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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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

How to Choose the Perfect Stone Finish

perfect stone finish

In our last blog, we talked about the different types of stone finishes and how they are created. When choosing between stone finishes, the biggest deciding factors include the location and application of the stone surface. Each finish also creates its own look and texture, which can go a long way toward building a desired aesthetic. In this post, we’ll recap the main features of common stone finishes and provide a guide to their various applications.

Polished Stone Finishes

Features:

  • The most common finish
  • Glossy, mirror-like shine
  • Provides a classy, sophisticated look
  • Reflects light and does not change or hide the true colors and qualities of the stone
  • Provides a smooth work surface
  • Protects the stone against spills and stains
  • Easy to clean

Applications:

  • Countertops – Polished stone is a popular choice for countertops, as it creates a beautiful, elegant look, draws attention to the stone without distorting its properties and creates a smooth, less porous work surface resistant to moisture and staining. In addition, polished finishes make countertops easy to wipe down!
  • Flooring – This finish can also be used for flooring to create an elegant, formal look.

Honed Finishes

Features:

  • Provides less shine/gloss than a polished surface
  • Has a muted, softer look
  • Retains the character of the stone
  • May not show color and texture as well a polished finish does
  • Provides a smooth work surface

Applications:

  • Countertops and Backsplashes – Honed finishes, especially honed granite, work well for countertops, as they provide a smooth work surface. They may not show the true color and qualities of the stone as well as a polished surface does, but they retain the essential character of the stone. A honed finish creates a muted, softer look which can give your space a relaxed, casual feel without sacrificing the elegance of the stone.
  • Flooring – A honed finish leaves the stone less slippery than a polished surface does, which makes it a good choice for flooring. The less reflective surface can also help conceal flaws and evidence of wearing due to foot traffic, such as scratches or scuff marks.

Leathered Finishes

Features:

  • Also known as a “brushed” finish
  • Not glossy and has little to no shine
  • Has more depth than a honed finish
  • Shows less staining, scratches and fingerprints than a polished surface
  • Does not have a smooth surface
  • May be more difficult to clean due to natural pits and fissures

Applications:

  • Bar Tops and Fireplace Surrounds – A leathered finish makes for a lovely room accent in the form of a bar top or fireplace surround. Its depth and more matte appearance looks beautiful under lower lighting conditions.
  • Bathrooms – The textured surface of a leathered finish makes it less slippery, which is a desirable characteristic in spaces like bathrooms.

Tumbled Finishes

Features:

  • Leaves edges of stone rough and chipped, creating a weathered, aged look
  • Does not have a smooth finish
  • Hides signs of wear and tear

Applications:

  • Flooring – The aged, distressed look of a tumbled finish can hide signs of wear and tear in high traffic areas and create a rustic, charming appearance.
  • Bathrooms – This textured finish leaves surfaces less slippery, which works well in bathrooms.
  • Backsplash – A tumbled finish can be used with backsplash to create a rustic, charming look and feel.

Bush Hammered Finishes

Features:

  • Creates a bumpy surface
  • Can be fine or coarse, with extreme or shallow grooves

Applications:

  • Walls or Flooring – This finish works well for walls or flooring and can be used for both interior and exterior surfaces.

Flamed Finishes

Features:

  • Textured, slightly bumpy surface
  • Can lighten the stone and create a natural, faded appearance

Applications:

  • Outdoors – This finish creates a non-slip surface and works well for outdoor applications like exterior walls, floors and pavers. It would be an excellent choice for an outdoor kitchen.

Sandblasted Finishes

Features:

  • Silky, matte finish
  • Can be coarse, which creates a lighter finish, or fine, which leaves a darker finish

Applications:

  • Monuments, Artwork and Gravestones – Sandblasted stone has tiny craters in its surface, which creates the matte, silky appearance often sought after for monument work, artwork, statues and gravestones.

A Note on Maintenance

The porosity of a stone plays a role in its ability to resist moisture and staining. A polished finish typically seals most pores in the stone, making it easy to clean and less susceptible to staining and moisture damage. Honed surfaces are more porous and may take on dark spots or staining more easily when exposed to moisture or certain foods, spices and drinks. Textured finishes can be slightly more difficult to clean, as they feature pits, fissures and grooves which can collect dust, moisture and staining agents. However, a regular quick wipe down of any natural stone makes cleaning much easier over time.

Stone Type

It’s important to note not all types of natural stone can accept all types of finishes. Depending on the specific stone, it might be wise to reach out to a manufacturer about which finishes are suitable. Here’s a quick guide:

stone chart

If you have questions about stone finishes and their applications, please reach out to Cosmos Surfaces today! We offer a wide selection of stunning natural stone and our team of experts is always happy to help.

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.”

