quartz countertops are non-porous, which makes them a breeze to clean. In most cases, mild detergent and warm water will do the trick for daily cleaning. Be sure to use soft sponges or microfiber cloths, avoiding harsh scouring pads.

Some chemical cleaners can break down the bond between quartz and resin binders, so always check in with a manufacturer to ensure cleaning products are safe to use on your quartz countertops. 

Tips for maintaining quartz kitchen counters include the following:

  • Always use cutting boards, trivets, coasters and cooling racks
  • Never place hot pots and pans directly on counters
  • Clean spills right away
  • Wipe down counters frequently, especially after food prep
  • Avoid using highly acidic or alkaline cleaners, including nail polish remover, bleach, oven cleaner, turpentine and drain cleaners. 
  • Avoid putting excess pressure on countertops, and take care not to drop heavy items like pots or glass dishes on quartz kitchen counters. 

Where to Find Quartz For Kitchen Countertops

Quartz for kitchen uses offers a wonderful alternative to those who desire the look of natural stone, but have a slightly lower budget in mind. To ensure you’re getting the best possible product, it’s essential to work with a reputable manufacturer.  

Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide range of quartz products along with other top quality surface materials. Our experts are happy to answer questions and help you decide which material is best suited to your needs and budget – reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today to get started!

Color of the Month: Midnight Blue

Midnight Blue is a cool, stormy shade of blue-gray with navy undertones. It is perfect for a striking accent wall in a bedroom or living room.

Venturesomely dotted and speckled by Mother Nature’s paintbrush, Blue Pearl GT is a Norwegian granite with a reputation for unparalleled elegance. Dubbed Blue Pearl for its characteristic spots of white that pop against the rich blues and blacks that span the granite, this natural stone is a terrific pick for a fashionable countertop.

Java Blue is a compilation of several blues and soft crystal color. Primarily a calming light blue, Java Blue is cut through with streaks and spots of navy and gold. Upon closer inspection, the crystals are apparent and beautiful. Java Blue is great for aquatic environments and looks great poolside as a fountain, waterfall, or exterior countertop. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Stone Finish Options: Pros and Cons

stone finish

Selecting the perfect natural stone for your home is a big decision. Different stone surfaces have different properties, and each brings a unique look and feel to a space. Aside from factors like its color, veining patterns and composition, the stone finish applied to stone countertops, tiles or other stone surfaces can dramatically change its look. Read on to learn all about different stone finishes and the pros and cons of each from the experts at Cosmos Surfaces.

Polished Stone Finish

A polished stone finish is achieved by mechanically rubbing or polishing a natural stone surface with polishing pads until the surface becomes smooth and shiny. A polished stone finish can be applied to any type of natural stone, including granite, marble and quartzite.

Pros of a Polished Stone Finish

Polished stone surfaces are a popular choice among homeowners. Here’s why:

  • Polished stones are less porous and therefore more durable and stain-resistant
  • The shiny look of polished stone adds a feel of newness and cleanliness
  • Polished stone helps achieve an elegant, luxurious aesthetic
  • This finish highlights a stone’s colors and patterns
  • A reflective finish tends to brighten a room and make a space feel larger

Cons of a Polished Stone Finish

Depending on the buyer’s preferences, these are potential deterrents when it comes to polished natural stone:

  • Polished finishes can draw attention to flaws in the stone
  • Smudges, stains and fingerprints are more visible
  • Acidic substances or abrasive cleaners can cause corrosion

Honed Stone Finish

A honed stone finish is smooth, much like a polished finish, but rather than a reflective, shiny look, honed surfaces are matte with a satiny, buffed appearance. This warm, inviting finish can be applied to all natural stone surfaces during the fabrication process. 

Pros of a Honed Stone Finish

Here’s why homeowners love honed stone finishes:

  • It creates a smooth work surface
  • Honed finishes are easy to clean
  • This finish conceals fingerprints and smudges
  • A honed finish can help create a laid-back, warm and inviting look

Cons of a Honed Stone Finish

Potential drawbacks of a honed finish include:

  • Honed finishes can slightly mute a stone’s color and patterning features
  • Chips and scratches can be more noticeable
  • This finish is slightly more porous than a polished finish, which means honed stone may need to be resealed more frequently than polished stone.

Leathered Stone Finish

A leathered finish, sometimes also known as an “antiqued” finish, is achieved by etching the stone with an implement like a wire or diamond-tipped brush. This technique gives the stone a weathered, rustic look. A leathered stone finish can be applied to marble, granite and quartzite stone surfaces, while buyers are advised to check in with fabricators when seeking this finish on other types of natural stone. 

Pros of a Leathered Stone Finish

Leathered stone finishes have benefits like these:

  • This finish has some texture but feels smooth to the touch
  • Leathered finishes have a unique, custom appearance
  • They help achieve a warm, rustic design aesthetic
  • Fingerprints, smudges and stains are more easily concealed
  • A leathered finish can enhance a stone’s color

Cons of a Leathered Stone Finish

All finishes have some drawbacks. Here’s what to watch out for with a leathered finish:

  • This finish has some texture to it, which can make cleaning slightly more challenging
  • The non-reflective nature of this finish can make a small space feel smaller
  • Chips and scratches may be noticeable

Flamed Stone Finish

A flamed stone finish, also known as a “thermal” finish, is achieved with a high-temperature torch. This creates a rough texture with a coarse finish. Granite and quartzite can both accept a flamed finish, while less durable stones cannot. 

Pros of a Flamed Stone Finish

Flamed finishes have the following benefits:

  • This finish creates a non-slip texture
  • Flamed finishes are less common, giving a space a unique, custom appearance
  • The coarse texture helps create a warm, earthy look and feel

Cons of a Flamed Stone Finish

Buyers should be aware of the following potential drawbacks of flamed stone finishes:

  • The rough texture of this finish makes it more difficult to clean
  • Flamed finishes leave stone surfaces more porous, requiring frequent sealing to protect against stains and moisture issues 

Sandblasted Stone Finish

A high-pressure stream of water and sand is applied to create a sandblasted stone finish. This process works on all types of natural stone, creating a rough, yet uniform texture. 

Pros of a Sandblasted Stone Finish

Sandblasted finishes have these unique features:

  • A silky, matte surface appearance 
  • This finish is popular for outdoor monuments, artwork, gravestones and statues
  • Sandblasted finishes can be coarse or fine, which creates either a darker or lighter finish, respectively

Cons of a Sandblasted Stone Finish

Here are potential cons of sandblasted finishes:

  • This finish is popular for outdoor features like monuments, but less so for indoor applications
  • This finishing process can alter or “soften” a stone’s natural colors and patterns

Natural Stone at Cosmos Surfaces

The look of your natural stone surfaces can be customized to perfection by applying a specific stone finish. If you have questions about natural stone surfaces and stone finishes, reach out to the experts at Cosmos.

Cosmos Surfaces is a family-owned business dedicated to providing high-quality surface materials. Browse our selection of natural stone, tiles, porcelain slabs and sinks today. 

Color of the Month: Midnight Blue

Midnight Blue is a cool, stormy shade of blue-gray with navy undertones. It is perfect for a striking accent wall in a bedroom or living room.

Oxford Blue is the Northern Lights come to life, your favorite pair of faded blue jeans personified, a sunset on the ocean. Layers of blue, white, and pink meet in this Brazilian quartzite. Creating an atmosphere of liveliness and nostalgia, Oxford Blue looks great in busy aquatic environments, such as a poolside counter or a waterfall. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

The blue-gray background and thick, crystalline bands of white resemble a wintry wood in the type of quartzite we’ve dubbed Cassini. Also known as Vogue Blue or Paramount, Cassini paints a striking scene. Cassini is a cool and boldly unique choice for any modern space, including kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Composite Sink Vs. Stainless Steel: Pros and Cons

Composite Sink Vs. Stainless Steel: Pros and Cons

The constant wear-and-tear in kitchen spaces means the materials we select for them are key. Durability, cost and design aesthetic can all help determine the best countertops, tiles and kitchen sink choices for your home. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss installing a composite sink vs stainless steel sink in your kitchen. Let’s dive in.

Composite Kitchen Sink

When comparing a composite sink vs stainless steel sink, both options are durable and aesthetically pleasing. However, differences in their composition set them apart. As an example, a sink’s hardness may affect noise levels and whether fragile dishes chip or shatter when dropped. Composite sinks are made from a combination of materials like acrylic resins and crushed minerals like quartz and granite. Materials are then molded into the sink shape and can be integrated or matched closely with a countertop color. 

The Pros of Composite Sinks

Composite sinks can truly elevate the look of a space, but they bring far more than that to the table. Here are just a few of the pros of installing a composite sink in your home: 

  • Durable — Owing to its mineral content, composite sinks are very hard and durable. As a result, they are unlikely to chip, dent or scratch and generally handle everyday wear-and-tear well. 
  • Stain-Resistance — Composite sinks are nonporous, which makes them highly stain-resistant. It’s always a good idea to wipe down, rinse and dry a sink frequently. 
  • Heat-Resistance — Minerals like granite and quartz are highly heat-resistant, though one should never place extremely hot pots and pans directly onto the sink.
  • Easy to Clean — Typically, a mild dish soap, warm water and non-abrasive sponge or cloth will do the trick to keep your composite sink looking fresh and clean.

The Cons of Composite Sinks

Alas, all materials have a downside. Depending on your needs and goals, some of these factors may carry more weight than others. Let’s take a look:

  • Affordability — The average composite sink has a higher price point than a stainless steel sink. 
  • Installation — Composite sinks tend to be heavy and may require additional support.
  • Hardness — A hard sink may be durable, but it does mean that dishes can shatter more easily when dropped.
  • Not Heat Proof — Owing to the acrylic resin components often present in composite sinks, they may be heat-resistant, but they are not heat proof. 
  • Cleaning Products — Certain chemicals, abrasive sponges, 
  • scrub pads and harsh drain cleaners can damage a composite sink. Always check in with a manufacturer to ensure products are safe to use on your sink. 

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Stainless steel is the most popular material choice for kitchen sinks. Lightweight, durable and hygienic, a stainless steel sink is a kitchen all-star.  

The Pros of Stainless Steel Sinks

Stainless steel sinks check all the right boxes when it comes to everyday kitchen use. These are just a few of the pros of installing a stainless steel kitchen sink in your home:

  • Affordability — Stainless steel sinks provide excellent benefits at an affordable price point. 
  • Dish-Friendly — Since they aren’t as hard as composite sinks and have some “give,” dishes are less likely to break when dropped in a stainless steel sink.
  • Durability — Stainless steel sinks are incredibly durable, heat proof for kitchen uses and have a “self-healing” quality when it comes to scratches.
  • Ease of Installation — As stainless steel is lightweight, it does not require additional installation of supports. 
  • Aesthetics — Sinks can blend in with other stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, creating a coherent look throughout.  

The Cons of Stainless Steel Sinks

It’s always wise to study up on the cons of a material you are considering, as many potential pain points are preventable with upfront knowledge. Here are a few possible downsides to stainless steel sinks:

  • Noise Level — As stainless steel is a thinner material, clattering dishes can get noisy. Sound-deadening coatings and noise-reducing pads can help manage this issue. 
  • Varying Quality — Thin, low-quality stainless steel sinks can dent when items are dropped into them. Opting for a thicker gauge makes this issue less likely.
  • Limited Color Options — Despite slight variations, stainless steel sinks essentially only come in one color.   
  • Cleaning Products — Avoid using harsh metal scrub pads, as these can scratch stainless steel surfaces or leave behind rust-prone particles.

Composite Sink Vs. Stainless Steel Sink From Cosmos Surfaces

The best sink option for your space depends entirely on your needs, design goals and budget. Working with a professional manufacturer or provider will help ensure that you’re making the right decision. 

Cosmos Surfaces is a second-generation family-owned business and a proud provider of high-quality home surfacing materials. 

Browse our kitchen sinks here or reach out to our team with any questions, comments or concerns.

Color of the Month: Granada Red

Granada Red is a muted, warm, dark raspberry red that pairs well with chocolate browns. Its dark undertones make it the perfect color for accent walls and entranceways.

Agate Vermell is a semi-precious type of red agate stone. Similar to blue agate, unique, hand-picked stones make red agate a work of art to add to any home. The deep amber and warm browns of red agate pairs well with wood and can be installed as countertops, fireplaces, and more.

Complexity and beauty are unmatched in Crytos, a type of quartzite originating in Brazil. The mellow waves of blacks and silvers that primarily make up Crytos are met with crystalline rivulets of amber, grey, and white. Crytos looks beautiful installed as countertops, backsplashes, and fireplace mantles. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What are the Most Heat Resistant Countertops?

most heat resistant countertops

The kitchen is a high traffic zone, and when it comes to selecting countertop materials, durability reigns supreme. Several factors determine how well a surface material will perform in the kitchen, but what are the most heat resistant countertops? Read on to see what our experts have to say.

Heat Proof vs. Heat Resistant

Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that “heat-resistant” doesn’t necessarily mean “heat-proof.” While countertops that exhibit high heat resistance are less likely to take on damage from hot pots or pans, caution remains the wisest approach. We’ll always encourage homeowners to use trivets, cooling racks, cutting boards and coasters, no matter your chosen countertop material.

Heat Resistant Countertops 

We’ve rounded up some of the most heat-resistant and gorgeous countertops on the market today. Of course, each surface material has its pros and cons. The right choice for your space will ultimately depend on a combination of characteristics. Let’s take a look. 

Granite Countertops

Granite is an all-star in the home surfacing world. This igneous rock — a rock solidified from lava or magma — is coarse-grained, highly durable and available in a wide range of colors and dramatic patterns. 

Granite performs well when exposed to heat, though trivets, cooling racks and coasters are recommended to prevent staining, scratches and discoloration. Granite typically requires annual sealing to protect the stone from staining and taking on moisture damage, but is easy to clean during/after everyday use. 

If you play host to a busy kitchen, granite is an excellent choice that holds up well to a wide range of common wear-and-tear scenarios.

Quartzite Countertops

Coming in at around 7–8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, quartzite is an incredibly durable natural stone, and this quality is reflected in its very high heat-resistance. 

Ranging in color from neutral grays and whites to warm, rich ochres and reds, quartzite stone often features dramatic veining and swirling patterns. 

It’s important not to confuse quartzite with its man-made counterpart, often simply known as “quartz”. While highly durable, quartz countertops contain natural stone components that are bound together with plastic resins. When it comes to heat-resistance, these plastic binders can melt or warp when they come into contact with extreme heat, so plenty of caution should be used. 

Quartzite counters, on the other hand, are virtually indestructible, easy to maintain and can accommodate just about any design style. Like granite, quartzite often benefits from being sealed annually.

Soapstone Countertops

Soapstone countertops are softer than other natural stone countertops like quartzite and granite. While they may be more prone to taking on scratches or chipping, they are chemically inert — which means acidic substances won’t damage them — and they are highly heat-resistant. What’s more, soapstone absorbs, retains and re-radiates heat, which makes it an excellent choice for homes in cold climates. 

Soapstone is also popular for uses like fireplace surrounds, as frequent exposure to heat won’t cause it to crack. As a kitchen countertop, soapstone could handle the heat from pots and pans easily enough, though as this is a softer stone, it is more likely to get scratched or chipped by cookware, so caution is always warranted. 

Soapstone is a low maintenance material, though some homeowners prefer to oil it with mineral oil to even out and speed up its natural darkening process. Scratches and chips can be buffed out or filled in, which makes soapstone an excellent option for those who enjoy the DIY experience. If your main concern is heat-resistance, rather than hardness, soapstone can make a warm, inviting addition to your home and often works well in rustic, farmhouse-style settings. 

Stainless Steel and Aluminum Countertops 

Popular in commercial kitchens, stainless steel and aluminum countertops are easy to clean and highly heat-resistant, though they may discolor with repeated exposure to extreme heat over time. Stainless steel countertops may not visually work in most home kitchen settings, but the material’s high-heat resistance, strong durability and hygienic qualities make it a great choice for heat-resistant home kitchen sinks

Heat-Resistant Countertops From Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about connecting our customers with exceptional materials. If you have questions about heat-resistant countertops or where to find them, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by filling out our contact form today.

Color of the Month: Granada Red

Granada Red is a muted, warm, dark raspberry red that pairs well with chocolate browns. Its dark undertones make it the perfect color for accent walls and entranceways.

Striking red and black, Cardinal Red brings to mind the feathered plumage of the bird. In swirling waves of texture, this Brazilian quartzite has spots and layers of crystalline white and gray, giving it a uniquely high degree of variance. The deep reds and blacks of Cardinal Red complement both black and silver and looks great in kitchens. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

The type of quartzite named Malbec receives its nickname, Napa Valley, from the rich and complex colors that bring to mind the sunsets of northern California. Comprised of rolling hills of brown, red, pink, and white, transport yourself to the mountains and wine country by installing Malbec both inside and out. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Change Tile Grout Color

how to change tile grout color

Tile grout is the cement-like material that fills the joints between floor and wall tiles. Traditionally, tile grout was often white. In modern design styles, however, grout itself can be used creatively by incorporating a grout color that compliments or contrasts with the surrounding tiles or fixtures. In this post, our experts explain how you can change tile grout color to suit your needs — whether you want to remove stains, tint existing grout or replace tile grout with a new color. Let’s dive in.

3 Ways to Change Tile Grout Color

In some cases, we simply want to remove unsightly grout stains and restore the grout’s original color. In other cases, it’s high time for a dramatic change. The following three methods can help you achieve the perfect grout color to match your desired style:

  • Clean or remove stains from existing grout
  • Tint/recolor grout (may also be used to conceal stubborn stains)
  •  Replace grout with a new color

Read on as we explore each method.

How to Remove Stains From Grout

Whether stained by dirt and grime, kitchen spills or mold and mildew growth, grout can be cleaned with common household items. To remove stains, homeowners can try using white vinegar to clean the area, followed by a paste made by mixing water and baking soda. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into grout lines, then rinse with clean water.

It’s important to note that vinegar is acidic. It’s important to ensure your tiles can handle acidic substances before using this method. Tiles like marble are in danger of etching when they come into contact with acidic substances. Commercial grout cleaners are also available.

How to Change Tile Grout Color with Tinting or Recoloring

This method works for glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles, but when it comes to unsealed natural stone tiles, colorant will seep in and stain your tiles. Always check with a manufacturer to ensure your chosen method for changing tile grout color is safe for your existing tiles. 

Finding the best grout colorant for your tiles may require some trial and error. It’s worth noting that for best results, it’s easier to change grout to a darker color. If you desire a lighter color, multiple applications will likely be necessary. Some tile grout colorants may not work well on epoxy grout or won’t work on grout that has been sealed. The more you know about your existing grout, the easier it will be to find an appropriate colorant. 

Here’s what you’ll need to recolor grout lines:

  • Scrub Brush
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Colorant Brush/Toothbrush
  • Tile Grout Colorant

Let’s take a look at how to recolor tile grout:

Step 1: Scrub Existing Grout Lines

Use a scrub brush and commercial grout cleaner to scrub existing grout. Then, use a sponge to wipe tiles with clear water, rinsing the cleaner from the tiles and grout lines. Allow tile and grout to dry fully — ideally overnight — before coloring.  

Step 2: Test Colorant

Find an inconspicuous area to test the colorant. Apply colorant to a few inches of grout as per the manufacturer’s instructions and allow it to dry. Once fully dried, check to ensure the colorant sets to a hard finish that doesn’t flake off with scrubbing. If it doesn’t hold up, you’ll want to test a different type of colorant.

Step 3: Tape/Mask Tiles

While this step is optional, making off tiles with painter’s tape can protect unsealed tiles from getting stained by colorant. Work in small sections, and always test a hidden area first to see if the method works. 

Step 4: Apply Colorant

Follow the manufacturer’s directions to apply grout colorant with a small brush, toothbrush or provided pen. It’s best to avoid getting colorant on tile surfaces. 

Step 5: Wipe Off Excess Colorant

Carefully wipe off any excess colorant and allow grout to dry completely. Seal if necessary.  

How to Replace Tile Grout

For extreme color changes or to fix severely stained or damaged grout lines, replacing grout is likely a better long-term solution. In this case, you’ll have to remove the existing grout and replace it with the new grout in your desired color. As grinding out existing grout can be labor-intensive, it’s a good idea to test a grout colorant or tint first to see if this solves the issue. If replacing grout is the best course of action, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Grout saw
  • Protective Gear
  • Flat-Head Screwdriver
  • Scrub Brush
  • Shop Vacuum
  • Mixing Bucket and Trowel
  • Grout Sponge
  • Drop Cloths
  • New Grout and Pigment
  • Grout Sealer

Step 1: Remove Existing Grout

Protect floors and furniture with drop cloths, then remove old grout using a manual grout saw or comparable tool. This can be a labor intensive process that produces lots of dust, so be sure to wear breathing and eye protection. Utilize a flat-head screwdriver to get into tight spaces. Check tiles to ensure they are secured to the substrate/backing. If not, tiles may need to be replaced or reattached, as replacing old, crumbling grout may not be enough to fix the problem. 

Step 2: Clean Up Grout Particles

Use a shop vac to clear out any dust, debris or loose grout particles from grout lines. 

Step 3: Prepare New Grout

Grout comes in a range of factory-mixed colors, but you can always add a desired pigment to grout to get exactly the effect you’re going for. Be sure to blend pigment and grout thoroughly to ensure uniform coloration. 

Step 4: Apply New Grout

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply new grout. This process typically involves filling the joints in between tiles, removing any excess grout and cleaning surrounding tiles. Allow grout to dry and cure fully before using the surface, then seal grout lines if necessary (some grout mixes incorporate a sealant). 

Sealant can darken grout color and give it a shiny appearance. Always test an inconspicuous area first to ensure you get the desired effect. Allow sealant to dry fully before allowing tiles to get wet.

Work With Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, excellent customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of tile products and we’re always happy to answer questions and provide expert advice. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Mercury

Mercury is a soothing mid tone gray with warm, brown undertones. Pair it with neutral blues and greens to make these colors stand out beautifully. Mercury is perfect for accent walls and main walls.

Originating in Brazil and meaning Silver Sea, Plata de Mar is a striking quartzite that is available in multiple finishes. Sail across a stormy ocean by installing Plata de Mar as a kitchen countertop, or create a cool and modern aesthetic by installing it as a bathtub foundation or bathroom flooring. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Luce Di Luna is an elegant, intricately textured type of dolomite marble. Thanks to naturally occurring, often intersecting lines in the stone, it’s easy to get lost in the pattern. Fittingly, its name translates to “light from the moon,” which perfectly describes its soft and brilliant white-gray coloring. It is commonly used for countertops, floors and interior walls.

Is Soapstone Durable in the Home?

is soapstone durable
Image credit: Annie Hall Interiors https://www.anniehallinteriors.com/

Each type of natural stone has a unique set of pros and cons that should factor into the decision to use it in the home. Soapstone is a gorgeous material that can make a wonderful addition to a living space in many forms, including countertops, flooring, wall tiles and fireplace surrounds. In this post, our experts discuss all you need to know about soapstone and answer common questions, like this one: “Is soapstone durable in the home?” Read on to learn more about this beautiful natural stone option.

What is Soapstone?

Soapstone is a metamorphic rock made from talc-schist. The stone is sometimes also referred to as steatite, which is the version of soapstone commonly used for applications like countertops, sinks, flooring, etc. Talc is the softest mineral on earth. As a result, the amount of talc present in soapstone will determine its softness and coloration.  

Is Soapstone Durable?

Soapstone tends to be softer than natural stone options like granite or marble, but the question of durability depends largely on what the stone is used for. While soft, soapstone is incredibly dense, to the point that it is non-porous and essentially impenetrable by liquids. That means soapstone won’t stain, take on damage from moisture or harbor bacteria. 

Soapstone is also inert, which means it’s non-reactive when it comes into contact with acidic substances and chemicals. For this reason, soapstone is a popular countertop choice in lab settings and acid rooms. 

Because it is a softer countertop option, soapstone is more prone to take on damage like scratches, gouges and chips. While these can often be buffed out or filled in by DIY enthusiasts, busy kitchens that see a fair amount of wear-and-tear countertop traffic may benefit from a harder stone like granite. When it comes to applications like wall tiles and fireplace surrounds, soapstone can last for many generations.

The Benefits of Soapstone 

Soapstone is well loved for its warm, inviting aesthetic. This material is popular in country kitchens and is often used to create a rustic, farmhouse look. That said, soapstone is incredibly versatile to design with and can be effective in styles ranging from modern to eclectic. Let’s look at the benefits of soapstone.

  • AestheticsSoapstone is available in colors ranging from white to dark charcoal grey with beautiful, milky marbling. This neutral color range makes it easy to include soapstone in a wide range of design styles.
  • Versatility — As a non-porous stone with high heat resistance, soapstone has many common uses, from countertops to fireplace surrounds.
  • Bacteria-Resistant — Soapstone is the most dense natural countertop material on the market, which makes it easy to keep kitchen settings hygienic as this stone will not harbor bacteria growth.
  • Ease of Maintenance — Soapstone is easy to clean, doesn’t need to be sealed and requires minimal ongoing maintenance.    
  • Environmentally Friendly — Soapstone doesn’t need to be treated with chemicals or sealers between getting quarried and installed in your home, which is good for the planet. 

Soapstone Care and Maintenance

Soapstone requires minimal care. Owing to its non-porosity, the stone can be cleaned with mild soap and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Soapstone produces a natural patina as it ages, and many homeowners choose to treat soapstone surfaces with a periodic oiling to keep it looking its best and ensure even coloration over time. Mineral oil is non-toxic and can typically be found in most hardware stores and even in some pharmacies. 

As soapstone is a fairly soft material, homeowners should always avoid cutting directly on soapstone countertops — this advice stands for any countertop surface material, no matter how hard or durable. 

It’s important to take care when placing heavy objects like glass dishes and cast iron pots or pans on soapstone countertops. Damage like scratches, chips or gouges can be buffed out or filled in by savvy DIY enthusiasts. Large gouges can be filled in with similar pieces of soapstone and epoxy. 

Learn more about the benefits and uses of soapstone here

Find Soapstone at Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is a second-generation, family-owned business that takes pride in sourcing high-quality surface materials in a way that is respectful to the environment and local communities. Browse our soapstone options here or take a look at additional natural stone, kitchen sink and tile options

If you have questions about soapstone or other natural stone products, give us a call at your nearest location or contact us online today. Our experts are always happy to help.

Color of the Month: Mercury

Mercury is a soothing mid tone gray with warm, brown undertones. Pair it with neutral blues and greens to make these colors stand out beautifully. Mercury is perfect for accent walls and main walls.

Silver Lightning is a versatile type of granite that looks great among stainless steel and black cabinets. A flashy streak of silver cutting through a mellow gray sky, silver lightning is simultaneously calm and striking. The subtle crystalline texture and honed finish of silver lightning make this a perfect installation for kitchen countertops, floors, and bathroom vanities.

With a vastly stretching, often changing pattern that resembles the great Himalayan mountain range drawn on a map, Himalaya White is a charming Brazilian granite. On its surface, black speckles and veins overlap patches of pale gray and white, creating intense depth and dimension. This stone is a classic choice for countertops, floors, walls, vanities and other design applications.

What is the Easiest Countertop to Maintain?

easiest countertop to maintain

The kitchen often takes center stage when it comes to everyday activities around the house. As a result, this hub of family life is particularly vulnerable to wear and tear, especially in areas like the kitchen countertops. Busy homeowners may not have much time to devote to the care and maintenance of their countertop materials. In today’s post, we’ll discuss the easiest countertop to maintain, along with our top runner-up choices.   

Man-Made vs. Natural Materials

Man-made materials like laminate or stainless steel countertops rank among the easiest countertops to maintain in the short term, as they may simply require wiping down with mild dish soap and warm water. In the long run, however, laminate countertops aren’t nearly as durable as those with natural stone components. Factoring in the cost and effort of replacing countertops more frequently, laminate countertops may not be the best choice for a long-term living situation. 

Stainless steel countertops are a great option in medical and food service settings. In the home, however, they aren’t necessarily a desirable countertop option in terms of aesthetics. Luckily, there are excellent partially man-made and all natural stone countertop options that are a breeze to maintain. 

The Most Low-Maintenance Stone Countertops 

Stone surfacing materials like marble, granite, soapstone, and quartzite make for beautiful countertops, but some materials are more low-maintenance than others. Whether you’re looking for a dazzling, dramatic accent in your kitchen, or a warm, inviting atmosphere, these particularly low-maintenance options can serve you in multiple ways. Let’s dive in and find out which option may be the easiest countertop to maintain in your home: 

  1. Engineered Quartz

Engineered quartz, sometimes simply referred to as quartz, is a man-made material that uses roughly 90–95% crushed up stone and recycled materials, including quartz crystals. The mixture is held together with about 10% of a quartz countertop’s composition consisting of resin binders. Quartz countertops can mimic the look of natural stone without requiring the maintenance associated with certain stone options, like marble. 

Quartz counters are available in a variety of patterns and colors, making it easy to match your countertops to your design style. When it comes to care and maintenance, quartz countertops can simply be wiped down using a gentle cloth and mild detergent mixed with warm water. 

In terms of durability, quartz performs impressively. These countertops are hard, scratch resistant and completely non-porous. That means they are far less susceptible to staining and harboring bacteria than porous materials. Owing to the resin binders holding them together, quartz countertops never need to be sealed. Though they are heat-resistant, extreme heat can melt or warp the plastic resins in engineered quartz. Always use cutting boards, trivets and cooling racks to protect your investment. With minimal care and maintenance, quartz countertops can elevate your space and keep your kitchen looking new and gorgeous for decades to come. Learn the ins and outs of how to clean quartz here

  1. Soapstone 

Naturally a non-porous material, soapstone is incredibly dense — and just like quartz — it never needs to be sealed. Homeowners can use soapstone to create a rustic, inviting look in the home, which may be enhanced by the natural patina or aged “sheen” that can form over time. Soapstone surfaces are highly stain-resistant and unaffected by heat. 

The natural darkening that occurs in soapstone can be evened out by applying mineral oil on a semi-regular basis, though this is optional and the only additional maintenance associated with soapstone. This stone’s coloration varies from white to charcoal grey, and the combination of chlorite, magnesite and dolomite can give this countertop option a milky look. 

Soapstone countertops resist bacteria and can be cleaned with a combination of soap and water. Avoid cutting directly on soapstone countertops, and use care when setting down heavy items. Knicks and scratches can often be filled in or buffed out. Take a look at the uses and benefits of soapstone here.  

  1. Granite      

Many granite options need to be sealed annually, but this is a small price to pay for the benefits of granite kitchen countertops. Granite is the most durable of these three countertop options, and with the minimal maintenance it requires, it can last for generations. 

Granite is available in a wide range of colors. It’s heat-, scratch- and stain-resistant (when properly sealed) and can add a look of sophistication to your kitchen. Countertops can be cleaned with a cloth or sponge, mild dish detergent and warm water or with a dedicated natural stone cleaner. Granite is by far one of the most popular countertop choices for busy kitchens, bridging the gap between luxury stone and ease of maintenance. You can learn more about granite here

For the Easiest Countertop to Maintain, Shop Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces has a wide selection of top-quality surface materials. Our team is always happy to answer questions and give expert advice to help you select the best materials for your home. Give us a call at your nearest location or visit us online today

Color of the Month: Mercury

Mercury is a soothing mid tone gray with warm, brown undertones. Pair it with neutral blues and greens to make these colors stand out beautifully. Mercury is perfect for accent walls and main walls.

Clean, beautiful, and cool – Vento Cinza is the smooth white of an undisturbed icy tundra. Upon closer look, you’ll see beautifully subtle lines of crystalline silver in this Brazilian quartzite. Vento Cinza is simple in both color and texture, but that doesn’t make it any less striking. It looks great in any space as a countertop, floor, wall, or table. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Utterly unique but still timeless, Roman Grey is a modern, porcelain take on Old World white marble. With striking veining in grey tones ranging from stone to charcoal, Roman Grey will elevate the look of your home or business without overwhelming it. Opt for bookmatched slabs to create a mesmerizing mirror effect and entrance onlookers.

All About White Quartz Kitchen Countertops

white quartz kitchen countertops

When it comes to kitchen countertops, one of the most popular choices by far is white quartz. This gorgeous surface material is lauded by interior designers and fixer upper warriors alike for its versatility, aesthetic beauty and ease of maintenance. Read on to learn all about white quartz kitchen countertops and how the experts at Cosmos Surfaces can help you find the perfect match for your home.

What Are Quartz Countertops Made Of?

Quartz countertops are a man-made material that closely resembles the look of natural stone. Rather than a solid slab extracted straight from the earth, quartz countertops are made through a manufacturing process where approximately 90–95% ground natural quartz is mixed with 5–10% polymer resins to bind it together. 

Since quartz countertops are man-made, they offer a wide variety of color choices and patterns. As a durable, lower cost alternative, white quartz kitchen countertops can mimic the look of marble with subtle or dramatic veining patterns. 

The Pros of White Quartz Countertops

There is perhaps no area in the home that takes on as much wear and tear as our kitchen countertops. Whether we are cooking, cleaning, working, doing crafts or simply socializing, the kitchen counters and island often play host to a range of activities. Here’s why white quartz countertops remain a fan favorite:

  • Durability — Quartz countertops are highly durable and don’t chip, crack or break easily
  • Stain Resistance — Quartz counters are non-porous, which protects them from staining and harboring bacteria
  • Aesthetics — With the ability to mimic the look of marble, white quartz countertops can lighten and brighten up a kitchen with the look of luxury at a lower cost
  • Ease of Maintenance — Owing to its non-porosity, quartz countertops are easy to clean and don’t need to be sealed like some of its natural stone counterparts do.
  • Versatility — Quartz kitchen countertops come in a variety of patterns with subtle undertones that can match the look homeowners want in their kitchens

The Cons of White Quartz Countertops

Just about every surface material has a few downsides, depending on who you ask. Quartz is no different, though some of these may not be an issue for every homeowner. Here’s what to consider:

  • Low Heat-Resistance — Quartz countertops do not handle exposure to extreme heat well. That’s because the resin binders holding everything together are essentially a type of plastic — it can melt or warp. That means placing hot pots, pans or baking sheets directly on quartz counters is a no-go.
  • Requires Professional Installation — Quartz countertops are an investment that requires precision, knowledge and the right tools for proper installation. This is one you don’t want to DIY, folks.

White Quartz Kitchen Countertops: Care and Maintenance

Taking care of quartz countertops is simple, as it is a low-maintenance material. The following habits will help keep white quartz countertops looking new and beautiful in the long run:

  • Use trivets, cooling racks and coasters
  • Never place hot cookware directly on countertops
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners and scouring pads, and never use cleaning products containing ammonia or bleach
  • Wipe counters down with a soft, damp cloth or sponge, mild dish detergent and warm water
  • Clean spills up right away

Tips for Designing with White Quartz Countertops

White counters can instantly give a room a face-lift, brightening up the space and creating a clean, elegant look. White quartz countertops often have varying grey tones and veining patterns. 

Far from limiting your design options, however, the possibilities are good and plenty — and so are the decisions you’ll have to make before deciding on the perfect kitchen countertops for your space. Let’s look at a few design tips to keep in mind:

  • Mix and Match — Save money by investing more in a statement piece, such as a kitchen island countertop with dramatic veining like Calacatta Supreme, and using lower-priced types of quartz for peripheral countertops.
  • Pair Undertones —  While grey patterning on a white countertop seems neutral enough, both colors can have warm or cool undertones, dramatically changing the effect. Utilize samples whenever possible to see which undertones work in the context of your kitchen. As an example, grey veining with warm undertones like those found in Calacatta Spear can help bring out the warmth of wooden cabinets, tying the overall look together.  
  • Use Remnants — If you have small countertops or if you’d like to use quartz counters in the bathroom, check in with a manufacturer to see if smaller remnants are available at a lower cost.   

White Quartz Countertops at Cosmos Surfaces

We’re proud to offer a wide range of gorgeous white quartz kitchen countertops here at Cosmos Surfaces. Whether you’re in the market for a dramatic veining pattern or a simple, elegant white surface, our experts can help you find the perfect fit for your home. Give us a call at your nearest location or contact us online with any inquiries. Our team is always happy to help with expert advice. 

Color of the Month: Translucent

Translucent natural stones are airy and delicate, with vibrant undertones glowing just beneath the surface. As countertops, tiling, backsplashes, and more, translucent surfaces are a striking yet soothing addition to any room.

The multicolored layers of Travertine Onyx bring to mind the diverse terrain of a canyon wall. From brown and reds to blacks and silvers, Travertine Onyx spans a color spectrum that looks well with nearly every material. Install as a kitchen backsplash, fireplace tiling, or for an exterior countertop to bring layers and dimension to any space.

Rose Onyx is the stone of choice for anyone in search of lovely, delicate aesthetic appeal. This pink onyx contains a variety of soft hues that are sure to captivate, from light pink to grey and white, with patterning that gently bends and swirls against a polished finish. This pink onyx will charm you from the start.

Is Stainless Steel Sustainable?

is stainless steel sustainable

Sustainability is at the forefront of discussions ranging from political and industrial spheres right down to everyday consumer decisions. In 2021, we know more consumers actively seek out and champion sustainable brands and products than ever before. Concerns about the environmental impact of the products we use extend to every part of our lives, and that includes home appliances and fixtures, such as kitchen sinks. In today’s post, we answer a common question: Is stainless steel sustainable?

Is Stainless Steel Sustainable?

Stainless steel is durable, long-lasting and 100% recyclable. This makes it one of the most eco-friendly sink materials homeowners can invest in. Stainless steel is a widely popular option for sinks, owing to qualities like scratch-resistance, longevity and ease of maintenance. When it comes to environmental impact, it helps to understand the qualities that make a product sustainable. Let’s take a look at a few key questions we can ask to help determine how “green” a material really is: 

  • How durable is the product/material?
  • Is it corrosion-resistant?
  • Can materials be recycled at the end of the product’s life?
  • Does the product or material have high-recapture rates?
  • Do materials have high “recycled content” values?

Stainless steel sinks are able to meet all of these requirements. The durability of a stainless steel sink may be determined by the gauge of the sink at production. The higher the gauge, the thinner the steel. This makes it more prone to taking on dents and scratches, which will ultimately decrease its lifespan. Stainless steel sinks typically range from 18-gauge to 23-gauge. 

The Benefit of a Stainless Steel Sink

Aside from the sustainability factor, stainless steel sinks offer many benefits when used in both residential and commercial spaces, including:

  • Affordable pricing
  • Durability
  • Scratch-resistance
  • Heat-resistance
  • Stain-resistance (hence the name “stainless” steel)
  • Corrosion and rust-resistant
  • Pore-free surfaces
  • Aesthetically sleek
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Since stainless steel sinks are pore-free, they are not susceptible to harboring bacteria. This makes it easy to clean and maintain a stainless steel sink even in high-traffic situations. The hygienic traits of stainless steel make this material an excellent choice for settings like commercial kitchens and medical environments, where cleanliness is paramount. 

Stainless steel has a high scrap or “recapture” value. As it is 100% recyclable with no reduction in quality, products designed with recycled stainless steel help divert materials from landfills while reducing the need to use scarce resources. 

The Downsides of Stainless Steel Sinks

All materials have pros and cons, though the importance of these will vary depending on your needs and situation. The potential cons of stainless steel sinks include:

  • Potential for scratches and dents in high-gauge sinks
  • Limited color options available
  • Sinks may be prone to water spots (though these can be scrubbed out)

Stainless Steel Sinks: Cleaning and Maintenance 

Regular cleaning helps maintain the look and luster of a stainless steel sink, as well as its ability to resist corrosion. Check out our top tips for stainless steel sink cleaning and maintenance:

  • Create a schedule for daily cleanings combined with more thorough weekly cleanings
  • Soft, abrasive cleaners can be used in combination with warm water, sponges or cloths
  • Scrub in the direction of polish lines
  • Many soaps and detergents contain chlorides, so it’s important to rinse your sink after cleaning to prevent corrosion
  • Avoid using carbon steel brushes and steel wool
  • Dry your sink thoroughly after use to prevent water spots
  • Always wear rubber gloves when working with cleaners to protect your skin
  • Never mix cleaners together, as they can react with each other in dangerous ways
  • Clean residue immediately
  • Do not let sponges, towels or rags dry in or on your sink, as it can dull the surface
  • After cleaning, homeowners can apply a few drops of olive oil to a lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth, and buff the surface for extra shine

For more information, check out our comprehensive guide to cleaning stainless steel sinks

Stainless Steel Sinks at Cosmos Surfaces

So, is stainless steel sustainable? Definitely! Here at Cosmos Surfaces, we’re proud to offer a wide range of stainless steel sink options. Whether you’re in the market for a single-bowl or double-bowl sink, our team can help you find the perfect option to suit your needs and budget.

Cosmos Surfaces brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about providing businesses and homeowners with exceptional materials. If you have questions about stainless steel sinks or where to find them, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by filling out our contact form today. 

Color of the Month: Translucent

Translucent natural stones are airy and delicate, with vibrant undertones glowing just beneath the surface. As countertops, tiling, backsplashes, and more, translucent surfaces are a striking yet soothing addition to any room.