Alpine Blue - Blue Granite

Alpine Blue granite is the definition of understated sophistication. Exquisite flashes of olive oil gold and deep indigo unfold across a canvas of speckled cream in this magnificent natural stone from India. Ground your home or commercial space by adding Alpine Blue to your countertops, floors or other parts of the property.

Everything You Need to Know About Stone Finishes

types of stone

Incorporating a naturally occurring stone such as granite, marble or onyx into your home design is a nod to our planet’s sublime beauty. While all kinds of natural stone are awe-inspiringly beautiful, each has its own distinct properties and intricacies. Depending on the look and mood you are aspiring to create – as well as the particular application – a certain kind of natural stone may stand out as being the most ideal for your project. Once you choose a stone, there are different types of stone finishes available for your consideration. Let’s explore the options and discuss how the finish you select will help define your natural stone design.

The Different Types of Stone Finishes

First things first, we’d like to introduce the types of stone finishes you can choose from when making a design statement with natural stone:

  • Sandblasted – As the name implies, sandblasting involves the application of a high-pressure stream of water mixed with sand. Reminiscent of a sand dune, a sandblasted stone surface appears rough yet clean thanks to the uniform texture. As a result of this treatment, the natural color and pattern of the stone are ever-so-subtly softened.
  • Flamed – Also known as a thermal finish, flamed stone has a semi-rough texture. A high-temperature torch is used to create this non-slip, coarsely textured finish.
  • Tumbled – A tumbled finish leaves the edges of stone artfully rough and chipped, creating a weathered, aged look. This can hide signs of wear and tear in outdoor and high traffic areas.
  • Brushed/Leathered – A brushed, leathered, or “antiqued” finish is achieved by etching the stone’s surface using tools such as a wire brush. While the surface appears well-worn and weathered, it is pleasantly smooth to the touch – especially when combined with a flamed or sandblasted finish.
  • Natural Cleft – For certain stone applications such as cladding and paving, a natural cleft finish may be appropriate. No additional materials are applied for this finish, meaning the stone retains its uneven surface and the natural ridge which occurs when it is extracted from the earth.
  • Polished – To polish natural stone, the surface is mechanically rubbed with diamond pads until a shiny layer is revealed. This finish puts the stone’s natural veining and color on full display.
  • Honed – A honed finish is matte and non-reflective, lending the stone a clean and modern look. The process behind it involves the use of abrasives to grind and sand the stone’s surface down to an even, non-glossy finish.
  • Bush Hammered – A bush hammer is a masonry tool which looks similar to a meat tenderizer. When used on natural stone, this device creates a rough, rustic looking texture with plentiful ridges and pockets.

Selecting the Right Stone Finish for Your Application

As you can imagine, the natural stone finish you choose will have a significant impact on how the final product turns out. But keep in mind: When comparing the various options, it’s important to think about more than just appearance. Functionality should also be taken into account to ensure the finish you opt for is truly a good fit for your desired application.

For instance, a polished finish is probably not the best choice for flooring, as it may create a slipping hazard. In this case, it would be more appropriate to choose a non-slip option, such as a brushed or honed finish. These finishes preserve the vibrant appearance of the stone while also offering protection against slips.

Want more information on the many types of stone finishes and which ones are best for certain uses? Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will go into depth on how to choose the perfect stone finish for your project!

Explore Stone Finishes with the Specialists at Cosmos Surfaces

Thanks to modern technology and engineering, there are numerous types of stone finishes available to give your surfacing project a custom look and feel. At Cosmos Surfaces, we have years of experience helping homeowners choose the right material and finish for their design project.

Browse our selection of dazzling natural stone, which includes quartzite, granite, marble, onyx, soap stone and schist. If you’d like to learn more about a certain material or discuss which finish is best for your application and design goals, our experts will be happy to help. Reach out to us anytime!

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.”

Quarried in Brazil, Bacural is a transfixing granite featuring marbled gray patches and golden honey veins liquefying across a bed of speckled eggshell, moss green and gunmetal gray. This audacious stone is an ideal pick for tub surrounds and fireplaces, as well as countertops and backsplashes.

The Art of Bookmatching Natural Stone

bookmatching stone

Of the many different ways natural stone is used, perhaps the most magnificent and eye-catching effect is accomplished through a process known as bookmatching. This technique can be used to highlight any stone with strong veining and a plentiful amount of movement, and it works particularly well with marble. You may be wondering: What is bookmatched marble, and what is the appeal of adorning a surface with bookmatched natural stone? Cosmos Surfaces is here to give you an in-depth look at the art of bookmatching and why it has become a major design trend.

What Is Bookmatching & How Is It Done?

The process of bookmatching is designed to create a mirror effect with consecutive slabs of natural stone. As the name suggests, bookmatching is done by placing successive pieces of stone next to one another so that they resemble an open book.

In order to produce the desired mirror image effect with marble or another natural stone, large blocks of stone are sliced into slabs and polished on the two sides that were previously facing each other. This method creates stone slabs which are virtual copies of each other, resulting in an astonishing kaleidoscopic pattern when they are arranged side by side.

What Is Bookmatched Marble?

Now that we’ve introduced bookmatching, let’s move on to the next question: What is bookmatched marble, and why is it so popular? As mentioned above, marble is a type of natural stone that is incredibly capable of creating an effective and inspiring bookmatched design. This is because most varieties of marble feature very prominent veining and flowing linear movement in their pattern. Plus, the hues in marble tend to be on the more subdued end of the spectrum, meaning the pattern won’t become overwhelming if mirrored.

bookmatched marble

Aside from marble, certain varieties of granite, quartzite and other natural stone can also be bookmatched to create uniquely stunning works of abstract art. Ultimately, the pattern and coloring of a stone will be the main determining factors in whether it is a logical choice for bookmatching. Beyond this, it comes down to your personal design style and what level of flair you’re looking to achieve in your space.

Where Might Bookmatched Stone Be Used?

Regardless of which variety is chosen, the goal of adding bookmatched natural stone to a space is to create a dramatic effect. Thus, many homeowners prefer to use it for larger areas so that the pattern has a prime opportunity to shine. Applications for which bookmatched stone may be a good fit include:

  • Shower walls
  • Accent walls
  • Large kitchen islands
  • Bar tops or tables
  • Fireplaces
  • Water features

If you are seeking to use bookmatched natural stone or porcelain for a certain application, it is important to consider the properties of the various kinds of natural stone to figure out which will work best for your purposes. When planning a bookmatched stone design for a high-traffic application such as a kitchen island, for instance, you might favor quartzite over marble, as the former tends to be more hardwearing.

Work with Cosmos Surfaces to Forge a Natural Stone Masterpiece

Perhaps you are interested in exploring the endless design possibilities afforded by bookmatched natural stone, or maybe you are looking for a less ornate option for your project. Either way, it is vital to work with a reputable surfacing material supplier to ensure a seamless finished product.

The design professionals at Cosmos Surfaces have the experience and know-how needed to help you find the optimal material for your application – whether you’re renovating a kitchen, modernizing a bathroom or working on some other project. Whatever the application, we are committed to providing the highest quality surfacing materials, plus helpful resources and unmatched customer service. Browse our extensive selection of natural stone for inspiration and brainstorming purposes, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

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.”

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, long lasting countertop.

Using Geology to Understand Variations in Quartzite

geology quartzite

One of the reasons we love natural stone is because it’s, well, natural. Variations in the color, texture, and pattern of stone are all part of the appeal.

But these variations can cause some confusion, too. Some people describe quartzite as bulletproof, while others report staining issues. How can that be true if they are both quartzite?

Quartzite, like any other natural material, has a range of traits. Not every quartzite deposit is the same, and understanding what creates differences between types of quartzite can make shopping much less confusing. Let’s take a little walk through geologic time and get a glimpse of how different quartzites are formed.

Precursor to All Types of Quartzite: Sandstone

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock, which means it used to be some other rock before it became quartzite. Quartzite’s  “parent rock” was sandstone. I’ll give you exactly one guess what sandstone is made of. (Hint: sand) Water or wind carries sand to places like beaches, deserts, or riverbeds. When the sand gets buried by new layers, it becomes compressed and stuck together to form a solid rock. Some sandstones are very porous because the sand grains have not been squeezed together all that much. But if the sandstone gets buried deeply, then it can become tightly compressed. This means the stone will have lower porosity and absorb less water. An example of this being Wild Sea Green.

Sandstone + Heat + Pressure = Grainy Quartzite

If a sandstone layer gets pushed deeper down into the Earth, it gets squeezed together more tightly while also becoming hotter. This can happen when a whole region gets compressed, like what’s happening now in the Himalayas or the Alps. Below those mountain ranges, rocks are getting shoved down into Earth’s crust, where they endure torturously hot conditions.

The heat doesn’t melt the stone, but it does fuse the sand grains together. The original sand particles grow into each other and form an interlocking texture, much like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. This solid fabric of stone is less porous than sandstone.

This category of quartzite could be called “grainy quartzite” because it’s on the lightly-metamorphosed end of the spectrum. In some cases, the original patterns and textures from the sandstone precursor are still visible. Some examples being Mykonos, Vento Cinza and White Macaubus.

These types of quartzite need regular sealing, with particular attention to the edges of the slab after it’s been fabricated.

Keep Heating Quartzite 🡪 Crystalline Quartzite

If the heat and pressure get dialed up even more, the rock changes again. Any resemblance to sandstone is wiped out, and the whole stone becomes dense and crystalline. As you might guess, crystalline quartzites are less porous than grainy quartzites.

A very well-known example of a crystalline quartzite is Taj Mahal, a stone that is beloved by homeowners and feared by fabricators. Taj Mahal’s dense structure makes it a challenge to work with, but a delight to own. Other examples of such quartzites include Madreperola, Cielo and Cristallo.