Like its name suggests, Cristallo is a sea of crystals. A vibrant white, streaks of gold dance across this quartzite. When backlit, the translucent white glows golden, creating a unique masterpiece with endless potential. Cristallo makes an elegant and light-toned choice for interior and exterior spaces alike. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Alexandrita Quartzite is a type of light green quartzite; a beautiful, tranquil stone that is perfect for countertops, floors, wall applications, backsplashes, and more. The soft hues of green, ivory, and peach create a calming effect, reminiscent of sand and sea foam. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched. Call your nearest location and see this beautiful green quartzite for yourself!

Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Natural Stone

cleaning natural stone

Natural stone is a gorgeous investment that can elevate any space, and with proper care and maintenance, it can last for generations. While most homeowners understand the importance of cleaning surfaces like floors and countertops often, cleaning natural stone without damaging it requires some basic know-how. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss 5 common mistakes homeowners make when cleaning natural stone and why you should avoid them. 

Using the Wrong Cleaning Agents

Not all cleaners are made equal, and when it comes to natural stone, some are downright harmful. Acidic commercial cleaners and those containing harsh chemicals, like bleach, can damage and dull natural stone surfaces. Common household cleaning alternatives should be used with caution as well. As homeowners turn to natural, eco-friendly solutions, vinegar is lauded as an effective cleaning agent for a wide range of household applications. Unfortunately, vinegar is an acidic substance, which means it can cause a chemical reaction on your natural stone surfaces known as etching. 

Etching is a form of physical damage on a natural stone’s surface that appears as a dull mark. Calcareous stones — those composed of calcium carbonate, such as marble — are susceptible to etching when they come into contact with an acidic substance. This includes acidic cleaners, as well as any acidic spills, like wine, certain sauces or fruit juice.

Always check to ensure a cleaning solution is safe to use on your natural stone surfaces. Our experts recommend investing in cleaners specifically meant for natural stone, or sticking to non-acidic, mild dish detergent and warm water for regular cleaning.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Tools

Abrasive sponges, brushes and scouring pads can scratch or otherwise damage softer stones, like marble and soapstone. Even on hardier stone surfaces, like granite, abrasive cleaning tools can prematurely wear away the protective sealer that protects the stone, making it vulnerable to staining and moisture damage. 

Always use gentle cleaning products and sponges on your natural stone surfaces. Our pros recommend soft microfiber cloth, as it does an excellent job with capturing dirt, dust and debris.

Don’t Neglect Cleaning Natural Stone

How frequently you’ll need to clean your natural stone surfaces depends on your home, lifestyle and the location of the surfaces in question. Neglecting cleaning for too long is a common mistake that can lead to damage like etching, staining and scratches from grit. Countertops and floors require slightly different care. Let’s take a quick look at each:

  • Natural Stone Countertops and Backsplash

Kitchen countertops tend to be high-traffic areas in the home. It follows that natural stone surfaces, like countertops and backsplash, should be wiped down daily, especially after cooking or eating to prevent staining and moisture-related damage. A mild dish detergent and warm water may suffice for daily cleanings, though we always recommend checking in with manufacturers. Be sure to dry natural stone surfaces thoroughly with a clean microfiber cloth or towel after each cleaning. Kitchens that see a lot of use will likely benefit from a deep cleaning with an appropriate natural stone cleaner at least once a week, if not more often. 

  • Natural Stone Floors

When it comes to natural stone flooring, trekked-in dust, dirt and grit can be abrasive when walked or stepped on. This makes floor tiles vulnerable to damage like scratches or wear patterns in high-traffic areas over time. To protect your natural stone floors, carefully sweep, vacuum or use a dry dust mop to remove potentially abrasive debris. If your home is subject to high amounts of foot traffic from family members and pets, you may need to dry mop or sweep every other day, or in some cases, on a daily basis. Floors should typically be mopped once a week, while high-traffic areas, like a busy kitchen, may benefit from being mopped twice a week.      

Pro-tip: High-traffic floor areas can be protected with an area rug or runner, while placing mats inside and outside of entrances will help trap dirt and debris, keeping it off of your floors. 

Don’t Forget to Seal Natural Stone

Many kinds of natural stone and grout need to be sealed and resealed to protect it against staining and moisture damage. Certain types of stone need to be sealed more frequently than others. The more porous a stone is, the more vulnerable it is to taking on damage when left unsealed. Highly porous stones like marble and sandstone may require annual resealing, while other stones may benefit from being resealed every 3–5 years. Learn more in our blog posts all about sealing natural stone and how to seal grout

Don’t Delay Cleaning Spills on Natural Stone

One of the most common mistakes that can lead to damaged natural stone is a delay in cleaning up spills. The longer a staining agent sits on your natural stone surface, the more likely it is to be absorbed by the stone, causing chemical reactions like etching, staining or allowing moisture to penetrate porous stones. Trapped moisture can lead to major issues, like mold growth or cracking. Always be sure to wipe up spills as soon as possible.

Find Natural Stone Countertops and Tiles at Cosmos Surfaces    

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to offer a wide range of gorgeous natural stone countertop and tile options. If you have any questions about natural stone and how to care for it, give us a call at a location near you or contact us online today for expert advice. 

Color of the Month: Welcome Home

Welcome Home is a smooth, muted yellow with beige and lemon undertones. It is a stately color that pairs well with white trim and deep wood furniture in dining and living spaces.

Experience the singular beauty of Sedna, an exquisite vein of molten gold running through pitch black and rich brown granite. Like a wealth of brilliant magma trapped just below the surface of the earth, black Sedna is a rare and powerful treasure, embodying the most raw and powerful forces of nature.

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold crisscross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Repair a Porcelain Sink

repair a porcelain sink

Porcelain is an excellent surface material with uses that range from dinnerware and tiling to kitchen and bathroom sinks. While porcelain is durable, aesthetically pleasing and highly heat-resistant, it’s not quite as hard as some of its natural stone counterparts. Dropping a heavy object or accidentally hitting a porcelain sink with cookware can lead to unsightly chips. Homeowners will be pleased to know it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to repair a porcelain sink at home. Read on for tips on how to do a successful DIY porcelain sink repair, as well as the grout surrounding a sink.

Use Epoxy to Repair a Porcelain Sink 

Two-component epoxy can be found in the adhesives section of most home improvement stores. The compound comes in two separate containers — one containing a catalyst, the other a hardener. While porcelain sinks are commonly white, epoxy can be found in a range of colors, and hues can be mixed to achieve an optimal color match to your porcelain sink. 

Let’s look at the process of repairing a chip or gouge using color-matched epoxy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two-part epoxy
  • A sponge and soapy water
  • 400–600 grit wet-and-dry sandpaper
  • A small applicator brush

Step 1: Clean the Area with a Sponge

Using a sponge and soapy water, scrub the chip or gouge thoroughly to remove any accumulated dirt or rust, then dry the area completely. Next, gently rub the chipped area with your sandpiper to remove build-up, like rust, and to create some gritty texture for the epoxy to hold onto.

Step 2: Mix the Epoxy

Mix the two components of your epoxy according to the manufacturer’s instructions, blending colors if necessary to create an exact match to your sink.

Step 3: Apply Epoxy to the Damaged Area  

Fill the chip or gouge in with the epoxy compound. You can use a small applicator brush or wooden matchstick for this step. Deep gouges may require several coats of product.

Step 4: Allow the Product to Dry

Be sure to allow the epoxy filler to dry as specified by the manufacturer. A good rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours after making the repair before using the sink. 

Repair a Porcelain Sink with Epoxy Putty

For large gouges or porcelain sinks that are more difficult to color-match, repairs can be made with epoxy putty and porcelain touch up paint. Just as before, be sure to clean and dry the affected area. Cut the appropriate amount of epoxy putty and knead it (wearing gloves) for roughly one minute, or until it becomes malleable and has a uniform color. 

Be sure to apply epoxy putty within 2–3 minutes of mixing it. Using a putty knife, apply and press the product into the gouge, ensuring a smooth and even distribution. Next, rub the area with a finger that’s been dipped in warm, soapy water until the surface of the putty is molded to your liking. Allow the product to cure before sanding the area lightly until it is smooth. Apply porcelain touch up paint to the area and allow it to dry fully before using the sink.

Repair a Porcelain Sink with Epoxy Glue

If you’ve chipped your porcelain sink, but the break was clean and you still have the other piece, it’s possible to repair the damage with epoxy glue. Lightly sand both surfaces you are gluing together, then clean and dry them thoroughly. Apply the appropriate amount of epoxy glue and press the surfaces together, immediately wiping away any excess glue. Continue to support the area for at least 10 minutes, and wait the correct amount of time (as per the manufacturer’s directions) before using the sink. 

How to Repair the Grout Around a Porcelain Sink

The grout around your porcelain sink can wear away or take on damage over time. Luckily, this is another fix homeowners may be able to DIY with a little know-how. Let’s take a look:

Step 1: Remove Damaged Grout

Using a grout saw, move the saw back and forth over the damaged grout until all or most of it has been removed. 

Step 2: Clean the Area

Remove any remaining debris by wiping the area with a damp (but not sopping wet) sponge. Once clean, dry the area.

Step 3: Use Caulk to Fill in Grout Damage

Run a bead of caulk where the damaged grout was removed, ensuring that it completely covers the joint without leaving any gaps. Unless you need an exact grout color match, caulk is easier to use for repairs than new grout, owing to its flexibility and water resistance.

Allow the product to dry completely before using the sink, and be sure to check for any holes in the caulk or remaining damage before resuming daily use. 

To help prevent damage, it’s important to note that grout typically needs to be sealed and resealed to create a non-porous surface and avoid moisture-related damage. You can check out our blog to learn more about sealing grout.  

Cosmos Surfaces: Your Best Resource for Surface Materials

Whether you’re in the market for natural stone countertops, porcelain tiles or a new kitchen sink, Cosmos has it all. Give us a call at your nearest location or contact us online with inquiries. Our team is always happy to help. 

Color of the Month: Welcome Home

Welcome Home is a smooth, muted yellow with beige and lemon undertones. It is a stately color that pairs well with white trim and deep wood furniture in dining and living spaces.

Exuding strength, mystery, and daring, Titanium is a striking type of granite fit for the bold. Originating in Brazil, and also known as Cosmic Black, the black backdrop with swirls and waves of silver and gold make titanium an alluring and captivating material for any kitchen countertop, fireplace tiling, and bathroom flooring.

With a trademark pattern that’s reminiscent of a jaguar’s magnificent spotted coat, Jaguar is a fierce granite from Brazil. Moderately varied, its coloring darts from copper to beige to brown, with black dots in between. Sleek and mesmerizing as the big cat after which it is named, Jaguar is an enthralling choice for countertops, vanity tops, table tops, bar tops and more.

What is the Hardest Natural Stone?

hardest natural stone

When we measure the hardness of a mineral or natural stone, what we’re really measuring is its relative resistance to scratching. This is typically done by scratching one material against another of known hardness. In this post, we discuss the hardest natural stone and how common countertop materials stack up. 

What is the Hardest Natural Stone Based on the Mohs Hardness Scale?

Named for German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, the Mohs Hardness Scale is used to assign a numeric value between 1–10 to minerals and objects based on their ability to scratch softer substances or their resistance to being scratched. Out in the field, geologists can use common objects with known values on the Mohs scale, such as glass, a copper penny or a fingernail to test minerals by attempting to scratch them. 

The higher the number on the Mohs scale, the harder the substance. Diamonds, the hardest known material on Earth, come in at a 10 on the scale. A human fingernail is a 2.5, while talc—the softest mineral—sits at the bottom with a Mohs hardness of 1.

How Hard is Quartzite?

Quartzite, which contains at least 90% quartz, comes in at an 8 on the Mohs scale. This gives it a slight edge on granite, making it the hardest natural stone countertop commonly available. Quartzite is so hard, in fact, it’s not advised to use knives directly on the surface—not for fear of scratching the countertop, but because true quartzite is more likely to dull a knife blade! One should, however, refrain from cutting directly on any countertop, no matter how hard the material. 

Quartzite and granite have similar properties, and both materials should be sealed regularly to protect against staining. Unlike materials containing calcite, granite and quartzite are resistant to acidic substances and will not etch with exposure.

How Hard is Granite?

Granite is by far one of the most popular surfacing materials on the market. It’s also one of the hardest natural stones—surpassed only by quartzite and gemstones. Coming in at between 6–8 on the Mohs hardness scale, granite countertops are favored for their durability, hardness, scratch-resistance, ease of maintenance and aesthetics. As a reference point, a steel knife sits at a 7 on the scale. 

How Hard is Marble?    

Marble is an elegant, luxurious stone that’s been lauded for its beauty for centuries. It is, however, one of the softer materials. Composed of metamorphosed limestone and containing mostly recrystallized calcite or dolomite, marble sits between 3–5 on the Mohs scale. As calcite is usually one of its main components, marble is also vulnerable to etching when it comes into contact with acidic materials like juice, wine, sauces and certain cleaners.

Marble is a porous stone and needs to be sealed regularly to protect against staining and moisture damage. While marble requires diligent maintenance and care against scratching or making contact with hard objects, it can elevate the aesthetics of any space where lifestyle and daily traffic allow for it.

How Hard is Engineered Quartz?

Quartz countertops are often confused with quartzite, but there’s an important distinction to be made: quartzite is a natural stone surface, while quartz countertops typically refer to engineered quartz, which means they are man-made. Quartz countertops are made of roughly 90% quartz that is ground up and bonded with resins, polymers and pigments. 

Engineered quartz comes in at around 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This surface material is non-porous and doesn’t typically require sealing. Although engineered quartz is comparable to granite in hardness, the resins that bind everything together can take on damage, such as melting from exposure to extreme heat. 

How Hard are Porcelain Slabs?

Several factors can affect the hardness of a porcelain slab, but unglazed porcelain typically sits at a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. This makes porcelain an excellent option for those seeking a middle ground between durability and price. Because its hardness can vary, it’s important to work with a reputable manufacturer when shopping around for porcelain tiles or large-format porcelain slabs

How Hard is Onyx?

Onyx falls between 6 and 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, putting it on or slightly under the hardness level of engineered quartz, porcelain, and granite. However, it is a more brittle natural stone that can be prone to scratching and cracking when used as a surfacing material or in high-traffic areas. Onyx slabs tend to come with a fiberglass mesh backing to help strengthen and hold it together.

How Hard is Soapstone?

Soapstone has high talc content and only has a rating of 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. Although soapstone is dense and nonporous, giving it excellent water-repelling properties, it can be vulnerable to scratches and chips. Soapstone intended for practical use in kitchens and bathrooms will feature less talc and be harder. Working with a reputable dealer will ensure that soapstone is a good match for your lifestyle.

How Hard is Schist?

Schist falls between 4 and 5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it about as hard as marble. Like marble, it is a porous stone that needs to be sealed regularly (see “How to Care for Schist Countertops” for detailed information). This will prevent staining and moisture-related damage. In addition, the larger the grains of minerals are in a slab of schist, the more carefully it will need to be installed, since it can have areas of weakness where it can split if not supported properly. Schist is highly heat resistant and makes a beautiful, unique addition to kitchens and bathrooms.

Natural Stone at Cosmos Surfaces 

Cosmos Surfaces is a second-generation family-owned business dedicated to bringing you high-quality surfacing materials that are sustainably sourced. We offer a wide selection of natural stone, sinks, porcelain slabs and tiles.  

If you have questions about the hardest natural stone and which materials are best suited to your project, contact Cosmos today. Our team is always ready to help with expert knowledge and advice.

Color of the Month: Dresden

Dresden is a soothing, muted orchid blue with violet undertones. It is a stunning option to pair with floral artwork, and works well in any room.

A cloudless blue sky meets the regal and dignified columns of ancient Rome is what Azul Imperiale brings to the imagination. A striking gold cuts through the mellow blue background, giving this Brazilian quartzite depth and beauty. Azul Imperiale creates a soft and light atmosphere, making it perfect for bathrooms and exterior environments. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Nicknamed Ocean Blue and Elegant Grey, Elegante is a blend of colors, from blue to gray to white. This Brazilian quartzite creates a soft and classy atmosphere, both calming and mellow while still capturing a layered complexity. Elegante is a great choice for flooring and walls in open well-lit spaces, as well as in aquatic environments. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Types of Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons

types of countertop materials

Renovating a kitchen or bathroom can feel like a huge undertaking, between designing your ideal space, coordinating with multiple contractors, and staying within your budget. Choosing surfacing materials is an essential step in the process that will have a big impact on the final look of the room. Many people aren’t sure how to choose between different types of countertop materials. Read on for a pro assessment of the different materials available to consider in your renovation.

Types of Countertop Materials: Pros and Cons    

From various natural stones to ceramic tiles, there are many options when it comes to types of countertop materials. Here is a rundown of the options, and their pros and cons for use in kitchen and bathroom countertops:

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

  • The Pros: Tile is DIY-friendly and visually versatile, with a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes available. Tiles can add visual interest with textures and patterns, and grout color can also be used to add emphasis to colors and designs. Large format tiles can be used to create a more seamless look. Ceramic is sustainable and easy to maintain. Lastly, it tends to be an affordable option when compared to natural stone.
  • The Cons: Ceramic tiles means dealing with grout, which can pick up stains and contaminants over time. It’s important to keep up with sealing grout. In addition, while ceramic tile is quite durable, it can chip if something hard or heavy is dropped on it.

Marble

  • The Pros: Marble is great at resisting heat and cracking, which makes it ideal for kitchen countertops. It also has outstanding temperature retention qualities. It is naturally cool and soft to the touch, which is perfect for creating a bathroom or kitchen sanctuary.
  • The Cons: Marble’s softness is beneficial in many ways, but also makes it more vulnerable to etching and staining. Professional sealing on a regular basis is a must, which means maintenance can be more time-consuming than with other materials. It is also crucial to avoid acidic cleaners.

Quartz

  • The Pros: Engineered quartz is dense, scratch resistant and non-porous. Unlike with marble, there’s no need for sealing. Quartz can tolerate acidic cleaning materials and liquids like wine and citrus juice as long as they are rinsed promptly. Quartz certainly has an edge over natural stone when it comes to ease of maintenance.
  • The Cons: Quartz is less heat-resistant than stones like marble, so it’s necessary to use trivets and avoid setting down hot materials. It can also be vulnerable to warping with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight – something to think about when considering where countertops will be placed in the room.

Granite

  • The Pros: Granite is extremely durable and can stand up to heat and high traffic. Its extreme hardness makes it easy to prevent scratches and cracks. Like other natural stones, granite comes in a stunning array of natural colors and patterns.
  • The Cons: Many types of granite require regular sealing, and granite does require daily and weekly cleaning to maintain a pristine appearance, optimal performance and longevity. It can also feel a bit too hard for some homeowners.

Soapstone

  • The Pros: Soapstone is highly heat resistant and can retain heat, which can be very pleasant in a bathroom. It is resistant to acids due to the talc in its makeup, so it’s also a good choice for kitchens where acidic substances may be spilled. Lastly, it is extremely dense and repels water, so it won’t harbor bacteria and doesn’t need to be sealed.
  • The Cons: Soapstone is a softer natural stone, so it can be vulnerable to chipping and gouges from everyday use. It also looks best when oiled with a thin layer of mineral oil, so it isn’t totally maintenance free.

Onyx

  • The Pros: Onyx is quite rare as a countertop material compared to other natural stones, so it can lend one-of-a-kind beauty to a design. It can last upwards of 100 years with proper maintenance.
  • Onyx is more brittle and fragile than other natural stones, and can be scratched and scraped more easily. This means it isn’t likely to hold up well as a high-traffic countertop material.

Quartzite

  • The Pros: Quartzite is a natural stone that is twice as hard as glass and harder than the blade of a knife. It’s also heat resistant, making it perfect for high-traffic countertop areas. A mild detergent and soft cloth will do the trick when it comes to cleaning this durable material.
  • The Cons: Quartzite is not indestructible, and regular sealing is needed. Spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible, and trivets should be used under hot objects like pots and pans. 

Work with Cosmos!

If you have any questions about selecting countertop materials for your bathroom remodel, reach out to Cosmos today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our pro team is always happy to help.

Color of the Month: Dresden

Dresden is a soothing, muted orchid blue with violet undertones. It is a stunning option to pair with floral artwork, and works well in any room.

Reminiscent of clouds on a summer day, Blue Sky is a soothing blue marble from Brazil. Veins of gray and white are dispersed against a backdrop of varying blues, which brings soothing and comforting sophistication to any it is used in.

A beautiful silvery blue curtain makes up the background of the Brazilian marble known as Australis. The feature that sets Australis apart from other marbles is the deep sapphire streaks that glitter throughout. Australis makes for beautiful countertops and backsplashes, as well as bathroom floors, vanities, and walls.

Bathroom Remodel Tips from Industry Experts

bathroom remodel tips

Renovating a bathroom can make an old space feel brand new, but it can feel like a tremendous undertaking too. That’s why we’ve put together expert bathroom remodel tips to help you plan and perfect the ultimate bathroom renovation. Read on to see what the pros have to say.

Tips for Planning a Bathroom Renovation    

From new fixtures and plumbing updates to wallpaper and tiling options, there’s a lot to keep in mind when renovating. Proactive planning can help you save big by avoiding unforeseen costs and unnecessary work. Before you start gutting that outdated privy, keep the following in mind:

  • Consider your lifestyle and daily routine before all else. It’s no use shelling out for a luxury bathtub when you’re more likely to stick to quick morning showers.
  • Establish your budget and stick to it, leaving room for unexpected costs or repairs.
  • Note anything that’s not working in your current setup and see if you can improve in these areas. This includes planning around storage needs and always putting function over style.
  • Factor the number of people who use the bathroom into your plan. A double sink setup can help save time and avoid elbow wars when it’s time to get ready.
  • Plan your bathroom’s new layout upfront and avoid making last minute changes once renovations have started.
  • Avoid unnecessary changes to existing fixtures, as this will likely increase plumbing costs. 
  • Get a trusted plumber and electrician on board for any necessary repiping, rewiring or new lighting installations. 
  • Check your design with any trade professionals who will need to perform work (including a tiler, unless you plan to DIY) to make sure there won’t be any issues. 
  • When replacing bathroom fixtures, be sure to select and purchase those first. This ensures installations or alterations like hot and cold pipes are in the correct positions and that your new fixtures will fit. 
  • Instead of replacing a bathtub outright, consider re-enameling or replacing tub surrounds for a new look at a fraction of the cost.

Choosing New Materials For a Bathroom Renovation

From intricate wallpaper designs and waterproof paint to natural stone, selecting new materials for your bathroom can be a fun and daunting process. It’s important to ensure all materials are appropriate for use in bathroom settings. Let’s break down a few surfacing options to get you started.

Bathroom Remodel: Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are a popular choice for bathroom walls, flooring and shower surrounds. That’s because they are durable, colorfast, highly water-resistant and easy to clean. This budget-friendly, man made option is made from clay and fired at a high temperature. Porcelain tiles are available in a wide range of natural or man made colors and pattern options and can even be made to mimic the look of natural stone or woodgrain. Glazed porcelain tiles are inherently non-porous, which makes them appropriate for use in wet settings. Unglazed porcelain tiles are porous and need to be sealed regularly to protect against stains and moisture damage. To learn more, check out our guide to glazed vs. unglazed tiles

Bathroom Remodel: Natural Stone Tiles 

The look of natural stone might as well be synonymous with luxury. Whether you opt for a natural stone vanity countertop or stone tiling, this gorgeous material will elevate your new bathroom to levels of spa-like bliss. Bold colors and dramatic patterns can help create highly-effective accent areas, while serene hues and intricate veining creates a sense of calm and relaxation. The benefits of using natural stone in bathroom settings include:

  • Durability—stones like granite are highly-durable and make for an excellent long-term investment.
  • Aesthetics—while porcelain tiles can mimic the look of natural stone, nothing beats the real thing. Installing natural stone features can create a unique look and increase your home’s value.
  • Non-Slip Properties—opting for a textured stone can reduce the risk of slipping and falling in wet areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and pool surrounds. 
  • Heat Retention—natural stones like soapstone have the ability to retain and radiate heat, which is a desirable quality in the winter and in bathrooms with heated floors.
  • Water-Resistant When Sealed—most types of natural stone will need to be sealed regularly to protect against moisture damage, but sealed natural stone has the benefit of easy maintenance—just be sure to use appropriate cleaners.

Bathroom Remodel: 3 Pro Design Tips

There are countless design styles that can help create the perfect bathroom sanctuary. These 3 design tips will go a long way towards making your bathroom remodel shine:

  1. Use large mirrors to make a small bathroom feel bigger.
  2. Limit your color palette to three hues and use the 60-30-10 rule—60% of the room should utilize your dominant color, 30% your secondary color and 10% your accent color.
  3. Waterproof vulnerable areas with tile backer boards and proper caulking upon installation and be sure to select waterproof paints and wallpaper that can withstand moist bathroom conditions.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have any questions about selecting surface materials for your bathroom remodel, reach out to Cosmos today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our pro team is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry is a deep billiard green with azure undertones. Pair with touches of gold and off-white for a traditional theme in any kind of room.

Like black soapstone, jade soapstone has a deep and dark color, rich in its elegance. Its sleek appearance matches its smoothly honed finish. Jade soapstone’s cool color makes it great for countertops and fireplaces, as well as backsplashes and poolside bars. Jade soapstone matches well with soft grays and wood alike.

Bands of grey and veins of white create a wavy pattern reminiscent of the moon-lit sea. The distinctive layers add depth to the black background that is characteristic of the Agatha granite.

Wood Vs. Stone Vs. Porcelain Tiles in Commercial Settings

stone vs porcelain tiles

Commercial settings sport flooring materials ranging from natural wood and stone to man-made options like porcelain, concrete and laminates. Business owners have a unique set of concerns that factor into every decision when it comes to preparing a space for public use. In today’s post, we compare wood vs. stone vs. porcelain tiles to see how they compare.

Choosing Tiles For Commercial Spaces

Business owners are responsible for creating and managing spaces that are visually appealing, safe to use and easy to keep clean. When it comes to selecting tiles for flooring, the following factors are paramount:

  • Aesthetics—tiles should compliment the visual tone of the space, whether the setting is natural and rich or elegant and luxurious.
  • Safety—slip-and-fall concerns are often at the forefront of any business owner’s mind. That means tile textures should be considered, especially in wet areas like pool surrounds or bathrooms. 
  • Maintenance—due to the high-traffic nature of commercial spaces, ease of maintenance plays a major role in the ability to keep a space looking clean, new and trustworthy. Depending on the setting, business owners will likely want to opt for durable, scratch resistant surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain over time. 

Stone Tiles in Commercial Spaces 

Natural stone tiles are an excellent option for any commercial space. That’s because they are gorgeous, durable and often easy to clean and maintain. If that doesn’t check off enough boxes on the list of desirable traits, natural stone flooring is available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns. That means stone floors can be designed to match and elevate just about any interior design aesthetic. Let’s look at the key traits of natural stone and why you might want to consider it for your commercial space:

  • Durability—natural stone is one of the most durable materials you can select. This is important in high-traffic areas where scratches, scuff marks and general signs of wear and tear are a concern. Hardy stones like granite will look great and last much longer than more vulnerable alternatives, making it a worthy investment in the long run.
  • Water-Resistance—in areas where tiles are prone to get wet, business owners will want to compare stone tiles to see how they handle water. Marble, for example, is a calcareous stone, which means its porosity can make it vulnerable to taking on stains and water damage. To combat this, most natural stones need to be sealed every six months to annually, depending on the type of stone. 
  • Aesthetics—natural stone can help tie together a design style, matching colors or creating interesting contrasts in texture or patterns. A dramatic accent wall or unique floor can elevate your business, creating an experience for anyone that enters your building.
  • Safety—textured natural stones create gorgeous non-slip surfaces. This trait is especially useful in areas like restrooms. Marble is the most slippery natural stone tile, while honed granite and slate are less so. 

Porcelain Tiles in Commercial Spaces      

Porcelain tiles are a budget-friendly, man-made alternative to natural stone. Let’s see how they stack up: 

  • Durability—while not quite as hard and durable as natural stone, porcelain tiles are more durable than their ceramic relatives or vinyl options. Porcelain is also easy to clean and maintain and offers good water-resistance.  
  • Affordability—porcelain tiles provide a desirable middle-ground option for those who can’t afford natural stone, but still want materials that are a step above vinyl flooring.
  • Versatility—porcelain tiles can be manufactured in a wide range of colors—natural or not—and it can be designed to mimic the look of natural stones like marble or the warm, inviting look of wood grain.   

When deciding between natural stone and porcelain tiles, the key differences are price, durability and design style. 

Wood Flooring in Commercial Spaces

Wooden features work well in settings with a warm, rustic aesthetic. When it comes to flooring in commercial settings, however, wood can be difficult to maintain and properly clean. The wear and tear of high-traffic areas means wood flooring is more likely to take on staining and damage. For the look of wood without the headaches, it might be best to opt for a wood grain-style porcelain tile. In settings where a natural, rustic look is desirable, one can try pairing other wooden features like furniture or plants with dark, natural stone flooring like granite or slate.

Shop Natural Stone and Porcelain Tiles at Cosmos! 

If you have questions about commercial surface material options, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and porcelain. Our team of experts is always happy to answer questions and make the best recommendations based on your needs and budget.

Color of the Month: Juniper Berry

Juniper Berry is a deep billiard green with azure undertones. Pair with touches of gold and off-white for a traditional theme in any kind of room.

On Kamarica granite, sea foam green, rust orange, soft ivory and space gray swirl and twirl with one another to produce magical shapes. Bold yet sophisticated, this exotic, naturally occurring Brazilian stone is an awe-inspiring choice that works well for countertops, backsplashes, window sills, walls and many other interior design projects.

A gorgeous gathering of greens from forest to seafoam, Verde Karzai green quartzite is the perfect material for bringing an earthy accent to your space. One of the perks of quartzite is the naturally occurring collage of colors and crystalline minerals. Verde Karzai green quartzite has that beautiful natural variation plus a pop of color.

A Guide to Glazed Vs. Unglazed Tile

glazed vs unglazed tile

There are plenty of decisions to make when shopping for the tile of your dreams—from colors and patterns to size, shape and finish. In today’s post, our experts discuss glazed vs unglazed tile. Read on to learn more about what they are and why you might want to choose one over the other.  

What Are Glazed Tiles?

There is a common misconception that glazed tiles are always glossy. Rather than referring to the finished look on tiles, the term “glazed” refers to the material tiles are coated with–typically a liquid glass or enamel. Glazed tiles can have either a glossy or a matte finish, so it’s important to remember just because a tile isn’t glossy, that doesn’t mean it’s unglazed.

What Are Unglazed Tiles?

Clay tiles, such as porcelain or ceramic tiles, are placed in a kiln for firing. If the tiles are to be glazed, the glaze coating must be applied before tiles are fired. This process infuses the glaze into the top layer of the tile. When tiles are fired without a coating of glaze, they are known as unglazed tiles.

The Benefits of Glazed Tiles

All surface materials have their own unique qualities that can guide your decision-making on the quest for the perfect match. Glazed tiles have the following benefits:

  • Color Fast—the finish on glazed tiles protects colors and patterns from fading over time, despite exposure to elements like direct sunlight.
  • Easy to Clean—glazed tiles provide a non-porous, smooth surface that’s easy to wipe down with warm, soapy water and a soft microfiber cloth. 
  • Wide Variety—glazed tiles are available in a wide range of colors, patterns and designs, while unglazed tiles typically have a more natural, earthy look to them.
  • Stain-Resistant—owing to their non-porosity, glazed tiles are highly resistant to absorbing or taking on stains. 
  • Scratch Resistant—inherently protected by their coating, glazed tiles are scratch resistant and therefore perform well in high-traffic areas.
  • Thinner/Less Dense—glazed tiles are thinner than unglazed tiles, which can help create a more subtle, elegant look, though it also means glazed tiles could be more fragile than unglazed tiles (light glazes are typically harder than dark glazes).

The Best Applications for Glazed Tiles

Glazed tiles are versatile and durable. This tile option is well-suited to the following applications:

  • Kitchen Backsplash—since glazed tiles are typically smooth and easy to clean, they are an excellent option for areas that need to be cleaned often, such as backsplash.
  • Walling—owing to a wide variety of colors, patterns and flexibility between high-sheen and matte finishes, glazed tiles can match any design aesthetic.
  • Indoor Flooring—glazed tiles can help create gorgeous, elegant indoor flooring in both residential and commercial spaces. The coating on glazed tiles makes them somewhat slip-resistant, though not quite as non-slip as unglazed tiles. 

The Benefits of Unglazed Tiles

Depending on the area you are looking to tile and the design aesthetic you’re going for, unglazed tiles just might be the perfect material to get you there. Unglazed tiles have the following benefits:

  • Slip-Resistant Surface—unglazed tiles provide a non-slip surface, which is beneficial in commercial spaces, outdoor areas and wet or commonly slippery areas, like around swimming pools. 
  • Natural Look—the more natural surface appearance of unglazed tiles make them a great fit for outdoor spaces or areas with a laid back, natural or rustic design aesthetic.
  • Thickness/Density—unglazed tiles are typically thicker/more dense than glazed tiles, which also makes them durable. 
  • Can Be Sealed—unglazed tiles are more vulnerable to absorbing stains and moisture, but a sealant can be applied after installation to make them non-porous, thus protecting them from stains and moisture damage. 

Best Applications For Unglazed Tiles

Though not as widely available as glazed tiles, unglazed tiles have a unique set of properties that make them a great choice for the following applications:

  • Outdoor Spaces—unglazed tiles tend to be thicker and more dense, which makes them a good choice for outdoor spaces that require durability, like a garden patio.
  • Slippery Areas—the textured finish of unglazed tiles make them highly slip-resistant, which means they provide a safety benefit in areas that become slippery, such as pool surrounds, laundry rooms and commercial spaces. It’s important to note that unglazed tiles will need to be sealed in order to be protected from staining and moisture damage.
  • Natural Design Aesthetic—if you’re going for a natural look in your home or commercial space, unglazed tiles can help create that warm, earthy atmosphere. They also make a great choice for outdoor areas that transition into a garden.  

Need Help Choosing Between Glazed Vs. Unglazed Tile? Work with Cosmos Surfaces

To learn more about tiles and tiling, check our guide to DIY tiling here, or take a look at our blog post on Tile Laying Patterns.

If you have questions about tiling or other surface materials, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our blog provides information on materials, cleaning, maintenance and design tips!

Color of the Month: Molasses

Molasses is a rich brown sugar color reminiscent of gingerbread, perfect for accent walls. Pair it with earthy natural stone or wood for dark honeyed tones.

Kona Dragon is a fierce brown quartz, reminiscent of a vast and wild desert landscape. With flecks of black, gold, and amber adorning shades of assertive brown, Kona Dragon commands respect and admiration from all who attempt to tame it. Once captured and incorporated in an exceptional design, this quartz never loses its vigor.

Cafe Forest Brown marble is like gazing into the depths of your artisan mocha, swirling with rich espresso, cream, and dark chocolate. It’s a truly delicious sight, one that will invigorate you each and every day. Cafe Forest Brown is ideal for exterior or interior use, irresistible in countertops, mosaics, floors, and walls.

Is Granite Radioactive? And Other Natural Stone Myths

granite radioactive

Granite is one of the most popular natural stone surface options on the market. Beloved for its dramatic colors and patterns, incredible durability and ease of maintenance, this stone is any designer’s dream. That said, rumors and myths about natural stone do exist, and some have homeowners asking questions like: “Is granite radioactive?” In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces debunk natural stone myths and explain the facts.

Is Granite Radioactive?

Granite can release trace amounts of radon—a radioactive gas—but it’s important to understand there are multiple sources of radiation in any home. As the Natural Stone Institute reports, items like your television, smoke detectors and even foods like Brazil nuts, bananas and potatoes release measurable amounts of radiation. Oftentimes, these common items release more radiation than what is measured in granite countertops. Multiple studies have been conducted and shown that granite is completely safe to use in the home. Sorry folks, but you won’t be gaining any superpowers from your countertops. 

Other Natural Stone Myths      

Common misconceptions about natural stone can make shoppers wary in their search for gorgeous, durable surface materials. Let’s investigate other natural stone myths:

Myth 1: Natural Stone Stains Easily 

While staining is a concern for any surface material you choose, it’s not as big of an issue with natural stone as it might seem. Sealing natural stone with a high-quality stone sealer and re-sealing when necessary protects stone surfaces from absorbing stains. Aside from cleaning spills right away, there are several methods to remove stubborn stains effectively, including making a poultice at home. 

Myth 2: There’s a Lack of Variety in Natural Stone 

This one is way off, considering the wide range of colors, textures and patterns to be found in natural stone. Whether you’re in search of a calm, neutral stone or there’s a bright, dramatic accent wall in the cards for you, natural stone has it all. Patterns can range from elegant veining to breathtaking swirls, and natural stone is available in colors like blue, green, pink, red and of course, all the neutrals with white, gold or black pattern accents. Natural stone can match and elevate any design style.

Myth 3: Natural Stone Won’t Last

We’ll simply point to history for this one. Stones like marble and granite have been used in architecture and sculptures for centuries, many of which can still be enjoyed today. With proper care and maintenance, natural stone is by far one the most durable materials you can add to your home. A life-long investment, natural stones like granite can last for generations, even outliving the house itself.

Myth 4: Natural Stone is Hard to Maintain

While regular maintenance is paramount to keeping your stone looking fresh through the years, it’s really quite simple. Preventative measures like using coasters, trivets and drying racks—along with wiping up spills as soon as you can—will go a long way toward keeping your stone looking good as new. Sealing natural stone as needed protects it from stains, moisture damage and harboring bacteria. Many of the maintenance tasks associated with natural stone are good practices for any surface material you choose to install.  

Myth 5: Natural Stone Will Go Out of Style

Natural stone is a timeless classic. As a material, it’s been used in construction and art for millenia. While certain stone finishes and colors may go in and out of style, stone itself, as a material, never will. The key is to be intentional with bold color and pattern choices. From there, you can bet that natural stone isn’t going anywhere.

Myth 6: Natural Stone is a Poor Investment

Adding natural stone features like floors, walls, countertops, tub and shower surrounds (and more) is proven to increase a home’s value. Even better is the fact that you can enjoy your stone surfaces for many years before recovering your investment when selling. That’s because natural stone is durable and never goes out of style. 

Myth 7: Natural Stone is Too Expensive 

A common misconception about natural stone is that it is prohibitively expensive. It’s true that stones like marble, granite and slate are high-end, high-quality materials, but they’ve become much more affordable in recent years. There are also several factors along the manufacturing process that affect final cost. It’s always a good idea to check in with a reliable stone fabricator to see what choices you can make to bring the price of a stone within range of your budget.

Fact: You Should Work with Cosmos Surfaces for Your Natural Stone Needs!

Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation family-owned business, we’re passionate about sourcing high-quality natural stone surfaces for your home or business. If you have questions about natural stone, get in touch with our team today!

Color of the Month: Molasses

Molasses is a rich brown sugar color reminiscent of gingerbread, perfect for accent walls. Pair it with earthy natural stone or wood for dark honeyed tones.

Palomino is comprised of a rich golden color that will astound and amaze in any space. With a crystalline structure creating diamonds and shapes across the surface, browns and whites swirl with gold to create texture and depth. Palomino is bold and striking – the perfect fit a room with pizazz, style, and personality. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Like molten magma swirling and pooling deep within the Earth’s crust, Magma Gold granite is fierce and fervent. In its larger-than-life pattern, deep gray veins stretch in all directions, surrounding and blending into areas of rust, cream and gold. Specks of white on the gray add even more visual interest, putting the finishing touches on this excellent option for counter and vanity tops.

Kitchen Remodel Tips from Industry Experts

kitchen remodel tips

There’s a saying in real estate that one isn’t selling a home, but selling a kitchen. That’s because the kitchen is often the focal point of a living space. It’s one of the first things visitors see when they enter, and it’s frequently one of the most high traffic areas in a house. A kitchen remodel is an investment that adds value to your home. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces share kitchen remodel tips to help you make that revamp a reality.

Kitchen Remodel: 5 Things to Consider

There’s a lot to think about once you decide to remodel your kitchen, from choosing colors, patterns and materials for new tiles or countertops to deciding whether it’s time to upgrade appliances. A remodel can be a big investment. The last thing any homeowner wants is to realize they missed an important step along the way. Here are 5 things to consider when planning for a kitchen remodel:

  1. New Cabinets Before Countertops   

If you’re in the market for new countertops, but your kitchen remodel includes new cabinets, you’ll want to take care of those first. Measurements for your new counters will likely need to accommodate cabinets. If you’re not sure whether you need new cabinets, check in with your countertop fabricator to see whether existing cabinetry is level and stable enough to support your new countertop materials. It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re keeping your old cabinets, your old countertop might be hiding unsightly areas of those cabinets, like unstained wood that might show when a new countertop is installed (though this can be remedied by installing wood trim).

  1. Doors and Entryways

Before you start shopping for those gorgeous new countertops, be sure to measure all doors, hallways and entry points to your kitchen. If you’re looking to install large countertop slabs or a sizable kitchen island, the height and width of entry points might mean your materials need to be fabricated as multiple slabs, brought into your kitchen and seamed together there. 

  1. Seam Locations

When designing your new kitchen, consider where countertop and kitchen island seams will be located. That way, you can work with your fabricator to ensure you’re getting materials that will accommodate your design. The location of your kitchen sink also factors into this part of the planning process.

  1. Updating Kitchen Appliances 

Just like with new cabinetry, if you plan on updating your appliances, take care of this before moving on to countertops. By taking care of these larger items early on in the process, you’ll ensure that countertop measurements are accurate. Be sure to check that the height of your new or existing stove top will be level with new countertops. A new kitchen sink will also affect countertop measurements. Check in with your natural stone fabricator to see what durable sink options are available.

  1.  Choosing Kitchen Countertop Materials 

There are plenty of wonderful natural stone countertop options out there, from classic granite to gorgeous, high-quality marble. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks. It’s well worth taking the time to research which material is best suited to your needs and budget. Man-made options like quartz countertops can help achieve a similar look to natural stone at a more affordable price, while natural stones like granite and quartzite are unrivaled in their durability and natural beauty.

If you’d like to learn more about the qualities and maintenance requirements for various popular kitchen countertop options, check our post on the pros and cons of marble countertops, or this one on quartz vs. granite vs. marble. For more information on general stone countertop maintenance, we covered how to clean natural stone like a pro here.

Always consult with your countertop fabricator to find a material that works for you. Factors like lifestyle, ease of maintenance, budget and the size and weight of countertop materials all factor in when deciding on the best materials for your new kitchen.   

Professional Countertop Suppliers: Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing expert knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to facilitate our customers with countertop installations and home remodels. Contact us today to get started! 

Color of the Month: Molasses

Molasses is a rich brown sugar color reminiscent of gingerbread, perfect for accent walls. Pair it with earthy natural stone or wood for dark honeyed tones.

Striking and gorgeous like the beaches of its namesake, Normandy is an intricately beautiful granite. Dark brown and gold crystalline veins cross a creamy backdrop to create a stunning landscape. The light colors of Normandy will add warmth and light to kitchens and bathrooms alike, and looks especially striking as flooring and countertops.

The granite dubbed Vitrium is both bold and complex. Hailing from Brazil, a creamy background is accentuated by diverse patterns that range from strikes of gold to swirls of black. No two areas of Vitrium are the same; every inch is uniquely diverse, which makes Vitrium a versatile option for any room, inside or out.

Benefits of a Natural Stone Outdoor Kitchen

stone outdoor kitchen
Home exterior backyard hardscape outdoor entertainment and cooking area with barbecue

The season for long, relaxing evenings spent outdoors with family and friends has finally arrived. A natural stone outdoor kitchen or bar allows you to maximize your outdoor time, entertain easily and make clean-up a breeze. If you’re considering making this wonderful addition to your home, you’ll want to invest in the best materials. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss 5 benefits of a natural stone outdoor kitchen or bar. Let’s dive in.    

5 Benefits of a Natural Stone Outdoor Kitchen or Bar

Whether you simply want to enjoy the gorgeous weather or you love to entertain, a stone kitchen or bar outdoors is a great way to do it. Here are 5 benefits of installing a natural stone kitchen outside: 

  1. Durability

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to outdoor materials is durability in the face of wear and tear, and harsh weather. Natural stones like granite and quartzite are excellent options for outdoor kitchen countertops, bar tops or fireplace surrounds. These stones are hard, durable and naturally resistant to bacteria.    

  1. Weather Resistant

Granite and quartzite both hold up well to a wide range of temperatures. As both stones are highly heat resistant, they won’t take on damage from heat as a result of cooking or extreme temperatures. Conversely, surfaces with a man-made component—such as quartz countertops that are held together with resin binders—can melt or warp in the face of extreme heat or direct sunlight. Porous stones run the risk of moisture damage, especially in the winter as water gets into the stone, freezes and expands. As a result, it’s imperative to seal porous natural stones regularly and ensure you’re selecting the best natural stone for your needs. 

  1. Aesthetically Cohesive

Natural stone outdoor countertops transition beautifully to outdoor landscaping and features like stone paths, stone garden walls or natural water features like ponds and water fountains. Opting for natural stone will create a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing look to your backyard oasis. Another reason we love natural stones like granite for the outdoors is that it’s eco-friendly. Our natural stone is sustainably sourced and won’t give off toxic chemical emissions the way man-made and manufactured products, like those containing plastics sometimes do.

  1. Easy to Maintain

Natural stone features are a fan favorite in the home because they’re beautiful, highly functional and easy to clean and maintain for generations. This translates to the outdoors as well. Make entertaining stress-free with a stone kitchen or bar top for your outdoor patio or entertainment area. To clean granite, simply wipe it down with a cleaner that is safe to use on natural stone. Regular sealing will go a long way toward maintaining your stone in the long run, while stubborn stains can be removed from natural stone in several ways.  

  1. Increases Home Value

Whether you decide to install natural stone on the inside or outside of your abode, it’s sure to boost your home’s overall value. Natural stone is synonymous with aesthetic beauty and luxury. An investment in natural stone is both long-lasting and sustainable. Outdoor entertainment areas, like an outdoor kitchen or bar, make for a highly sought-after feature that’s sure to catch any buyer’s eye. The National Association of Realtors reports that over 50% of home buyers are willing to pay more for a home with an outdoor living space, and outdoor kitchens are rising in popularity. This means an outdoor natural stone addition will help you create your own memories, while providing you with an excellent return on your investment if you ever decide to move on.

Natural Stone at Cosmos Surfaces

Natural stones can be used for a variety of outdoor applications, including countertops, walkways, fire pit or brick oven surrounds, pools surrounds, garden walls and outdoor patios. If you have questions about using natural stone for outdoor features like kitchens, bars, patios or fire pits, let us know! 

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned and operated business. We pride ourselves on sourcing high quality, sustainable products in a way that is respectful to the planet and local communities. Our team of experts is always happy to help answer questions and provide guidance on selecting the best natural stone to suit your needs and your budget. Contact Cosmos Surfaces today to learn more about our wide selection of natural stone products

Color of the Month: Molasses

Molasses is a rich brown sugar color reminiscent of gingerbread, perfect for accent walls. Pair it with earthy natural stone or wood for dark honeyed tones.

Audax is a type of schist that is dynamically layered and one-of-a-kind. The layers create fluid bands of brown, black, silver, and white that is stunningly complex and pleasing to the eye. A work of art, audax looks great in kitchens and bathrooms. The long bands of layers can be installed as floors and countertops.

Rivers of gray and brown flow across this stunning white Brazilian marble. The Crystal River has a beautifully subtle pallet of whites, grays, and browns that help create an atmosphere of softness and sophistication, making it a perfect choice for traditional and modern homes alike. This marble is adored by homeowners for its simple elegance and is often seen as kitchen counters and bathroom vanities.

Your Guide to DIY Tiling

diy tiling

There’s great joy to be found in tackling home improvement projects yourself. Going the DIY route doesn’t only help you save big on costs, it can be an incredibly satisfying experience. That is, if you know what you’re doing. A little research upfront can ensure that things go smoothly and helps you avoid a multitude of headaches and frustrations. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to DIY tiling to help you succeed at elevating your space with gorgeous new tiling. 

Installing Tile at Home  

Here at Cosmos, we’ll always point out when homeowners should call in professional help with installations. Luckily, with a little patience and know-how, laying tile yourself is a project most homeowners can take on with confidence.

If you’re on the hunt for beautiful, high-quality tiles, Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide range of colors and patterns that work for any design style.  

DIY Tile Laying: What You’ll Need  

There are several methods for laying tile in your home. Before you start, it’s always a good idea to check with your tile manufacturer to ensure your chosen installation method is appropriate. It’s important to note that installing tile floors takes at least several days to complete as mortar and grout need time to dry. You won’t be able to walk on your new floor immediately, so be sure to plan accordingly. Once you’ve chosen tiles for your home, you’ll want to stock up on a few tile laying essentials. The following items will help you become DIY tiling pro in no time:

  • Tile membrane (optional)
  • Waterproofing tape (to waterproof tile membrane seams)
  • Utility knife
  • Trowel
  • Thinset mortar
  • Enough tile to cover the area (and some extra)
  • Grout
  • Tile cutter (for simple cuts), tile nipper (for cutting curves) and/or tile hole saw (for cutting holes)
  • Chalk reel
  • Tile spacers
  • Wet sponge
  • Long level
  • Rubber mallet

To remove existing flooring, chisel out the old tile, use a floor scraper to remove old mortar and fill in any uneven spots with leveling compound. Once you have a clean, flat surface, you’re ready to install your new tiles.

How to Install New Tile Floors 

The following is one of several methods to install tile floors at home:

  1. Install a Tile Membrane

The substrate—or surface your tiles are installed on—is an important consideration when tiling. Surfaces that expand or contract with humidity fluctuations can place stress on your tiles, causing cracks. Installing an uncoupling tile membrane as a substrate can lessen this tension and create a waterproof barrier. Using a utility knife, cut the tile membrane to size. Next, spread thinset mortar on the subfloor with the smooth side of your trowel before combing it with the notched side. Work one section at a time so that mortar doesn’t dry before you can install the membrane. Roll the membrane out and press it into the thinset mortar (you can use a wooden float for this). Repeat the process one section at a time and finish by sealing membrane seams, along with where the membrane meets the wall, with waterproof tape.

  1. Create Reference Lines and Dry Fit Tiles  

Measure the center points of opposing walls and snap a chalk line between the two. Repeat with remaining walls to create a central starting point for laying out your tile laying pattern. Snap chalk lines for reference as necessary for your tile pattern. Check your layout by dry fitting tiles with tile spacers to ensure you leave correct expansion gaps. Allow ¼-inch of space along the outer edges of your tiles. If you end with small sections of tile on one end, you can shift the layout, just remember to mark new reference lines. 

  1. Prepare and Spread Mortar 

Mix thinset mortar to a peanut butter consistency. Starting at the centerpoint, spread mortar evenly, then comb at a 45-degree angle with the notched side of your trowel. Work one section at a time to prevent mortar from drying.

  1. Start Laying Down Tiles

Begin laying down tiles along the reference line you created in the center of the room, placing tile spacers between each tile. Ensure tiles make proper contact with the mortar as you go along, applying mortar to the back of tiles whenever necessary. 

  1. Ensure Tiles Are Level

Wipe excess mortar from tiles with a wet sponge as you work and use a long level to check for evenness. Gently tamp down any high spots with a rubber mallet. Cut tile as needed as you approach edges, and don’t forget to leave a ¼-inch gap at the edges and around any plumbing.

  1. Allow Mortar to Dry

Once you’ve finished laying down tile, allow 24 hours for the mortar to set before applying grout.

  1. Apply Grout

Remove spacers from between tiles, then apply your choice of grout color to the joints by pressing it in with a rubber float, then pulling grout diagonally across tiles to remove the excess. After roughly 30 minutes, wipe grout lines  and clean tiles with a wet sponge. Allow up to 72 hours for grout to set before walking on your newly tiled floor (check the manufacturer’s instructions for setting times). Apply a silicone sealant to expansion gaps at floor edges. After 3 weeks, you can seal your grout to protect it.   

Work with Cosmos Surfaces

We hope you’ve found this guide to DIY tiling helpful. Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, excellent customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of tile products and we’re always happy to answer questions and provide expert advice. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

A sun-soaked desert, Solarius creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in any room. Diverse and multicolored, gold, white, and black make up this exotic Brazilian granite. The variety in Solarius makes it perfectly versatile for any space, both interior and exterior. Use Solarius for bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, or outdoor patios.

A sheet of gold, it’s no surprise how Golden Paradise got its name. But it’s not just gold – look deeper to see the crystals of whites and grays that make up this Brazilian quartzite. Highly translucent, Golden Paradise makes for spectacular floors, walls, and fireplaces and matches well with blacks and woods. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Is Marble Good for Bathroom Floors?

is marble good for bathroom floors

Few things are as synonymous with luxury as marble surfaces. From walls and countertops to floors and sculptures, marble has been around for centuries. If you’re wondering, “is marble good for bathroom floors,” you’ve come to the right place! Cosmos Surfaces is a proud supplier of gorgeous, high-quality marble for home and commercial spaces. In this post, our experts discuss whether marble tile is good for flooring and offer cleaning and maintenance tips. 

A Brief Introduction to Marble

Marble has a timeless, classic aesthetic that can elevate any home. A metamorphic rock, marble forms when limestone is subjected to high amounts of heat and pressure. This typically occurs at convergent plate boundaries near the Earth’s crust. 

Marble is largely composed of calcite, but often also contains minerals like micas, quartz and iron oxides. Since marble is a calcareous stone, it is porous and requires regular sealing to protect it from staining and moisture-related damage. 

The Properties of Marble

Marble is softer than granite, which can make it more prone to damage in high traffic areas, but with proper care and maintenance, marble can last for centuries. The stone is highly heat- and crack-resistant, which makes it a great option for the kitchen or as fireplace surrounds. Marble also works as an elegant flooring option.

Is Marble Good for Bathroom Floors? The Pros  

Marble tiles can be used for gorgeous flooring in the home or in commercial spaces. Here’s what you need to know:  

  • Aesthetics—marble floors are unique and beautiful. With its signature veining and wide range of colors and patterns, marble can make any space stand out from the rest.
  • A Polished Look—marble can be polished to a high-gloss, light-reflective finish that gives the illusion of translucency and brings out the beautiful colors in its patterning.
  • Honed Marble—many types of marble can be given a honed finish instead of a polished finish. This option is great for those who do not want a glossy look, but prefer a soft, warm finish instead. Honed tiles have more traction, which provides a non-slip flooring option in high-risk areas like bathrooms and the kitchen. 
  • Marble as a Heat Conductor—marble retains and radiates heat well, which works wonders if you’re looking to install radiant heat systems in your home.
  • Natural Material—marble is a natural stone, typically quarried in mountainous regions. The natural, earth-made source of marble makes it an eco-friendly surfacing option that is completely unique, as no two slabs of marble are exactly alike.

Marble Floors: The Cons

Every surfacing material has its drawbacks, and it’s important to understand them when deciding between types of natural stone. Here are the cons of marble floors:

  • Installation—marble is more difficult to install than its ceramic tile counterparts and will likely require the help of a professional.
  • Cost—marble tiles are more expensive than porcelain tiles, but this comes with the benefit of unique, natural flooring and patterns that never repeat.
  • Repairs—since marble tiles are softer than porcelain (a popular tiling option), they can take on scratches or chips more easily. Luckily, marble can be resurfaced and repolished to look brand new.

Marble Floors: Cleaning and Maintenance

To enjoy and preserve the beauty of marble floors for generations, consider the following cleaning and maintenance tips:

  • Sweep floors daily to avoid scratches from debris like sand or grit.
  • Wipe up spills immediately, especially acidic substances like juice, wine or vinegar.
  • Seal polished floors regularly. For an in-depth look at this process, take a look at our blog post on sealing natural stone.
  • Use mild, non-abrasive cleaners that are appropriate for use on natural stone surfaces like marble floors. Mild dish detergents and microfiber cloths often do the trick, but it’s always wise to check in with a manufacturer and ensure a product is safe to use on your investment.
  • Marble surfaces can be etched by hard water deposits. Be sure to dry floors completely after cleaning to avoid etching or dulling over time.

Need Marble Tile? Work with Cosmos Surfaces

Is marble good for bathroom floors? Definitely! Work with Cosmos Surfaces today to find the best marble flooring for your needs. We offer high-quality marble in a wide range of colors and patterns. Our experts are always happy to answer questions and our active blog has numerous articles to help you decide which type of marble is best suited to your needs and budget—contact us online to get started.

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold crisscross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. 

Slivers of black overlay a creamy white background in this Brazilian granite named Polar Cream. The subtle tones of white and off-white in this granite make it an excellent choice for creating a calming environment. The understated beauty of the Polar Cream granite makes for beautiful countertops, backsplashes, and tub surrounds.

What is Agate Stone? A Complete Guide

You may have heard of agate and its many uses in the home, but what is agate stone? From decorative set pieces to permanent household fixtures like countertops and wall applications, agate is eye-catching and versatile. In this post, the Cosmos team discusses agate stone countertops. 

What is Agate?

Agate is a type of microcrystalline quartz sometimes used as a semi-precious stone. That is, when it’s of high enough quality and coloring. Agate is formed when silica from groundwater gets deposited in the cavities of igneous rocks (rocks formed from the cooling and solidification of magma). These deposits can occur in concentric layers around cavity walls, or in horizontal layers building from the bottom up, producing gorgeous banded patterns. 

Agate comes in a wide range of colors, including white, blue, brown, red, pink, black, grey and more. The coloring found in agate is the result of impurities and appear as alternating bands within the patterning of the stone. This happens when different groundwaters, made up of different compositions, are deposited into the cavity over time. The banding visible in a piece of agate essentially acts as a record of water chemistry changes. In this way, the history of the stone is written in its pattern.

The Uses of Agate Stone in the Home

Agate stone is often found around the home. Individual pieces make for handsome decor elements like paper weights, bookends and standalone sculptures, while larger slabs utilizing agate can be used for permanent fixtures. The uses of agate as a surfacing option include:

  • Countertops
  • Wall applications
  • Backsplashes
  • Fireplace surrounds
  • Water features, like fountains or waterfalls

The Properties of Agate Stone Slabs

It’s always important to consider a stone’s properties and whether it’s appropriate for its intended use. The properties of agate stone slabs include:

  • Hardness—agate comes in at a 7 on the mohs scale of hardness, which makes it comparable to granite. Both are considered highly strong, durable stones.  
  • Heat Resistance—agate is highly heat resistant, which makes it appropriate for use near stove tops and as fireplace surrounds.
  • Scratch-Resistance—owing to its hardness, agate makes for a highly scratch-resistant surface, which is always great news in high traffic areas like the kitchen. 
  • Easy to Clean—the gemstones in agate countertops are carefully selected for their color, shape and pattern, then bound together with resin. This makes agate countertops non-porous, which makes cleaning and maintaining them a breeze. 

Agate Stone at Cosmos

Agate countertops are beloved for their striking colors and dramatic patterns. This makes them an excellent option for a focal point in the kitchen or for use as an accent wall. Here at Cosmos, we’re proud to offer several gorgeous varieties of agate stone slabs, including:

  • Agate Azure—a bold, striking blue slab fit for installation as countertops, walls, backsplash and more. Agate Azure features handpicked stones in ocean hues that contrast beautifully with white, grey and brown tones scattered throughout in dramatic patterns.
  • Agate Earth—featuring a custom blend of hand-picked stones, Agate Earth plays hues of brown, red and black off of gorgeously contrasting white. These earth-inspired tones can help create a warm, inviting feeling while adding dramatic texture and visual interest to your space. 
  • Agate Vermell—a work of art in and of itself, Agate Vermell features deep amber, warm browns and dramatic reds. The hand-picked, semi-precious stones that make up Agate Vermell pair well with natural features like wood and bring a sense of vibrancy and energy into a space.

Pro-tip: Hard natural features like stone pair well with softer materials in the home. Decor like plush rugs, blankets and pillows or woven wall art can help create eye-catching contrasts, along with making the space feel warm and inviting. 

Work With Cosmos! 

Cosmos Surfaces brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about bringing businesses and consumers  exceptional materials. If you have questions about agate countertops or where to find them, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by filling out our contact form today.

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

Experience the singular beauty of Sedna, an exquisite vein of molten gold running through pitch black and rich brown granite. Like a wealth of brilliant magma trapped just below the surface of the earth, black Sedna is a rare and powerful treasure, embodying the most raw and powerful forces of nature.

How to Care for Schist Countertops

schist countertops

Schist countertops make for a unique, beautiful addition to just about any kitchen. This natural stone comes in deep, rich colors that range from neutral greys to golden hues. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss schist countertops and how to care for them. 

What is Schist?

First things first—let’s discuss where schist comes from. Schist is a natural stone made of up plate-shaped mineral grains. These grains are large enough to see with the naked eye. Their size allows them to reflect light, giving schist a natural luster. Schist is a metamorphic rock, which means it starts out as mud/shale or another type of igneous rock, then undergoes a transformation under extreme temperature and pressure changes. 

The stone is largely characterized by its foliation (repetitive layering), which is similar to that seen in slate, though coarser and more distinct. Slate has the same origin as schist and can be seen a step along the way to schist formation. When, after forming, slate is exposed to even greater temperatures and pressure, it eventually turns into schist. 

The Properties of Schist Countertops

Schist countertops can add gorgeous color contrasts and visual interest to a home, but that’s not all. Let’s look at the properties of schist:

Schist Hardness

Schist is a durable rock with the same hardness as marble, which comes in at a 4 on the Mohs scale of hardness. One thing to note about schist is that the larger the grains in a slab of schist are, the more carefully it will need to be installed. As the minerals lay parallel to each other, schist can have areas of weakness where the stone can split if it’s not supported underneath. This isn’t too much of a concern with flooring, but for kitchen countertops with overhangs, it’s important to avoid an overhang that runs parallel to the grain of your stone. An experienced stone supplier like Cosmos Surfaces can help you select the perfect stone for your needs. 

Schist Coloring and Patterns

The coloring and patterns found in schist countertops can vary greatly from one slab to another. Colors typically range from black to grey, with white and ochre or golden hues giving the stone a rich, earth-inspired appearance. Schist is an excellent option for those looking to incorporate dark countertops into their kitchen. The rhythmic patterns created by the stone’s foliation can be likened to tree bark, or ripples on a body of water. This allows the stone to pair well with other natural features in the home, like wood and plants.

Schist Heat Resistance

Schist is highly heat resistant, which is always a plus in the kitchen. Furthermore, this quality makes the stone appropriate for use in other areas as well, such as around a fireplace.

Schist Countertops: Care and Maintenance    

Schist is a porous stone, which means you’ll need to seal it on a regular basis. Sealing schist prevents staining and moisture-related damage like bacteria or mold growth in your countertops. For more information on this important aspect of natural stone care, see our blog all about sealing natural stone

Schist can be vulnerable to taking on scratches or damage from acids. The following care guidelines will help protect your investment for years to come:

  • Always use cutting boards and avoid using knives directly on the stone. 
  • Take care when handling heavy pots, pans or pizza stones, as they can scratch or chip your schist surfaces. 
  • Avoid placing weight on countertop edges or overhangs. 
  • Take extra care when handling acidic substances like wine, vinegar or fruit juices, and blot up spills right away.
  • Use coasters, trivets and cooling racks.
  • Blot up moisture, especially around sinks and faucets.

Schist Countertops: Daily Cleaning & Stubborn Stains

For daily cleaning, you can use mild dish detergent and a microfiber cloth or soft sponge. Avoid using abrasive cleaners and harsh/acidic chemicals on schist. 

If you’re dealing with a stubborn stain, be sure to clean the area with water and mild dish soap, then blot excess moisture up. Next, make a paste by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1–2 tablespoons of a mild, neutral dishwashing liquid and enough water to give the mixture a consistency similar to peanut butter. Apply the paste to the stained area and cover it with plastic wrap, taping the edges down with painters tape (avoid regular masking tape). Let the paste sit for 24 hours, or until completely dry, then remove it with a wooden or plastic spatula. Clean the area and inspect the stain, repeating the process if necessary.  

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about schist countertops and how to care for them, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We bring decades of industry know-how to the table and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

The contrast of brilliant, shimmering gold with pure white porcelain is the thrilling essence of Sicily Gold. It is the meeting of luxury and refinement, a gilded chance encounter resulting in complete balance. Designed for use inside or outdoors, it is the perfect choice for floors, counters and walls in kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms.

What Soapstone Colors Are Available?

soapstone colors

Soapstone tends to get less attention as a surfacing material than its popular stone counterparts, like granite and marble. However, soapstone holds a unique place in our hearts. Perfect for natural, minimalist spaces and those who enjoy the freedom of taking on DIY repairs themselves, soapstone just might be the right match for your home. In today’s post, we discuss soapstone colors, as well as the stone’s key properties and a few maintenance tips.

What is Soapstone?

Soapstone is named for its “soapy” feel and notably contains the mineral talc. The amount of talc present in a slab of soapstone determines its hardness. As the percentage of talc in soapstone often varies, the overall hardness of the stone will vary as well. Soapstone intended for practical use, such as kitchen countertops, contains less talc, while harder minerals like chlorite, magnesite and amphibole feature more prominently in its makeup. This broad variation in potential mineral components makes soapstone more of a family of stones. It’s wise to work with a reputable dealer to ensure the stone you’re considering is a good match for your lifestyle. 

What Soapstone Colors Are Available?

Natural soapstone colors can range from grey, green or black to a bluish-grey hue. Some soapstone options, like our grey soapstone here at Cosmos Surfaces, feature white swirls and dramatic veining patterns. This makes soapstone a worthwhile contender for aesthetic natural stones like granite and marble.

The soapstone color family largely consists of neutral colors, which makes it easy to fit soapstone in with surrounding decor. At the same time, blue or green toned options, like our jade soapstone, can contribute to a serene, earth-inspired color palette. These colors work beautifully with other natural elements, like wood, plants and water features.  

The Properties of Soapstone 

Soapstone is an excellent option for rustic, farmhouse-inspired spaces. With its natural look and feel, soapstone fits in well with a laid back, peaceful lifestyle. Soapstone has the following properties:

  • Heat-Resistance—soapstone is highly heat resistant, which makes it great for use around stove tops and fireplaces.
  • Heat-Retention—soapstone is capable of absorbing, retaining and radiating warmth. This makes it a great material for homes in cold climates.
  • Acid-Resistance—soapstone is often used in laboratory settings as one of its components, talc, is chemically inactive. This is great news in the kitchen as well, as acidic substances won’t damage your soapstone. 
  • Non-Porosity—soapstone is incredibly dense, which makes it highly resistant to taking on stains. The talc in soapstone is hydrophobic, which means it actually repels water instead of absorbing it. 

The Uses of Soapstone

From its high resistance to heat and acids to it’s non-slip texture, soapstone brings a plethora of benefits to the table. This versatile material has many uses, including:

  • Kitchen countertops.
  • Flooring.
  • Outdoor patios.
  • Kitchen sinks.
  • Fireplace and hearth surrounds.
  • Bathroom applications.

Soapstone Care and Maintenance

Whichever color you choose for your soapstone, it’s important to note prolonged oxygen exposure will darken the stone over time. This gives it a rustic, natural appearance which can contribute to a farmhouse-inspired design aesthetic. Mineral oil can be applied to soapstone as a way to refresh and even out its coloring, or to speed up the darkening process. Rather than a glossy finish, soapstone retains a soft, warm glow. 

A unique quality of soapstone is that scratches and scuff marks can easily be sanded or buffed out. Even gouges can be filled in with a mixture of stone chips and epoxy, making soapstone a user-friendly option when it comes to DIY repairs.

For daily cleaning, soapstone can be cleaned with a mild dish detergent and soft sponge or cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, as these can scratch your soapstone countertops. Allow the area to dry completely. Owing to its non-porosity and hydrophobic qualities, soapstone scores big on hygiene, as it won’t harbor moisture where bacteria thrives. For a look at how soapstone stacks up against other natural stones, check out granite vs. soapstone

Looking for Soapstone? Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about soapstone, contact us or give us a call today! Cosmos Surfaces has a gorgeous selection of soapstone, along with a wide range of other natural stone surfaces. Our team of experts is always ready to help!

Color of the Month: Saffron

Saffron is a radiant gold with bright and deep undertones. It is perfect for adding sunny color to the walls in any living space. Pair with deep toned antiques or clean black and white.

The light beige background of the Istanbul granite is interspersed with fields of white and deep golden veins. The shifting patterns and earthy tones of this Brazilian granite give each slab a unique appearance, making it a popular choice in varying applications for projects of all sizes.

A Complete Guide to Porcelain Slabs

porcelain slabs near me

Porcelain is a gorgeous, versatile material that can make remodeling your home a rewarding endeavor. If you want a budget-friendly surface material option that can mimic the look of natural stone, look no further than “porcelain slabs near me” from Cosmos Surfaces. In this post, our experts provide a complete guide to porcelain slabs. 

What Are Porcelain Slabs?

Several types of ceramic tile fall within the “ceramic tile family.” Porcelain tile is one subset of ceramic and is sometimes referred to separately from ceramic tile. When it comes to this tile family, porcelain slabs are the largest. Providing a budget-friendly way to achieve the look of luxury, large format porcelain slabs are durable, versatile and easy to maintain. 

The Benefits of Porcelain Slabs

Aside from aesthetics, porcelain slabs have a number of sought-after features. Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of installing porcelain slabs in your home:

Porcelain Slabs: Versatility

Thanks to amazing advances in tile manufacturing technologies, porcelain tile can be made with almost any color, pattern, shape or design. This makes it incredibly versatile in the home. Porcelain slabs are customizable and can be designed to match the color scheme or design aesthetic you’re going for. 

Porcelain slabs can be used just about anywhere in the home, whether you’re looking to install backsplash, porcelain countertops, showers or even outdoor walling and flooring, the options for porcelain are good and plenty.

One of the greatest assets you might gain when working with porcelain slabs is the ability to mimic the look of natural stone, such as marble, for a fraction of the cost. Porcelain provides a sturdy, durable surface that can match the gorgeous veining often found in natural stone. If you have your heart set on a marble aesthetic, but your wallet doesn’t agree—or you need a low-maintenance alternative—porcelain slabs are your new best friend. 

Porcelain Slabs: Durability

We love porcelain slabs because they offer so much in the way of durability. Our favorite porcelain features include:

  • Scratch Resistance—this makes porcelain great for use as kitchen or bathroom countertops and flooring.
  • Water Resistance—porcelain has a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less. This makes it a great option for moisture prone-areas like bathrooms, kitchen backsplash or in outdoor applications like pool surrounds.
  • Stain Resistance—porcelain is less prone to take on staining from spills, thanks to its water-resistance. This makes it perfect for use in the kitchen, mudroom or dirt and moisture-prone areas. 
  • Heat Resistance—as ceramic products are fired at extremely high temperatures, porcelain has a high heat-resistance level. This makes it appropriate for use in kitchen applications or as fireplace surrounds.
  • Fade Resistance—porcelain is a color-fast option that does not fade over time, making it great for outdoor use or near sunlit windows.
  • Slip Resistance—porcelain tiles have inherent traction, which helps keep slippery areas like kitchens, bathrooms and pool surrounds safe for your and your family. 

Porcelain Slabs: Sustainability 

Ceramic tile options like porcelain have an environmentally sustainable life cycle, start to finish. From locally sourced, natural raw materials to manufacturing practices that include waste-reduction and recycling, porcelain is the way to go for sustainability-minded homeowners.

Porcelain Slabs: Safety and Health

We’ve already discussed the safety benefits of porcelain as it relates to the material’s slip-resistance, but that’s not all. Porcelain is non-flammable. When exposed to fire, it won’t burn, smoke or produce toxic fumes and can even slow the spread of flames. 

Porcelain also has inherent anti-bacterial properties, which means bacteria won’t grow on porcelain surfaces. Some options include anti-microbial properties, which deters and even destroys microorganisms like mold and fungi. 

Porcelain is free of volatile organic compounds that typically cause health concerns. The material is not only hypoallergenic, but allergens like dust mites, pet dander and mold spores can’t penetrate its non-porous surface. 

Porcelain Slabs: Cleaning and Maintenance

The ease of cleaning and maintenance makes porcelain an attractive option for the busy homeowner. While grout in between tiles may still be vulnerable to mold growth and staining, porcelain itself is protected from these contaminants. Warm water and mild, neutral cleaners will often do the trick, as well as allowing the surface to air dry, or drying it off with microfiber cloth. Grout lines will benefit from regular cleaning and sealing. Another fringe benefit of working with large-format, porcelain slabs includes fewer grout lines to deal with.  

Find “Porcelain Slabs Near Me” at Cosmos Surfaces 

Whether you are a homeowner, industry professional, vendor or supplier looking for “porcelain slabs near me,” you can trust Cosmos Surfaces to meet your needs. We offer a wide selection of high-quality porcelain slabs. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today. Our team of experts is always happy to advise and assist!  

Color of the Month: Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl is a soothing oyster white with a hint of sea-green undertone. It is perfect for sunny rooms, main walls, and pairing as a trim with any color scheme.

Inspired by classic Greek and Italian marble, the white quartz Calacatta Strata fits perfectly on bathroom and kitchen countertops. The soft, creamy white surface is peppered with subtle grey veins that add unique variations. No two segments of Calacatta Strata are the same, making this seemingly ordinary white quartz a modern update of a true classic.

How to Choose Grout Color

how to choose grout color

When we think of tiling as a design element, it’s easy to forget about the grout between those tiles. Grout can play a major role in accentuating or concealing your tile layout, making it a powerful tool in your design arsenal. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss how to choose grout color.

Grout Lines: What to Consider

Whether you want to emphasize grout lines or minimize their appearance, there are several considerations to help you choose the best grout for the job. Let’s dive in:

Tile and Grout Location

Consider the location of your tile layout and how visible grout lines will be. Wall tiles and kitchen backsplash are well within the line of sight, which means designs in these areas will be highly visible. This opens up possibilities to create visual center pieces or pops of color with your tile and grout combinations. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a large surface area, bold color choices can quickly become overwhelming. Decide whether you want a subdued look or an eye-catching accent area, then consider which tile and grout color combinations will help you accomplish your design goals.

The Size of a Tiled Area

The size of the area you plan to tile can help guide your grout color choices. Small spaces can become accent areas where contrasting grout and tile colors will add visual complexity. Conversely, matching tile and grout colors will help create a continuous effect, giving the space a larger appearance. 

Tile Design Layout

As mentioned above, grout color can go a long way toward accentuating or blending in with your tile design layout. Let’s look at a few different ways grout color can influence tile layout design.

  • Matching Grout and Tile Color—this option helps hide grout lines, creating a continuous, serene look. Matching colors work well in minimalist spaces. 
  • Contrasting Grout and Tile Color—use a grout color that contrasts with your tile to add visual complexity and accentuate your tile layout or grid pattern. This option works especially well with simple, geometric patterns, such as using black grout with white tiles in a classic brick layout.
  • Neutral Grout Colors—for a less bold appearance, you can get the best of both worlds by pairing your tile with a neutral grout color, like grey. 

Patterned and Multi-Color Tile 

When your tiles themselves have patterns on them, or if you’re making use of a multi-colored tile layout, bold grout colors can quickly become overwhelming. Here are a few tips for these scenarios:

  • Use thinner grout lines with patterned tiles (as deemed appropriate by the manufacturer). 
  • Use a neutral-colored grout to let the tile pattern take center stage.
  • For multi-colored tiles, try matching the grout to one of the tile colors for a cohesive look. You might want to start with the most neutral color until you find one that works.
  • For tiles with a stone-like appearance, such as veining, you can match grout to either the base tile color, or to the primary veining color. 

Match Grout to the Room

Aside from complementing your tile color, grout can pull tones from nearby design elements or appliances. For instance, grey or white grout can match with stainless steel or white fixtures in the kitchen, while grout with red or brown tones can coordinate with wood, brick or stone elements. The overall effect can help create a cohesive color story.

The Shape of Tiles and Grout

The shape of your tiles and the layout you choose can affect the amount of grout you’ll need to use. Square or rectangular tiles, for example, will likely require less grout than more decorative tile shapes, such as penny round tile. Tiles that require more grout means grout lines will be more noticeable. If you want to keep the focus on the tiles themselves, it’s important to match tile and grout colors as closely as possible. 

Tile and Grout: A Perfect Match

As discussed earlier, a close color match can help create a seamless, continuous effect. This can make a small space appear larger, or it can allow other design elements in the room to take the spotlight. If you still want your individual tiles to stand out, you can always opt for a textured tile while maintaining a monochromatic color scheme.  

Fun with Grout Lines

Neutral tiles can be paired with brightly colored grout for a unique, fun look. This approach works well when the grout color matches with another element, such as a paint color or a distinct color scheme in the room. Unique grout options include translucent grout, which won’t interfere with your tile design, and glitter grout—a playful option that will make your interior sparkle.

Check out our blog for more information on sealing and maintaining grout.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, excellent customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of tile products and we’re always happy to answer questions and provide expert advice. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl is a soothing oyster white with a hint of sea-green undertone. It is perfect for sunny rooms, main walls, and pairing as a trim with any color scheme.

Silver Lightning is a versatile type of granite that looks great among stainless steel and black cabinets. A flashy streak of silver cutting through a mellow gray sky, silver lightning is simultaneously calm and striking. The subtle crystalline texture and honed finish of silver lightning make this a perfect installation for kitchen countertops, floors, and bathroom vanities.

What is the Best Kitchen Sink Material?

best kitchen sink material

From food prep to dishes, the kitchen sink is one of the most frequently used features in the home. As a result, choosing the best kitchen sink material for your needs is worth some time and consideration. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces compare porcelain, stainless steel and composite sinks.

Kitchen Sink Materials: What to Consider

Kitchen sinks need to be highly functional, but they should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to clean as well. When deciding on the best material for your kitchen sink, consider the following:

  • How frequently do you cook/use the kitchen?
  • Will the sink be exposed to extreme heat?
  • Will you frequently clean and sanitize the sink?
  • Which design elements in the kitchen should your sink match with?

With the answers to these questions in mind, it’s time to compare materials.

Porcelain Kitchen Sinks

Porcelain sinks make for a gorgeous addition to any kitchen. The pros of installing a porcelain sink in your home include:

  • Strong and durable, porcelain sinks hold up well over time when cared for.
  • Porcelain sinks are available in a wide range of colors. 
  • Porcelain can mimic the look of natural stones, like marble.
  • It’s a low maintenance material that’s easy to clean.  
  • Porcelain can often be refinished if damaged.

The cons of porcelain sinks include:

  • Can be damaged by abrasive cleaners.
  • Can take on stains if not wiped up. 
  • Susceptible to chipping. While porcelain is durable, it can be chipped if something heavy is dropped on it. 
  • Leaving harsh chemicals or acidic substances in the sink could damage it.

Stainless Steel Sinks

Simple and functional, stainless steel sinks are a beloved favorite in the food industry and in homes. Let’s look at the pros of installing one in your home:

  • Price—while stainless steel sinks tend to be more expensive than porcelain, they’re less expensive than granite, making them a great middle-of-the-road option.
  • Stainless steel sinks vary in the thickness of the steel, but they are incredibly durable and long lasting.
  • Stainless steel does not easily take on staining or damage from scrubbing or heavy dishes.
  • Stainless steel doesn’t tarnish or rust and it’s resistant to high heat.
  • Stainless steel sinks are non-porous, which makes them easy to clean and sanitize.
  • They can easily match with kitchen appliances.

The drawbacks of stainless steel sinks include:

  • Stainless steel sinks are limited in their look. If you’re aiming to match specific colors and décor in your kitchen, it might be difficult to incorporate stainless steel. 
  • Hard water can leave visible calcium deposits that may need to be wiped off frequently. 
  • Abrasive cleaners and scouring pads can leave scratches.
  • Stainless steel sinks can make a lot of noise when dishes are dropped into them. In some cases, dampening pads are installed beneath sinks to mitigate the noise factor.

Composite Sinks

As the name suggests, composite sinks are made from a combination of materials. While they’re sometimes referred to as “granite sinks,” they really contain granite powder and acrylic resins molded into the shape of a sink. 

Let’s look at the pros of installing a composite sink in your home:

  • Composite sinks are incredibly hard and durable, which means they stand up well to the everyday wear and tear common to kitchen areas.
  • They’re aesthetically pleasing and add value to your home. 
  • Composite sinks are heat resistant.
  • Composite sinks are easy to clean and maintain. 

As with any material, there are a few drawbacks to composite kitchen sinks. Let’s take a look:

  • Composite sinks tend to be heavier than its counterparts, like stainless steel sinks, and may require additional supports upon installation.
  • While they are heat resistant, composite sinks are not heat proof and should never be exposed to extreme heat, like hot pots or pans placed directly in the sink.
  • Composite sinks are very hard. While this is mostly a benefit, as it means your sink will be protected, dishes dropped in a composite sink are more likely to break or shatter.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces

We hope you’ve found this comparison of sink materials helpful. If you have questions or concerns about the best kitchen sink material for your home and budget, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We bring decades of experience to the table, and our team of experts is always happy to answer questions!

Color of the Month: Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl is a soothing oyster white with a hint of sea-green undertone. It is perfect for sunny rooms, main walls, and pairing as a trim with any color scheme.

This beautiful gray Brazilian quartzite evokes waves and foam at a seashore making it one of our most unique natural stone selections. With sweeping dark gray veins, Dakar quartzite is a lovely choice for accent walls or fixtures without straying too far from the neutral palette. Pair with similarly neutral walls and floors to allow this quartzite to shine, or allow it to complement bolder jewel tones or metallic accents.

What is a Composite Sink?

Vortex 50:50 Double Bowl Sink - Composite Sink 2 what is a composite sink

When it comes to kitchen sinks, not all are created equal. From stainless steel and enamel to copper and soapstone, each material comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. You may have heard the name, but exactly what is a composite sink? Read on to learn more about this excellent kitchen sink material option.

How Composite Sinks are Made

As the name suggests, composite sinks are made from a combination of materials. Components like acrylic resins are combined with pulverized minerals, like quartz or granite. Composite sinks are sometimes referred to as “granite sinks,” though these are not made from a solid piece of granite. Typically, composite granite sinks contain granite powder and acrylic resins molded into the shape of a sink. Composite granite sinks can be integrated with a granite countertop, though getting an exact match may not be possible.