Cristallo - White Quartzite 4

As a stone changes from sand grains to sandstone to quartzite to crystalline quartzite, the only aspect of the stone that changes is its texture. The grains are getting more tightly packed together and the pore spaces between the grains get smaller. The rock’s composition – quartz – stays the same throughout all of those changes. So each of these stones will be similarly resistant to scratching and etching.

On the Verge of Melting -> Mixed Stone Quartzite

We all have our limits. For the mineral quartz, that limit occurs at 3000 degrees (F), at which point quartz starts to melt. If a rock is made entirely of quartz, the whole thing will melt and it will become liquid magma. But if the stone is made of a mixture of different types of minerals, the quartz melts before the other minerals in the same way that chocolate chips melt before the other ingredients of trail mix.

So a rock that’s brought to the verge of melting will have pockets of melted quartz, while the other minerals in the rock won’t melt. Often these rocks have been squeezed to the point of distortion, which produces phenomenal patterns.  The melted quartz forms white ribbons that run through the stone, making it lively and dynamic like we see in Botticelli, Fusion Supreme, Phoenix Blue and Cardinal Red.

Fusion Supreme - Multi Quartzite

Geologists call this rock ‘migmatite,’ meaning ‘mixed rock,’ because it’s part igneous, and part metamorphic. It’s also singularly beautiful, very strong, and has low porosity.

Hopefully this stroll through the Earth’s inner workings helps illuminate how different types of quartzite can look and act differently from each other, even when they are the same general type of stone. The more you know, the easier it is to appreciate which one might be right for you.

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.”

Oppenheimer is an explosion of color. Greys, whites, and silvers meet a deep and inviting blue to create a pop of personality in this Brazilian quartzite. Sparkling, striking, beautiful, and bold, Oppenheimer will bring life to any space. It looks great as kitchen and bathroom countertops, bathtub surrounds, and vanity counters. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

DIY Grout Sealing and Maintenance

diy grout sealing

Last week, we talked about sealing natural stone. This week, we’re talking about sealing the grout that surrounds it! We provide our best tips on how to apply grout sealer to keep the grout around your wall and floor tiles looking fresh and new – not to mention the added bonus of making cleaning a breeze.

Does Grout Really Need to be Sealed?

Grout seals the joints between tiles like wall or floor tiles, or the backsplash often found in kitchens and bathrooms. It typically consists of a mixture of water, cement and sand, which results in a porous material, prone to absorbing grease, oils and water. This can lead to damage and discoloration over time, which can detract from the look of your tiles, no matter how diligently you clean them.

Sealing grout, and re-sealing as needed, prevents it from soaking up moisture and taking on stains. It can also make the difference between a cleaning routine that requires vigorous scrubbing, and one that simply requires wiping the surface down.

Prepare Grout for Sealing

Before applying sealer, you’ll want to ensure you’ve cleaned the surface thoroughly and repaired any cracks or chips in the grout lines. To clean, scrub grout lines with a toothbrush and soapy water, or use a 50-50 vinegar and warm water solution to tackle stains. Allow the surface to dry for at least 45 minutes before sealing.

Choosing a Sealer

Choosing an appropriate sealer depends on the type of tile and its location. The amount of moisture a sealer can tolerate will also factor in. If sealer is being applied in a high moisture area, like a shower, you’ll want to choose a sealer that can tolerate high levels of moisture. Carefully read labels to ensure a sealer is safe and appropriate to use on the tiles in your space, or contact a manufacturer for guidance.

Sealers generally come in two categories: penetrating sealers, and membrane-forming sealers:

  • Penetrating Sealers: These sealers penetrate the grout, filling in gaps to keep moisture out. Penetrating sealers work well in high moisture areas like bathrooms, making them an excellent choice for showers.
  • Membrane-forming Sealers: These sealers form a protective film or coating on the surface to resist water penetration. While they work well in the kitchen, they are not recommended for use in very high moisture areas, as water can become trapped under the surface and lead to mildew. Membrane-forming sealers also often feature pigments, which can alter the grout color. It’s important to note that these sealers work on unglazed tile, like stone, but will not adhere to glazed tiles, like most ceramics.

Sealer Applicators

While aerosol spray-on sealers are both common and convenient, they may not always be best suited to your situation. For a surface with unsealed tiles and thin grout lines, using a sponge makes it easy to seal large areas by wiping over both surfaces. In situations where you are sealing grout between glazed tiles (to which the sealer won’t adhere), you’ll want to use an applicator brush or specialty applicator bottle to only seal the grout lines.

How to Apply Grout Sealer

  • Apply sealer methodically, working in small areas at a time and moving from one end to the other, such as from left to right, to ensure consistency.
  • Use a dry cloth to wipe off excess sealer, removing it from the tile before it dries. Sealer can leave a foggy film on tiles which can be difficult to remove once dry. Carefully read product labels or consult a manufacturer to ensure that your tiles are protected.
  • Allow the first coat to dry for at least an hour before applying a second coat. It generally takes up to three coats to ensure protection. You can test your grout by applying a few drops of water. If the water beads up on the surface, the sealer is doing its job. If not, repeat the process.
  • Allow the space to dry completely before use. Some sealers can take up to 48 hours to cure, so be sure to check the product label or consult a manufacturer for appropriate curing times.
  • Re-seal grout as needed. This can vary based on factors like the location of the tiles and grout, the level of moisture present and the brand of sealer used.
  • Once grout has been sealed, cleaning can be as simple as wiping down the surface with soapy water (or a cleaner that is safe to use on your tile) as needed.

We hope you find this guide on how to apply grout sealer helpful! 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: 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.”

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.

Ceramic vs. Porcelain: What’s the Difference?

ceramic vs porcelain

Both porcelain and ceramic tile are in high demand for contemporary kitchen and bathroom renovation projects. Considering how similar they are in appearance – and the fact that their uses often overlap – it’s no wonder why many people use the terms “ceramic” and “porcelain” interchangeably when describing tile. However, it’s important to note that each surfacing material has its own distinct characteristics. This can make one more suitable than the other for certain projects. So, what is the difference between porcelain and ceramic tile? Cosmos Surfaces is here to explain everything that sets the two apart, once and for all.

What Is the Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile?

To understand what makes ceramic and porcelain dissimilar, it’s only logical to start with the materials and methods used to construct them. While ceramic is made from various colors of clay, porcelain consists of a combination of white clay, feldspar and sand. Another important difference: higher temperatures are used to fire porcelain than ceramic.

These differences in how the surfacing materials are made end up influencing their properties. In their final forms, here are the main areas in which ceramic and porcelain differ:

  • Density & Porosity – Owing to the materials and high temperatures used to make it, porcelain tile is more dense and hardwearing than ceramic. It is also less porous, meaning it doesn’t absorb as much water.
  • Ease of Use – The downside of porcelain’s higher density is that it can be more difficult to work with. In addition, some homeowners may perceive it as being a bit too hard to the touch. Ceramic is softer and easier to cut/shape, while still being impressively durable.
  • Cost – Generally speaking, ceramic tile tends to be more affordable than porcelain. This could give ceramic an edge over porcelain for larger projects and renovations on a budget.
  • Design Options – Both ceramic and porcelain tile come in a range of breathtaking styles. But if you’re looking for a more intricate and unique design, you might have better luck finding it in ceramic. Ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer.
  • Suitability for Interior/Exterior Projects – The higher density of porcelain makes it a favorable choice for projects both inside and outside of the home. On the other hand, ceramic tile is approved for interior use only.

Choosing the Right Type of Tile for Your Project

Hopefully, you now feel clear on the answer to “what is the difference between porcelain and ceramic?” As you can see, finding the right type of tile for your project means considering numerous factors, including your application, style preferences and budget. Let’s summarize where porcelain and ceramic tiles are best used:

  • Porcelain is durable enough to be installed both indoors and out. It is capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic in applications like residential or commercial flooring. Furthermore, it performs well in environments with high moisture and some are even rated to be frost proof, making it a standout choice for shower walls and floors, countertops, exterior wall cladding and more.
  • Ceramic is suitable for interior walls, backsplashes and floors that receive low foot traffic. Typically more cost effective and easier to work with than porcelain, it is a resilient and budget-friendly material that’s available in an endless variety of stunning styles.

One important benefit of both materials: whether you choose ceramic or porcelain tile for your project, you will enjoy easy maintenance. Consult our guide to cleaning porcelain tile to learn how to keep tile surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom pristine. The recommended upkeep for ceramic tile is very similar! Once you’ve chosen your tiles, you can also find helpful advice on choosing the right tile grout color on our blog.

Count On Cosmos Surfaces for Durable & Delightful Porcelain Tile

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to provide an extensive array of surfacing options, including our OPULITH large format porcelain tile collection. Our remarkable selection has something for every taste and design project. Those who wish to invite luxury into their home might consider Taj Mahal, an iridescent champagne porcelain that entrances and intrigues.

Our highly trained team members are standing by, ready to assist you on your quest for the ideal surfacing material to complete your project. Known for our exceptional customer service and competitive pricing, Cosmos Surfaces is dedicated to helping you make your design dreams a reality. To request professional assistance from our industry experts, reach out to us today.

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.”

Azul Bahia is a type of granite which takes its name from the place where it is sourced — the state of Bahia, Brazil. With veins of sparkling white, black and gray interspersed between the azure, this beautiful polished stone seems otherworldly. Use Blue Bahia to add a breathtaking pop of color to fireplaces, countertops, showers, floors and other surfaces.