The Pros of Installing a Composite Sink

Let’s look at the pros of installing a composite sink in your home:

  • Durability—composite granite or quartz sinks are incredibly hard and durable. This means the sink won’t take on dents, chips or scratches from everyday wear and tear. 
  • Aesthetics—because they are made from a blend of materials, composite sinks can be matched to other design elements in your home more easily. 
  • Maintenance—composite sinks are typically a breeze to clean and maintain. A little dish soap, water and non-abrasive scrub pad will often do the trick.
  • Heat-Resistant—composite granite sinks are heat resistant, which is a desirable property in the kitchen. 
  • Price—composite granite sinks tend to be less expensive than solid granite, but still affords homeowners many of the benefits of having granite in their home. 

The Cons of Installing a Composite Sink

Let’s investigate the drawbacks of going with a composite sink:

  • Heat-Resistance—while composite sinks are heat-resistant, they aren’t heat-proof. It’s important to note the acrylic resin binders found in composite sinks can warp or melt when exposed to extreme heat. An example of this is when a hot pot or pan is placed directly in the sink. 
  • Weight—composite sinks tend to be heavier than some of its counterparts, like stainless steel sinks. Some composite sinks may require additional support when installed.
  • Hardness—while the hardness and durability of a composite sink means your sink will be protected, the same can’t be said for your dishes. Because composite sinks are so hard, dishes can break more easily if dropped in the sink. 

Composite Sink Care and Maintenance

One of the best things about composite sinks is how easy they are to care for. Let’s look at a few daily cleaning tips:

  • Composite sinks can be cleaned daily with dish soap, water and a sponge, scouring pad or cloth. 
  • Once clean, rinse the sink thoroughly with clean water to prevent any soap streaks, residue or soap scum build-up.
  • When using commercial cleaners like Soft Scrub, Liquid Bar Keepers Friend or Liquid Ajax, be sure to rinse the sink thoroughly with clean, warm water and dry it off completely with a soft cloth.

If you’re dealing with stubborn stain and scuff marks in your composite sink, try the following:

  • Make a 50% vinegar and 50% water solution and let it sit in the sink for an extended time. Be sure to rinse the sink thoroughly with warm water and dry off with a soft cloth.
  • If you notice white, chalky rings on the bottom of the sink, you’re probably dealing with calcium stains. Commercial products like CLR (Calcium Lime Rust) or Lime Away will help banish these, just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. 
  • Oxalic Acid Cleansers like Bar Keepers Friend Powder or Eco Clean can be used on a damp sponge or cloth. As always, rinse with warm water and dry with a cloth.

You can protect your composite sink by placing a sink grid on its surface. To bring back or enhance the luster or sheen of a composite sink, mineral oil or olive oil can be applied using a clean cloth. To keep your composite sink looking its best, avoid the following:

  • DO NOT use bleach.
  • DO NOT scrub a sink with steel wool.
  • DO NOT use the sink as a cutting surface.
  • DO NOT pour solvents like gasoline, acids or alcohol down the sink. 
  • DO NOT use the sink for grout materials or to clean paint. 

Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to offer composite granite sinks perfect for any modern, high-traffic kitchen. We are a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in all their surface material needs. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl is a soothing oyster white with a hint of sea-green undertone. It is perfect for sunny rooms, main walls, and pairing as a trim with any color scheme.

Clean, beautiful, and cool – Vento Cinza is the smooth white of an undisturbed icy tundra. Upon closer look, you’ll see beautifully subtle lines of crystalline silver in this Brazilian quartzite. Vento Cinza is simple in both color and texture, but that doesn’t make it any less striking. It looks great in any space as a countertop, floor, wall, or table. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What is the Best Material for a Kitchen Backsplash?

best material for kitchen backsplash

A kitchen backsplash adds texture and color to your home, but it’s a highly functional part of your kitchen too. As the name suggests, a backsplash is there to protect your walls from food spills and splashes, like sauce or oil. With so many backsplash material options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for your home. In today’s post, the experts at Cosmos discuss the best material for kitchen backsplash to help you decide. 

Kitchen Backsplash: Functional Aesthetics

An eye-catching backsplash can set your home apart. A backsplash can be used to create a gorgeous focal point in your kitchen, and the options for tile patterns are nearly endless. A well-chosen backsplash should complement and coordinate with existing permanent features in the home. With careful selection and a little bit of planning, beautiful backsplash tile can tie the room together and add value to your home. 

It’s not all about aesthetics, though. The best material for kitchen backsplash tile depends on your needs, lifestyle and budget. If you love to cook and entertain, you’ll want to select a material that’s easy to clean and maintain. If you rarely cook but want your kitchen to make an impact, you might opt for aesthetics over function. Either way, the options are good and plenty. Let’s take a look:

Ceramic/Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic tiles are the most widely used backsplash material—and for good reason. They’re resilient, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Since ceramic is a manmade material, tiles come in a wide array of sizes and colors, including those not found in nature.

Ceramic tiles make it easy to coordinate various features in your kitchen. As an example, larger tiles with the same color or pattern can be used for kitchen flooring. Ceramic is also incredibly heat- and stain-resistant, which makes it perfect around areas like stovetops. Cleaning glazed ceramic or porcelain backsplash is as simple as wiping off spills and splashes.

Natural Stone Backsplash

Natural stone adds a timeless beauty that can’t be argued with. Installing natural stone features in your home will increase its value and elevate its design. Backsplashes can be matched with natural stone countertops or tiles to create a cohesive look. When it comes to natural stone backsplashes, most stones need to be sealed frequently to avoid absorbing stains. Before you decide on a natural stone kitchen backsplash, it’s important to know their features:

  • Granite—you can’t go wrong with the beauty of granite. With a wide range of colors and patterns available, you’ll have plenty of options to help create your desired look. Granite is one of the most durable stones out there, and its resistance to heat and scratching makes it perfect for a high traffic area like the kitchen. With frequent cleaning, sealing and occasional polishing, granite backsplash can last for a lifetime. 
  • Marble—marble is softer than both ceramic tiles and granite. Since it’s an inherently porous stone, sealing marble frequently is paramount.  If you’re focused on bringing aesthetic beauty into your kitchen and you don’t cook frequently, marble might be right for you. Even though it requires a bit more TLC than some of its natural stone counterparts, marble is an investment that can be well worth the effort. 
  • Quartzite—quartzite (not to be confused with quartz), is one of the hardest, most durable stones on the market. This stone offers a wide range of colors and patterns and will need to be resealed about twice a year in an active kitchen.
  • Soapstone—soapstone is one of the softer types of stone you can use for kitchen backsplash. Available in a range of dark green and grey tones, soapstone tends to darken over time. You can treat the soapstone with mineral oil to darken it yourself and keep it looking fresh. While soapstone does take on scratches, these can be sanded or buffed out. Soapstone is impervious to chemical reactions with acids, which makes it easy to clean and maintain. 

Quartz as Backsplash

Quartz is a man made material composed of quartz pieces and materials like glass or other crushed up industrial materials. These components are held together with plastic binders like resin. Quartz comes in many different colors and patterns, and it never needs to be sealed. It’s important to note that grout in between tiles still requires sealing. 

Quartz is durable and easy to clean but doesn’t hold up to excessive heat or direct sunlight. The resin binding that holds quartz surfaces together can melt or warp when exposed to heat, so your kitchen setup will likely determine whether quartz is a good option for you. Likewise, some cleaners might be safe to use on quartz stone itself but could damage or etch resin binders. 

It’s always wise to research cleaning products and check with manufacturers to ensure a product is safe to use on your surfaces. 

Need the Best Material for Kitchen Backsplash? Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

If you have questions about the best material for kitchen backsplash in your home, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us today with questions, comments and concerns. Cosmos proudly offers a wide selection of products and our blog provides information on materials, maintenance and design tips.

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

This Brazilian quartzite dubbed Calacatta Silk boasts dynamic charcoal veining over its soft gray background. Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, or outdoor surfaces, this versatile white quartzite is a perfect choice to add an element of endless elegance to your space. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile Countertops

ceramic tile countertops

When it comes to selecting countertop materials for your home, there are plenty of great options on the market, ranging from natural stone to man-made. Ceramic tile countertops are durable, versatile and affordable, but are they right for you? In this post, the experts at Cosmos discuss the pros and cons of ceramic tile counters to help you decide.

What is Ceramic? 

Ceramic tiles typically consist of a water, sand and clay mixture. The mixture is pressed, sometimes glazed and then fired in a kiln at extremely high temperatures. The grout used to lay tile is usually a mixture of water, sand and a cement-like material. While you’re probably familiar with ceramic tiles being used for flooring, in bathrooms and as kitchen backsplash, they also make a great option as a countertop surface material.

The Pros of Ceramic Tile Countertops

Versatile and sustainable, ceramic tiles have a lot to offer. Let’s look at the pros of installing ceramic tile countertops in your home:

  • DIY-Friendly—ceramic tile countertops can be installed by a handy DIY-enthusiast, though the job requires precise measuring, cutting and the proper tools. 
  • Versatility—ceramic tiles are available in a wide range of shapes, colors and sizes, which makes it easy to get exactly what you want. It’s also easy to switch to a smaller tile size if you’re interested in creating a matching backsplash or incorporating intricate patterns. 
  • Visual Interest—tiles can effectively add elements of texture and patterns to your space to create depth and visual interest. Contrasting grout colors can be used to emphasize geometric patterns created by tiles, while tile laying patterns provide nearly endless combinations.
  • Heat-Resistant—ceramic tiles are highly heat-resistant, which makes them a great option to install around areas like the stove.
  • Affordable—ceramic tile countertops offer an affordable way to elevate your kitchen design.
  • Large-Format Tiles/Slabs—new technologies have introduced large-format tiles and porcelain slabs, which require less grout and make it possible to achieve a more “seamless” look.
  • Sustainability—ceramic tiles are often made of completely natural materials, which means they’re a highly sustainable option you can feel good about incorporating into your home. As a bonus, these properties also make them easy to recycle when you’re done.
  • Easy to Maintain—ceramic tiles are resistant to stains, acids, dirt, scratches and common household chemicals, which makes maintaining them easy and straight-forward. 

For an in-depth look at ceramic tiles, check out this overview of ceramic tile properties

The Cons of Ceramic Tile Countertops

You’d be hard-pressed to find a material that didn’t have a few cons to its name. Alas, it’s time to discuss the drawbacks of installing ceramic tile countertops:

  • While ceramic tiles are easier to install yourself, they do require precise measurements, accurate cuts and lots of patience. You’ll also need to invest in the proper tools, especially for grout work.
  • More often than not, installing ceramic tiles means you’ll deal with grout lines. Dirt, food and other contaminants can get stuck in grout lines and build up over time. This can, however, be avoided with diligent cleaning and regular maintenance. 
  • Staining agents like coffee, wine or juice can stain grout in between tiles. It’s important to keep up with sealing grout, as it tends to be a porous material, which makes it vulnerable to staining. 
  • While it is a durable material, ceramic tile can chip if something hard and/or heavy strikes it. 
  • Not all ceramic tiles are suitable for use as countertop materials. It’s always a good idea to check in with a manufacturer to ensure a material is suitable for its intended use. 

Conclusion

Ceramic tiles offer an affordable way to add gorgeous colors and patterns to your home. With such a wide variety of colors and size options available, you can truly customize your kitchen and create a unique design that sets your home apart. If you have questions or concerns about installing ceramic tile countertops, we’d love to hear from you!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing expert knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers. Contact us today to get started! 

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

Drift away with Shadow Storm, a super white marble featuring delicate swirls and eddies of shadowy grey. White marble is the epitome of classic grace and luxury, and Shadow Storm is a prime example – beautiful as a countertop, backsplash, fountain, or as the floor of your grand entranceway. It makes an exceptional impression.

Designing with Textured Natural Stone

natural stone texture

Breathtaking design engages the senses. Gorgeous color palettes can go a long way, but using textures with intention will turn your space into a sensory experience. In this post, our experts provide tips for incorporating natural stone texture into your interior design. 

How Natural Stone Texture Affects Design

Polished and honed surfaces are popular and often seen in the home. Polished surfaces are sleek and shiny, invoking a sense of high-end luxury. Honed surfaces have less shine, favoring a matte finish that creates a soft, warm glow. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, textured stone finishes are growing in popularity. Textured natural stone offers a great way to make your space unique and inviting. Stone finishes rapidly rising in popularity include: 

  • Leathered finishes—stones with a leathered finish have natural pits and fissures, creating texture and depth. Leathered finishes show less staining, scratches and fingerprints than polished surfaces, but may be harder to clean. Textured stone with a leathered finish works well in areas like bar tops, where it creates a warm, inviting feeling. Textured stones are also less slippery, which makes them an excellent choice in areas like bathrooms or as pool surrounds.
  • Flamed finishes have textured, slightly bumpy surfaces. This finish can lighten the stone, creating a natural, faded appearance perfect for outdoor applications like floors, pavers and outdoor kitchens. 

The Benefits of Textured Stone

Textured finishes can be a wonderful addition to a space. Let’s look at just a few of the benefits of working with a textured natural stone surface:

  • Less prone to showing water spots, smudges and fingerprints.
  • Helps hide scratches, chips and staining. 
  • Non-slip textures are excellent options for bathrooms, pool and jacuzzi surrounds.
  • Textured finishes help bring out the natural colors and patterns in a stone. Sleek, glossy finishes—like polished finishes—can slightly obscure a stone’s true beauty. 

Changing Stone Texture

Stone quarries typically apply an initial texture to stone slabs. You can work with a natural stone fabricator to change the finish on a slab of stone before installation. It’s important to note that not all types of stone can accept all types of finishes. To learn more about different stone finishes and which stones can accept them, take a look at our post on how to choose a textured finish.

Sealing Textured Stone

While some textured stone finishes—like leathered finishes—are more stain-resistant than honed finishes, they still need to be sealed properly. A good sealant protects stone against staining and other types of damage, like moisture damage, mold and bacteria growth. Sealed stone surfaces are also easier to clean and maintain. To learn more about sealing natural stone, check out our blog post all about sealing natural stone

Tips for Designing with Textured Natural Stone

To get the most out of your natural stone texture, consider the following design tips:

  • Pair textured natural stone with sleek, polished surfaces to complement their modern look. Intentional contrasts create visual interest and depth. 
  • Use textured natural stone to complete a rustic, farmhouse-inspired aesthetic. 
  • Incorporate natural elements like plants, wood and water features around textured natural stone for a warm, earthy feel. 

Textured Stone Cleaning Tips

Stone surfaces can often be cleaned with warm water, mild dish soap and non-abrasive cloths or sponges. Textured surfaces can hide dirt and staining better than smooth surfaces can, but dirt and grime can also get stuck in grooves and fissures. Performing regular deep cleanings of textured stone will help prevent permanent staining and discoloration. The following tips can go a long way:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner—vacuum flooring to remove loose dirt. Hand-held vacuum cleaners can be used on countertops to remove loose debris from grooves and fissures.
  • Steam clean flooring—whether you have granite, marble, quartzite, slate or another type of natural stone flooring, a steam mop is typically a safe choice for cleaning, as it is chemical free and won’t damage the stone. Always check with a manufacturer to ensure products are safe to use on the types of natural stone in your home.
  • Use a baking soda paste—add just enough water to baking soda to form a paste. Next, dip a cleaning brush with soft bristles into the mixture and gently scrub any problem areas. Be sure to test this method first on a small, somewhat hidden area to ensure you aren’t damaging the stone. 

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about how you can use natural stone texture in your space, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

The light beige background of the Istanbul granite is interspersed with fields of white and deep golden veins. The shifting patterns and earthy tones of this Brazilian granite give each slab a unique appearance, making it a popular choice in varying applications for projects of all sizes.

How to Disinfect Quartz Countertops

how to disinfect quartz countertops

When discussing countertop materials, we often point out that kitchen countertops are some of the most high-traffic areas in the home. Aside from food prep, countertops often become a repository for items like handbags, car keys and mail. Along with greater amounts of wear and tear, high-traffic surfaces are more prone to harbor germs and bacteria. In today’s post, our experts discuss how to disinfect quartz countertops and provide tips to help keep your kitchen clean and safe. 

What is Quartz?

Before we get into the particulars of disinfecting quartz countertops, it’s important to understand how they are made. Quartz, sometimes referred to as engineered quartz, is a manmade material. Though quartz countertops typically contain varying amounts of quartz, roughly 10% of the materials in a quartz countertop are made of components like crushed marble or granite, as well as industrial waste, like recycled glass or ceramic. These materials are usually held together with binders, like resin. While some cleaning and disinfecting products might be safe to use on quartz itself, they could damage the binder filling in between. 

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Cleaning a surface removes dirt, grime, grease, spills and some bacteria, while disinfecting specifically kills bacteria and viruses. It’s always important to clean and wipe down surfaces regularly, but disinfecting is imperative to prevent diseases like Coronavirus, E. Coli and Salmonella from spreading.

Disinfecting Quartz Countertops

The following products are safe to use when disinfecting quartz countertops:

  • Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, can be mixed with water to make an effective disinfectant. Mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part water—we recommend using a spray bottle—and apply as needed. Be sure to remove any food from counters before cleaning and keep the area well ventilated.  
  • Antibacterial dish soap and warm water will often do the trick and are safe to use on quartz countertops. Adding rubbing alcohol to the mixture can also increase its efficiency. 

What NOT to Use on Quartz Countertops

Avoid using the following common disinfectants:

  • Do NOT use Lysol, Clorox or any products containing bleach or vinegar on quartz countertops, as they can cause permanent damage.
  • Do NOT use harsh, acidic or alkaline cleaners.
  • Do NOT use nail polish remover.

As mentioned above, while some of these products might be safe to use on quartz itself, they can etch or disintegrate the binders in between quartz pieces.

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Germ Free

Cleaning AND disinfecting all surfaces frequently are the only ways to prevent germs and bacteria from growing and spreading. That said, there are a few things you can do to help minimize their presence:

  • Clean Spills Right Away—The longer a spill sits on your countertop, the more time it allows bacteria to establish itself. Once this happens, simply cleaning the area won’t get rid of all the bacteria, unless the spot is disinfected as well. You can get ahead of this issue by simply cleaning spills as soon as they occur. 
  • Disinfect Sponges and Dish Cloths—These handy products can often become breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. By using them to clean or wipe down countertops, you might inadvertently spread bacteria around. Be sure to clean these products after each use and allow them to dry fully in between uses. Dish rags can be cleaned by running them through a washer, while sponges can be cleaned using a disinfecting solution. 
  • Keep Countertops Dry—Bacteria thrive in moist environments. Be sure to dry countertops thoroughly after cleaning, and dry off areas that are prone to moisture, including areas around sinks or anywhere steam and condensation tends to accumulate.
  • Take Extra Precautions When Someone is Sick—If someone in your household is sick, it’s extra important to follow disinfection procedures. Clean your countertops and the rest of the kitchen more often to prevent the spread of the sickness.

We hope you’ve found this post on how to disinfect quartz countertops helpful. If you’d like to learn more about quartz, feel free to check out the following blog posts:

Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

If you have questions about quartz or other surfacing materials, we’d love to hear from you! Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

Dark grey and green veins and waves cascade across a white background, making Destin White a dynamic choice for any space. This high variance marble from Vermont, USA ensures that each application is a wholly unique experience.

What is the Best Stone for a Patio?

Beautiful Outdoor Living Space with Fire Place and BBQ Grill/ Outdoor Kitchen

As the days lengthen and the cold weather subsides, now is the perfect time to give those outdoor areas some extra thought and attention. In today’s post, we discuss the best stone for a patio, along with a few pro tips for creating gorgeous, functional spaces you and your loved ones can enjoy for decades to come.

What is the Best Stone for a Patio?

Our top picks for outdoor patio and kitchen areas include granite, quartzite, and porcelain.

  • Granite is durable and heat resistant, and can be used both indoors and outdoors to create a seamless, unified look. Granite can be cut in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be treated to make different textures. It’s low maintenance and environmentally friendly as well. One possible downside of granite is that it is porous by nature, and should be sealed to avoid possible staining and moisture damage.
  • Quartzite is also extremely durable and great for indoor and outdoor applications. It is non-porous, not slippery, and harder than granite. However, it can be a bit more costly than granite, depending on your patio design and other factors.
  • Porcelain is also colorfast, weather-resistant, and low maintenance. Porcelain that is rated for flooring and not glossy is a great choice for a patio surface. This is especially true for those looking to mimic the look of marble outdoors, where calcareous stones (like marble) might not perform as well. 

Designing Outdoor Areas

After a long, harsh winter spent indoors, it’s easy to see what a valuable asset an outdoor space can be. Whether your goal is to create a safe way to spend time with family and friends this summer, enjoy your own downtime outside or if you just love to entertain in general, a well-designed, functional outdoor area adds value to your home. Before you design your outdoor patio, which might include an outdoor kitchen, firepit, grill surrounds or pizza oven, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Function: The purpose of a space and how it will be used can help you narrow down material options. An area surrounding a pool or jacuzzi, for example, would likely benefit from a stone or material with a non-slip, textured finish. If you’re installing outdoor kitchen countertops, you’ll want to choose a non-porous, durable stone, like honed granite. 
  • Weather: While some materials hold up better against the elements than others, it’s always wise to minimize a stone’s exposure to harsh weather, perhaps by placing your patio in a shaded, somewhat sheltered area. 
  • Location: If you’re looking to design an outdoor kitchen or food prep area, location is key. You’ll likely need to move food and supplies back and forth from your indoor kitchen, so it’s wise to keep your layout convenient and accessible. 
  • Aesthetics: Stones that can be used both indoors and outdoors enable you to create a continuous, unified effect by extending the same materials used inside your home into your garden. 
  • Lifespan: Durable natural stones like granite and quartzite make for excellent long-term investments and add to the value of your home.

Tips for Using Natural Stone Outdoors

When it’s time to choose a stone for your outdoor project, the following tips can be useful:

  • For outdoor countertops, thicker slabs (around 3cm) can be used to help ensure long-term durability. More substantial-looking surfaces are also more likely to fit in with an outdoor aesthetic. 
  • Darker stones will get hot in the sun, which can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet and/or work around. 
  • Dense, non-porous stones like quartzite will perform better outdoors than porous stones like marble.
  • Be sure to use a penetrating sealer on natural stone patios to help prevent stains and moisture damage. Proper sealing also makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze, enabling you to wipe off any offending substances. Our blog post on sealing natural stone covers this topic in depth. 

Outdoor Uses for Natural Stone

Natural stone comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, making it versatile, functional and beautiful. Let’s look at just a few other outdoor applications where natural stone can be used effectively:

  • Garden walls
  • Walkways
  • Seat walls
  • Firepits
  • Pizza oven/Grill surrounds
  • Outdoor kitchen countertops/islands

Conclusion

Natural stone offers a sustainable, long-term investment into your home and its overall value. When it comes to designing your outdoor patio and garden areas, planning ahead can save you time, money and headaches down the road. Consider working with a professional landscaper or outdoor architect to get the most out of your outdoor oasis. Lastly, getting in touch with a professional stone fabricator can help you find the best materials suited to your needs, climate and budget.

Work with Cosmos!

Whether you’re interested in granite, marble, quartzite, schist, onyx or soap stone, quartz, porcelain, tile for your home, Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide range of surfacing options to satisfy any design style. 

Cosmos brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about connecting North American businesses and consumers to exceptional materials in a way that is respectful to local communities and the environment. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Vanilla

Vanilla is a neutral, soft-toned white with honey undertones, perfect for a main wall or any room of your choice. Pair with white accents or softer sand-toned colors, or pops of floral inspired reds, teals, and corals.

Maori granite has a pattern that’s reminiscent of drawings on a chalkboard, with thin-to-wide, grayish-white lines intersecting on top of a stark black base. A striking and stylish stone, Maori is a suitable selection for anyone seeking an adventurously decorated granite countertop that will continue making a statement for years to come.

Luxury on a Budget with Natural Stone

granite on a budget

The look and feel of natural stone are just about synonymous with luxury, and adding stones like marble or granite to a space can instantly elevate its interior design. While some homeowners might feel their budgets aren’t big enough to include natural stone, there are plenty of ways to make it work. In today’s post, we discuss how you can incorporate the beauty of natural stones like granite on a budget.

Accent Areas

If your budget doesn’t allow for entire floors, walls or kitchen features made of natural stone, accent areas are your best friend! With just a little bit of planning and intention, you can create breathtaking, dramatic centerpieces that draw the eye and instill a sense of timeless luxury. Using natural stone for backsplash, smaller accent walls, fireplace surrounds or small design details around the home can go a long way. It’s a good idea to focus on key areas that are highly visible, creating a focal point to design around. Natural stone tends to pair beautifully with other natural features like wood or water features, like indoor fountains. 

Functionality is Key

Aside from its inherent beauty, one of the reasons natural stone is so beloved among interior designers is for its functionality. By concentrating your budget on a key area where a stone can perform both aesthetically and practically, you’ll be making a long-term investment that could save you money in the long run. Granite and quartzite both make excellent choices for high-traffic areas like kitchen countertops, and both types of stone are incredibly durable and easy to maintain. A natural stone countertop can last for more than a lifetime, which means you’ll likely save time and money by negating the need to replace cheaper countertop materials multiple times during the same span of time. 

Let Stone Remnants Reign!

Stone remnants are smaller pieces of stone left over from large slabs or custom projects that require stone to be cut. These remnants can often be used in highly effective ways. Let’s say, for example, you’ve completed a project that involved a slab of stone being cut down to fit a space in your home. Those leftover remnants can be used as trim, shelving, small table-tops, cutting/serving boards, plant stands, wall art or other details around the home. This technique can be a great way to tie the look of a room together. In fact, we have an entire blog post on how to use natural stone remnants if you’re looking for inspiration! Stone slab suppliers like Cosmos are often happy to repurpose remnants instead of letting them go to waste, so if purchasing an entire slab of stone is beyond your budget, reach out and see what’s available!

Production and Pricing 

By making certain adjustments along the production process, it’s possible to reduce the price of the final product. Finishing details like a countertop edge type or the type of finish applied to a stone can change its overall price tag. If you have your heart set on a stone that’s just outside of your budget, consult with a professional to see if any adjustments can be made at various points along the production process. 

Using Natural Stones like Granite on a Budget

A smaller budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice getting the look and feel you want in your space. There are plenty of creative ways to incorporate natural stones like granite on a budget. From accent walls to making use of smaller stone remnants, we hope you found this post helpful! Our team is always happy to discuss projects and give insight into how you can make natural stone surfaces work for you. We can also make recommendations based on your needs and your budget, as you never know when the same look and feel can be achieved with a different, more inexpensive type of stone. 

Cosmos Surfaces offers a range of natural stone products in gorgeous patterns and colors to suit any design style. If you have questions about natural stone slabs or where to find stone remnants, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and we would love to help you design your dream home.

Color of the Month: Silver Leaf

Silver Leaf is a subdued, ethereal green with azure undertones. It is a soothing, yet inviting color, perfect for a bedroom or kitchen when paired with soft cream and white.

Named after the famous Renaissance artist, Botticelli is an artful masterpiece. Intensely complex, Botticelli is comprised of swirls, waves, and layers of color. Browns and golds meet grays and blacks in this Brazilian quartzite. Whether for flooring, tables, or countertops, Botticelli is sure to turn any room into a work of art. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Vostok granite is reminiscent of ocean waves rolling in over a black sand beach, with varying shades of deep green, rich dark brown, and mysterious gray. Occasional streaks of refreshing white break over the waves. Vostok is a beautiful and durable choice for flooring, tables, countertops, and more.

Spa Master Bathroom Ideas with Natural Stone

spa master bathroom ideas

The demands of modern-day living can leave us feeling tired, stressed and anxious. With the ongoing global pandemic adding to these feelings, designers have seen a steady increase in the popularity of relaxing, spa-like spaces in the home. The importance of self-care and occasionally disconnecting from our screens cannot be overstated. That’s why today’s post is all about spa master bathroom ideas that can help you unwind in the comfort of your own home. 

Natural Stone Bliss

One of the most powerful ways to recreate that traditional spa-like feel is to incorporate natural features like plants, wood and natural stone. With so many gorgeous colors and patterns available, natural stone can work wonders when used with intention. Soothing colors like blue, green, grey and white can create a sense of calm and connection to the natural world, while dreamy, swirling patterns can have a soothing effect. On the other end of the spectrum, dramatic colors and patterns can help create a sense of energy and movement, helping you recharge and awakening your creative senses.

An integral part of recreating the spa experience lies in creating a sense of luxury and self-care. By incorporating natural stone into your master bathroom, you can truly elevate the sense of luxury in your space, creating your own private refuge from the world. 

Tips for Incorporating Natural Stone

  • Marbles like Calacatta can create a soft, soothing and luxurious look.
  • Granite and quartzite both hold up well to everyday wear and tear and are easy to maintain.
  • Honed, textured or matte stone finishes, rather than polished finishes, can add a soft look and luxurious feel.  
  • Using decorative edge types, like an ogee edge for vanity countertops can add a sense of spa-inspired detail and luxury.
  • Natural stone can retain heat. As a result, it makes a great option for heated flooring. 
  • Warm-toned stones like Magma Gold and Golden Paradise pair well with wooden tones and features.

Tips for Maximizing the Spa Experience at Home

  • Reduce sensory stimuli and avoid bringing screens into the bathroom space.
  • Keep things clean and simple, removing as much clutter as possible. 
  • Avoid using bright lights, highly reflective/shiny surfaces and flashy colors. Instead, opt for matte, soft finishes and muted color tones.
  • Incorporate relaxing audio into your space, either by playing sounds like wind chimes, birdsongs or relaxing music, or by using features like indoor water fountains to foster a sense of connection with nature.
  • Make luxury a part of your design plan by installing “pampering” additions like towel warmers and heated flooring.
  • Arrange furniture in a way that maximizes openness. 
  • Allow as much natural light in as possible, as this not only helps improve mood, but also helps reset our circadian rhythms. 

Maintenance Tips for Natural Stone in a Bathroom

Natural stone is a long-term investment, and while some stones require more care than others, all types of stone require some measure of care. To protect your investment, be sure to take the following steps:

  • Most types of natural stone require regular sealing to protect it from moisture damage and staining. Check out our blog post all about sealing natural stone for an in-depth look at this topic.
  • Use mild soap or a dedicated stone cleaner on stone surfaces to remove soap scum and other types of build-up. Always be sure to rinse the stone thoroughly and dry it off with a soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. 
  • Cleaning and sealing grout can keep your bathroom looking fresh and luxurious.
  • Ensure that the space is well ventilated and whenever possible, wipe down, rinse and dry stone surfaces after use. 
  • Stones like marble require diligent maintenance to help keep it looking gorgeous. Our post on how to clean a marble shower provides helpful tips for daily cleanings, as well as deep cleaning.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces for Spa Master Bathroom Ideas

Here at Cosmos, we are big self-care advocates who believe your home should be your sanctuary. We would love to help you create the relaxing spa master bathroom of your dreams! If you have questions about surface materials, contact us or give us a call today! Cosmos Surfaces has a gorgeous selection of natural stone surfaces and our team of experts is always ready to help.

Color of the Month: Silver Leaf

Silver Leaf is a subdued, ethereal green with azure undertones. It is a soothing, yet inviting color, perfect for a bedroom or kitchen when paired with soft cream and white.

On Kamarica granite, sea foam green, rust orange, soft ivory and space gray swirl and twirl with one another to produce magical shapes. Bold yet sophisticated, this exotic, naturally occurring Brazilian stone is an awe-inspiring choice that works well for countertops, backsplashes, window sills, walls and many other interior design projects.

Alexandrita Quartzite is a type of light green quartzite; a beautiful, tranquil stone that is perfect for countertops, floors, wall applications, backsplashes, and more. The soft hues of green, ivory, and peach create a calming effect, reminiscent of sand and sea foam. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched. Call your nearest location and see this beautiful green quartzite for yourself!

Onyx for Countertops: Pros and Cons

onyx for countertops

When it’s time to choose surface materials for your home, there are plenty of gorgeous options available. The use of natural stone, for example, has many benefits, but is it a good idea to use onyx for countertops? In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss the pros and cons of onyx. 

What is Onyx?

Onyx is a soft, brittle stone that forms when limestone is dissolved and redeposited. It often originates from dripstone deposits in limestone caves, where it forms as stalactites and stalagmites. Onyx is a calcareous (containing calcium carbonite) stone which can contain colorful veins and unique swirling patterns. Because of its fragility, onyx should be carefully evaluated to ensure it will perform well for its intended use. 

The Pros of Onyx

First, let’s look at why you might want to consider a stone like onyx:

  • Aesthetics: onyx is quite rare in the kitchen when compared to natural stones like marble and granite, but it can flourish in bathroom settings with applications like vanity countertops or walling. Colorful veining and gorgeous swirling patterns make onyx a truly unique addition to the home.
  • Long Lasting: if properly cared for and maintained, onyx can last upward of 100 years.
  • Lighting: perhaps the most unique feature of onyx is its translucency, which means the stone can be backlit. While this likely isn’t practical for everyday use in kitchen countertops, onyx can be used around the base of a kitchen island, as backsplash, around bathroom vanities, bathtubs or in walling that is backlit (or lit from the inside), creating an effect that makes it seem like the stone itself is glowing.

The Cons of Onyx

When it comes to using onyx for kitchen countertops, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Fragility: as mentioned above, onyx is soft, brittle and fragile when compared to some other natural stones. This means the stone isn’t likely to hold up well in high-traffic areas like kitchen countertops. Onyx slabs tend to come with a fiberglass mesh backing to help strengthen and hold it together. 
  • Softness: onyx can be scratched or scraped easily, which makes it prone to taking on damage from everyday use in the kitchen.
  • Calcium-based: since onyx is a calcium-based stone, it reacts to acidic substances and will likely etch from these types of spills (wine, lemon juice, vinegar, etc.), or if an acidic cleaner is used.

Care and Maintenance

Regular care and maintenance are essential for a stone like onyx. Keeping up with the following maintenance tips can help make your investment in onyx well worth it: 

  • Do not use abrasive or acidic cleaners. Onyx can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap, such as a mild dish soap, or with a dedicated stone cleaner. 
  • Onyx needs to be sealed regularly to protect it from staining and other types of damage, preferably with an impregnating type of sealer.
  • Avoid using onyx in high-traffic areas that are prone to wear and tear.

The Best Uses of Onyx

While onyx may not be the most practical choice for frequently used countertops, such as kitchen countertops, the stone can be used to great effect in other areas, including:

  • Backsplash.
  • Bathroom Vanities.
  • Walling.
  • Unique, eye-catching accent areas.
  • Around the base of a kitchen island.

Onyx is an excellent choice for creating dramatic, eye-catching accent areas. It’s translucency, which gives it the ability to be backlit, is unique. The effect of a glowing stone feature in your home can truly set it apart, adding a sense of luxury and value to your home. 

While we don’t recommend using onyx for busy kitchen countertops, its many other design applications make it well worth consideration. If you are in search of a natural stone surface material that can stand up well to high-traffic areas, we recommend looking into granite, marble or quartzite.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about onyx, or if you are searching for a stone with specific properties, Cosmos can help. Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in all their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Silver Leaf

Silver Leaf is a subdued, ethereal green with azure undertones. It is a soothing, yet inviting color, perfect for a bedroom or kitchen when paired with soft cream and white.

Fusion Supreme brings to mind the swirling artworks of Van Gogh. The stormy blues, greens, whites, and blacks create a beautiful storm. Great for countertops, waterfalls, and tables, Fusion Supreme is a complex quartzite that will make any space a gorgeous work of art, whether inside or out. 

Mountains of black meet valleys of crystalline white in the Brazilian quartzite named Costa Esmerelda. With speckles of grey and green, this quartzite is a myriad of color and texture. Almost granite-like, Costa Esmerelda stuns and astounds as kitchen countertops and tables, backsplashes, and bathroom vanities. Quartzites are resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Porcelain Vs. Quartzite

porcelain vs quartzite

With so many gorgeous options on the market, choosing the right surface materials for your home can be overwhelming. It’s important to understand the properties of each material, so you can not only achieve your design goals but create a functional space for you and your family. In today’s post, we look at porcelain vs quartzite to help you decide which one is right for you!

Porcelain

A durable, heat-resistant ceramic, porcelain has been used to adorn spaces for over 2,000 years. Porcelain can be used for kitchen countertops, flooring, walls, showers, backsplash and more, making it versatile and cost-effective.

Why We Love Porcelain

Porcelain boasts the following properties:

  • Ease of Maintenance—porcelain tiles can be cleaned with common household cleaners and don’t need to be buffed or polished to maintain their finish. 
  • Color Fast—the colors in porcelain won’t fade with age, and they aren’t vulnerable to fading from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. 
  • Slip Resistant—porcelain tiles have traction, which is useful when it comes to flooring, especially in areas prone to spills and foot traffic or in showers.
  • Versatility—porcelain comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It can also mimic the look of natural stone, like in the case of porcelain slabs that look like marble, providing a lower-cost alternative without sacrificing any of the elegance. 

If you are considering porcelain kitchen countertops, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of, including:

  • Surface patterns may not run all the way through a porcelain slab. As a result, if porcelain gets scratched or chipped, it can interrupt patterns/textures that only run surface deep.
  • Porcelain countertops tend to be on the thin side when compared to more substantial-looking slabs of materials like granite, marble or quartzite. 

Quartzite

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that originates from sandstone. Lightly metamorphosed quartzite can have a “grainy” quality, while crystalline quartzite is less grainy and less porous. You can learn more about how quartzite is formed in our blog post explaining different types of quartzite

Quartzite or Quartz?

Before we dive into the properties of quartzite, it’s important to note that quartzite and quartz are often confused, but they are two different surface materials. Quartzite is a natural stone, while quartz surface products are an engineered, man-made material. 

Why We Love Quartzite

Quartzite is incredibly durable, heat-resistant and versatile, making it a great option for various applications, including kitchen countertops, flooring, fireplace surrounds and outdoor use.

Quartzite has the following properties:

  • Hardness—quartzite is twice as hard as glass and harder than the blade of a knife—it’s just about indestructible and perfect for high-traffic areas, like kitchen countertops.
  • Heat-resistant—quartzite is highly heat-resistant, which makes it great in the kitchen and for applications like fireplace surrounds.
  • Ease of Maintenance—when it comes to cleaning quartzite, a mild detergent and soft cloth will do the trick in most cases. Avoid using heavy-duty scouring pads, abrasive cleaners, or bleach on quartzite or any other natural stone and be sure to clean spills right away.
  • Outdoor Applications—quartzite stands up well to the elements and can be used for outdoor applications like patio flooring, pool decks and stair treads. This makes it possible to create a seamless, flowing look from the inside of your home to the outside.

Key Differences Between Quartzite and Porcelain

It’s clear that both quartzite and porcelain bring highly desirable qualities to the table. Both materials are versatile, beautiful and highly heat-resistant, and each one can elevate your space with a look of elegance. Let’s look at the key differences between the two:

  • Hardness—quartzite is one of the hardest surface materials out there, while porcelain tends to be less hard than some of its natural stone counterparts, like granite. If you are looking for a surface material that will stand up to high-traffic and significant amounts of daily wear and tear, quartzite is likely to perform better.
  • Strength – Quartzite is a naturally compact and dense material due to which chipping, and/or scratching is extremely unlikely as opposed to its porcelain counterpart.
  • Cost—porcelain offers a lower cost alternative to some natural stone surfaces, while still having the ability to mimic the look of natural stones like marble. 
  • Thickness—quartzite provides a more substantial-looking countertop option and can take on varying edge profiles, while porcelain slabs tend to be on the thinner side and are usually finished with a waterfall edge.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

Still not sure which material is best suited to your needs? Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Silver Leaf

Silver Leaf is a subdued, ethereal green with azure undertones. It is a soothing, yet inviting color, perfect for a bedroom or kitchen when paired with soft cream and white. 

One of our most unique pieces, this quartzite is aptly named Fascination. Resembling an aerial view of the earth, the alluring waves and layers of Fascination captivates and delights no matter where it’s installed. New patterns continue to draw the eye the longer one looks upon the winding veins of black, gold, green, and white that make up Fascination. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Botanic Green fittingly gets its name from its leaf-green color. Native to Brazil, this quartzite is also known as aqua, due to its silvery metallic sheen that resembles the calming teal waters of South America. Botanic Green looks great in an aquatic setting or next to rich and lush plant-life. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Granite Vs. Soapstone

granite vs soapstone

Granite and soapstone are two unique surface materials, each with a desirable set of qualities. In today’s post, Cosmos Surfaces takes a look at granite vs soapstone to help you decide which one is right for your space.

Granite

Durable, easy to clean and available in a wide range of gorgeous colors and patterns, granite is a classic crowd-pleaser. Let’s take a closer look at this popular stone and its properties:

What is Granite?

Granite is a type of magmatic rock, formed by the slow crystallization of magma deep beneath the Earth’s surface. The slow cooling process that occurs underground allows different minerals to form at different stages. As a result, granite typically has visible mineral grains. The types and amounts of minerals present in granite tend to determine its color.   

Why We Love Granite

Granite has many useful properties that make it a reliable, beloved surface material in the home. The benefits of granite include the following:

  • Granite comes in an array of striking patterns and colors, including white, pink, grey and black. 
  • Granite is easy to clean and maintain.
  • Granite is highly durable and will last for a lifetime if properly cared for.
  • Granite is heat-, crack- and scratch-resistant, making it a durable option for high-traffic areas like kitchens. 