A Designer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Porcelain Tile Grout Colors

designers guide porcelain

Porcelain tile is a terrific choice for a wide range of projects in the kitchen and bathroom. A low-maintenance surfacing material that ranks high on the style scale, porcelain tile is available in a broad selection of colors and styles. Whether you’d like to add pizzazz to your bathroom floor with hexagonal tile or refresh your kitchen with a subway tile backsplash, you’ll need to choose a color for your tile and the surrounding grout. So, how should you go about narrowing down your options for tile grout colors to land on one that suits your application and room aesthetics? The design experts at Cosmos Surfaces are here to share a few must-know guidelines to help you make a winning choice.

Why Do Tile Grout Colors Matter?

Before we dive into our pro tips for finding your ideal shade among the many available tile grout colors, we’d first like to emphasize why this choice is so important. While it may seem relatively insignificant, the shade you select for your tile grout will actually play a major role in how the finished product turns out. Regardless of application, taking a thoughtful approach to choosing your grout color is key to ensure you are totally satisfied with the look of your completed tile installation.

Selecting a Complementary Grout Color for Your Porcelain Tile Installation

While there are no set-in-stone rules when it comes to picking out tile grout colors, following some general guidelines can help you achieve your desired look – and make a decision you’ll be happy with for years to come. Without further ado, let’s explore some tips and tricks for selecting a grout color that pairs beautifully with your porcelain tile choice:

Think about your desired design effect

To start, decide what you aim to accomplish in your design scheme. Are you looking to make a bold statement, or does a more traditional look appeal to you? If your goal is to highlight the shape of your tile and make your design stand out, choosing a contrasting grout color will best achieve this goal. A lighter grout will make dark tile pop, and vice versa. If you desire a more unified look, opt for a grout color that closely matches the tile. Don’t worry about finding an exact match, though – a shade that’s a bit lighter or darker than your tile will pull everything together nicely.

Be prepared for possible color variation

Keep in mind that grout powders like tiles are made in batches and can vary slightly from batch to batch. The grout color will also change slightly when water or other components are added during installation and when a sealer is applied to the grout post installation. A tile professional can offer advice on what to expect for  normal color variation of your grout during and post installation, given the type of grout. They can also show you grout samples to help you envision how different tile grout colors will look in your design setting. Remember to factor in slight color variations from grout samples to the actual grout as well.

Consider your application

While porcelain tile is known for its outstanding resilience, the grout which outlines the individual tiles can darken over time – especially when used for high-traffic applications such as flooring. With this in mind, it’s wise to choose a darker grout to begin with if installing tile in an area that gets frequent use.

As you compare tile grout colors, keep these expert tips in mind – but remember there’s no right or wrong choice! Ultimately, the best selection for your project will depend on your personal taste and what effect you are hoping to evoke with your tile design.

Look to Cosmos Surfaces for Personalized Assistance

When planning a project that incorporates tile, there is plenty of inspiration to be found online. Browse our porcelain tile archives to see examples of how you might combine tile with various grout colors to enhance your kitchen or bathroom design.

Among the elegant porcelain tile options available from Cosmos Surfaces is Apilar White, a stunning bright white porcelain with vertical gray veining. As you’ll see in our photo gallery, both light and dark grout can complement this versatile tile selection, depending on the surrounding design elements and the desired aesthetic.

With a reputation for providing exceptional customer service and top-quality porcelain products, Cosmos Surfaces is dedicated to helping you make your porcelain tile project a success. Our knowledgeable team members are here to assist you every step of the way, from choosing a compatible tile grout shade to obtaining beautiful, long-lasting porcelain for your project. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to us today!

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

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.

All About Sealing Natural Stone: Where, When, and Why

sealing stone

Sealing your floors, countertops, and other surfaces is the best way to future-proof your investment in natural stone. However, there are a number of things to know before you go ahead and start sealing! In this post, Cosmos Surfaces will tell you all the ins and outs of sealing natural stone.

Factors to Consider Before Sealing Natural Stone

Some natural stone surfaces don’t need to be sealed. Here are some factors that can help determine whether a stone needs to be sealed at all:

  • The porosity of the stone and how fast it will absorb liquids
  • The durability, density and hardness of the stone
  • Type of finish applied to the surface – a polished surface, for example, is more resistant to staining than a honed or leathered surface and might provide adequate protection
  • How frequently the stone will be exposed to staining agents
  • Whether resin has been applied to the surface (some sealers can react negatively with resin)
  • The location of the stone – interior vs. exterior, countertop, wall, floor, etc.

In the next section, we’ll break down the types of stone surfaces and whether or not they generally need to be sealed. Best practices can still differ even between different styles of the same type of stone, so it’s always best to check with your supplier for specific instructions.