Soapstone

This charming underdog of the surfacing world comes with its own unique set of properties that just might make it the match of your dreams.

What is Soapstone?

Soapstone, named for its “soapy” feel, comes from the mineral talc. Talc is the softest mineral on Earth, measuring a 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. The amount of talc in soapstone varies, which means the overall hardness of the stone will vary as well. The less talc present in the stone, the harder it will be, with the remaining composition of soapstone including harder minerals like chlorite, magnesite and amphibole. This broad variation in potential mineral components and their percentages makes soapstone more of a family of stones. 

Why We Love Soapstone

Soapstone can be used for sinks, countertops, floors, hearths, stoves and more. Let’s take a closer look at three of its most impressive attributes:

  • Soapstone is highly heat-resistant and can even retain heat, making it an excellent choice for a hearth or fireplace. The stone is capable of absorbing, retaining and radiating warmth long after a fire has gone out.
  • Soapstone is resistant to acids due to its talc component, which is chemically inactive. This property, along with its heat resistance, translates well into the kitchen, where it is commonly used for countertops, islands and kitchen sinks. 
  • Soapstone is very dense, which makes it highly resistant to staining. The talc it contains is hydrophobic, which means it actually repels water. The dense composition of small minerals that makes up soapstone means it will not absorb liquids or harbor bacteria and therefore doesn’t need to be sealed.

Granite Vs. Soapstone: Key Differences

Now that we know a bit more about each material, let’s look at the key differences between them: 

  • Hardness: Granite is hard and able to stand up to a great deal of wear and tear. This makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic kitchen countertops, bathrooms and other frequently used areas. Soapstone, on the other hand, is much softer and will show scratches, chips and gouges more easily. Although these can be fixed (as we’ll discuss in a moment), it is a factor to consider.  
  • Finish: Unlike granite, soapstone cannot be polished to a glossy finish and instead retains a soft, warm glow.
  • Sealing: Granite requires proper sealing, while soapstone does not require sealing at all.

Maintenance Differences 

Granite can be cleaned with a neutral cleaner or a dedicated natural stone cleaner. Regular care includes wiping up spills as quickly as possible, using cutting boards, coasters, trivets and cooling racks and wiping up excess moisture around areas like faucets. Granite surfaces require proper sealing to prevent stain and odor-causing moisture from being absorbed into the stone. With the right daily maintenance, a good sealer can last for up to ten years, so while sealing isn’t something you’ll have to deal with too often, it is an extra maintenance step to be aware of. 

Soapstone is a great choice for those who want the option of DIY maintenance. Since soapstone lacks the hardness of granite, it might take on scratches, chips or gouges from everyday wear and tear or accidents. Small scratches can be removed with a coat of mineral oil, while larger marks can be removed with sandpaper. Large gouges can be filled with a mixture of stone chips and epoxy, making soapstone a user-friendly option when it comes to DIY repairs. Lastly, soapstone looks best when it is oiled with a thin layer of mineral oil to ensure consistent coloring and to keep it looking vibrant.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about which surface material is best suited to your needs and budget, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Lava Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Lava Blue! Neutral, dark blue with violet undertones calls to mind the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces. Pair with white or off-white to create a stunning accent wall, or design your foyer or dining room with this rich, welcoming blue in mind.

Java Blue is a compilation of several blues and soft crystal color. Primarily a calming light blue, Java Blue is cut through with streaks and spots of navy and gold. Upon closer inspection, the crystals are apparent and beautiful. Java Blue is great for aquatic environments and looks great poolside as a fountain, waterfall, or exterior countertop. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Porcelain Vs. Quartz in the Kitchen

porcelain vs quartz

Kitchens are some of the most high-traffic areas in our homes, and they’re often highly visible as well. This makes selecting surface materials well suited to our kitchens all the more important. Durability, ease of maintenance and aesthetic beauty all factor into the decision, but when several materials on the market fit these descriptions, which is best for you? In this post, the experts at Cosmos discuss porcelain vs quartz to see how each one stacks up in the kitchen.

What is Porcelain?

Porcelain is a kind of ceramic made by heating materials in a kiln at high temperatures. While the composition of porcelain can vary, kaolinite—a clay mineral—is often an essential component. Kaolinite is a silicate which lends porcelain its plasticity. Petunse, also known as pottery stone, is another traditional component which affords porcelain its translucency and hardness.

Properties & Best Uses of Porcelain

Porcelain has properties of hardness, durability, heat-resistance and color fastness. While porcelain can be used for kitchen countertops, there are some drawbacks, including a lack of depth in surface patterns. This means that if a porcelain countertop gets scratched, it will interrupt/damage the pattern and reveal that it only runs surface deep. Porcelain countertops also tend to be quite thin when compared to more substantial-looking slabs of materials like granite, marble or quartz

Where porcelain really shines is in the form of tiles used for walls and flooring. Porcelain tiles boast the following properties:

  • Easy to clean—porcelain tiles can be cleaned with common household cleaners and don’t need to be buffed or polished to maintain their finish. 
  • Color Fast—the colors in ceramic tiles—like porcelain—do not fade with age and aren’t vulnerable to fading from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. 
  • Slip Resistant—the traction found in porcelain is useful when it comes to flooring, especially in areas prone to spills and foot traffic.
  • Aesthetics—porcelain comes in a variety of colors and it can even mimic the look of natural stone, like in the case of porcelain slabs that look like marble.

What is Quartz?

While quartz surfaces do contain quartz minerals, it is essentially a man made surface material. Quartz countertops are composed of pulverized natural stones, industrial waste like glass and mirrors as well as the binders and polymers that keep it all together.

Properties & Best Uses of Quartz

Quartz is dense, durable, scratch-resistant and non-porous. The non-porosity of quartz means it never needs to be sealed and is inherently protected against bacteria, moisture and staining. Quartz countertops are also more tolerant of acidic spills—as long as they are cleaned up quickly—than their natural stone counterparts like marble, but less tolerant to heat unlike the natural stone surfaces.

Quartz is a popular choice for kitchen countertops, where it brings the following properties to the table:

  • Ease of Maintenance—A soft cloth and mild detergent will often do the trick. Quartz also doesn’t require regular sealing the way many natural stone surfaces do.
  • Durability—along with being scratch-resistant, quartz is dense and durable, making it a worthy contender for popular countertop materials like granite. 
  • Aesthetics—quartz can be made to mimic the look of natural stones, providing a cost-effective way to achieve the elegant, elevated look of stones like marble. 

Key Differences Between Porcelain and Quartz

  • The biggest difference between the two materials is their level of heat-resistance. Porcelain withstands heat well and is unaffected by direct sunlight, while quartz surfaces can warp or become discolored over time. 
  • Both materials are slip-resistant, which makes them good options for flooring. Quartz, however, is best used indoors while many porcelain tiles can be used inside or outdoors.

Conclusion

Quartz and porcelain both make excellent options for indoor tiling and walls, but if you are in search of a material that can be used outdoors as well, many porcelain tiles stand up well to the elements. 

When it comes to kitchen countertops, quartz is a substantial, durable material that can serve you well. If heat exposure and direct sunlight are concerns, however, porcelain might be better suited to your needs.

If you have questions about porcelain or quartz surfaces, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our blog provides information on materials, cleaning and maintenance as well as design tips.

Color of the Month: Lava Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Lava Blue! Neutral, dark blue with violet undertones calls to mind the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces. Pair with white or off-white to create a stunning accent wall, or design your foyer or dining room with this rich, welcoming blue in mind.

Venturesomely dotted and speckled by Mother Nature’s paintbrush, Blue Pearl GT is a Norwegian granite with a reputation for unparalleled elegance. Dubbed Blue Pearl for its characteristic spots of white that pop against the rich blues and blacks that span the granite, this natural stone is a terrific pick for a fashionable countertop.

“Is Quartzite a Natural Stone?” And More Quartzite FAQs

Quartzite can seem more elusive than some of its popular stone counterparts like granite or marble, but this excellent surface material shouldn’t be overlooked! In this post, Cosmos Surfaces answers questions like “Is quartzite a natural stone?” We’ll also explain its properties, best uses and maintenance requirements.

Is Quartzite a Natural Stone?

Yes! Quartzite is a metamorphic rock, which means it started out as one kind of stone—in this case, sandstone—and then it changed into a new kind of stone due to prolonged exposure to heat and pressure below the Earth’s surface. Depending on how intense that heat and pressure gets, quartzite may exist on a spectrum. Lightly metamorphosed quartzite sometimes retains a “grainy” quality (a feature left over from its parent rock, sandstone). Crystalline quartzite is less grainy and less porous. You can learn more about how quartzite is formed in our blog post explaining different types of quartzite.

What’s the difference between Quartzite and Quartz?

Quartzite and quartz are often confused, but they are two different surface materials. While quartzite is a natural stone, quartz surface products are an engineered, manmade material. Both products contain natural quartz minerals, but manmade quartz surfaces are manufactured through a process where the minerals are ground up and fused with binders like resin. By adding pigments and manipulating the process along the way, quartz countertops can be made in a variety of colors and can mimic the look of natural stones like marble.

While both materials are considered very durable, natural quartzite stands up well to the elements, while engineered quartz is more sensitive to heat and sunlight. This makes natural quartzite suitable for a range of uses, including outdoor applications, while engineered quartz is best kept indoors, as prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight can cause warping or cracking. Lastly, engineered quartz is made to be non-porous and never needs to be sealed, while natural quartzite might require occasional sealing.

What are the Best Uses of Quartzite?

Owing to its incredible durability and resistance to heat, quartzite is a versatile material that works wonderfully in high-traffic areas like kitchen countertops. Quartzite is suitable for a range of applications, from flooring and walling to fireplace surrounds. The stone also stands up well to the elements and can be used for outdoor applications like patio flooring, pool decks and stair treads. This makes it possible to create a seamless, flowing look from the inside of your home to the outside.

Can You Scratch or Etch Quartzite?

Quartzite is twice as hard as glass and harder than the blade of a knife—it’s just about indestructible! These properties make it an excellent choice for surfaces that are subject to everyday wear and tear, such as kitchen countertops. In fact, quartzite is so strong, it can dull your knives! It is, in any event, wise to avoid using sharp utensils directly on countertops. While true quartzite itself is not likely to show scratches or etching, the sealant on top will take on and show damage.

Does Quartzite Need to be Sealed?

Most fabricators will apply a sealant before installation and explain any additional sealing that needs to happen over the life of the quartzite. In general, depending on the sealer, quartzite needs to be sealed at least once every 10 years. A tell-tale sign that it’s time to seal or re-seal a quartzite countertop is when the surface gets darker around wet areas, like sinks. If you are uncertain, you can test its porosity yourself by leaving a small amount of hot water on the surface for roughly 20 minutes, then wiping it away. If a darkened spot remains, your surface is soaking up liquid and could likely benefit from a sealant. Sealing a quartzite surface is the key to easy maintenance—be sure to follow the instructions for your specific sealer.

Does Quartzite Stain?

Because quartzites are formed naturally, some are more porous than others. A porous stone is more prone to soaking up liquids and staining. The porosity of quartzite depends on the amount of metamorphosis the stone undergoes as it is formed. The higher the levels of heat, pressure and metamorphosis during formation, the less porous the resulting quartzite will be. To solve the problem of porosity, natural stone surfaces are sealed, which makes cleaning easy and straightforward.

How do You Clean Quartzite?

When it comes to cleaning quartzite, a mild detergent and soft cloth will do the trick in most cases. Avoid using heavy-duty scouring pads, abrasive cleaners, or bleach on quartzite or any other natural stone. Be sure to clean spills right away, especially acidic spills (lemon juice, vinegar, wine, etc.) and food coloring agents (turmeric, food dyes, etc.).

A Note on True Quartzite

Due to similarities in appearance, softer stones can be mislabeled as quartzite or “soft quartzite” when it’s actually an intermediate quartzite, sandstone, marble, or dolomitic marble. True quartzite is incredibly strong, does not etch and cannot easily be scratched by a knife blade. It’s wise to double check with your supplier to ensure you are getting true quartzite.

Conclusion

If you have more questions or if you’re looking for quartzite suppliers, we’d love to hear from you. Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Lava Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Lava Blue! Neutral, dark blue with violet undertones calls to mind the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces. Pair with white or off-white to create a stunning accent wall, or design your foyer or dining room with this rich, welcoming blue in mind.

The blue-gray background and thick, crystalline bands of white resemble a wintry wood in the type of quartzite we’ve dubbed Cassini. Also known as Vogue Blue or Paramount, Cassini paints a striking scene. Cassini is a cool and boldly unique choice for any modern space, including kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Natural Stone in 2021: Color Trends and More

2021 color trends

With many of us spending more time at home than ever before, it’s no surprise homeowners have been focused on turning their living spaces into sanctuaries. Safety, comfort and mental wellness are all driving forces behind 2021 color trends. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss the colors, materials and design principles leading us into the new year.

Nature Keeps us Grounded

A stressful year (to say the least), 2020 saw an uptick in the desire to bring the outdoors inside. Plants, wood and natural stone all contribute to the sense of calm and inner peace that attracts us to nature in the first place. Additionally, the strategic use of color can not only elevate the interior design of a space, it can have a tremendous effect on our moods.

Earth tones and neutral colors reign supreme in 2021 color palettes:

  • Classic white and grey hues help create a clean, simple and peaceful look that offers endless versatility when it comes to pairing with furniture, décor and paint colors.
  • Warm tones like browns, reds and golden hues help create an inviting sense of safety and comfort.
  • Drawn directly from nature, blue and green hues offer peace, serenity and a sense of connection to the natural world.

Marvelous Materials

The pandemic won’t last forever, but it will have a lasting impact on the way we work moving forward. As many companies consider either making a permanent shift to remote work or adopting hybrid models in the future, those commuting to their kitchen counters require both versatility and durability in their surface materials.

Here at Cosmos, we’ve seen an increased focus on the quality of natural stone from buyers, rather than price. The shift makes sense, as more time at home leads to greater wear and tear on high-traffic areas like kitchen counters.

Granite—a natural stone lauded for its durability—has propelled itself into the recent spotlight, competing with bestsellers like quartz. Granite in white and grey hues combines the serenity, versatility and durability so many homeowners are seeking as they navigate the “new normal.” Blue and green granites, such as Azul Bahia and Cosmos Green, have also received a fair share of attention, proving effective in evoking themes of nature and a sense of connection to the Earth.

White quartz, however, remains the undefeated bestseller. Quartz—a man made material which is different from quartzite—is favored for its ability to mimic the look of natural stones like marble, as well as its ease of maintenance. Quartz products like Alaska Bianca, Calacatta Santa and Calacatta Vintage all resemble Calacatta marble in appearance and make for popular choices when it comes to both new constructions and renovations.

Designing with 2021 Color Trends

Trends, by their very nature, are subject to change. It may seem tricky to utilize color trends when it comes to permanent fixtures in the home but fear not! The following design tips can help update your space while keeping things flexible enough to change with the times:

  • Using neutral hues like white and grey (or warmer neutral earth tones like brown) in permanent fixtures like kitchen countertops keeps your color options open with furniture, décor and wall paint colors.
  • Selecting a mostly neutral stone with color accents present in its veining or pattern can help tie a room together. Accent colors can remain subtle, or they can be pulled out by matching surrounding design elements to the colors present in the stone.
  • Ensure stone fixtures blend in well with the overall look and feel of the home first, then find ways to incorporate color trends with surrounding décor.
  • Use colored stone strategically, such as a dramatic accent wall or a focal feature in a room, such as fireplace surrounds.

To recap, the color trends taking the spotlight in 2021 are all about creating a sense of serenity, inner peace and connection to the natural world. We hope you’ve found this article on 2021 color trends helpful as we all strive to turn our living spaces into much-needed sanctuaries in the new year.

Work with Cosmos!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in their surface material needs. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Lava Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Lava Blue! Neutral, dark blue with violet undertones calls to mind the power and beauty of the Earth’s natural forces. Pair with white or off-white to create a stunning accent wall, or design your foyer or dining room with this rich, welcoming blue in mind.

Oxford Blue - Multi Quartzite 2

Oxford Blue is the Northern Lights come to life, your favorite pair of faded blue jeans personified, a sunset on the ocean. Layers of blue, white, and pink meet in this Brazilian quartzite. Creating an atmosphere of liveliness and nostalgia, Oxford Blue looks great in busy aquatic environments, such as a poolside counter or a waterfall. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Clean Backsplash Tile

how to clean backsplash til

Kitchens tend to be one of the most high-traffic areas in the home. Subsequently, they can require the most attention when it comes to daily cleaning. Backsplash—so named for its function—prevents grease, food and water splashes from damaging the walls behind areas like stoves and kitchen sinks. In this post, Cosmos Surfaces provides a simple guide on how to clean backsplash tile.

Function & Style

In the past, backsplash was primarily functional—it was often made from the same materials that lined kitchen countertops, such as plastic and linoleum. Over time, however, backsplash became a powerful design element, and the materials used now range from glass and ceramic tiles to natural stones like marble and granite. Backsplash offers a great way to add color, texture and a sense of detail to a kitchen space. While these attributes draw the eye, backsplash also takes on the inevitable grease, sauce, juice and water splashes that go along with daily kitchen activities.

Daily Cleaning

How often a kitchen is used for cooking will likely determine whether you need to worry about cleaning backsplash daily, or whether you can get away with a quick wipe-down after occasional use. Either way, the two primary areas that require attention tend to be the wall areas behind stoves and kitchen sinks.

The area directly behind a stove tends to be a prime target for grease and food splatters. It’s best to clean these as soon as they happen—the longer grease and food stains sit, the more tedious they will be to remove once you do get around to it.

Focusing on grease stains first, blot these areas with a dry cloth to soak up as much grease as possible. Next, use warm, soapy water (a mild detergent will often do the trick) and soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge to wipe down the area. Thoroughly rinse and dry backsplash after cleaning to prevent streaks, mildew and the attraction of dirt/dust.

Deep Cleaning

Even if you do manage to keep up with cleaning backsplash each time after cooking, you’ll still want to perform a deep clean every once in a while. This is the time to focus on removing any stubborn grease or food stains, as well as cleaning the grout between tiles.

While dedicated degreasing cleaners are a great option, there are simple DIY solutions that can also do the trick. If you do opt for a chemical cleaner, it’s always wise to ensure it is safe to use on your specific type of backsplash, safe for the environment and safe to use around your family. It’s also important to note that if your cleaner is a concentrate, it will need to be diluted according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Degreasing cleaners often work well when they are left to sit on the surface for 15-20 minutes, though this might vary by brand. A good approach is to spray the backsplash behind a stovetop first, allowing the solution to work on this grease-prone area while you tackle cleaning the rest of your backsplash. You may want to use the same cleaner for the area behind your kitchen sink, but you likely won’t need to wait before wiping, rinsing and drying this area.

To clean the grout between tiles, you can use a safe cleaner or a mixture of mild detergent and warm water with a toothbrush, gently scrubbing along grout lines.

Stubborn Stains

Grease and food stains can be tough to remove, especially if they are large or have been sitting for a while. In these cases, heavy-duty degreasing cleaners are available, but spot treating stains with DIY solutions can also be effective:

  • Combine equal parts warm water with baking soda to form a paste, then apply it to the stained areas. Allow the paste to dry before removing it with a clean, wet cloth (microfiber towels are a great option here) and repeat the process if necessary. The same paste mixture can be used to clean grout with a toothbrush.
  • Alternatively, combine distilled white vinegar with warm water and spray this on the affected areas, allowing it to sit for several minutes before using a clean towel or sponge to wipe, rinse and dry the area. It’s important to note that some DIY solutions also recommend using lemon juice—always double check that substances are safe to use on your backsplash materials. Marble, for example, can be damaged by acidic cleaners.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found our guide on how to clean backsplash tiles useful. If you have any questions about backsplash materials and maintenance, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of products and our team of experts is always happy to help.

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Fire and ice play together to create a transfixing scene on Mascarello, a Brazilian granite with a high level of pattern variation. Consistently warm and bright, the coloring of Mascarello oscillates between rusty orange, pearlescent white, blush-toned cream, muted black and sparkling gray. It is a daring and dazzling choice for countertops, vanities, floors and more.

How To Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen

choose a backsplash

By adding visual interest to the walls, a tile backsplash will instantly modernize just about any kitchen. Whether you desire a design that commands attention, or one that blends in with the rest of your kitchen design scheme, there’s a colossal range of tile colors, shapes and styles to choose from! With such a wide selection of beautiful options available, you might have a tough time deciding which will work best in your space. If you’re looking for expert advice, then this article on how to choose a backsplash for your kitchen was made for you! Read on to learn our pro tips for finding the ideal backsplash material, color and layout for your kitchen makeover.

How To Choose a Backsplash for Your Kitchen

Here are a few best practices to help you select a kitchen backsplash that complements your overall design, plus fits your budget & lifestyle:

  • Determine your square footage early on – When adding a backsplash on a budget, it’s wise to figure out how much square footage you have to cover prior to shopping for materials. Calculating this number will help you narrow down which tile material options are within your price range, given the scope of your kitchen renovation project.
  • Take tile properties into account – Naturally, you’ll want to research the durability, required maintenance & other qualities of various backsplash tile options. Keep in mind: Ceramic tile is a resilient, cost-effective option, while porcelain is even more hardwearing & moisture resistant, thanks to its higher density. Both are relatively low-maintenance and come in a broad range of gorgeous styles, with ceramic tending to be available in a slightly wider selection of intricate designs. Then, there’s natural stone tile, which offers rustic, organic beauty but typically requires regular sealing in a kitchen environment. For more details on these popular backsplash tile picks, check out our helpful comparisons of ceramic vs. porcelain tile and natural stone vs. ceramic tile!
  • Consider your countertops & other design elements – In terms of how to choose a backsplash color that meshes with your kitchen design, your countertops are a crucial factor. As a general rule of thumb, the bolder your countertops are, the more tame your backsplash should be. Staying within the same color palette can also be an effective strategy to unify your design. If you’d like your backsplash to pop, choosing a brighter contrasting color is a great way to accomplish this. A darker backsplash shade can afford a strikingly sophisticated aesthetic, especially when paired with white cabinetry. Keep in mind – these are merely suggestions. Ultimately, it’s your kitchen, your rules, so don’t be afraid to take a more imaginative approach!
  • Finalize your design goals – Deciding on a tile pattern is another key step in the backsplash designing process. Giving some thought to what you’d like to achieve in your design will help guide you to the right layout. If you’re going for a more traditional look that creates the illusion of a larger space, you might choose a classic brick layout using subway tile. To take center stage with your backsplash, ultra-modern & visually intriguing herringbone is a wonderful choice. Meanwhile, installing stacked stone tile on the walls will enliven your cooking space with rugged yet refined texture. For further inspiration, consult our full list of tile pattern ideas!
  • Embrace focal points – Panels of wall space above the sink, beyond where the cupboards end and behind the range are natural focal points in a kitchen layout. In turn, these are all great places to put an accent border you’d like people to notice. Perhaps you’ll choose a more ornate tile pattern for these areas, while selecting something simpler for the main backsplash.
  • Don’t forget about the grout – Selecting a grout shade offers yet another opportunity to personalize your tile design & complete your desired look! Check out our tips for choosing a complementary tile grout color for your backsplash installation.

Source An Attractive, Durable Backsplash Material from Cosmos Surfaces

Hopefully, you’ve learned some new & useful information in this article detailing how to choose a backsplash. If you’re looking forward to giving your kitchen a facelift with a stunning backsplash, the experts from Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you select & acquire your perfect tile variety! To get started with our friendly, highly trained team, contact us online today.

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Verde Fusion - Green Granite 3

Beautifully complex and richly diverse, Verde Fusion is comprised of greens, blacks, creams, browns, and greys. Hailing from India, Verde Fusion is a bold and impressive choice that complements modern settings. Use Verde Fusion inside as kitchen countertops, flooring, and backsplashes or outside as waterfalls, patio accents, or poolside tiling.

How Do You Clean a Marble Shower?

how to clean a shower

Marble speaks of timeless luxury. It’s a material that can elevate just about any space, but it does require a specific care regimen. In this post, we answer the question of “how do you clean a marble shower?” and provide easy tips for ongoing care and maintenance.

What is Marble?

Let’s start with a quick overview of marble and its properties. This metamorphic rock forms when limestone is subjected to high amounts of heat and pressure. The stone is mainly composed of calcite, but it usually contains other minerals like micas, quartz and iron oxides as well.

Although marble is a natural stone, it is softer than some of its stone companions, like granite. Marble is also a porous, absorbent stone, which can make it vulnerable to spills and acidic substances if not sealed properly and regularly. As you go about caring for your marble surfaces, it’s important to keep the following points in mind:

  • Avoid acidic cleaners and DIY cleaners that make use of acidic substances like lemon and vinegar.
  • Use PH-neutral cleaners, or those specifically made for marble surfaces.
  • Avoid using course sponges, scrubbers, brushes or scrapers, as these can all damage marble surfaces. Microfiber towels are a great, safe alternative.
  • Marble needs to be sealed regularly, especially marble shower tiles as they are frequently subjected to water and humidity. This is one of the absolute most important steps in caring for marble surfaces.

Daily Cleaning

Marble can be etched by hard water deposits, so it’s important to keep up with daily cleaning to protect your investment. It’s also important to understand which cleaners are safe to use on marble, and which kinds to avoid.

Shower tiles of all kinds can benefit from being wiped down after each use, but this is especially true for marble shower tiles. It’s a good idea to keep microfiber towels on hand to wipe away any residual soap scum, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, grime and water after taking a shower.

Deep Cleaning

In addition to drying/wiping down shower tiles after each use, it’s a good idea to fully wash shower tiles on a regular basis. The frequency will depend on how often the shower is used, but if at least one person uses it per day, you’ll want to perform a deep clean at least once every week or two.

Again, cleaners that are specifically made for marble surfaces are a great option here, but you can use a homemade solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water. As always, check in with manufacturer specifications to ensure you are using products that are safe for your surfaces.

Adding warm water and 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing liquid to a spray bottle makes it easy to spray down shower walls, focusing on areas where soap scum tends to collect. Next, wipe gently using vertical or horizontal strokes, then rinse tiles thoroughly with clean water. Be sure to dry shower walls completely with microfiber towels after each cleaning.

Sealing Marble Shower Tiles

When it comes to long-term care and maintenance, the most important thing you can do to protect marble shower tiles is to ensure they are sealed properly and regularly. Keeping tiles sealed prevents moisture and bacteria from getting absorbed into the stone, where it can cause damage like cracking or mold growth.

Our blog post all about sealing natural stone covers the ins and outs of this process and explains the different kinds of stone sealers you’ll find on the market. How often marble shower tiles need to be sealed will vary depending on the stone finish and products used, but a good rule of thumb is to seal at least once a year.

If you’d like to know more about marble surfaces in general, take a look at our blog posts on how to care for marble and the pros and cons of marble countertops.

Work with Cosmos!

If you still have questions about marble surfaces or the care and maintenance they require, let us know! Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in all their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Galapagos - Black Quartzite 2

Mountains of colors come to life in the quartzite named Galapagos. Galapagos brings to mind an aerial view of a cloudy mountain range, with peaks of green, rivers of blue and shadows of black. Unique layers and bands of color create a bold tone that looks great among blacks and silvers. Galapagos makes for interesting and artistic countertops and tables. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

The Pros and Cons of Natural Stone for Floor

pros and cons of natural stone floor

Designed and crafted by Mother Nature, natural stone offers unparalleled organic beauty and everlasting elegance. Along with magnificent aesthetics, naturally occurring stones like marble, granite and quartzite also deliver dependable durability. The style and functionality of natural stone can be leveraged in spaces throughout the home, with natural stone for floor holding a place among the most viable applications. Still, like any material, natural stone has perks as well as downfalls to be aware of when considering it for flooring. Let’s take a look at some of the major positives and possible negatives of deciding on natural stone for floors.

The Pros of Natural Stone for Floor

The plentiful benefits of incorporating natural stone flooring into your home design include:

  • It’s sturdy & non-slip – Providing plenty of traction, natural stone is a practical option for households with kids and pets. It will reliably withstand family foot traffic, so long as you choose a variety which is approved for flooring.
  • It lends a luxurious, one-of-a-kind look – If you are looking to elevate your interior or exterior design, adding natural stone is a surefire way to accomplish this. From exquisite Alpine Blue granite to whimsical Scarlet Crystal quartzite to dramatic Red Dragon onyx, there are endless natural stone color, style & size options available to help bring your vision to life.
  • It’s uncomplicated to clean – Taking care of natural stone flooring is relatively straightforward and not overly time consuming. A few keys for success include choosing an appropriate cleaner and sweeping/mopping regularly to prevent buildup of dust & debris. For more details, check out our comprehensive guide to cleaning natural stone like a pro!

The Cons of Natural Stone for Floor

Now, for a few conceivable downsides of installing a natural stone floor:

  • It’s one of the pricier options – Depending on the size of the area you need to cover, as well as the particular type of stone you choose, natural stone flooring can get costly. You may also eventually need to hire a professional to repair chips and other imperfections which may occur with daily wear and tear. If it suits your budget, however, investing in this splendid, long-lasting flooring material will assuredly prove to be worth the expense!
  • It’s typically porous by nature – Most types of natural stone are porous, meaning they require regular sealing to ensure that moisture, bacteria and other substances cannot penetrate their surface. Necessary to prevent stains & preserve the floor’s integrity over time, this maintenance step can make natural stone a bit less appealing to some homeowners.

A Few More Important Considerations

Now that we’ve laid out the advantages and potential negative points of choosing natural stone for floor projects, we’d like to end with a couple additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember that different types of natural stone have unique properties – Marble, soapstone, granite, onyx, schist and quartzite all fall under the category of natural stone. However, each has its own set of distinct characteristics. When comparing & contrasting, be sure to consider appearance, care requirements and other qualities which could affect the suitability of certain natural stone varieties for your desired application.
  • Don’t forget to ask about moisture absorption rate – If you are considering natural stone for flooring in an area that is prone to moisture, such as a bathroom or outdoor living space, moisture absorption rate is another essential consideration. Pro tip: For these applications, a naturally non-porous (impervious) stone such as soapstone will perform best, with minimal maintenance required!

Explore Our Premier Selection of Natural Stone Surfaces

A precious product of the earth, natural stone is known for its wondrous, inimitable appearance and array of practical properties. If you desire to bring a combination of durability & head-turning beauty into your home, you may wish to install a natural stone floor. But, with such an extensive range of options available, choosing the best stone variety for your particular project can feel a bit overwhelming.

Fortunately, the professionals at Cosmos Surfaces are here to assist you in your search for the perfect natural stone surface. To learn more about our selection and begin planning your project, reach out to your trusted stone supplier today!

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Imagine you’re walking along the forest floor. Looking up, a tangle of brown branches intersect with the sky; like its name suggests, Rain Forest Green brings to mind the image of a lush rainforest. The complex texture and varied greens, golds, and browns make Rain Forest Green a beautiful choice in rooms with greenery or in gardens.

A Guide to Tile Laying Patterns: Part 2

guide to laying tile

Welcome to the second of our two-part guide on tile pattern ideas! In A Guide to Tile Laying Patterns: Part 1, we covered some of the most popular single- and two-tile patterns out there, but now it’s time to kick things up a notch. In this post, we’ll explore three-tile, multi-tile and large format tile patterns, as well as backsplash ideas.

THREE-TILE AND MULTI-TILE PATTERNS

By adding more unique tiles to a pattern, it’s possible to achieve a level of design and complexity that is totally unique to your space. Let’s look at a few popular three-tile and multi-tile pattern ideas:

Layered Corridor

Typically, a corridor pattern is achieved by selecting at least two tiles that differ in size, color or material and laying them in alternating rows for a “corridor” effect. You can add complexity to this pattern by using three or more unique types of tile and alternating with each row. Using a variety of tile sizes works well for this layout.

Versailles

versailles

Also known as the “French pattern,” the Versailles layout uses four tiles in varying sizes. Pairing tiles with complimentary color and texture variations gives this pattern a wonderful sense of detail and complexity.

The Versailles layout requires some exact measurement—the design creates a repeatable 8 square foot area utilizing four 8” x 8” squares, four 16” x 16” squares, two 8” x 16” rectangles and two 16” x 24” rectangles.

Soldiered

This one is quite similar to a windmill layout, which we covered in Part 1, but in this version a large square tile is used in the center, while varying smaller tiles alternate around its border. This is an excellent opportunity to utilize accent colors and match them to other design elements in a room.

In order to lay down this pattern, you’ll need a large square tile, a smaller square tile half its size, and a rectangular tile with the dimensions you would get if you cut the larger square tile in half. As an example, you could use a 12” x 12” large square tile, a 6” x 6” smaller square tile and a 6” x 12” rectangular tile.

LARGE-FORMAT TILES

Due to their size, it can be hard to use complex patterns with large-format tiles. Instead, a few of the simpler layouts can be modified to add interest and variation.

Stepped Brick Patterns

When using large format rectangular tiles, a stepped brick pattern is a great way to add detail and energy to a layout. In this pattern, rows are offset incrementally in one direction, creating a flowing “step” effect. Pro-tip: laying large rectangular tiles vertically can make a room feel larger.

Herringbone Insert

Another modification that works well with large rectangles is the herringbone insert. In this pattern, two smaller square tiles are used in the corner to complete the classic “L” shape the herringbone pattern is known for. You can lay down two of your large rectangular tiles to create an “L” while leaving room to insert two smaller square tiles in the corner.

Staggered Corridor

staggered corridor

A staggered corridor is a great way to add simple variation to large-format tiles. Using long, narrow rectangles and alternating rows with even narrower tiles works well. For the staggered effect, you can randomly stagger the offset between rows to create playful complexity.

BACKSPLASH

The smaller tiles typically used for backsplash opens the door to a plethora of patterns. Many of the layouts we’ve discussed for walls and flooring can be used for backsplash as well, but let’s look at some ideas that work particularly well for backsplash:

Mosaic

mosaic

Mosaic tiles are very small (think 1” x 1”) and typically repeat in shapes or patterns to create a complex, textured look. Mosaic tiles require more grout, and due to the “busy” look they are known for, these tiles work best in accent areas. The possibilities for pattern designs are just about endless, but even using just one color can still add texture and a look of complexity to a space.

Hexagon

hexagon

Hexagonal shaped tiles fit together perfectly, making installation simple and straightforward, but you can still introduce patterns like simple flowers or abstract designs by utilizing different colors and textures.

Lacework Patterns

A lacework pattern uses small square tiles and small rectangular tiles installed at a 45-degree angle. Alternate between squares and rectangles and offset the alignment of your rows so that square tiles and rectangular tiles line up.

Need More Tile Pattern Ideas? Work With Cosmos

We hope you’ve found our guide to tile pattern ideas useful! This is by no means an exhaustive list of the possibilities out there, and many of these patterns can be modified to create the look of your dreams.

If you have questions about tiling or other surface materials, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our blog provides information on materials, cleaning, maintenance and design tips!

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Peacocks are known for their brilliant, iridescent plumage, and this Peacock Green granite is known for its similarly dazzling effect. Feather-like wisps of dark forest green, sage, and indigo dance with subtle flecks of orange and beige. This green granite would look sumptuous and inviting in any interior or exterior space: tabletops, flooring, countertops, vanities, waterfall islands, patios, backsplashes, and more. See this luxe green granite for yourself at a Cosmos location near you.

All About Tile Water Absorption

tile water absorption

Among homeowners desiring an aesthetically pleasing backsplash, floor or shower surround that is dependably impervious to moisture, porcelain tile is an unmistakably superior choice. Thanks to the high temperatures & dense materials used to engineer this material, the porcelain tile water absorption rate is incredibly low. Porcelain boasts the highest level of moisture resistance of any tile material out there! Read on to learn more about how tile density & absorption rate are tied together, plus find out where various types of tile rank on the moisture absorption scale.

Porcelain Tile Water Absorption Rate: How It’s Calculated

When planning a project in a high-moisture indoor environment such as the bathroom or kitchen – or outdoors – water resistance is a crucial consideration. If tile absorbs too much moisture over time, it can lead to major issues, such as cracking or warping.

A tile’s water absorption rate specifies how much moisture it is likely to hold on a continual basis, and provides insight into how reliably the surface will resist water and other liquids. This measurement is obtained by boiling a piece of tile and noting how much weight it gains as a result.

Whether a certain variety of tile is appropriate for an area prone to moisture will largely depend on its level of density. As a general rule, the higher a tile’s density, the lower its water absorption rate; and thus, the higher its moisture resistance level.

How Tile Is Ranked Based on Density & Water Absorption Rate

The following system, created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is used to rank the density and resultant water absorption rate of tile:

  • Low Density (Non-Vitreous) – This ranking indicates that a tile has a water absorption rate above 7 percent. This type of tile is approved for indoor use only.
  • Medium Density (Semi-Vitreous) – Tiles with a water absorption rate of 3-7 percent are considered medium density. Again, these tiles should exclusively be used indoors to avoid damage.
  • High Density (Fully Vitreous) – A water absorption rate between .5 percent and 3 percent makes tile suitable for use in exterior applications as well as interior ones.
  • Extremely Dense (Impervious) – The most dense tiles have a water absorption rate of .5 percent or less. Typically, the porcelain tile water absorption rate falls in this category, meaning that porcelain tile can be used virtually anywhere – indoors or out!

As you can see, ceramic & porcelain tile water absorption rate has a direct impact on whether a specific type of tile is well suited for a particular setting. Because the porcelain tile water absorption rate is generally 0.5% or below, it’s no wonder this surfacing material is such a popular selection for shower features, backsplashes, exterior wall cladding, swimming pools and flooring throughout the home!

A Few Important Notes

Now that we’ve provided an overview of what a tile’s water absorption rate means and how it’s determined, we’d like to offer a few additional tips to keep in mind when considering tile for a design project:

  • The lower a tile’s water absorption rate, the less readily it will absorb food & beverage stains. This is yet another benefit of choosing dense porcelain tile for kitchen applications!
  • As for ceramic tile, the water absorption rate can vary widely. The density of this material spans from low to high, depending on the specific variety. Be sure to inquire about the absorption rate of any tiles you are considering, in order to ensure they are a good fit for your project.
  • Natural stone tile is another beautiful & durable option for projects throughout the home. However, it typically needs to be sealed regularly in order to offer ample moisture resistance for kitchen & bathroom applications.
  • Another important thing to consider is the water resistance level of the grout used for your tile installation. Most likely, the grout will be less capable of repelling liquids than the tile itself, in which case a sealant will be required to prevent moisture penetration over time.

Complete Your Surfacing Project with the Pros at Cosmos Surfaces

After all this talk about tile, you may be eager to explore beautiful, resilient surfacing options for your home. Perhaps you’d like help deciding between ceramic vs. porcelain tile, or maybe you’re interested in hearing about the benefits of natural stone. As a trusted surfacing material supplier & authority, Cosmos Surfaces is here to help you locate the perfect option to fit your application, design style and budget. To leverage the expertise of our friendly team for your upcoming project, get in touch with us on our website today!

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Specks of ethereal amber and bright white serve as the perfect accentuating accompaniment to royal jade; this description depicts Butterfly Green, a visually gratifying granite found in Brazil. Its consistent pattern makes it a highly versatile choice suited for use in many different applications, including vanity tops, backsplashes and countertops.

A Guide to Tile Laying Patterns: Part 1

guide laying tile

Once you’ve found the perfect tile for your space, it’s time to show it off with an eye-catching layout. The options are good and plenty, and an expert use of tile laying patterns can truly elevate the interior design of your home. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to tile laying patterns to help you explore some gorgeous tile ideas. In this post––the first of Cosmos Surfaces’s two-part guide––we’ll explore the most popular single-tile and two-tile patterns.

SINGLE-TILE PATTERNS

If you’ve chosen a single tile for your walls or flooring, there are still plenty of options to play around with the layout. We’ll note here that “single-tile” refers to tiles that are of the same shape, color, pattern and size (tiles that look the same but consist of two different sizes fall under two-tile patterns, which we’ll discuss later in this post).

Classic Brick Layout

classic brick layout

This is a layout most of us are familiar with: rectangular tiles are placed in horizontal rows, and each row is offset by half a tile-width. This pattern is timeless, and the resulting horizontal lines can visually widen a room to great effect, making the space feel bigger and more open. The classic brick layout works well where one simple kind of tile is used. Pairing the tile with grout in a contrasting color can help accentuate the horizontal lines and consistent geometric pattern throughout.

Vertical Brick

Much like the classic brick layout, a vertical brick pattern is simply rotated vertically. With this layout, the vertical lines lead the eye upward, creating a sense of height and spaciousness. This is a great way to add a contemporary twist to a classic motif and works well in smaller spaces, like bathrooms or kitchens.

Herringbone

herringbone

This pattern creates a zig-zag formation by laying tiles at right angles to each other. Herringbone patterns work beautifully on accent walls and add a sense of visual energy. The complexity of the grout lines created by this pattern plays well with simple tiles. The layout can also be used to break up a larger section of walling, flooring, or backsplash. This creates a focal point within a simpler surrounding pattern, such as a classic brick layout. It’s important to note this pattern does require the cutting of tiles as it approaches borders, which can lead to some degree of tile waste.

Stacked

stacked

In a stacked pattern, tiles are precisely aligned in a simple, repeating grid. This layout creates a modern look and feel, and its simplistic design has a soothing effect. Stacked patterns work well in modern spaces where clean shapes and straight lines reign supreme. As with a brick layout, bright or contrasting grout can help emphasize this simple, geometric pattern.