Sealing by Type of Natural Stone

  • Granite: Granite is durable and naturally resists water, but it is also porous. Sealing granite makes it easier to clean and protects against stains and spills. Impregnating sealers work best on granite.
  • Marble: Due to porosity and susceptibility to staining and etching, marble requires more attention than some other stones when it comes to maintenance. Like with granite, an impregnating sealer works best to protect many types of marble and will need to be reapplied as directed by the brand of sealer or your installer.
  • Quartzite: The hardness of quartzite helps it resist scratching and etching, but it is still susceptible to staining. Impregnating sealers can last longer than topical sealers, which can wear away quickly.
  • Schist: Schist has a lower abrasion rating than some of its harder counterparts, like granite. This makes it more susceptible to scratching, while certain substances can also stain schist. Schist countertops should be well sealed for protection.
  • Onyx: Onyx requires special care to protect and maintain, and sealing is paramount. Onyx surfaces are typically sealed upon installation and re-sealed at regular intervals. Consult a professional about sealing onyx and setting up a proper maintenance plan.
  • Soap Stone: Soap stone is non-porous and doesn’t require a sealer. Applying a thin layer of mineral oil regularly will help retain its shine and cover any scratches.

Types of Sealers

Now that you know which surfaces need to be sealed, it’s time to learn about different types of sealers. Sealers come in two varieties: topical/coatings, and impregnators.

Topical Sealers/Coatings

Topical sealers/coatings are designed to form a film on the surface of the stone. These sealers can be classified into two types: strippable and permanent. Strippable sealers can be stripped or removed from the stone, while permanent sealers are very difficult to remove and are typically not recommended for natural stone. Since topical sealers form a film on the surface that is less durable than the stone underneath, your maintenance approach might need to shift to caring for the sealant. As an example, you might have a stone surface which is resistant to scratching, but once a topical sealer is applied, you will need to be mindful of scratching the sealer itself. In this instance, applying a topical sealer can negate some of the benefits of your chosen stone surface – this all depends on your needs, of course.

The advantages of topical sealers/coatings:

    • The initial cost is relatively low
    • They are fairly easy to apply
    • It provides a protective layer to take on wear and tear
    • Topical sealers can add luster to your stone
    • Certain products provide slip resistance

The disadvantages of topical sealers/coatings:

    • They can alter the texture and finish of the stone
    • It creates a layer less durable than stone, which can scratch, scuff and show signs of wear and tear – frequent buffing, burnishing or reapplication can help with this issue
    • Some coatings need frequent stripping and reapplication. It’s important to note that some of the chemicals and abrasives used during this process can damage the stone underneath, or react with the polyester resin binders that agglomerate stones often contain
    • Coatings can build up over time, creating a wavy, plastic-like appearance
    • Lower quality coatings can turn yellow, especially if the surface is exposed to UV light
    • Some coatings can restrict the “breathing” capability of a stone, trapping moisture below the surface and causing spalling (flaking)
    • Some sealers can react with cleaning chemicals or components within the stone
    • You will need to ensure a topical sealer applied to a countertop is safe for food use
    • Topical sealers are generally not recommended for use on exterior stone, as they can trap moisture, which can be detrimental for the stone during freeze/thaw cycles

Impregnating Sealers

This type of sealant penetrates below the surface of the stone and acts as a repellent. Some impregnating sealers are hydrophobic, which means they repel water, water-based chemicals and water-based liquids like fruit juices, soda, coffee and so forth. Oleophobic impregnators repel BOTH water and oil-based liquids like grease, cooking oil and body oils. It’s important to note that some products are labeled “oil-resistant” rather than “oil-repellent” – there is a difference, as “oil-resistant” impregnators only slow the absorption of oil into the stone, while “oil-repellent” products prevent oils from entering the stone at all.

The advantages of impregnating sealers:

    • “Breathable,” which means they keep contaminants out while allowing for vapor transmission and for interior moisture to escape
    • Typically don’t change the appearance of the stone
    • Don’t usually require frequent reapplications
    • Typically hydrophobic, while some are oleophobic as well
    • Usually unaffected by UV light

The disadvantages of impregnating sealers:

    • Solvent-based impregnators produce potentially noxious and flammable vapors during application, and some varieties are harmful to the environment (for this reason, the use of these varieties is restricted in certain states). Some water-based impregnators can also contain harmful/toxic chemicals – it’s always important to research a product or contact the manufacturer before deciding to use it
    • Application is more difficult and often warrants professional consultation
    • The initial cost is higher than for topical sealers
    • Impregnators typically cannot be used below grade (below ground level), since pressure in these spaces can force water through the stone
    • In some cases, applying an impregnating sealer to a resined stone can lead to clouding, fading and discoloration

Consult a Professional

As you can see, sealing natural stone can be a complex topic. You’ll want to do thorough research or consult a professional before applying a sealer to your natural stone. Factors like chemical composition and brand can lead to unexpected reactions with your surface, so it’s always wise to read product labels and instructions carefully and consult manufacturers whenever possible. Your fabricator will make it easy to understand how to care for your specific surfaces.