TWO-TILE PATTERNS

Introducing a second tile in a different shape, size, color or material can add interesting detail and complexity to any layout.

Hopscotch/Pinwheel

hopscotch

A popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens, the hopscotch––or pinwheel––design uses one large tile with a smaller tile “pinwheeling” around it. While this is a simple design, it still introduces a layer of detail and complexity, especially when a different material or accent color is selected for the smaller tile. Pro-tip: match this accent tile with other textures or colors in the space to pull together different design elements.

Basketweave

basketweave

Taking its name from the “woven” effect created by this layout, the basketweave pattern is traditional and timeless. This layout leaves plenty of room to play with different colors and materials. A basketweave pattern can be created either with brick-shaped tiles alone, or with brick-shaped tiles combined with smaller square tiles. Using rectangular brick-shaped tiles alone, stack two tiles horizontally, and the next two tiles vertically.

basketweave 2

To create a basketweave pattern with rectangular tiles and small square tiles, lay a rectangular tile horizontally and a small square tile at each of its corners. Lay a rectangular tile vertically in the space between the square tiles, and repeat. This pattern will provide an even more textured look and feel.

Windmill

A windmill layout is similar to a basketweave, with smaller square tiles that are half the length of your larger rectangular tiles (if your rectangular tiles are 12” x 6”, your square tiles will need to be 6” x 6”). To build the pattern, the square tile is placed in the center and framed by the larger rectangular tiles to create a “windmill” effect.

Corridor

The corridor layout makes use of mixed-width tiles placed in alternating rows or columns. A popular choice is selecting a square tile and a rectangular tile to alternate rows, but there is plenty of room to experiment with color, width and material.

Tic Tac

In this layout, tiles alternate within the same row, creating a dot and dash pattern. Tiles should be the same width, but with varying lengths––such as squares and rectangles. A tic tac pattern can be installed vertically or horizontally, and the longer the rectangular tiles, the better the visual effect will be. Pro-tip: rows should be offset by one third for the best effect.

Tile Laying Patterns Part 1: Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive list of one-tile and two-tile patterns. As you can see, there are plenty of great options to add interesting detail and complexity to your tile layout. In part two of our guide to tile layout patterns, we’ll discuss three-tile, multi-tile and large format tile patterns, as well as gorgeous backsplash ideas.

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in all their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Transport yourself to the high seas with the Brazilian quartzite of Del Mare. A seafoam greenish gray, Del Mare conjures a versatile atmosphere. In brighter lights, Del Mare reflects the tranquil, still waters of the Caribbean, while in darker shadows, it paints a stormier picture. Del Mare looks pristine in aquatic spaces. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What Are Mosaic Tiles?

mosaic

Do you aspire to make your home interior a work of art? We invite you to enter the world of mosaic tile, a material which can be used to create personalized masterpieces throughout the home! Available in a virtually unlimited selection of sizes, shapes and colors – plus numerous different material options – mosaic tile can be fashioned into an eye-catching floor, a modern yet timeless backsplash, or a statement-making shower feature. Today, we’re here to answer a few FAQs about this popular surfacing material, including “how do mosaics work?” & “what are mosaic tiles made of?”

How Do Mosaics Work?

In essence, describing a tile design as “mosaic” means that it consists of small (typically no larger than 2-inch by 2-inch) pieces arranged together to form a larger pattern. While mosaic styles can range from simple to complex, these artistic creations nearly always feature repeating shapes or sets of shapes.

mosaics work

Owing to the repetition in pattern, shape and/or color, adorning a surface with mosaic tile functions to add visually intriguing texture and detail. Typically used in smaller areas as an accent, mosaic tile serves as the perfect complement to main design elements, such as natural stone countertops or larger tile settings.

As compared to more classic tile layouts, mosaic tile requires more careful grouting, as well as the use of more grout in many cases. A perk of additional grout being required is that it makes for a more slip-resistant surface. In turn, mosaic tiles are a terrific choice for spaces such as shower floors and niches.

What Are Mosaic Tiles Made Of?

Perhaps the most commonly known mosaic tile materials are ceramic and porcelain – but these are far from your only choices for crafting a stunning mosaic tile pattern! If you’re wondering, “what are mosaic tiles made of, exactly?”, here’s a quick overview of a few of the most popular tile materials:

  • Ceramic – To make ceramic tiles, natural clay is baked in a kiln. Typically, the clay is finished with a protective glaze to make the tile resistant to stains & moisture. This step ensures that ceramic tile can endure daily wear and tear in the kitchen or bathroom, making it a suitable choice for backsplashes, interior walls and floors which receive light foot traffic.
  • Porcelain – For those seeking a more hardwearing tile material, porcelain fits the bill. Consisting of a blend of feldspar, white clay and sand, porcelain is fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, making it significantly more dense & durable. Porcelain tile is appropriate for applications both inside and outside of the home, including walls, countertops and floors which receive heavy foot traffic.
  • Natural Stone – After they are quarried, natural stones such as marble, slate and granite may be cut into pieces of tile. Natural stone tile delivers a tranquil blend of color, texture & rustic charm, and many types are durable enough to be used for various applications – including flooring.

This is merely a sample of the many mosaic tile materials which may be used to add individualized allure to your interior. A few other possibilities include glass, metal or a blend of glass and natural stone. Being that they come in such an extensive range of material options, with endless opportunities for customization, mosaic tiles are among the most versatile surfacing selections.

For a more in-depth look at the various tile materials we’ve discussed above, check out our detailed comparisons of natural stone vs. ceramic tile and porcelain vs. ceramic tile!

Explore Premium Surfacing Materials with Cosmos Surfaces

Now that we’ve covered the basics of mosaic tiles and how they can accentuate existing design elements, you may be contemplating whether this surface could be a good fit for your next project. The surfacing professionals at Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you determine if mosaic tile is best for a certain space in your home, or if another material might be a more ideal option.

Our design experts will be happy to provide more details on our wide selection of products and offer ideas for how they may be used to elevate your personal interior design scheme. To get started, simply fill out our online contact form, and a member of our team will respond to you shortly!

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”

Ubatuba Green - Green Granite 1

Ubatuba Green is a granite comprised of a green so deep and rich it’s nearly black. Speckles of grey, white, and gold crystals produces a vision of a starry sky swirling with galaxy dust. Ubatuba Green creates an atmosphere of elegance and meaning and brings depth to any room. It looks great as floors, walls, countertops, and fireplaces.

How to Get Stains Out of Natural Stone

stains - natural stone

Beyond being adored for its sublime beauty, natural stone is celebrated for its resilience. When proper maintenance and care guidelines are followed – including cleaning & sealing natural stone regularly – these surfaces offer magnificent durability. Even so, stains can happen as a natural consequence of frequent use. When it comes to how to get stains out of natural stone, a strategic approach is essential. In this article, we’ll go into detail about how to effectively address different sorts of stains which may appear on natural stone surfaces, both inside & outside the home.

How to Get Stains Out of Natural Stone | Step 1: Identify the Staining Agent

Have you noticed a stained area on your natural stone countertop, vanity top, wall or floor? To successfully remove the blemish, your first step is to identify the type of stain you are dealing with. Ascertaining the culprit is key, as this will determine the most appropriate method to restore your stone surface. Staining agents commonly present in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where natural stone is used include:

  • Organic materials, such as wine, fruit juice, food scraps, tea/coffee and leaves
  • Oils, such as cooking oil, cosmetics, grease and oil-based paint
  • Ink, such as pen or marker
  • Metals, such as copper and iron
  • Biological agents, such as mildew and algae
  • Hard water

Not sure what stained your natural stone surface? By considering where the stain is located & the activities which are done in that area, you should be able to make an educated guess. Ask yourself: Is the surface indoors or out? Is it in a spot where food preparation or dining occurs? How about an area where cosmetics are applied? Finally, what color/shape is the stain? Asking these questions will help you determine what most likely caused the stain, allowing you to select the most fitting solution for how to get stains out of natural stone.

Step 2: Remove the Stain Using an Appropriate Cleaning Agent or Poultice

Once you’ve assessed the type of stain present on your natural stone surface, it’s time to acquire the right cleaning agent or chemical to remove it. To draw out certain types of stains, you may need to prepare a poultice, or a paste made by combining a liquid cleaner/chemical with a white absorbent material such as talc or diatomaceous earth. Here are the recommended cleaning solutions for various types of stains on natural stone:

  • For organic stains, combine 12% hydrogen peroxide OR acetone with a powdered poultice material
  • Oil-based stains can typically be removed using a poultice of baking soda and water
  • To remove ink stains from light colored stone, use hydrogen peroxide OR bleach; for dark stones, use acetone OR lacquer thinner
  • Rust stains can sometimes be removed using a poultice of diatomaceous earth and a commercial rust remover, although professional assistance may be needed for these notoriously stubborn stains
  • Copper stains may be lifted by a poultice of ammonia and a powdered absorbent material; but like rust, they might require professional help
  • Biological stains are effectively removed with a poultice of diluted ammonia OR hydrogen peroxide OR bleach (Remember: Do NOT mix ammonia and bleach – a toxic gas results from this combination!)
  • Water rings & spots will typically disappear after spraying with a neutral stone cleaner, then buffing with a soft cloth or non-abrasive scouring pad

Pro Tips for Using a Poultice

If the applicable method for removing the stain in question calls for preparation of a poultice, here are a few important things to know:

  • First, here’s a more comprehensive list of absorbent materials which can be used to prepare a poultice: powdered chalk, fuller’s earth, kaolin, diatomaceous earth, talc & white molding plaster. White gauze pads, cotton balls or paper towels may also be used.
  • Whiting clays such as fuller’s earth should not be used with acidic chemicals, as mixing the two will create a reaction that renders the poultice ineffective on stone.
  • When forming a poultice paste, aim for a consistency similar to peanut butter.
  • To apply a poultice, use a plastic or wooden spatula. Spread the poultice over the stained area, to a thickness of about 1/4” to 1/2” above the surface. Then, cover with plastic and leave the poultice on for 24 to 48 hours. The liquid cleaning agent or chemical will work to draw out the stain, absorbing it into the powdered material.
  • For deeply set stains, the poultice application process may need to be repeated several times in order to achieve full resolution. If you are having difficulty removing a stain, consult a professional for assistance.
  • Do NOT leave bleach on for too long on dark stone surfaces as it might discolor the surface itself.

Discover the Best & Broadest Natural Stone Selection at Cosmos Surfaces

Hopefully, you’ve found our explanation of how to get stains out of natural stone to be helpful. If you are currently contemplating whether a natural stone surface is right for your project, the Cosmos Surfaces team is here to offer our expert advice. As long-time specialists on all varieties of natural & engineered stone, we can help you select the most ideal surfacing material for your particular application, design style and budget. To get started, explore our dazzling selection & connect with us today!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Cianitus - Black Schist 3

Cianitus is a highly layered type of schist. Mainly a dark grey and black, the prominent layers of silver and gold create a more complex and dynamic appearance. A striking, artistic schist, Cianitus is ideal for bathroom and kitchen floors, countertops, and fireplaces, and pairs well with both silver and wood.

Are Ceramic Tiles Sustainable?

ceramic tiles sustainable

If you are thinking of using ceramic tiles in your next kitchen or bathroom project, you may be wondering, “Are ceramic tiles sustainable?” As we learn more about climate change and how humans are impacting the Earth, people are increasingly looking for ways to use “green” building materials that will minimize their negative impact on the environment. As a design process, green building takes sustainability into account every step of the way, from site selection to maintenance to eventual removal. We’ve already talked about how natural stone is sustainable and eco-friendly; this week, Cosmos Surfaces will talk about sustainability and ceramic tiles.

Are Ceramic Tiles Sustainable?

Great news for those looking to harness the beauty and versatility of ceramic tiles: they are highly sustainable and made of natural materials that don’t harm the environment. They are easily produced, can be recycled, and can be cleaned and maintained without toxic chemicals. Let’s take a closer look at some of the characteristics that make ceramic tiles a good option for green building and remodeling.

Material Extraction

Ceramic tiles are composed of natural clay that is extracted straight from the earth and baked in a kiln. Natural clay is plentiful, easy to extract, and often found in close proximity to tile factories. This means that extraction, fuel consumption, and transportation costs are all kept to a minimum during the ceramic tile production process. Efficient production plays a major role in whether a building material can be considered truly sustainable.

Recycled Content

Many ceramic tiles use recycled materials. In addition, manufacturers often recycle raw material and water waste back into the production cycle. Even the “leftovers” of the tile production process are typically ground up for road filler, paving brick, and other uses. Because ceramic is inert, it can be reused again after the useful life of a building. In other words, ceramic tiles can be recovered and recycled as filler material if a building is demolished or removed. Minimal waste makes ceramic tiles a very sustainable surfacing material.

Durability

Because ceramic tiles are highly durable when properly installed and maintained, they won’t need to be repaired or replaced often. The expected lifespan of a ceramic tile is about 50 years. This longevity means less money and resources spent on extracting raw materials, transportation, installation, and all the other steps that go into producing and using ceramic tiles.

Maintenance

Ceramic tiles are extremely easy to clean using warm water, pH-neutral cleaners, and a soft cloth or sponge. There is no need to clean ceramics using toxic chemicals, solvents, or waxes that can leach into our drinking water or soil. Because they are non-porous, most ceramic tiles also don’t need to be sealed and won’t absorb stains or odors over time. A quick wipe-down as part of your weekly cleaning routine eliminates the need for deep cleaning when it comes to ceramic tiles.

Are Ceramic Tiles Right for Your Project?

Now that you know that ceramic tiles are sustainable, are they right for your kitchen or bathroom project? Ceramic tiles are perfect for a wide range of applications. They are most often seen in backsplashes and interior walls, where you can create beautiful and colorful tile patterns. The large array of color and texture options can be used to create any kind of look or feel you want in a design. Ceramic tiles can even closely mimic real wood or luxurious natural stone, while being completely water-repellant and a breeze to maintain.

However, not all ceramic tiles are ideal for use in high-traffic floors, outdoor applications, and other places where they might be exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures. For projects like outdoor patios, kitchen countertops, and entryway floors, natural stone is the most durable option. Be sure to read our blog on natural stone vs. ceramic tile for more information about where these materials are best used in your next project.

Explore High-Quality, Sustainable Ceramic Tiles with Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces is passionate about connecting clients with sustainable surfacing options. We offer a wide range of natural and engineered stone and tile options to suit any design style and application. Be sure to browse our full catalog of surfacing materials. If you want to learn more about our ceramic tile portfolio, get in touch by filling out our contact form today.

Color of the Month: Chive

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-0323, Chive! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A savory herbal green, Chive imparts a healthy and restorative harmony.”’

Named after the famous Renaissance artist, Botticelli is an artful masterpiece. Intensely complex, Botticelli is comprised of swirls, waves, and layers of color. Browns and golds meet grays and blacks in this Brazilian quartzite. Whether for flooring, tables, or countertops, Botticelli is sure to turn any room into a work of art. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Colored Natural Stone: An Interior Design Comeback

natural stones sustainable

Natural stone surfaces make for gorgeous, eye-catching features in the home. In addition to its status as a sustainable, durable material, natural stone can be a powerful design element, adding color and texture to any space. In this post, the experts at Cosmos discuss different types of colored natural stone, interior design enthusiasts can’t get enough of.

Breaking Away from Black and White

Black and white design motifs have long been considered timeless and classic. However, colored stones are rising in popularity once again. Whether warm, inviting spaces or dark, dramatic palettes suit your design needs, colored natural stone is making a comeback in a big way.

Dark Natural Stone Colors

Dark colored stones are an excellent option for countertops, walls or flooring, especially in spaces that open out into gardens or outdoor patios. In these cases, the same stone can be used indoors and outdoors, creating a continuous or “infinity” look. Darker hues make for a dramatic effect that contrasts beautifully with lighter-colored furniture and appliances. Stones like quartzite, granite and slate come in a variety of dark colors, including shades of blue, grey, green and brown. These various dark tones can help create a cozy, rustic look that plays well with natural elements like plants, wood and water.

Warm Tones in Natural Stone

Warm hued natural stone colors can range from dramatic, fiery red tones to subtler reddish, brown and yellow tones. Bright, dramatic reds inspire a sense of energy and expression, while subtler hues within this color family help create a warm, inviting atmosphere. This makes warm colored natural stone an excellent choice for spaces often used for entertaining. A marble stone like Daino Reale Extra is an excellent example of a warm, inviting stone with gorgeous brown and white tones.

Stones with ochre, honey or yellow hues help create a bright, happy atmosphere, while pale yellows pair well with elements in complimentary pastel colors, like mint green, sky tones and violet.

Blue Natural Stone

Blue tends to be a popular color family for both interior and exterior stones. Lighter sky-blue tones can have a calm, soothing effect, while saturated blue hues pair well with contrasting tones like white or yellow to create a more energetic, dramatic effect. Azul Bahia is a breathtaking blue granite that can add a gorgeous pop of color to fireplaces, countertops, showers, floors and other surfaces.

Green Natural Stone

Green natural stone can create a serene, tranquil feeling that pairs well with natural elements in the home. Our blog post all about green natural stone takes an in-depth look at different types of green stone, like soapstone and green granites like Emerald Pearl, exploring their properties.

Neutral Stone Colors

Neutral stone colors can include off-whites, greys and black in warm or cool hues. These colors have long been favored in design because of their versatility. Pairing well with nearly all other color palettes, cool neutral colors work beautifully in modern spaces and contrast well with white. Gray stone colors from a warmer palette create an inviting atmosphere and play well against natural features like wood. A marble like Grey Imperiale features multiple shades of grey along with white veining, adding depth to the stone and pairing well with darker colors.

Natural Stone Accent Colors

Many types of natural stone have features like veining or dramatic bursts of color on an otherwise neutral backdrop. These stones can be used to great effect, drawing the eye in order to accent specific pops of color. These colors can often be matched with surrounding furniture or other design elements in the home to help tie a room together.

How Natural Stone Colors Affect Your Mood

Aside from helping us create a desired aesthetic in the home, the colors we use in our spaces can affect our emotions when we spend time in those spaces. Our blog post on how natural stone colors can affect your mood takes an in-depth look at the emotional effect various stone colors can have on us.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about colored natural stone, or if you are searching for a stone with specific color properties, Cosmos can help!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers in their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

They say every cloud has a silver lining, which is exactly the idiom that this quartzite brings to mind. Flashes of silvery white streak through a curtain of cloudy grey to create a stormy but hopeful atmosphere. Install Silver Lining in bathrooms to set a rejuvenating mood or in kitchens to complement a modern aesthetic. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Use Stacked Stone Tile

stacked stone

Could your current dining/living area design be described as “rustic yet modern”? Or, maybe this blend of design styles applies more aptly to your dream entertaining space. In either case, stacked stone tile is a surfacing trend which may very well appeal to you. In this article, Cosmos Surfaces will tell you all about how stacked stone can be used to accentuate the interior or exterior of your home. Plus, we’ll offer pointers on what to consider when deciding whether this material is a good fit for your design & lifestyle.

What Is Stacked Stone?

First off, let’s discuss what stacked stone is made of and how it’s installed. To achieve the contemporary-meets-rustic look, cut pieces of natural stone in varying sizes are applied to a substrate, which is then affixed to the wall. Similar to the method typically used to install tile, this process creates a textured, visually intriguing stone veneer surface.

One major difference that sets stacked stone tile apart from other tiled & stone surfaces? When installing the stones, no grout is used, creating the appearance of a seamless wall. And unlike rugged stone walls of the past, stacked stone pieces feature sharply cut edges and a smooth finish, making for a more contemporary look. These techniques work together to define the distinctly modern aesthetic of this multi-dimensional stone application.

Where Can Stacked Stone Tile Be Used?

As mentioned above, stacked stone tile is appropriate for both indoor & outdoor use. Inside the home, it might be crafted into an unforgettable backsplash, feature wall or fireplace surround. Leverage its rustic elegance throughout the home, from the bathroom to the kitchen to the family room!

Blending classic & contemporary charm, stacked stone looks superb in outdoor kitchens. Strong and durable enough to withstand the elements, it can be used in landscaping applications, as well as to call attention to certain exterior features of the home. Stacked stone is commonly affixed to columns or installed around doors, and it is often applied below siding to add rustic flair.

Regardless of where it is installed, stacked stone will provide one-of-a-kind beauty for many years to come.

Considerations for Stacked Stone Applications

Thinking of incorporating stacked stone into your home’s interior or exterior, now that you know about its amazing aesthetic value? Here are a few important things to consider:

  • Factor in your desired finish – When choosing a material, keep in mind that stacked stone can have a polished or natural finish. Harder stones like granite & quartzite are better suited if a polished finish is desired, whereas softer stones work well with a natural finish.
  • Be prepared for color variation – Because stacked stone tile is made with natural stone, some color variation is a given. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to pull colors from your stacked stone surface to inspire your color palette for other elements in the space.
  • Keep in mind that pricing can vary – With more changes to the natural stone comes a higher project price, generally speaking. For instance, requesting a polished finish or a more labor-intensive edge style can make stacked stone more costly.

Caring for Stacked Stone

Stacked stone is quite simple to maintain. Being that it is used on vertical surfaces, this feature material does not receive foot traffic, nor is it subjected to daily wear and tear like a countertop. Still, it is important to practice these steps to keep stacked stone pristine over time:

  • If placed in your kitchen or around your fireplace, there’s a good chance that stacked stone will get food splatters or discolored areas. Luckily, wiping with a neutral stone cleaner as needed should take care of any spots.
  • Dust buildup on stacked stone ledges can be easily removed with a handheld vacuum or duster.
  • Annual sealing is recommended to extend the longevity of your stacked stone, plus make it easier to maintain. Sealing is especially important for stacked stone installed in a kitchen, bathroom or fireplace surround.

Plan Your Stone Surfacing Project with Our Specialists

At Cosmos Surfaces, we are dedicated to helping homeowners & industry professionals complete their surfacing projects to perfection. Whether you are interested in a stacked stone accent wall, a dazzling natural stone countertop or some other stone surface, our experts are here to help you plan and execute your vision. We invite you to preview our expansive collection online & get in touch with your trusted stone supplier for professional assistance!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Cielo is a mellow type of quartzite that originates in Brazil. The overarching browns of Cielo are off-set by whites, greys, and silvers that form a sky-like visual that is heavenly. The cloudy atmosphere of Cielo looks perfect next to silvers and blacks when installed as calming bathroom vanities and soft, modern kitchen countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Natural Stone Vs. Ceramic Tile

natural stone vs ceramic

Tile is one of the most diverse surface materials out there––it can be used for flooring, walling, backsplash, outdoor patios and many other applications. It’s no surprise, then, your choice of tile material can help set the design tone for your entire space. In this post, we look at the key differences between stone vs ceramic tile to help you decide which one is the right fit for your space.

How it’s Made

One of the biggest differences between natural stone and ceramic tile lies in how each material is made:

  • Natural stone tile is quarried directly from the earth and cut into uniform shapes, creating tiles that can be used in a variety of settings, depending on the type of stone selected.
  • Ceramic Tiles are man-made from natural clay. This clay is baked in a kiln, and commonly finished with a glaze to protect the tiles from moisture and staining.

Aesthetic Appeal of Stone vs Ceramic Tiles

Depending on the look you are going for, different design styles can be emphasized with each material:

  • Natural stone tiles lend a sense of luxury to a space. Marble, for example, has long been associated with a timeless elegance that can elevate the look of any room. The range of natural stone options is so diverse in texture and color, and natural stone tiles can be used to create a warm, rustic design aesthetic. These tiles also work beautifully in spaces where natural elements like wood, water and plants are highlighted and celebrated.
  • Ceramic tiles can often be made to mimic natural stone patterns or hardwood flooring. As it is a man-made material, ceramic is available in a wider range of colors, and also makes it possible to ensure all tiles appear uniform in spaces where consistency in pattern and color are desired. Ceramic tile makes it possible to use colors and patterns not typically found in nature.

Durability

When it comes to areas where everyday wear and tear are unavoidable, durability is key: 

  • Natural stone tiles vary in durability depending the type of stone you choose. Granite and slate, for example, generally do a better job of holding up to everyday wear and tear than softer marble. They therefore make more appropriate choices for applications like flooring, especially in areas with a lot of foot traffic. Regular maintenance can help natural stone last for generations, Since natural stone tiles may chip around the edges and corners with extensive wear over time, selecting a stone with a rustic look to it can help embrace these imperfections.     
  • Ceramic tiles are made with different hardness ratings, known as PEI ratings, that range from 1 to 5 (“PEI” is the abbreviation for Porcelain Enamel Institute). For flooring, you’ll want to select a ceramic tile with a PEI rating of 3 or higher. Ceramic tiles with a lower rating can be used for applications like backsplashes or wall cladding.

Maintenance

Both natural stone and ceramic require regular maintenance. Let’s look at the key differences in maintaining the two materials:

  • Cleaning Products: Natural stone typically requires PH-neutral cleaners, or cleaners specifically made for natural stone surfaces. Acidic cleaners can damage the stone and should be avoided. Ceramic tiles, on the other hand, can be cleaned with a wide variety of products.
  • Sealant: Natural stone tends to be porous and needs to be sealed regularly to prevent moisture damage and staining. Ceramic tiles are often manufactured with a durable glaze. It’s possible that you will need to apply sealant over the grout between ceramic tiles to prevent staining, while unglazed ceramic will likely require regular sealant applications, much like natural stone does.

Budget

Surface material decisions often come down to budgeting. While ceramic tiles usually make for a less expensive option, natural stone surfaces can be viewed as a life-long investment that can increase the resale value of your home, especially when installed in key areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

It’s important to note that decisions throughout the production process, the type of stone and installation process can all drastically change the cost of natural stone surfaces. Before making any final decisions based solely on your budget, reach out to a professional to see whether simple customizations can help place a material within your price range. The luxurious, authentic look and durability of natural stone easily makes it worth the investment.

Natural Stone Vs. Ceramic Tile: Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about tiling or other surface materials, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our blog provides information on materials, cleaning and maintenance as well as design tips.

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Allure Quartzite is a type of grey quartzite; a soothing, sophisticated choice for countertops, flooring, walls, backsplashes, and other projects, both indoors and out. The soft, blue-grey tones and wavy veins create a lovely, calming visual appeal. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched. Check out this grey quartzite today at your nearest Cosmos location!

An Overview of Ceramic Tile Properties

overview of ceramic

Whether you’re seeking the perfect material for your kitchen backsplash, your shower walls or your next flooring project, ceramic tile may very well be on your radar. After all, this popular surfacing selection has long won praise for its versatility, durability and fresh yet timeless aesthetic. Not to mention the wide array of stunning, personalized ceramic tile patterns you can create! If you’re considering this material for an upcoming project, you’ll want to take some time to get acquainted with the full spectrum of ceramic tile properties. In this overview, we’ll go beyond the basics and tell you everything you should know when considering ceramic tile for various applications.

An Overview of Ceramic Tile Properties

While different varieties of ceramic tile share common characteristics, there can also be quite a bit of variation in everything from a tile’s density to its slip resistance to its shade uniformity. Here’s a helpful guide to ceramic tile properties and how variations might affect a tile’s suitability for a certain application:

  • Shade Variation – With both ceramic and porcelain tile, shade variation may occur. In other words, individual pieces of tile can sometimes be varied in their color or tone. Further, the tile received for your installation may not always be an exact match to the sample(s) provided. To ensure your finished product is exactly what you envisioned, it is important to discuss the possibility of shade variation with a ceramic tile expert. Before installation of the tile, have your tile contractor layout the tiles to see the color and tonal variation and get an idea of how the tile will look  post installation. For applications such as shower walls, shade variation may actually be welcome, as it can add one-of-a-kind flair!
  • Abrasion Resistance/PEI Rating – A PEI rating is assigned to specify the hardness & durability of ceramic tile. In essence, PEI is a measure of how well the particular tile’s surface is able to resist abrasion, on a scale from 0 to 5. Ceramic tile which receives a ranking of 0-1 is considered light duty, meaning it is appropriate for use on walls only. Tile with a PEI rating of 2-3 may be used for walls, countertops and floors in residential settings. Meanwhile, a score of 4-5 means a tile can withstand heavier use in both residential & commercial applications.
  • Resistance to Water Absorption – Among the most beloved tile properties is the material’s impressive moisture repelling abilities. Most porcelain tiles are very dense with an absorption rate of 0.5% or less and are considered to be impervious.  Thus, it’s no surprise that porcelain tile is a top choice for shower walls, swimming pools, exterior wall cladding, kitchen & bathroom backsplashes as well as mudroom floors. To be sure that a porcelain tile is well suited to your application, be sure to inquire about its absorption rate. This factor is especially crucial when the tile is being evaluated to exterior use.
  • Thermal Shock Resistance – If you are planning to use ceramic tile in an application where it may potentially be exposed to rapid extreme temperature changes, such as near a fireplace or stove, it is important to consider the tile’s thermal shock resistance rating. Along the lines of how some tiles have a harder glaze and thus have a higher PEI rating, certain ceramics are more resistant to temperature variation and cracking than others.
  • Frost Resistance – Ceramic tiles can be installed for light-use outdoor applications like patios, or for exterior surface cladding provided they have a high enough frost resistance rating. This rating refers to the capability of a tile to withstand repeated freeze/ thaw cycles when subjected to sudden and extreme changes in temperatures. A tile is certified as frost resistant when it satisfies the standards set forth by either EN202, ISO10545-12 or ASTM C 1026. In general, glazed ceramic tile typically boasts a relatively high level of frost resistance when compared to unglazed tile.
  • Slip Resistance/Coefficient of Friction – The coefficient of friction is used to indicate a tile’s resistance to slippage. Needless to say, this is a crucial consideration for a ceramic tile floor. Generally speaking, the more textured a ceramic tile is, the less slippery it will be. With a coefficient of friction above or equal to 0.60, ceramic tile is considered slip resistant. When this number is between 0.50 and 0.59, it is conditionally slip resistant. Below 0.50, a tile’s slip resistance becomes questionable, meaning it is most likely not the best choice for flooring.
  • Resistance to Scratches, Chemicals & Stains – Since this material readily resists stains, scratches, acids, dirt, dust and common household chemicals, ceramic tile is known for being a breeze to maintain. A top contender for kitchen and bathroom projects, this material will retain a beautiful appearance for years to come, so long as it is cleaned regularly. However, textured tile can be a bit more intensive to maintain, as it traps more dust & debris than smoother ceramic varieties.

Explore Top-Quality Tile Products with Cosmos Surfaces

Now that we’ve given you a crash course in ceramic tile properties, you may be eager to browse gorgeous, durable tile and other splendid options suited to your specific application. When you work with Cosmos Surfaces, you’re sure to find an amazing surfacing material that fulfills your needs and aesthetic goals! If you’d like professional assistance and suggestions for your project, reach out to our experts today.

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Clean, beautiful, and cool – Vento Cinza is the smooth white of an undisturbed icy tundra. Upon a closer look, you’ll see beautifully subtle lines of crystalline silver in this Brazilian quartzite. Vento Cinza is simple in both color and texture, but that doesn’t make it any less striking. It looks great in any space as a countertop, floor, wall, or table. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Is Natural Stone Sustainable?

natural stone sustainable

All human activities impact the environment, often in devastating ways. As we continually see evidence of our negative effects on the planet, finding “greener” ways to live has never been more important. If you are starting a bathroom or kitchen design project, you may be wondering, is natural stone sustainable? In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces talk about sustainability in the natural stone industry.

Is Natural Stone Sustainable?

The good news is natural stone is the most sustainable building material available! Owing to its natural origin, durability and ease of maintenance, natural stone can be a great help in reducing a building’s impact on the environment. Read on to find out more about the concept of “green building” and how natural stone factors in.

What is Green Building?

Green building refers to a design process that takes sustainability into account. This approach focuses on reducing waste and increasing efficiency of resource use (such as energy, water and building materials). Additionally, green building aims to reduce a building’s long-term impact on the health of its occupants and the environment, and accounts for every step of the building process––from site-selection and design to construction, operation and maintenance. Lastly, the concept of green building looks ahead, ensuring the eventual removal or disposal of building materials can be done in an environmentally responsible way.

Natural Stone Production

Natural stone comes directly from the Earth. It does not require factory production, which often involves the need to bond materials together with petroleum-based resins. Furthermore, nearly 100% of natural stone from deconstructed projects can be recycled for use on other projects or crushed for use in constructions like roadbeds.

Durability of Natural Stone

Durability is one of the biggest factors making natural stone a sustainable choice. From the Egyptian pyramids to the Parthenon, the evidence is clear––natural stone can last through the ages. This means the natural stone countertops, flooring, walling and other surfaces in your home are a lifelong investment––with proper care and maintenance, natural stone surfaces can last for generations. There will be no need to expend energy and resources on replacing your surfaces.

Reducing the Heat Island Effect

“Heat Island” refers to the way a building can raise the average temperature of the surrounding area. Light-colored varieties of natural stone have the ability to reflect heat, rather than absorb and radiate it, which helps reduce a building’s potential to become a “heat island.”

Maintenance

Maintenance is yet another way in which natural stone asserts itself as an eco-friendly building material. Simple, regular maintenance goes a long way in increasing a stone’s longevity, and these surfaces can often be cleaned with a mild, Ph-neutral dish detergent, rather than harsh cleaners that can make their way into our soil or water sources.

Quarrying and Location

Over the last two decades, the practice of quarrying has made significant strides in improving best practices related to the environment. Today, domestic quarries are required to adhere to strict guidelines, with close oversight by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (among other organizations). Many quarries currently active in the US, Canada and Europe have reclamation plans in place for quarry sites when operations are finished, and countless old quarries have been turned into state parks, lakes and other kinds of recreation areas.

Stone quarry sites are typically available within 500 miles of nearly any building site in the US. This makes it easier to invest in locally sourced materials, reducing greenhouse gas emissions during transportation and supporting local economies.

Natural Stone Surfaces in the Home

Natural stone can be used in the home in a multitude of ways, including:

  • Kitchen countertops
  • Bathroom vanities
  • Flooring
  • Backsplash
  • Fireplaces and mantels
  • Walling
  • Bar top
  • Tub Surrounds
  • Outdoor walkways and patios

Work with Cosmos!

Whether you’re interested in granite, marble, quartzite, schist, onyx or soap stone, Cosmos Surfaces offers a range of eco-friendly natural stone options to satisfy any design style. Our guide on how to choose a natural stone fabricator offers insight on how to find a reputable company to work with, and you can take sustainability one step further with our post on how to use natural stone remnants around the home.

Cosmos brings decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation, family-owned business, our team is passionate about connecting North American businesses and consumers to exceptional materials in a way that is respectful to local communities and the environment. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Grey Imperiale - Grey Marble 3

Flowing rivers of a variety of greys is why this Brazilian marble earned its name, Grey Imperiale. A myriad of shades of grey layer together to create a beautifully mellow but surprisingly textured material. Grey Imperiale’s simplicity makes it a versatile choice for any space, and the spectrum of greys pairs well with darker colors.

Marble Countertops: Pros and Cons

marble countertops

Since the era of Ancient Greece & Rome, marble has been marveled upon for its stately beauty, enduring strength and standout veining pattern. In modern times, the appeal of this natural stone remains steadfast – particularly for homeowners desiring a distinguished looking, long-wearing countertop. Marble offers distinct advantages as a surface, but it also has its fair share of potential downfalls to keep in mind. If you’re contemplating marble countertops, pros and cons of choosing this material are something you’ll want to put on your radar. Today, our trusted stone specialists will fill you in on some top concerns about marble and how they can be worked around, should you select this stone for your kitchen countertop.

Marble Countertops Pros and Cons: Common Issues & Helpful Solutions

For every possible problem you might encounter with marble, there is an effective & straightforward solution! As you read on, you’ll discover that preventative maintenance plays a huge role in keeping marble pristine over time – as is the case with just about any stone surface. Knowledge is power, so let’s discuss some marble vulnerabilities to be aware of and keys to avoiding countertop dilemmas.

Etching & Staining

When a marble countertop is exposed to acidic substances such as coffee, citrus juice or cleaning products containing vinegar, etch marks may be left behind. The reason for this is that the calcium carbonate present in marble has a chemical reaction with acids, resulting in corrosion of the stone. Marble can also be stained by water, oil, ink, markers, or paint if spills or drips are not cleaned up promptly and end up being absorbed into the stone. The solution? Having your marble countertop sealed at regular intervals will help it readily resist absorption which causes dark spots and etching.

Porosity

Marble is a porous stone. This means that liquids and bacteria can seep beneath the surface of the stone when it is in its natural form. Once again, sealing your marble countertop on a regular basis will save the day by creating and maintaining an impenetrable barrier against spills, stains and germs.

Chipping & Scratching

While marble is known to perform outstandingly well in a high-traffic kitchen, there is always a chance that your countertop could be scratched or chipped during daily use. Luckily, these flaws can be addressed by a professional. Depending on the chosen stone finish and the specific imperfections, a stone specialist may use resurfacing, polishing and/or honing to restore your countertop to its original brilliance. (An important note: Avoiding the use of abrasive cleaning agents and scrubbers will help prevent scratches from occurring in the first place.)

Heat Tolerance

Our list of marble countertops pros and cons wouldn’t be complete without noting that a marble surface can discolor/crack if hot cookware is placed directly on top of it. As is best practice with any stone countertop, we highly recommend using coasters and trivets to avoid unwanted damage.

Learn More About Best Practices for Marble Maintenance

Hopefully, reading this article has helped you feel more attuned to the characteristics of marble countertops – pros and cons both included! For more helpful advice on preserving marble surfaces of all sorts, head over to our blog post dedicated to how to care for marble countertops, vanities, floors and more.

Find the Countertop of Your Dreams with Help from Cosmos Surfaces!

Would you like to transform your kitchen with a memorably stunning and magnificently durable new countertop? The experts at Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you decide on the best stone surface for your design style and practical needs!

Our wide collection features classic marble varieties such as Calacatta Matarazzo and Carrara White, as well as more adventurous selections like Rain Forest Green. We also offer porcelain that looks like marble for those seeking the classic look of marble combined with the heightened affordability & ease of maintenance of engineered stone.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, you can depend on our seasoned surfacing specialists to guide you to your perfect countertop match! To browse our expansive selection of top-quality stone products and get your project in motion, visit our website & reach out to us today.

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Like black soapstone and jade soapstone, gray soapstone is durable and elegant. Our gray soapstone, also known as silver soapstone, is accented with natural veins of white, adding unique character and beautiful variety to each slab. Smooth to touch, grey soapstone is a perfect fit for breathtaking countertops and vanity tops.

A Guide to Countertop Edge Types

countertops guide

Finding the right countertop material, pattern and color for your space––and design style––can make all the difference, but it doesn’t end there! Details like stone finishes and countertop edge types can further help refine the look you desire in your home. In this post, the experts at Cosmos discuss popular countertop edge profiles and their visual effects.

What are Countertop Edge Types?

When we talk about countertop edge types––or edge profiles––we refer to the way countertop edges are shaped. This may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference when aiming for a certain aesthetic in the home. Finishing details like edge profiling can truly set your space apart with unique details that draw the eye to your countertops. On the other hand, opting for a simpler edge design can allow other features in your kitchen to come forward and shine.

Popular Countertop Edge Types

Countertop edge types typically fall into one of three categories: straight edge, curved or decorative. Each type can contribute to your design style in its own way. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular countertop edge types out there:

Straight

Straight edges often work well in streamlined kitchens, where clean lines and simple design reign supreme. These edges are not sharp, but rather exhibit slightly rounded corners to protect the stone from damage, like chipping. The amount of rounding can often be customized. Straight edge profiles are an excellent choice when looking to highlight another feature in your kitchen, like gorgeous backsplash, eye-catching tile or a centerpiece appliance, as it tends to blend in nicely with the rest of the kitchen, rather than attracting attention to itself.

straight

Top Bevel

Bevel edges pair nicely with contemporary designs. They feature subtle, angular edges, typically at a 45-degree angle (this can often be customized) on top. A double bevel is another great option, featuring angled edges both on the top and bottom of the countertop edge. This style is more detailed, and likely to draw the eye in to highlight your countertops.

top bevel bevel scaled

Bullnose

Bullnose edges come in two varieties: full bullnose, and half bullnose.

  • Full Bullnose edges are rounded both on top and on the bottom. This curved edge adds a softness to the design and can make a countertop appear thinner. Often seen in traditional design, bullnose edges are considered both timeless and classic.

bullnose

  • Half Bullnose edges are rounded only on the top edge of the counter, which helps retain the softer, curved effect while giving the countertop a thicker appearance.

Ogee

The Ogee has a concave radius, first dipping then curving outward again on the bottom, creating an angled S-curve. Ogee edges offer a more decorative design style which can draw the eye to your countertops. This classic, elegant option works well in traditional kitchens and provides a sense of detail and texture.

Rock Face or Chiseled

A chiseled edge has a rough, rugged finish that exposes the raw stone of the countertop material. This edge style can contribute to a rustic, natural appearance and work beautifully in a space utilizing warm earth tones, or in a home where natural shapes and features are highlighted and celebrated.

waterfall

Choosing a Countertop Edge

While we’ve discussed a few of the most popular countertop edge types available, there are many other options out there, with features that can often be customized to fit your space, design intentions and budget. It’s important to note that not all surface materials work well with all edge types, and you may need to check in with a manufacturer to ensure an optimal match between your desired countertop material and the edge style of your choosing.

Work with Cosmos!

Our team of experts can provide guidance on choosing the best, ethically sourced countertop materials and edge profiles to ensure you find the best match for your needs, design goals and budget.

If you have questions about countertop edge profiles and their design applications, please reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Luce Di Luna is an elegant, intricately textured type of dolomite marble. Thanks to naturally occurring, often intersecting lines in the stone, it’s easy to get lost in the pattern. Fittingly, its name translates to “light from the moon,” which perfectly describes its soft and brilliant white-gray coloring. It is commonly used for countertops, floors and interior walls.

Quartz Vs. Granite Vs. Marble in the Kitchen

With Thanksgiving & the winter holidays right around the corner, you may be on a mission to maximize the functionality & aesthetic appeal of your kitchen design. When planning a kitchen renovation, it’s only natural to start with the countertops – otherwise known as the focal point of the kitchen! As you seek to find an attractive, long-wearing countertop material that fits your lifestyle and personality, you might compare quartz vs. granite vs. marble. All three are popular choices for kitchen countertops, so how do you know which will best suit your family and home? Cosmos Surfaces is here to break down the differences and highlight the benefits each material can bring to your culinary space.

Characteristics of Quartz: Pros & Cons for a Cooking Area

Could quartz be the perfect match for your next kitchen countertop? Let’s begin our comparison of quartz vs. granite vs. marble by exploring the properties of this engineered stone:

  • Composition – Quartz is comprised primarily of pulverized natural stones like granite and quartz, although the final product may not necessarily contain much raw quartz at all. Around 90% of a quartz slab is usually a blend of stone and industrial waste like glass and mirrors, with the other portion consisting of binders and polymers.
  • Perks – Owing to its composition, quartz is dense, scratch resistant and non-porous. That last one means there’s no need to seal the surface in order to safeguard against bacteria, moisture and stains. Indeed, quartz can tolerate exposure to acidic liquids like wine or citrus juice, with low risk of etching so long as spills are cleaned up promptly. In terms of ease of maintenance, all of the above gives quartz an edge over natural stones like granite and marble.
  • Pitfalls – As compared to marble, quartz has a lower ability to resist heat. So, to avoid cracks and other damage, hot cookware should always be placed on a trivet so it does not come into direct contact with the countertop. So, if you’re planning to torch that sugar on your Crème Brulee, make sure that there is a barrier between your quartz countertop and the dish! Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight should also be avoided to prevent discoloration and warping.

How Does Granite Perform in the Kitchen?

Granite has been a leading kitchen countertop option for many decades – and for several good reasons:

  • Composition – Made up of minerals like quartz, mica and feldspar, granite is an igneous rock which forms as magma crystallizes. Its creation process lends it virtually unmatched density in the world of stone.
  • Perks – Thanks to its extreme hardness, granite makes an impressively durable countertop that can stand up to heat and high-traffic use while resisting scratches and cracks.
  • Pitfalls – To some homeowners, granite is a bit too hard – in which case a softer stone such as marble may be more desirable. Like any stone surface, granite does require daily & weekly cleaning to uphold its pristine appearance. Additionally, many types of granite must be sealed to ensure optimal performance & longevity.

Why Marble Countertops Are a Baker’s Dream

Last but not least, marble is another natural stone which can make for a timelessly stunning yet functional kitchen countertop – particularly if you love to bake! Here’s how:

  • Composition – Composed largely of calcite mixed with a smaller amount of other minerals, marble is a metamorphic rock. It is the product of limestone being subjected to extreme heat and pressure over millions of years.
  • Perks – Marble is esteemed for its ability to resist both heat and cracking, in turn making it a terrific option for heavily used surfaces like the kitchen countertop. What’s more, professional and at-home bakers alike prefer marble due to its outstanding temperature retention properties. Naturally cool and soft to the touch, marble offers the ideal surface for rolling out dough – for everything from pizza to holiday pastries!
  • Pitfalls – While marble’s softness is beneficial in certain ways, its lower density and high porosity mean that the stone is more vulnerable to staining and etching. To make a marble countertop as resilient as possible, professional sealing on a regular basis is a must. On another important note, acidic cleaners should be avoided since marble can be damaged by them.

Quartz Vs. Granite Vs. Marble: Explore Your Options with Cosmos Surfaces

Hopefully, you feel more clear on which material is most aligned to your personality and preferences after reading this article. If you’re stuck choosing among quartz vs. granite vs. marble, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces are here to assist. To help you make the most informed decision for your kitchen, we’ll take into account your design style, budget and which features are most important to you.

Cosmos Surfaces invites you to browse our broad selection of stone surfaces for the kitchen and other areas of the home. Your trusted stone supplier is proud to provide top-quality surfacing materials for any project, including natural stone, engineered quartz and even quartz that looks like marble. If you have any questions or would like to locate our nearest showroom to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Color of the Month: Ash

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-3802, Ash! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Solid and strong, eternally timeless Ash conveys a message of longevity.”

Calacatta Vintage - White Quartz 3

Bold, dramatic grey veining imbues Calacatta Vintage with sensational personality. This white quartz embodies that refined flair characteristic of rare Italian marble, yet with superior durability you can trust in your home’s most well-loved spaces. This white quartz truly shines in bathrooms, kitchens, countertops, flooring, commercial spaces, and beyond.

What is the Difference Between Marble and Granite?

difference marble granite

They are two of the most beloved natural stone surfaces out there. But what is the difference between marble and granite? In this post, we discuss their properties and some key differences when it comes to daily cleaning and long-term maintenance.

What is Granite?

Granite is a type of magmatic rock, formed by the slow crystallization of magma below the Earth’s surface. The stone is typically a conglomerate of quartz, mica, feldspar, amphiboles and other trace minerals. Granite has been used for thousands of years, as evidenced by historical structures that remain standing all throughout Europe to this day. That’s no surprise, as granite is second only to diamonds in its hardness. Granite surfaces are highly durable and heat-, crack- and scratch-resistant, making it an excellent choice for indoor applications like kitchen countertops, floor tiles, backsplash, bathroom tiles, mantelpieces and staircases.

Cleaning and Maintaining Granite

While granite is one of the easiest natural stone surfaces to care for, it can become dull around sinks and in high traffic work areas over time. The following measures can help protect your granite countertops for many years to come:

  • Wipe counters daily with a neutral cleaner.
  • Use cutting boards, cooling racks and trivets.
  • Clean spills and moisture as soon as possible.
  • Keep bottles of cleaning fluids like dish detergent off of countertops (on a dish, for example).
  • Use coasters for mugs and glasses.
  • Dry underneath dishes regularly.
  • Wipe water around faucets off daily to prevent it from calcifying and turning white (using a neutral cleaner once a week can clear away buildup).

What is Marble?

The main difference between marble and granite is how these stones are formed in the earth. Let’s discuss marble! Marble is metamorphic as opposed to magmatic. Metamorphic rock forms when limestone is subjected to high amounts of heat and pressure during metamorphosis. This process usually occurs at convergent plate boundaries near the Earth’s crust. Marble is primarily composed of calcite, but like granite, it usually contains other minerals like micas, quartz and iron oxides as well. This gorgeous natural stone is just about synonymous with a luxurious, timeless aesthetic.

While marble is a softer stone than granite, it can also last for generations when properly installed and cared for. Marble is both heat- and crack-resistant, which makes it an excellent choice for the kitchen or around a fireplace.

Cleaning and Maintaining Marble

Marble is a porous, absorbent stone, which can make it vulnerable to spills and acidic substances if not sealed properly and regularly. When used outdoors, it can also be damaged by acid rain and pollutants, but taking these steps on a daily basis will help protect your investment:

  • Wipe up spills and dirt right away with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
  • Avoid using chemical cleaners, acids like vinegar and lemon juice, grout cleaners, and tub or tile cleaners, as they can etch and dull the stone.
  • Soapless, neutral cleaners specifically made for stone are ideal. You can also use mild, phosphate-free, eco-friendly dishwashing liquids or powders, neutral detergents, or vegetable oil-based soaps––just be sure to rinse all cleaners off completely with fresh water.
  • For exterior steps and pathways, sweep and rinse marble often with water, drying them thoroughly afterwards.Use coasters and trivets when placing wet or hot items on marble.

Sealing the Deal

When it comes to maintaining marble surfaces, regular sealing is essential and will likely need to be done more frequently than is the case for granite. That said, most granites can also benefit from being sealed. Some types of granite are more porous than others, and may need several applications, while very dense granite may not need to be sealed at all (or might only require a single application). If you’d like to find out more about the process of sealing, our post all about sealing natural stone surfaces provides an overview.

Conclusion

Both marble and granite make for excellent choices in the home, and the decision between them might come down to factors like personal preference, design aesthetics and budget. Granite is a harder stone than marble, but with proper maintenance, both stones are highly durable, while marble might require some additional sealing and extra care when selecting cleaning agents.

If you have questions about marble or granite, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our team is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Atlas - Multi-Colored Granite

Bespeckled with a map-like pattern, Atlas is an exotic granite with the power to transport you anywhere in the world — all without leaving your property. Tinges of copper, rust, crystal blue and emerald form intricate veins on a backdrop of grayish-blue. Where will you go with Atlas? Bathroom vanity tops and kitchen countertops are both favorable destinations for this one-of-a-kind stone.

How to Clean Natural Stone Like a Pro

clean natural stone

From countertops to floors to tub surrounds, there are so many surfaces for which natural stone can be a marvelous choice! Whether you seek to enliven your interior or to ground a space within your home, different stone varieties such as marble, granite and quartzite can help you achieve your design dreams. Regardless of how you leverage the beauty and durability of natural stone in your home, you’ll naturally want to maximize its longevity through proper care. From installation day forward, knowing how to clean natural stone is a must to maintain its pristine appearance and optimize its performance.

How to Clean Natural Stone: What Every Homeowner Should Know

To help you protect your investment, Cosmos Surfaces is here to share a few important natural stone maintenance steps:

  • DO Be careful to choose an appropriate cleaner – Using a cleaner which isn’t approved for your particular natural stone surface can be detrimental in several ways. First off, it can damage the stone in the form of burning or etching. Additionally, it can break down the sealant (if one was applied) and dull the finish. Thus, you should take care to always read labels and confirm that products are compatible with your natural stone before applying them.
  • DO Be sure your stone remains well protected – If you select a porous natural stone such as granite, regular sealing will likely be recommended to preserve the stone’s beauty & integrity. How often sealer will need to be reapplied will depend on several factors, including the porosity of the stone, the chosen finish and whether the surface is located in a high-traffic area. If you wish to skip sealing, consider a non-porous stone such as soap stone.
  • DO Get in the habit of dry mopping/wiping regularly – Dust and debris can cling to polished stone surfaces. Luckily, it’s easy to lift them away with a dry dust mop or a microfiber towel. Doing so on a daily basis – and before using a moist cleaner on your stone surfaces – will prevent signs of wear such as scratches.

Common Natural Stone Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we’ve highlighted a few major do’s for how to clean natural stone like an expert, let’s look at what you generally should NOT do:

  • DON’T Use acidic cleaners on natural stone – Vinegar and lemon juice are useful for cleaning and disinfecting many surfaces throughout the home – but not so much for natural stone. A word to the wise: Acidic cleaning agents will etch the surface of many natural stones, including marble and granite, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
  • DON’T Clean your natural stone with harsh chemicals – Of course, you want to make sure your natural stone surfaces remain clean and sanitary for your family. However, using heavy-duty disinfectants such as bleach or ammonia can discolor & damage most types of natural stone. As a safer alternative, we recommend choosing a stone-specific cleaner with bacteria-fighting properties. Aside from skipping the intense chemicals, avoiding the use of abrasive scrubbing pads in your natural stone maintenance routine is also advisable to prevent scratches.
  • DON’T Try to repair major damage yourself – Natural stone wins praise for its hardwearing properties. Still, by virtue of daily use, it can be subject to chips, stains and other damage. Wiping up spills right away and taking care to avoid placing hot cookware directly on your natural stone will go a long way to sustain it. Further, a simple baking soda and water paste can often be effective at buffing out small marks or scratches. But if significant gouging, chipping or etching occurs, it’s best to call a professional for stone restoration. Attempting to DIY your stone repair will likely be ineffective, and could actually make the issue much worse.

Look to Cosmos Surfaces for the Broadest & Best Selection of Natural Stone

Perhaps you have already made the decision to incorporate a stunning natural stone surface into your home design, or maybe you are still exploring whether this material is the best choice for your project. Either way, we hope you’ve found our tips on how to clean natural stone to be valuable!

As long-time surfacing industry experts, Cosmos Surfaces is proud to be an authority on natural stone. If you are seeking a gorgeous surface that will mesh with your lifestyle and design goals, our team is here to help you find the perfect product in our extensive natural stone collection. We are also happy to offer our professional advice on caring for natural stone so it continues to look fresh and perform beautifully for decades. To be connected with a member of our team, get in touch today!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Vitrium - Cream Granite 3

The granite dubbed Vitrium is both bold and complex. Hailing from Brazil, a creamy Feldspar and white quartz background is accentuated by diverse patterns that range from strikes of gold to swirls of black. No two areas of Vitrium are the same; every inch is uniquely diverse and beautifully translucent in some areas, which makes Vitrium a versatile option for any room or application.

All About Green Natural Stone

green natural stone

Green natural stone surfaces can be especially unique and eye-catching––perhaps because green is a less common color when it comes to natural stone. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces explore green natural stones, their origins and their properties.

Types of Green Natural Stone

Whether you’re on the hunt for a stone that’s specifically green in color, or a stone with certain properties––but you would love a green variant––green natural stone can be found in serpentine, as well as in variants of soapstone, quartzite, marble and granite. Let’s take a closer look at each:

Serpentine

Geologically known as serpentinite, serpentine refers to a family of stones that are formed in a similar way, but can contain different minerals. Due to these variations, the hardness, color and patterns found in serpentine can vary. Serpentine is a metamorphic stone, which means it formed from a different type of stone after a change in conditions, like extreme heat and/or pressure below the earth’s surface.

Serpentine forms from iron-rich magma found deep beneath the ocean floor, with its source in the Earth’s mantle. This magma contains olivine, a bright green mineral (perhaps better known to those born in August as peridot). As this iron-rich stone makes contact and mixes with hot seawater, it gives rise to the formation of new types of minerals. This process occurs deep within the Earth’s crust and leads to the variation of minerals––and therefore the properties––found in serpentine.

The stone typically lands between 3 and 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it’s harder than marble, but softer than granite. Serpentine comes in bright green or deep, forest green varieties. Depending on the minerals present in the stone, brown, red and white accents might also make an appearance, creating patterns in the stone that range from dramatically mottled to gentle swirls.

Green Granite

If you’re in search of a stone lauded for its hardness and durability, green granite is an excellent option. While green variants of granite are less common than, say, the typical grey, ivory, brown or black, the presence of certain minerals can create gorgeous green hues and dramatic patterns.

Emerald Pearl is a gorgeous, dark green granite variant, owing its coloration to green feldspar, while Cosmos Green, sourced from India, contains flurries of royal gold and emerald over expanses of charcoal grey and white. Another popular green granite is New Costa Esemralda.

Granite is highly durable and heat-, crack- and scratch-resistant. This makes it a great option for a variety of applications including countertops, mantelpieces, floor tiles and backsplash.

Soapstone

Soapstone is known for its “soapy” feel, and it comes from the mineral talc––the softest mineral on Earth (measuring a 1 on the Mohs hardness scale). The amount of talc in soapstone varies, which means the overall hardness of the stone will vary as well. Commercial soapstone slabs intended for practical use contain less talc, with the remaining composition including harder minerals like chlorite, magnesite and amphibole. Like serpentine, this broad variation in potential mineral components and their percentages makes soapstone more of a family of stones.

Despite being relatively soft, soapstone has many benefits––acids, liquids and extreme temperatures won’t harm the stone. While the daily wear and tear of the kitchen will show, scratches can be sanded and buffed out, or treated with a coat of oil. Soapstone is a great option in areas where it won’t be exposed to the level of wear and tear typical of a kitchen, like in a bar or bathroom.

One of the most interesting properties of soapstone is its ability to absorb and re-radiate heat. This makes it an excellent choice for use with fireplaces, mantels or wood stoves, especially in colder climates. These stones tend to be green, grey or black with white veining like you see in our Soapstone Jade. Soapstone has an easygoing, soft aesthetic to it.

Other Green Stones

Quartzite, sandstone and slate all have green varieties of their own as seen in Botticelli and Rain Forest Green. Bringing this peaceful, soothing color into your home is simply a matter of finding the right color and stone combination to suit your needs.

Work with Cosmos!

If you have questions about green natural stone, please reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of natural stone and our team of experts is always ready to help.

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Nacarado - Gold Quartzite 2

The dry browns and subtle oranges of Nacarado brings a desert scene to mind. Mellow and warm, the Brazilian quartzite of Nacarado is perfect for bathrooms, fireplaces, and exterior countertops. Available in several types of finish, Nacarado looks and feels great among brown and golds. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Top Quartz Countertop Trends of 2020

quartz countertop trends

While natural stone remains a widely favored choice for kitchen countertops, many modern-day homeowners are discovering the advantages of man-made stones like quartz. Owing largely to improvements in engineering techniques, quartz can now be crafted to closely imitate the look of natural marble or granite. As this durable, attractive engineered stone has experienced an uptick in popularity, certain quartz varieties & styles have drawn a particularly large amount of attention. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the latest quartz countertop trends that are taking the stone industry by storm in 2020.

Top Quartz Countertop Trends of 2020: Marble Looking Quartz

Marble looking quartz has entered the spotlight in recent years – and it continues to be one of the biggest stone trends of the present era. Prior to advances in engineering, it was difficult to mimic the signature organic veining patterns that are characteristic of real marble in slabs of quartz. But thanks to new, cutting-edge techniques, quartz can now offer an appearance which is virtually indistinguishable from natural stone.

What Are the Advantages of Marble Looking Quartz Countertops?

Before we show you examples of in-demand quartz varieties, we’d first like to explain why one might prefer marble looking quartz for their countertop over the real thing. While each material has its pros and cons, quartz is often a more affordable option, depending on the variety chosen. Additionally, quartz offers the noteworthy benefit of being non-porous, meaning it will not harbor bacteria or absorb moisture. This qualifies quartz as a distinctly low-maintenance, easy-to-clean countertop material.

For those who find the price & properties of quartz to be ideal, but simultaneously love the classic, elegant look of intensely veined marble, these marble looking quartz varieties are likely to appeal:

  • Calacatta Vintage – Calacatta Vintage is a white quartz defined by dramatic & dynamic gray veining. Uncannily reminiscent of rare Italian marble, its personality is both refined and irresistible. Offering supreme durability, this striking white quartz is well suited to kitchen countertops, among many other applications. Even in the most well-loved parts of the home, it will shine on for years to come with minimal maintenance.

Calacatta Vintage - White - Quartz

  • Calacatta Aegean – A luxurious white quartz with hints of brown and gold, Calacatta Aegean brings to mind the marvelous Mediterranean coast. Gray veins meander across its surface, giving this quartz unforgettable character and contrasting with its warm, understated foundation. Dependably durable, Calacatta Aegean is another fantastic choice for countertops.

Calacatta Aegean - White - Quartz

  • Krakel – Looking for something that is a bit more unconventional, but still features marble-like veining? Krakel is a striking black quartz that will swiftly energize any design! Its unexpected pattern is characterized by bright white veins bolting across a stormy gray backdrop. At the intersection of style and function, this quartz is hardwearing enough to withstand daily use as a countertop or kitchen island.

Krakel - Black - Quartz

Minimal, But Still Marvelous: Other Trending Quartz Products

Marble looking quartz is one of the trendiest and best-selling engineered stone styles right now – but it’s far from the only option! If you desire something more neutral and mild-mannered for your kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity, consider these other quartz varieties that are popular in 2020:

  • Astral White – A type of white quartz adorned with flecks of gray, silver and gold, Astral White will infuse your interior with cosmic wonder. While it may be on the more subdued side, its shimmering spots offer visual intrigue and make for an eye-catching countertop.

Astral White - White Quartz 5

  • Moon Rock – 3, 2, 1, liftoff! Moon Rock will fly you to the moon and let you play among the stars. This twinkling white quartz is a stellar choice for kitchen countertops, given that it is highly resistant to scratches and stains. Count on Moon Rock to stand the test of time – in the realms of both beauty and durability.

Moon Rock - White Quartz 3

Collaborate with Cosmos Surfaces to Ensure a Successful Surfacing Project

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed our quick overview of this year’s top quartz countertop trends & products! Maybe you are now leaning towards quartz for your project, or perhaps you would like to explore other stones as well. Either way, the qualified surfacing professionals at Cosmos Surfaces are available to help you find the absolute best material for your needs, personality, budget & application.

Browse our online gallery to preview our wide selection of marble, quartz and other surfaces of top-tier quality. Should you have questions, need guidance or desire to see a particular stone in person, feel free to get in touch with us anytime!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Elegant, powerful, beautiful – Roma Imperiale is one-of-a-kind. Crystals of white and gold criss-cross and swirl, battling for dominance in this Brazilian quartzite. Roma Imperiale is complex, detailed, and stunning. It looks great among greenery and in bathrooms as vanities, bathtubs, and countertops. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Your Guide for How to Choose Countertop Material

showroom

There are many great natural stone and engineered surfacing materials to choose from – each with their own properties, maintenance requirements and aesthetic appeal. In this post, Cosmos Surfaces provides guidelines on how to choose countertop material to fit your needs and your budget. Here are some of the factors you should take into consideration when making your choice:

Finishes

One of the first things you think about when choosing a countertop is the appearance. The finish applied to a stone surface can alter its overall visual effect. There seems to be a trend among homeowners to opt for a leathered finish, which adds texture to the surface. When it comes to light-colored surfaces, like white countertops, a honed or leathered finish can help disguise etch marks.

It’s important to note that not all types of stone can accept all types of finishes. If you have your eye on a particular style of finish, you’ll want to make sure the stone you decide can accept it. Our post on everything you need to know about stone finishes provides an in-depth look at the properties of each type of finish.

Porosity

One of the biggest considerations when choosing a kitchen or bathroom countertop material is porosity. This will significantly impact the maintenance required, as some porous stones/surfaces need to be sealed regularly to prevent stains and damage. Marble is an example of a porous stone that requires that bit of extra attention to keep it looking gorgeous. With the right care and maintenance, marble can last for generations – but it might not be the right surface for you if you want to avoid sealing. Take a look at our detailed post on how to care for marble for more information on this gorgeous natural stone.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find surfaces like quartz countertops – engineered stone containing minerals along with binders and fillers. Quartz countertops are completely non-porous and do not require sealing, which makes them easy to maintain. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors and can even mimic real marble very closely. Our post on how to clean quartz surfaces explores its properties and the maintenance required.

showroom 2

Durability

The durability of a surface is a huge factor in an area like the kitchen, where everyday wear and tear is inevitable. Busy families might want to consider natural stones known for a combination of durability and low maintenance. Granite and quartzite are both great options here, as these materials balance beauty, durability and relatively low maintenance requirements. This post on granite and its uses provides more information on the stone’s qualities, while our post on quartzite maintenance covers cleaning, sealing and stain removal.

Budget

At the end of the day, your budget will definitely impact your decision. It’s important to note many factors go into the cost of a surface material. There might be decisions you can make along the production process that impact the final price tag. Marble, for example, is a natural stone some might consider outside of their budget. However, there are different types of marble that vary in price. Factors like where the marble is quarried, the rarity and demand for the stone, the finish applied and details like edge profiling can all add to or subtract from the final cost. If you have your heart set on a type of stone, but you are concerned about the limits of your budget, work with a professional to find out whether there are alternatives to the product of choice or if any adjustments can be made to suit your budgetary needs.

showroom 3

Why Natural Stone?

Speaking of budget, you might wonder why homeowners would opt for natural stone surfaces when manmade alternatives are available, often at lower costs. This, too, is a multifaceted topic. While these materials may have a lower initial cost, they sometimes cannot stand up to the durability of natural stone surfaces. You can think of natural stone as a long-term investment. With proper care and maintenance, these surfaces can last for generations, while manmade alternatives may need to be replaced within the same period of time.

In addition to durability, a natural stone surface has the appeal of being completely unique. These stones are the result of the Earth’s natural geological processes – no two slabs are exactly alike. Some stones are the result of a powerful, violent event, like the eruption of a volcano, while others formed across millions of years of heat and pressure below the surface of the Earth. Natural stone surfaces are abundant in unique, striking details. They often contain patterns or vibrant splashes of color that tell the story of its formation, and the minerals contained within.

Wondering How to Choose Countertop Material? Work with Cosmos!

If you have more questions about how to choose countertop material, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today. We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our team of experts is always happy to help!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Rich browns and deep silvers make up the quartzite known as Sandalus. Sandalus has a leathered finish that brings out the subtle layers that give this material a rugged appearance. Perfect among wood, leather, and silver, Sandalus makes a great addition to any exterior space or woodsy aesthetic. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Choose a Natural Stone Fabricator

stone fabricator

The transition from summer to autumn offers a wonderful opportunity to take on new design projects. Whether you follow the latest trends or not, perhaps you’re craving an upgrade that will enhance the style & functionality of your space for years to come. In this case, you may be drawn to beautiful natural stone for your kitchen, bathroom or even your outdoor living space! When used for any surfacing project, natural stone can be a significant investment in terms of both time and cost. So, when selecting a natural stone fabricator, you’ll definitely want to do your research.

This begs the question: How does one go about locating the most trustworthy & skilled fabricator to help make their natural stone project a success? This article will outline important qualifications that any reputable fabricator should possess.

What is a Natural Stone Fabricator?

The fabricator plays a crucial role in your natural stone design project. They turn a slab of natural stone into a counter top, wall cladding or whatever your project demands. Their skill and experience will influence the beauty and longevity of your natural stone, so it’s important to work with a trusted industry professional.

How to Choose a Natural Stone Fabricator: Key Questions to Ask

Your natural stone fabricator is responsible for transforming your chosen stone material into the stunning finished product you’re envisioning. To select and install a long-wearing stone surface you’ll absolutely adore – now and years down the line – having a reliable fabricator on your team is of the utmost importance. As you compare your options, asking these questions will help you make an informed decision:

  • How long have you been in the industry? – Ideally, you’ll want to work with a well-established stone fabricator that has over a decade of industry experience. Generally speaking, the longer a company has been around, the more likely they are to know what they’re doing – and the more customer testimonials they should have for you to review.
  • Do you have a showroom I can visit? – While not necessarily essential, choosing a fabricator with a showroom near you allows you to see and feel the different stones they can work with, check the quality of their workmanship in seaming slabs and various edge profiles as well as their creative talent in book matching products. Visiting the company’s showroom will also help you get a feel for the true quality of their customer service and craftsmanship, so you can be absolutely sure of your decision.
  • Are you affiliated with an industry association? – Membership in a trade association such as the Natural Stone Institute indicates that a fabricator strives to stay up to date on best practices for using natural stone and serving their customers. As an example, members of the Natural Stone Institute pledge to adhere to the core values of leadership, professionalism, integrity and honesty, as well as to uphold high standards of safety, health and product quality.
  • What brands do you partner with? – Aside from demonstrating a high degree of capability and professionalism, a reliable natural stone or quartz fabricator will take pride in collaborating with brands known to provide superior quality products and customer service. While you’re evaluating the fabricator’s credentials, consider researching the brands they partner with as well.
  • Have you worked with the type of stone I am interested in? – This is a question that is imperative to ask but is quite often overlooked. The answer may not be a yes always, but the most important thing to note will be the fabricator’s knowledge about the material. They must be able to answer your questions on the stone’s fit for a particular project, does the stone need sealing (and if yes, how often must the stone be sealed) and the warranty on their workmanship.
  • Do you have pictures and references for your previous projects? – Apart from their knowledge of the stone and stone type, having pictures and references from their previous clients is especially important in judging the veracity of their statements. Look out for comments on their timeliness, tidiness, and customer service prior to, during and post installation.

An important factor to keep in mind while choosing a fabricator is that the cheapest bid may not always be the best choice for you. It is important to understand and take the value of a fabricator’s knowledge and experience with the product into consideration rather than just the final numbers. An enthusiastic, knowledgeable fabricator will walk you through the pros and cons of the project and be up front on all costs while the lowest bidders might be cutting corners, so ask questions and understand the bids fully before making a decision.

P.S.: Even the best of fabricators will have jobs that have gone wrong for a multitude of reasons that are not fully disclosed online, so don’t let 1 negative comment out of a 50 deter you from considering a possibly great fabricator!

About Cosmos Surfaces

With over 15 years in the industry and more than 15 showrooms across the U.S., our 2nd generation family-owned company is proud to be among the nation’s leading stone distributors – and a member of the Natural Stone Institute. We work closely with the most trusted fabricators and contractors and can help guide our clients to choose the most reliable professionals for their design projects.

Our extensive natural stone collection features something for every application and design style, including mystifying Bacural granite sourced from Brazil.

In addition to natural stone, our product catalog also features magnificent, hardwearing engineered porcelain and quartz surfaces, suited for elevating areas throughout the home.

Join Forces with Cosmos Surfaces for Your Upcoming Stone Surfacing Project

Whether you are a homeowner or a trade professional, our experienced, customer-focused team is here to help you choose the most ideal material for your project – and ensure it is fabricated and installed to perfection. To see more stunning natural stones and discuss your design with the pros at Cosmos Surfaces, visit our website and get in touch with us today!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Agate Earth - Brown Semi-Precious 3

Agate Earth is a type of agate made from a custom blend of hand-picked, semi-precious stones. With tones of brown, red, and black, agate earth is both warm and familiar, a tie back to home and the earth. Strong and durable, agate earth can be installed as countertops, around fireplaces, and more.

Marble Vs. Porcelain That Looks Like Marble

porcelain that looks like marble

Discerning homeowners looking to achieve an elevated, luxurious interior are often attracted to marble – and it’s no secret why! After all, this premium natural stone has been treasured for its beauty and durability since the Ancient Greeks & Romans first used it to construct everything from detailed sculptures to essential buildings. Fast forward to the present, and one need not spend a fortune in order to enjoy the distinguished look of marble. Thanks to advances in engineering, porcelain that looks like marble is now available as an alternative option – and it boasts numerous benefits beyond heightened affordability. Today, we’ll take a look at how marble and porcelain looking marble compare in an array of categories.

Marble vs. Porcelain That Looks Like Marble: How Do They Compare?

If you are enthralled by the elegant appearance of marble, but you have a set budget for your project, porcelain that looks like marble may just be the material you’ve been waiting for. Cost aside, there are some situations where engineered porcelain is better suited to the application than natural marble. Let’s discuss some pros and cons of real marble vs. porcelain that mimics marble’s appearance.

Required Care

When it comes to maintaining the integrity & pristine appearance of the stone over time, porcelain is arguably easier to care for than marble. Because it is super dense by design, and often comes glazed, porcelain is highly resistant to stains and moisture. In turn, it is simple and straightforward to maintain using typical household cleaning products, and it can stand up to heavy use with no issue.

On the other hand, marble is more porous, meaning it requires sealing to safeguard against spills & stains. Additionally, you’ll want to be careful to avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners on a marble surface.

Durability

Ultimately, both porcelain and marble are highly durable materials. But if your project requires the surface to stand up to heavy foot traffic, it’s important to choose a type of stone which is equipped for the job.

Keep in mind that different types of marble and porcelain have different hardness ratings, and the durability of the two stones is ranked using separate scales. To learn more about how this works, visit our post in which we introduce porcelain slabs that look like marble and go into further detail on this point.

Appearance

For many home and business owners, a large part of porcelain’s appeal is that it comes in so many different patterns and colors. Through an advanced engineering process, this modern stone can artfully imitate the aesthetics of naturally occurring marble – right down to the characteristic veining and smooth texture for which marble is known and loved.

As a prime example, Sicily White porcelain encapsulates the refined presence of the finest marble, with deep, organic looking veins and flecks of gray adorning the luxe white background.

Price

As we’ve already alluded to, porcelain is generally a more affordable option than marble, making it preferable for many homeowners. Still, it is vital to note that porcelain can actually come with higher installation costs, since the knowledge, experience and equipment to handle and process these slabs is still limited in the industry.

Design Possibilities

While the characteristic differences setting porcelain apart from marble can make one material more suitable than the other for certain applications, many design projects can be completed using either. Much like marble, porcelain tile is available in a large format slab style. In turn, both materials can work well for more sizable surfaces, such as floors, kitchen islands, accent walls, shower walls and fireplace surrounds. When beautiful surfacing is desired for a more spacious area, large format porcelain tile can even be used to achieve the bookmatched effect which is huge with marble right now. Check out our recent post on the art of bookmatching to learn all about this symmetrical, kaleidoscopic design trend!

porcelain that looks like marble

An important factor to consider while choosing between marble and marble looking porcelain is the edge finish. If you are considering these materials for an area where the edge will be exposed, it is imperative to know that porcelain slabs can only be finished with a straight edge or mitered for a waterfall effect due to their hardness and density. Natural marbles on the other hand can be finished with any type of an edge you desire owing to their low density.

For Amazing Results, Collaborate with Cosmos Surfaces On Your Design Project

Are you in the market for a stunning surface which will perfectly suit your application and offer incredible longevity? Cosmos Surfaces is here to help you locate it! Whether you are deciding between marble and porcelain that looks like marble, or you are curious to explore other materials, you can count on our stone specialists to provide expert guidance and assistance. To be connected with a team member from our 2nd generation family-owned surfacing company, simply fill out our contact form!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

Natural stone that looks like wood — say what? Sequoia Brown is a very special kind of veined, brown and black Brazilian quartzite that mimics the appearance of a sequoia tree’s bark. Offering the supreme durability of natural stone coupled with the rustic look of wood, Sequoia Brown is a great fit for bar tops, countertops, table tops and more.

Marble Vs. Quartz that Looks Like Marble

marble vs quartz

White stone is by far the most popular choice for kitchen countertops, regardless of changes in design trends. White marble, for example, calls to mind an elegant, timeless appearance that never goes out of style. As man made alternatives become better at mimicking the real thing, it’s no surprise that quartz that looks like marble is rising in popularity. In this post, we’ll discuss marble vs. quartz that looks like marble by examining the pros and cons of each material, as well as the differences you’ll encounter when it comes to maintenance.

How Marble Is Made

Marble is a metamorphic rock. It forms when limestone is subjected to high amounts of heat and pressure during the natural process of metamorphosis. This process typically occurs at convergent plate boundaries near the Earth’s crust. Marble is primarily composed of calcite, but it usually contains other minerals like Mica, Quartz and Iron.

How Quartz Is Made

Quartz is a man made material also referred to as “engineered stone.” This material consists of a blend of pulverized natural stones like quartz and granite. It can also contain industrial waste, like ceramic tiles and glass. Roughly 90% of the final product consists of this blend, while the remainder contains polymers and binders. Despite bearing the name of quartz, the resulting material may or may not contain significant amounts of raw quartz depending on the pattern chosen.

Quartz That Looks Like Marble

Quartz does contain a large amount of mineral content that can make it look very similar to natural stone. It can easily mimic the look of granite, but it is more difficult to achieve the veining patterns that marble is known for. However, as modern quartz engineering techniques improve, products like Calacatta Aegean and Calacatta Vintage offer excellent substitutes for real marble.

That being said, both marble and engineered quartz offer pros and cons when it comes to aesthetics and maintenance. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for why people may want to seek out one or the other.

Durability

Quartz and marble are both highly durable, but can be vulnerable to different elements when used as surfaces. When properly installed and maintained, marble will last for generations. It is resistant to heat and cracking, which makes it a great option for the kitchen or around a fireplace. However, marble is fairly absorbent due to its porosity, so it can be vulnerable to staining and acidic substances and can show age over time. When used outdoors, it can be damaged by acid rain and other pollutants.

Quartz is non-porous, so the surface is inherently protected against mold, mildew, bacteria, staining and odors that can form in porous stones. However, quartz surfaces are less heat resistant than marble. Care should be taken to avoid exposing the surface to extreme heat, such as placing hot pots or pans directly on the surface. Prolonged exposure to elements like direct sunlight can lead to discoloration, cracking and warping.

It is important to note that with marbles, small chips and scratches can be buffed and refinished onsite to make it look as good as new overtime. However, with quartz, once the surface is damaged, it cannot be refinished or fixed.

Aesthetics

Engineered quartz can mimic the look of real marble. However, some people prefer the natural beauty that marble is so well known for. When it comes to aesthetics, the decision will depend on where the surface will be used and how it fits into the overall design.

Cost

While the cost of the original Italian marbles have been a major reason for the shift towards marble imitation quartz products, it is worthy to note that the younger marble quarries in other countries have brought us some beautiful natural marble options that are stronger, better performing and in some cases more affordable than marble looking quartz! These newer marbles with their affordable price tags have gained tremendous momentum among natural stone shoppers.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The biggest difference between marble and quartz comes down to maintenance. Marble needs to be sealed regularly for protection against spills and drips, while quartz does not need to be sealed because it is not porous.

There will also be differences in selecting appropriate cleaners. Neutral cleaners specifically made for natural stone are ideal for marble, while mild dishwashing detergent and a soft cloth often do the trick for quartz. Some cleaning agents can damage the resin binders and fillers in quartz, so care should be taken to select appropriate, safe cleaners. For a more in depth look at the best cleaning and maintenance practices for each material, check out our blog post on how to care for marble, or this one on how to clean quartz surfaces.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces!

Quartz that looks like marble can be a great option depending on your needs. Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide range of marble and quartz products along with other top quality surface materials. Our experts are happy to answer questions and help you decide which material is best suited to your needs and budget – reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today to get started!

Color of the Month: Fired Brick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-1337, Fired Brick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Strong and sturdy, Fired Brick adds gravitas.”

The quartzite Brown Silk is mesmerizing from afar, but even more so up close. Crystalline layers of silver and white among the dominant brown of Brown Silk are as detailed and complex as the silk of a spider’s web. Brown Silk is a delicate, crystal constellation brought to life. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How Can Natural Stone Colors Affect Your Mood?

natural stone mood

The colors we choose to incorporate into our interior design scheme say a lot about our personality and style. But aside from this, our chosen color palette can also set the mood of a room, and even influence how we feel while spending time there. In fact, it is well documented that certain colors can evoke certain emotions – and this is certainly the case with natural stone colors. In this article, Cosmos Surfaces will offer a few examples of how different hues create different moods.

How Can Natural Stone Colors Affect Your Mood?

With so many of us working remotely for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic, having a functional yet comfortable home is now more important than ever. Naturally, one’s workspace should be conducive to concentration and productivity, while areas of the home used for relaxation and enjoyment should be designed to promote feelings of calmness, wellbeing or fun.

Much like how natural stone patterns can be strategically selected to help establish one’s desired atmosphere, natural stone colors can function to spark specific moods in a space. Let’s explore how this phenomenon works with various hues commonly found in natural stones like granite, marble and quartzite:

  • Crisp Whites – It’s no secret that white interiors appear clean and put together, albeit simple. This combination sets the stage for a soothing mood. If you desire a bit more invigoration and visual intrigue, we suggest choosing a brighter white stone with some veining, such as Opal White marble.
  • Versatile Grays – Often prominent in slate and marble, gray can foster many different moods, depending on the particular shade. While silvery and white grays liven up a space, mid-range shades are more mellow and muted. Meanwhile, darker shades of gray (verging on black) are decidedly mysterious and thought provoking. Intensely veined, multicolored gray stones such as Grey Imperiale marble strike the perfect balance between serenity and emotion.
  • Mellow Greens – Like certain shades of gray, cool green stone is known to lend a tranquil feeling to a room. Take, for instance, Alexandrita, a pale sea foam green quartzite enhanced by warm ivory and peach hues. Appropriate for countertops and floors – among other applications –  this stone has a calming effect which makes it well suited to living spaces & sanctuaries throughout the home.
  • Striking & Serene Blues – Commonly found in quartzite and granite, blue is a bold color which can animate a space, but also ground it. Strong blues may promote positivity and creative thinking, while softer shades can enhance focus and clear thinking. Featuring a range of stunning blues, Azul Bahia granite is perfect for introducing a breathtaking pop of color into a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Invigorating Golds – Not only is gold natural stone effortlessly luxurious – it’s a near-guaranteed mood booster! Breathe fresh life into a bathroom, kitchen or outdoor living space with Azul Imperiale, an uplifting Brazilian quartzite defined by bolts of gold flashing across a light blue background.

Setting the Right Mood with Natural Stone

As we’ve delved into here, the shades found in natural stone can have a powerful effect on your mood. Whether you aim to stimulate the senses, or to avoid distractions, it’s important to be aware of how the colors in your interior design might help accomplish or interfere with your unique goals.

Beyond color, there are several other important factors to consider when choosing a natural stone surface for any room in your home. From the properties of the chosen stone type, to the patterns and colors present within, to the selected finish – plus influence from the surrounding design elements – many things will combine to shape the aesthetics of your surface & space.

Count On Cosmos Surfaces to Help You Upgrade Your Interior

Drawing on over three decades of industry experience, Cosmos Surfaces is committed to helping homeowners find the ideal surfacing material for their purposes. In our extensive selection of natural stone surfaces, you’ll find options which span the entire color spectrum – including plenty of vibrant picks, plus a multitude of more understated neutral options.

After you’ve taken a look at our natural stone collection, reach out to be connected with one of our stone specialists. We look forward to helping you plan your dream design and providing you with a high-quality stone surface that suits your needs & sets your desired mood!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

A Brazilian granite, Key West Gold is comprised of mellow neutral tones, including khaki, gold, light brown, ivory, black and gray. Thanks to its comforting and consistent speckled pattern, Key West Gold is a wonderful option for countertops, floors, table tops, backsplashes and vanity tops — in both homes and commercial spaces.

Tile Pattern Ideas and Where to Use Them

tile pattern ideas

Gorgeous, functional interior design can elevate any space, but it requires a multi-faceted approach. In this post, we look at popular tile pattern ideas and how they can help you achieve the look you want.

With each element in a room building towards a desired aesthetic, it’s important to consider which materials to use, and how to use them. When it comes to tile backsplash or bathroom and accent walls, the type of tile, its colors and textures and even the grout used can all contribute to bringing a certain look and feel into your home. That said, another crucial step in the decision-making process lies in the tile pattern. That is to say, what kind of layout will help you achieve your design goals and bring out the best qualities in the tile you’ve put thought and care into selecting?

Let’s look at some popular tile patterns and the visual effects they create:

Classic Brick Layout

classic brick

In this pattern, tiles are placed in horizontal rows, and each row is offset by half a tile-width. The resulting long, horizontal lines can have the effect of visually widening a room. This is a timeless layout that never goes out of style and works with any kind of rectangular tile! A brick layout works well in spaces where one simple kind of tile is used, while pairing the tile with a contrasting color grout can help accentuate both the horizontal lines and consistent geometric pattern throughout.

Vertical Brick

This pattern is the same as the classic brick pattern mentioned above, just rotated vertically. With this layout, the vertical lines lead the eye upward, creating a sense of height. A vertical brick pattern adds a contemporary twist to the classic motif and works well in smaller bathrooms, for example, where one might want to visually lift the ceiling height and create a sense of space.

Mosaic

mosaic

When it comes to interior design, “mosaic” tiles are any small tiles, for example, 1-inch by 1-inch tiles, that repeat in a shape or set of shapes. Countless patterns are available, and mosaic tiles can be used to create complex patterns, or simply add a sense of texture and detail to an area.

The busy nature of mosaic tiles, along with the need to use more grout, makes it a popular choice for accent areas, as opposed to entire walls. The additional grout makes it a less slippery surface when used as a shower floor, while the detail and multi-tonal effects mosaic tiles create also make them a great option to use as backsplash, or to line a niche. Mosaic tiles can be used effectively to balance out larger tiles, creating texture and detail to contrast and compliment simpler, larger tiles.

Stacked

stacked

In a stacked pattern, tiles are aligned in a simple, repeating grid. This layout creates a modern look and feel, and its simplistic nature has a calm, soothing effect. Stacked patterns work well in modern spaces where clean shapes and straight lines reign supreme, while also creating an effective counterpoint to organic forms, such as natural wood. Using bright or contrasting grout can help emphasize the simple, geometric pattern.

Large Brick

Similar to the classic brick pattern, a large brick pattern makes use of oversize tiles. In this case, the pattern helps create a more seamless effect of continuous tiles by minimizing the amount of visible grout lines. Using rich stone tiles and color-matching grout can truly create the appearance of a large, unbroken area of the tile.

Solid Slabs

Rather than using smaller tiles laid out in a pattern, it’s possible to use a single, large slab of material for, as an example, a contemporary kitchen backsplash. Large slabs can even be cut to create matching backsplash and kitchen counters in smaller kitchens. Solid slabs help create an open, spacious look and can be used effectively to create seamless walls.

Herringbone

herringbone

A herringbone pattern creates a zig-zag formation by laying tiles at right angles to each other. This layout works beautifully on accent walls, bringing a sense of dynamic visual energy into a space. The complexity of the grout lines created by this pattern plays well against simple tiles, such as white tiles. A herringbone pattern can also be integrated into a section of a larger wall or backsplash, creating a focal point within a simpler surrounding brick pattern, for example. It’s important to note this pattern does require the cutting of tiles as it approaches borders, which can create some amount of tile waste.

Accent Borders

A strip of accent tiles along a border or set to interrupt a simple pattern along a certain point of a wall can help create visual interest. Additionally, if you are tiling a full wall or section of a wall, you might find that the tiles don’t perfectly fit the height of the space. Rather than cutting the border row of tiles to fit, the difference can be made up by using smaller tiles as an accent border, or as a stripe that interrupts the pattern, allowing larger tiles to fit perfectly into the space.

Conclusion

We’ve covered some of the most popular tile patterns you can use to great effect, but this is by no means an exhaustive list! If you have questions about tiling or other surface materials, get in touch with Cosmos! We offer a wide selection of products, and our blog provides information on materials, cleaning and maintenance and design tips!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Exuding strength, mystery, and daring, Titanium is a striking type of granite fit for the bold. Originating in Brazil, and also known as Cosmic Black, the black backdrop with swirls and waves of silver and gold make titanium an alluring and captivating material for any kitchen countertop, fireplace tiling, and bathroom flooring.

Accepting Imperfections in Natural Stone (and Growing to Love Them)

accepting imperfections

Stones like granite, marble and quartzite are the product of geologic changes which occur over hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of years. Volcanic activity, tectonic plate shifts and subterranean heat and pressure are just a few of the forces which contribute to the formation of these marvelous stones. Given the natural processes which create them, it’s only natural to anticipate that each piece of stone will have an idiosyncratic, totally unique appearance – and this is indeed the case! While natural stone is famed for its distinctive beauty, imperfections in granite countertops and other stone surfaces can be a concern for some. For instance, prospective stone buyers might worry that the “flaws” in natural stone could take away from the unity and elegance of their design. Today, Cosmos Surfaces is here to make the case for accepting & embracing the imperfections in natural stone.

What Imperfections Might Be Found in Natural Stone?

Wondering what exactly we mean by “flaws” in natural stone? Let’s get technical for a moment and discuss the inconsistencies which may be apparent in natural stone, as well as why imperfections in granite countertops and other surfaces can actually be worthy of adoration.

  • Variations in Color – Color intensity and shade can vary between different slabs of the same kind of natural stone, which can be concerning to buyers who want very specific coloring within their design. However, color variation is one of the main factors that makes natural stone so unique. No matter what kind of coloring you find within your natural stone, it is sure to be a beautiful illustration of the natural forces that shaped its creation.
  • Too Much or Too Little Veining – Like color, veining in natural stone is one-of-a-kind and will always vary. Instead of focusing on whether the veining on a surface is “too much” or “too little,” it is best to appreciate the totally unique veining that formed over so many years by the forces of nature. The veining in your natural stone cannot be found anywhere else on earth!
  • Pattern and Color Asymmetry – Asymmetry in interior design is a concept that offers so many unique possibilities, and natural stone is the perfect way to showcase the beauty of asymmetry. Natural stone will never offer a perfectly symmetrical pattern end-to-end, and this is one of the qualities that makes it so special and desirable.
  • Pores & Pits – While natural stone can appear quite smooth, tiny pits and pores are often present on the surface. Certain varieties are more porous than others and thus require sealing to keep out moisture and bacteria. After sealing, some of these tiny blemishes are likely to remain visible upon close inspection – but this only serves to add dimension and character to the stone!
  • Fissures – While far beneath the surface of the Earth, natural stone is often exposed to immense heat and pressure. As a result, natural crevices may form in certain spots or throughout. Known as fissures, these thin lines create intriguing patterns & color variation in the stone. But rest assured: they typically will not interfere with its integrity.
  • Cracks – Natural fissures are not to be confused with cracks, which can appear in natural stone as it is subjected to wear and tear over time. If significant in size, a crack may compromise the stone’s structure, so it is important to be aware of this particular imperfection. Still, cracks in natural stone are typically no big deal and can often be repaired relatively easily.
  • Scratches, Chips & Etches – Natural stone is known to offer impressive durability and longevity – especially the harder types like granite. Even so, chipping, scratching or etching can occur in a high-traffic kitchen. Once again, these flaws can be fixed if they bother you, but they are unlikely to detract from the countertop’s natural beauty in a noticeable way.

Embrace Imperfections in Granite Countertops, Or Not: It’s Up to You!

Crafted by Mother Nature, natural stone surfaces are defined by their imperfections. Without these variations, the slabs would be nowhere near as distinctive, precious or inimitable. Your countertop need not be symmetrical, identical from end to end or perfectly polished in order to be a showstopper. In fact, marble with deep, dramatic and unpredictable veining is all the rage right now, as are boldly colored stone varieties!

Hopefully, this article has given you a new perspective on imperfections in granite countertops. At the same time, it’s totally alright if you prefer a more uniform countertop. If you decide to seek out a surfacing material with a lower degree of variation, you’ll still have plenty of options to choose from! Feel free to explore stone varieties at both ends of the spectrum – and everywhere in between – to help you find what you really love.

The more you explore, the more you’ll get a keen sense for the sort of pattern and coloring which will best suit your personality and design style. Your countertop is the cornerstone of your kitchen, so it’s important to choose something you absolutely adore!

Achieve Your Dream Countertop with Cosmos Surfaces

If you desire to make a statement with natural stone in your interior, Cosmos Surfaces is here to help you bring your vision to life. From the intricate & distinguished Butterfly Gold to the ultra-daring Bacural, our extensive selection of granite and other stunning stone surfaces includes something for every style & setting. To enlist the expertise of one of our surfacing specialists, contact Cosmos Surfaces today.

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Golden Paradise - Gold Quartzite 2

A dazzling sheet of gold, it’s no surprise how Golden Paradise got its name. But it’s not just gold – look deeper to see the crystals of whites and greys that make up this Brazilian quartzite. Golden Paradise makes for spectacular floors, walls, and fireplaces and matches well with blacks and woods. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How to Choose the Right Natural Stone Patterns for Your Interior Design

choose natural stone

It’s no secret that natural stone surfaces can go a long way toward creating a desired aesthetic in the home. The natural stone patterns within those surfaces can further help refine your design style. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces share tips on how to choose natural stone patterns to help you create the exact look and feel you want in any room.   

Design Goals

When considering various stone patterns and finishes, it’s important to understand what your design goals are. For example, if you are hoping to achieve a minimalist look with just a pop of color or texture, you can use natural stone patterns to achieve these highlights. Or, you can opt for simple stone surfaces and play around with furniture or painted accent walls for your color or texture fix. Let’s take a look at a few design styles and which stone patterns and colors can help you achieve them:

Minimalist Spaces

As mentioned above, colors and patterns can be used effectively in a minimalist setting. A dramatic accent wall, for example, can perfectly balance out the simpler design elements in the space. Stones like Magma Gold and Maori (both granites) and Raphael and Oxford Blue (both quartzites) have striking, complex patterns along with gorgeous colors. Any of these stones would work well in a minimalist setting and can be used to create truly breathtaking accent walls or other features like kitchen islands.

Warm, Inviting Spaces

For homeowners who like to entertain or simply want a warm, inviting feel to their space, stones with classic brown tones and consistent patterns can help create this aesthetic. Stones with blue, copper or golden elements in their patterns are both striking and elegant, while retaining a sense of warmth and comfort. Granite products like Vitrium, Lapidus and Giallo Fiorito are all examples of stones that contain gorgeous warm tones within their patterns.

Small Spaces

Using design elements wisely can help smaller spaces look and feel bigger. As an example, a stone surface with a flowing vein pattern can make a kitchen island appear bigger, as well as the room itself. Using vertical veining patterns on stone walls gives a sense of high ceilings, as the vertical lines direct the eye upward and appear to elongate the space.

Invoking Nature

If you’re looking to replicate the look and feel of wood around areas like the fireplace or an indoor garden, stones like Brown Silk (a granite) and Sequoia Brown (a quartzite) are excellent options, as their patterns and textures mimic those of wood. The colors and patterns in these stones in combination with the texture created by a leathered finish can truly bring a natural aesthetic into the home.

Speaking of natural elements, using a stone like Black Marinace (a granite) in or around a water feature, such as a water fountain, adds an elegant touch without the struggle of having to clean pebbles. The pebbled texture of the stone adds detail and depth and brings along with it the durability and ease of maintenance for which granite is so well-loved.

Stones like Rain Forest Green and Café Forest Brown mimic natural elements like leaves and branches and invoke a sense of calm and tranquility. They are perfect for bathroom vanities, kitchens and living rooms.

Conclusion

One of the most impressive features of natural stone is the immense variety created by the natural processes behind stone formation. Long veining patterns are inherently elegant and soothing, while dramatic swirling patterns invoke a flowing sense of movement and energy. Each unique pattern tells the ancient story of its stone.

When it comes to natural stone and interior design, there are multiple steps you can take to craft your desired aesthetic, from the type of stone you select, to the colors and patterns contained within and, finally, the type of finish applied to the stone surface. The options are just about endless!

For more information on the various aspects of using natural stone in interior design, take a look at our post on how to design your home like a professional. If you’d like to know more about how various stone finishes alter the look and feel of natural stone, our blog post on how to choose the perfect stone finish provides a detailed overview.

Cosmos Can Help!

Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation family-owned business, we are passionate about sourcing high-quality surfaces for your home or business. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today – our team of experts is happy to help you along the journey of designing your dream spaces!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

For those in the market for an exotic, one-of-a-kind granite countertop, Belatrix is a top contender. This natural Brazilian stone features a polished finish and a pattern that is truly extraordinary. Set upon a shining black background are idiosyncratic shapes formed via a melange of rust, burgundy, gray and cream.

Breaking Down the Difference Between Dolomite and Marble

difference dolomite marble

As the latest interior design trends shift, marble is making a massive comeback. With many modern homeowners looking to incorporate classic elegance into their designs – while sticking to a budget – demand for quartz that resembles marble has also risen. Dolomite is another coveted natural stone that bears a striking resemblance to marble. Falling somewhere between quartzite and marble in terms of price tag & properties, dolomite is well suited to a variety of design projects. Read on for a comprehensive explanation of the difference between dolomite and marble, followed by a sneak peek at the gorgeous styles of dolomite available from Cosmos Surfaces. 

Breaking Down the Difference Between Dolomite and Marble

Created when limestone and lime mud interact with magnesium-rich groundwater, dolomite is a sedimentary rock known for its characteristic white and gray coloring. While often mistaken for marble or quartzite, this natural stone has distinct features which separate it from all others. Without further ado, let’s explore the difference between dolomite and marble by discussing how the two stones compare in a few categories. You may find that either dolomite or marble is better suited for your design project.

Maintenance & Longevity

With proper care, a dolomite countertop will offer a long and beautiful lifespan – often outperforming marble in the long term. Thanks to its higher level of non-porosity, dolomite can generally withstand liquids & acids more successfully than marble over time. Still, this stone is not totally maintenance free. It does require sealing on a regular basis to preserve its pristine appearance.

Hardness & Durability

Dolomite ranks higher than marble on the durability scale, largely due to its dense mineral composition. Slightly hHarder than most marbles, dolomites tend to resist scratches and heat more readily. However, this stone is not quite on par with the density & durability of granite and quartzite. In other words, it’s a good middle-of-the-road option for kitchen and bathroom renovation projects when it comes to durability.

Affordability

Generally speaking, dolomite tends to be more affordable than some coveted marbles and other premium stones, such as quartz and granite. But keep in mind: pricing will vary depending on the specific usage and the stone variety you select.

Color Scheme

Highly befitting the creation of a sophisticated interior, dolomite is most often gray, white and/or tan in color. Less commonly, it can be found with tinges of pink, brown, black or green. Dolomite typically has a streaked pattern reminiscent of many beloved varieties of marble. For homeowners who yearn for the regal look of marble, dolomite delivers – with the significant bonus of being less fragile and longer lasting, all at a generally lower price point.

Hopefully, our overview of how dolomite and marble differ has given you an idea of which stone might work best for your purposes. If you enjoyed this resource, be sure to check out our blog for more helpful articles on surfacing and design topics

See for Yourself How Captivating Dolomite Can Be

Considering that white and gray stone with prominent veining is among what’s trending for fall 2020, now is a fantastic time to consider dolomite for your next interior design project. The wide selection of high-quality natural stone from Cosmos Surfaces features several uniquely striking varieties of dolomite, including Luce Di Luna.

captivating dolomite

Luce Di Luna is an intricately textured dolomite featuring a pattern defined by lines which often intersect and intrigue the eye. Fittingly, the name of this stone translates to “light from the moon,” which aptly describes its subtle yet memorable gray and white coloring. The hues and properties of this natural stone make it a terrific choice for countertops, floors and interior walls throughout the home.

Our Experts Are Here to Help You Locate the Best Material for Your Project

Is dolomite right for your application, or might another material be a better fit for your needs and decorating style? Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on exactly what you are looking to achieve in your project.

If you’d like to work with a knowledgeable professional as you make this important decision, our trusted stone supplier is here to provide experience-backed assistance. Reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today to get started with a member of our team!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Tiger Eye - Gold Semi-Precious 3

A semi-precious quartz gemstone, Tiger Eye is amber and gold in color. Its lustrous hues have a cat’s eye quality, making it the perfect match with browns and reds. The striking appearance of Tiger Eye goes unmistakably well with wood cabinets and looks great in kitchens and bathrooms. The polished finish makes it smooth and silky to the touch.

How to Clean Quartz Surfaces: Do’s and Don’ts

clean quartz

Quartz is a gorgeous, versatile surface celebrated for its ease of maintenance. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces discuss the do’s and don’ts of how to clean quartz surfaces in your home.

Quartz vs. Quartzite

A quick note, for starters: quartz and quartzite are often mistaken as being the same, but they are different. Quartzite forms due to natural processes when quartz-rich sandstone is exposed to high pressure and heat over time. Quartz is actually engineered – that is to say, it’s man-made by combining quartz minerals with binding agents, resins and sometimes pigments. For a more in-depth look at the difference between the two surfaces, take a look at our blog post on quartz vs. quartzite.

The Advantages of Quartz

Quartz achieves the elegant aesthetic of natural stone, but with one big advantage – resin binders make the surface non-porous. This means that while most natural stones, like quartzite, need to be sealed with some regularity, quartz does not. This surface is inherently protected against the mold, mildew, bacteria, staining and odors that can occur in porous stones. That said, regular cleaning and maintenance remains necessary to protect your investment and keep your surfaces looking clean and new.

How to Clean Quartz: The Do’s

Let’s take a look at some routine maintenance and cleaning tips:

  • DO wipe up spills as soon as possible. Although quartz is stain-resistant, it’s still wise to wipe up spills before they have a chance to dry. Mild dishwashing detergent and a soft cloth or sponge will do the trick in most cases.
  • DO use warm water, mild soap, and a non-abrasive kitchen sponge. Use these items in the event of any spills or stains.
  • DO use a mild degreasing product for cooking grease residue. As always, be sure to follow the product manufacturer’s instructions.
  • DO use small amounts of Barkeeper’s Friend, rubbing alcohol, and a soft cloth or Magic Eraser for stains like permanent marker or ink. Always ensure a product is safe to use on your surface material and reach out to a manufacturer if you are uncertain! Barkeeper’s friend is a little grainy, do not apply too much pressure while using this product as it may cause small scratches on the quartz surface.
  • DO be sure to rinse quartz surfaces thoroughly with water. You should always remove any residue or film left behind by cleaners.
  • DO use coasters, cutting boards, trivets and cooling racks. This will protect your countertops from everyday wear and tear.
  • Aside from daily wiping, DO perform a deep clean at regular intervals. You can spray a non-abrasive surface cleaner and allow it to sit for roughly ten minutes, then wipe the counter with a non-abrasive sponge and rinse with warm water.

The Don’ts

It’s important to note that the quartz mineral in your surface may be able to withstand cleaners and elements like heat far better than the resin used in manufactured quartz countertops. This means that while something might be safe to use or do on the quartz itself, it can still damage your surface or weaken the bonds between the quartz and resin fillers surrounding it.

Let’s take a look at what NOT to do:

  • Don’t use abrasive, acidic, or alkaline cleaners, or bleach.
  • Don’t use scouring pads, as these can damage and dull the surface.
  • Don’t expose the surface to extreme heat, such as by placing hot pans directly on a counter. Instead, use cooling racks and trivets.
  • Don’t expose quartz surfaces to outdoor elements. Quartz is recommended for indoor use. Prolonged exposure to elements like direct sunlight outdoors can lead to warping or cracking.

How to Remove Stubborn Stains

Owing to its non-porosity, manufactured quartz is highly stain-resistant, but certain substances can still leave a mark. The most common stain offenders include hot sauce, vibrant spices like turmeric, curry powder and paprika, permanent marker, food coloring, colored make-up and nail polish. If you find yourself struggling with a stubborn stain, take a look at our detailed post on how to remove stains from quartz.

Conclusion

Quartz is an excellent option for those seeking the timeless, elegant aesthetic of natural stone combined with easy maintenance. Regular cleaning and care will future-proof your investment and keep your quartz surfaces looking fresh and new for many years to come.

Cosmos Surfaces offers a range of quartz products in gorgeous patterns and colors to suit any design style. If you have questions about the care and maintenance of quartz, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our team is always happy to help.

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Palomino is comprised of a rich golden color that will astound and amaze in any space. With a crystalline structure creating diamonds and shapes across the surface, browns and whites swirl with gold to create texture and depth. Palomino is bold and striking – the perfect fit for a room with pizazz, style, and personality. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Which Surfacing Materials are Trending for Fall?

surfacing material fall

As with fashion, trends in home design tend to come and go – often syncing up with the changing seasons. But over the years, natural stone has maintained a place among the most popular surfacing materials for kitchen & bathroom renovation projects. Given the extensive advantages of using natural stones like granite & marble, trends are unlikely to change their popularity. Still, for homeowners who love to stay hip to all the latest styles, it’s exciting to track how the use of various surfacing materials is evolving over time! Cosmos Surfaces is here to give you an insider’s look at all of the latest industry trends for the upcoming season.

Fall 2020: Marble Trends & Other Surfacing Material Shifts

As technology continues to progress and contemporary design styles change, it’s only natural for new stone trends to emerge. Here are a few noteworthy shifts we are seeing this season:

  • Natural stone is gaining a lead over quartzSlowly but surely, quartz is becoming slightly less popular than natural stone. Granite and marble are gaining momentum as countless homeowners favor them for their natural, one-of-a-kind beauty and sustainability. Demand for quartz remains very high for commercial applications, but homeowners are now researching and opting to visit stone yards which promise more natural and eco-friendly options.
  • Porcelain slabs are really catching onAlong with natural stone, porcelains are also trending right now. This is likely owing in part to manufacturing advances which allow the slabs to be made to look virtually identical to naturally occurring stone. More and more frequently, large format porcelain is being utilized for new construction projects, often in settings where quartz or porcelain tile would typically have been used in the past.
  • Marbles have come back in a huge wayAs it makes a major comeback, this classic material is being used in fresh new ways to lend it modern flair. Current marble trends include utilizing colored marble, adorning surfaces with symmetrical bookmatched stone and choosing bolder marble varieties with dramatic, intense veining.
  • The demand for marble looking quartz is at an all-time highAlso happening in the realm of prominent marble trends this season: more homeowners than ever before are seeking out quartz that mimics the look of marble. Hardwearing, but less hard in appearance than marble, quartz is non-porous and highly resilient. For homeowners desiring a more durable material that replicates the elegant look of marble, engineered quartz delivers the best of both worlds.
  • Textured stone finishes are in high demand – Leathered and honed finishes are becoming more popular, suggesting that homeowners are craving more texture in their designs. Check out our blog post on stone finishes to learn about the many different options which can be used to make a statement with natural stone designs!
  • Quartzite is becoming more alluring – With improved treatments and a larger variety of styles available, quartzite is another popular natural stone selection this season. This is no big surprise, given the supreme durability and standout appearance of this material.

Choosing a Surfacing Material: Should I Follow the Trends?

When seeking out the most ideal surfacing material for your project, looking at what is currently trending can be beneficial to give you some inspiration. But ultimately, trends don’t last forever. There’s absolutely no need to feel pressured to choose something that’s in vogue at this very moment!

More than what is trending, you should consider your own personal design preferences and what functional features you desire from the surfacing material. If you’re taking on a renovation project, it’s also important to think about how the material you choose will mesh with the other elements in your current or planned design scheme. Finally, you’ll want to be sure to factor in how well the material is likely to hold up over time, in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.

Look to Cosmos Surfaces for Professional Assistance with Any Project

Whether you are eager to upgrade your kitchen countertop, transform your outdoor living space or refresh some other part of your home, Cosmos Surfaces provides an extensive selection of stunning, competitively priced natural stone and other surfacing materials. For expert assistance choosing the very best option for your particular project, reach out to our team today!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Experience the singular beauty of Sedna, an exquisite vein of molten gold running through pitch black and rich brown granite. Like a wealth of brilliant magma trapped just below the surface of the earth, black Sedna is a rare and powerful treasure, embodying the most raw and powerful forces of nature.

Fall Color Trends for Interior Design

fall color trends

The fall season conjures up vivid color palettes like no other. Warm earth tones and elegant neutrals form the basis of fall color trends. When it comes to interior design, using these colors well can inspire warmth, comfort and flexibility in your home year-round. In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces provide a quick guide to some of our most popular fall-friendly products, along with 3 design tips to help cozy up your home this season.

Fall Color Trends in Natural Stone and Surfaces

First, let’s take a look at the most popular stone colors trending this fall:

White Stone

The most popular option, by far, remains white stone. White stone surfaces in the home can brighten up your space and help create a fresh, clean look and feel. A neutral color like white can ensure a timeless, elegant aesthetic that pairs well with any color palette or design style.

For those who enjoy texture and depth, white stone is by no means lacking in this department. Natural stone is typically off-white, or near-white and can exhibit gorgeous, complex textures from grain patterns and veining. A few examples of white stone available at Cosmos Surfaces include:

Granite:

Marble:

Quartz:

Earth Tones and Warm Color Tones

Earth tones have long been associated with fall-inspired palettes. The use of earth tones and warmer colors within permanent fixtures in the home have been increasing in popularity. Using these tones with interior design creates a warm, cozy and inviting space with a natural look and feel. Let’s take a look at a few options by stone type:

Granite

Marble

Grey and Black Stones

Grey and black stones are steadily increasing in popularity. These elegant neutral colors can create the same warm, natural aesthetic as warm colors and earth tones, but may allow for a bit more freedom when it comes to pairing up décor year-round. Just a few of the grey and black options by stone type available through Cosmos include:

Granite

Marble

Quartz

Additional Tips for a Cozy Home

Aside from the color and type of stone you decide on, factors like vein patterns and the type of finish applied to a stone can help alter the look and feel of your space. If you want to achieve a warm, cozy fall aesthetic, here are three additional tips to help you get from here to hygge:

  1. Textured Stone Finishes

Various types of finishes can be applied to natural stone before it makes it into your home. Stone can be polished for a glossy look, honed for a silky matte finish or even flamed, a process where a high-temperature flame is applied to the stone, resulting in a highly textured surface.

Two stone finishes that are trending this season are leathered, and honed finishes. Honed finishes create silky, matte stone surfaces. This helps create a warmer, cozier feel than say, a polished finish. A leathered finish creates a suede look and feel and is slip-resistant. Again, this finish helps give your space that warm, inviting feel we all crave when the weather gets colder. It’s important to note that a leathered finish can only be applied to some varieties of marble and granite. For an in-depth look at the different types of stone finishes, check out our post on Everything You Need to Know About Stone Finishes.

  1. Neutral Colors

Opting for neutral colors like white, black or grey can leave you with lots of freedom and flexibility when it comes to year-round décor. Unless you plan on sticking with a specific interior color scheme in the long-term, using neutral colors for permanent fixtures like countertops, backsplash and fireplace mantels can help you achieve the style you want in every season.

  1. Grain Patterns and Veining

Silver Waves - Black Granite 6

Sticking to neutral colors or a timeless white stone surface doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice texture and color. Grain patterns and veining can add a touch of color and movement to a space, and even provide design cues when it comes to choosing colors for furniture, walls and other types of décor. Granite products like Silver Waves and Viscon White are excellent examples of stones with inherent patterns that evoke movement.

Work with Cosmos!

Cosmos Surfaces is a 2nd generation, family-owned business dedicated to providing you with knowledge, meaningful customer service and high-quality surface materials. We offer a wide range of products and resources to assist our customers with their surface material needs.  Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Magma Gold - Gold Granite 2

Like molten magma swirling and pooling deep within the Earth’s crust, Magma Gold granite is fierce and fervent. In its larger-than-life pattern, deep gray veins stretch in all directions, surrounding and blending into areas of rust, cream and gold. Specks of white on the gray add even more visual interest, putting the finishing touches on this excellent option for counter and vanity tops.

How Does Granite Get Its Colors?

granite colors

Granite is one of the most popular natural stone surfaces out there, but what colors does granite come in and how does it get those colors? In this post, the experts at Cosmos Surfaces delve into the science behind this incredible stone.

In the realm of natural stone surfaces, granite is a bit of a legend. It’s highly durable: heat-, crack- and scratch-resistant. In fact, granite is second only to diamonds in hardness! It’s been in use for structures like buildings and statues for thousands of years. Even today, granite is still commonly found in bridges, buildings, monuments and countless other outdoor applications. When it comes to interiors, granite makes an excellent choice for kitchen countertops, floor tiles, backsplash, mantelpieces and so much more. The stone is not only versatile in its uses, but also comes in a gorgeous array of colors and patterns. Let’s take a closer look:

What is Granite?

Granite is an igneous rock – that is to say, it’s a type of magmatic rock, formed by the slow crystallization of magma below the Earth’s surface. The stone comes in an array of striking colors, including white, pink, grey and black. The color of granite can provide information on its mineralogy and origin. Conversely, the types and amounts of minerals present in granite will determine its color.

The slow, subterranean cooling process behind granite allows for different types of minerals to form at different stages, greatly altering the look of the resulting stone. This is why granite has visible mineral grains. Molten rock that is expelled during a volcanic eruption cools at a much faster rate without allowing time for minerals to form. Extrusive rock, or molten volcanic rock that cools after being expelled above the surface, results in a homogenous stone that does not contain visible mineral grains. The size of mineral grains visible in granite depends on how slowly the molten rock cooled beneath the surface, and thus how much time minerals were given to form.

What Colors Does Granite Come In?

Granite is typically a conglomerate of quartz, mica, feldspar, amphiboles and other trace minerals. Those commonly found in granite and their colors include the following:

  • Quartz – milky white
  • Feldspar – opaque and usually off-white
  • Amphibole – black or dark green
  • Potassium Feldspar – salmon pink
  • Muscovite – yellow or metallic gold
  • Biotite – dark brown or black
  • Garnet – deep red

Different combinations and amounts of these minerals will determine the coloring of the resulting stone. Let’s break down a few common types of granite and what they are made of:

White Granite

Moon White – A white granite gets its color from high quantities of quartz, a milky white mineral, and feldspar, which is an opaque off-white mineral. White granite is likely to also contain darker specks or grains – traces of other minerals like amphibole that did not fully form during the cooling process. Rock that is entirely white without such grains is likely man-made and meant to imitate real granite.

white granite

Pink Granite

High levels of potassium feldspar give Vyara Gold granite a salmon pink coloring, though specks or grains of other minerals like quartz, amphibole or feldspar can often also be seen.

pink granite

Black and White Granite

This is one of the most common types of granite and often makes an appearance in granite countertops. Equal parts quartz (milky white), feldspar (opaque white) and amphibole (dark brown or black) can create a speckled black and white granite similar to Silver Waves.

black and white granite

Red Granite

Granite with high levels of pink potassium feldspar can take on a red coloring. In these cases, the k-feldspar is red, rather than pink as seen in Typhoon Bordeaux. Red coloring in granite can also come from iron oxide in hematite grains or within feldspar. Garnet is another family of minerals that often adds deep red coloring to granite. For example, Moon White Ivory granite is defined by starry yellow and ivory white, accompanied by flecks and spots of gray and burgundy coloring from garnet minerals.

ivory granite

Conclusion

Granite is one of the most popular natural stone surface choices, with colors that result naturally from its mineral content. Aside from its practical advantages, granite has an elegant, timeless aesthetic that can elevate any space for generations to come. If you want to learn more about granite, check out our posts on how to maintain granite countertops, what granite is used for and this one on black granite!

Cosmos Surfaces is a proud supplier of the finest natural stone surfaces available. Contact us today for more information on our range of granite products!

Color of the Month: Lark

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 16-1324, Lark! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Authentic and low-key, Lark is an understated and versatile khaki.”

Appealing to those who appreciate the finer things in life, Black Galaxy is the embodiment of high elegance. Flecks of silver and white shine like diamonds in the foreground, playing the foil to an even-keeled gray-black backdrop. Available in a polished or leathered finish, this wow-worthy natural stone from India is well suited to backsplashes, floors and walls in the kitchen or bathroom.

The How and Why Behind Sealing Soapstone

sealing soapstone

When selecting a surfacing material, it’s important to be in the know about what type of initial treatment and maintenance might be needed to maximize its performance, beauty and longevity. For countertops and other design projects, one vital question is whether or not sealing is required. Ultimately, the answer will depend on the qualities of the chosen material, as well as the specific application. Today, we’re going to focus on soapstone. Given that it’s a popular choice for countertops and other projects, homeowners commonly wonder – does soapstone need to be sealed?

Read on for an in-depth explanation of why the experts at Cosmos Surfaces do NOT recommend sealing soapstone, plus tips on maintaining the natural beauty and shine of this stone over the years.

Does Soapstone Need to Be Sealed? The Answer Explained

Whether soapstone is used for a kitchen countertop, a sink, a backsplash or some other building project, sealing is not necessary. Because this stone is dense and nonporous, it comes naturally equipped with a barrier against liquids and stains. In fact, the stone is composed primarily of hydrophobic talc, which lends it amazing water-repelling properties!

Thanks to its mineral composition and nonporosity, there is no need for soapstone to be sealed to keep moisture, bacteria and food particles from penetrating its surface, as is often required for porous stones such as granite and marble. This makes it a favorable option for homeowners wishing to skip sealing as part of routine maintenance for their countertops.

How to Keep Soapstone Looking Vibrant

Now that we’ve explained the answer to “does soapstone need to be sealed?,” let’s discuss the methods which should be used to maintain this natural stone:

  • Oiling – While soapstone is known for being resistant to staining and chemical etching, its high talc content can make it vulnerable to scratching and chipping. Fortunately, it’s easy to disguise any small scratches which appear on the surface, and to preserve the luster of soapstone. Simply applying a thin coating of food-grade mineral oil to the stone on a regular basis will maintain its sheen and cover up any imperfections. Oiling will also speed up the natural oxidation process, thus darkening the stone’s color uniformly across the surface and highlighting its unique beauty.
  • Cleaning – After treating your soapstone with mineral oil, we recommend using a mild cleanser to remove any excess oil. For everyday cleaning, a quick wipe down with soap and water will typically do the trick to keep the stone looking fresh. A stiff-bristled brush may also be used to scrub away any stubborn spots on a soapstone sink.

For more information on the benefits of soapstone and how it is best maintained, check out our previous post on this topic!

Will Soapstone Stand the Test of Time?

When properly maintained using the methods described above, soapstone will hold up well even in a high-traffic kitchen. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that this surfacing material is not quite as hardwearing as certain other natural stones. Whereas granite is highly resistant to chips, gouges and scratches, soapstone is a bit softer and thus more vulnerable to damage.

The good news is that repairing any signs of minor wear and tear is well within reach for homeowners who are willing to take on basic DIY repair jobs. As previously mentioned, mineral oil is highly effective for disguising the minor scratches that abrasives can leave behind on soapstone.

For more prominent marks, fine grain sandpaper can be used to restore the smoothness and uniformity of the stone. And for chips and gouges, a simple filling mixture of epoxy and stone chips will bring the surface back to a like-new appearance. While you may be tempted to do these fixes on your own, leaving a professional to sandpaper or fill the gouges in your countertop will guarantee a good end result. Be sure to consult your installer/fabricator for specific instructions on how to repair any damage that happens to your soapstone surface.

Partner with Cosmos Surfaces to Find the Perfect Stone Surface for Your Project

Are you curious to learn more about soapstone and find out if it’s an ideal choice for the project you are planning? Count on the stone specialists at Cosmos Surfaces for professional advice and the highest quality materials! Our vast natural stone collection features several elegant varieties of soapstone, including black, grey and jade. Feel free to browse our stunning selection on our website, and reach out to us anytime for expert assistance.

Color of the Month: Classic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-4052, Classic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A boundless blue hue, Classic Blue is evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky opening us up to a world of possibilities.”

Tranquil, calming, and peaceful – this is what Beverly Blue brings to mind. Gold and silver cutting through a blue so soft it’s nearly gray, Beverly Blue resembles the icy wall of a glacier. The gentle tones of Beverly Blue look great installed as kitchen countertops, especially next to striking blacks and stainless steel. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Future-proofing Your Investment: To Do and Not To Do

future proof

When it comes to natural stone care and maintenance, regular attention goes a long way. A natural stone surface is an investment that can last for many years. If properly cared for, it can last for generations! In this post, we look at what you can do to future-proof your investment, and what to avoid.

Natural stone can be classified as either siliceous stone, or calcareous stone. It’s important to know which category your stone surfaces fall under, as each requires its own approach to cleaning and maintenance.

Siliceous Stone

Stone in this category is mainly composed of silica or quartz-like particles. Siliceous stone types include granite and quartzite. These stones tend to be durable and easy-to-clean with mild, acidic solutions.

Calcareous Stone

Stone in this category is mainly composed of calcium carbonate. Marble, limestone and onyx are all calcareous stone types and require a different approach to cleaning than siliceous stone types. Notably, they are sensitive to acidic cleaning products.

Aside from understanding which category your stone surface falls under, there’s plenty you can do for all types of surfaces to protect your investment from the wear and tear of daily life. Let’s take a look:

DO:

  • Do know what type of stone you have
  • Do clean spills immediately
  • Do seal stone when needed
  • Do use coasters and placemats
  • Do use trivets and cooling racks
  • Do place non-slip mats and area rugs on stone flooring
  • Do clean frequently with mild detergent or appropriate stone soap
  • Do rinse with clean water and dry your surfaces thoroughly after cleaning
  • Do consult with manufacturers for proper care instructions

DON’T:

  • Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice or acidic cleaners on calcareous stone like marble, limestone or onyx
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners
  • Don’t use acidic cleaners such as tub and tile cleaners, bathroom cleaners or grout cleaners on natural stone
  • Don’t place hot pots, pans, trays or plates directly on stone
  • Don’t allow water to collect on the surface for long periods of time
  • Don’t mix bleach and ammonia when cleaning (this creates a toxic, lethal gas)
  • Don’t mix chemical cleaners unless instructed to do so by the product directions
  • Don’t use an old vacuum on stone surfaces, or even a new model without extreme caution – a vacuum’s attachments or wheels can scratch stone flooring

Next, let’s look at general cleaning guidelines for countertops, floors, bathrooms/wet areas, and outdoor surfaces:

Countertops

Clean countertops regularly with a few drops of mild detergent, appropriate stone cleaner or a neutral cleaner and warm water. It’s best to use a soft cloth and stay away from scouring powders and creams, as these contain abrasives. Keep in mind that acidic food and drinks can etch and dull the surface of calcareous stone types. Take extra care when working with such food and drink, and blot spills up immediately.

Flooring

When it comes to natural stone flooring, trekked-in dirt, sand and grit can damage your surface with scratches. You can minimize these effects by placing non-slip mats and rugs near entrances to catch outdoor debris. Carpeted runners that extend from each outside door into the home can aid in cleaning and drying foot soles before they reach stone flooring. For outdoor flooring, be sure to remove standing water, ice or snow as soon as possible.

To clean flooring, dust mop floors frequently using a dry dust mop. Wash floors with clean water and appropriate neutral cleaners, then rinse thoroughly, dry floors with a soft cloth and allow to air dry completely before resuming use.

Bathrooms and Wet Areas

Soap scum tends to accumulate in these areas and can be removed with a squeegee and non-acidic soap scum remover. A solution of ammonia and water can also be used, but keep in mind that using ammonia frequently can dull the surface.

Outdoor Pool and Patio Areas

Flush these areas with clean water to get rid of dust and debris. A mild bleach solution can be used to remove algae or moss growth, but it’s important to ensure you can use bleach on your type of stone. When in doubt, always check with your manufacturer or supplier!

Natural Stone Care and Maintenance: Conclusion

Take good care of your natural stone surfaces and they will reward you with generations of elegance and beauty. For more cleaning and maintenance tips, take a look at these posts from our blog:

If you have any questions about the care and maintenance of natural stone, reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We bring decades of expertise to the table, and our team of experts is always happy to answer questions about future-proofing your beautiful investments.

Color of the Month: Classic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 19-4052, Classic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “A boundless blue hue, Classic Blue is evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky opening us up to a world of possibilities.”

Java Blue - Blue Quartzite 4

Java Blue is a compilation of several blues and soft crystal colors. Primarily a calming light blue, Java Blue is cut through with streaks and spots of navy and gold. Upon closer inspection, the crystals are apparent and beautiful. Java Blue is great for aquatic environments and looks great poolside as a fountain, waterfall, or exterior countertop. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched

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