Cosmos Surfaces offers a wide selection of natural stone surfaces, and our team is dedicated to serving your needs with knowledge, passion and respect. Contact us today to get started!

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Amazonite brings to mind splotches of sunlight filtering through thick leaves of a rainforest or the turquoise blue of the Atlantic Ocean. This Brazilian granite is great for bathrooms and sunrooms. It matches perfectly with both aquatic and botanic environments, and looks beautiful as a vanity, counter, top, or wall.

Dazzle and Delight With Semi Precious Stone Countertops

dazzle

Known for their showstopping appearance, semi precious stone countertops offer far more than just visual magnificence. The advanced production process used to craft these one-of-a-kind slabs heightens the functionality of wondrous natural stone. Through an artisanal technique, gemstones like amethyst and agate are suspended in resin in order to fashion a completely unique surface that is highly resilient and thus well suited to a wide array of applications. Namely, semi precious stone makes for luxurious kitchen countertops, bar tops and beyond.

What Makes Semi Precious Stone a Splendid Choice for Countertops?

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to be a trusted source for brilliant semi precious stone countertops of the highest quality. Now that we’ve introduced semi precious stone and the process by which it is crafted into countertops, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of this striking surfacing material:

  • Exceptionally Eye Catching – Semi precious stone is guaranteed to make your countertop the centerpiece of your space. Whether you choose an energetic, multicolored variety like Agate Vermell or opt for something more neutral & serene like White Quartz, the hand-picked, multidimensional crystals and gems will mesmerize and inspire all who gaze upon it. No two slabs are the same, especially when it comes to semi precious stone.
  • Incredibly Resilient – Semi precious stone countertops are far more durable than you might expect given their opulent appearance. To elaborate: When professionally sealed and finished, a semi precious stone countertop is resistant to heat, scratching and staining. Sealing also ensures that the surface is impervious to moisture and will not harbor bacteria.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Exotic gems are carefully selected and arranged by hand to create a truly inimitable countertop. This meticulous process creates very little waste material. In turn, semi precious stone ranks among the most eco-friendly options out there for kitchen islands, bar tops and similar projects.
  • Easy to Clean & Maintain – The fact that it’s low maintenance is yet another thing to love about semi precious stone. To maintain a sparkling, hygienic countertop, simply wipe it with a soft, damp cloth on a daily basis or as needed. For guidance on stain prevention and removal, see our tips below.

How to Keep Your Semi Precious Stone Countertops in Pristine Condition

The result of nature’s handiwork combined with masterful engineering, semi precious stone countertops are visual masterpieces with impressive longevity. While this premium countertop material typically comes with a higher price tag than other natural stone options like quartzite, it is an investment that will last for years so long as it receives proper care. Here are a few must-know pieces of advice on maintaining a countertop made of semi precious stone:

  • Promptly wipe up spills to prevent staining
  • Use a pH-balanced countertop cleaner that is approved for use on semi precious stone
  • To remove stains: Apply a small amount of baking soda & water and gently scrub the spot; then, wipe away the cleansing solution with a damp cloth and dry the area thoroughly

As you can see, maintaining a semi precious stone surface is very similar to maintaining other stone surfaces, both natural and engineered. A quick daily wipe down with a gentle cleanser and cloth will make cleaning any of your surfaces easy for many years to come. Check out our detailed care and maintenance resources for more information.

Peruse Our Catalog of Striking Semi Precious Stone

If you’re not already seriously considering semi precious stone for your next renovation project, you certainly will be after exploring our awe-inspiring selection!

Made from a custom blend of hand-picked stones, Agate Earth is one of our most prized and precious stone countertop materials. Featuring tones of brown, red and black, this gemstone is both warm and familiar, a tie back to home and the earth. Exceedingly strong and capable of withstanding the elements, Agate Earth is a suitable choice for indoor and outdoor applications alike.

To be captivated by our full collection of semi precious stone, click over to our online gallery now.

Reach Out Today for Expert Assistance with Transforming Your Home

Eager to discuss whether semi precious stone is the most ideal material for your particular project? The specialists at Cosmos Surfaces are here to help you weigh your options and decide on the very best option for your application. Whether you settle on semi precious stone or another surfacing material, you can depend on our customer-focused team to supply it for the most competitive price. To get started, fill out our online contact form and let us know how we can assist you.

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Flecks of emerald green and gleaming silver pop out from a backdrop of jet black, taking center stage when the light hits them. Emerald Pearl is a stunning type of granite quarried in Norway. Glamorous without being fussy, this resilient stone makes for a magical backsplash, countertop, accent wall or floor.

How to Clean Quartzite: Sealing, Stubborn Stains, and More

clean quartzite

Today, Cosmos Surfaces is here to share our guide on how to clean quartzite. This beautiful natural stone is easy to clean, but there are a few easy things to remember if you want to maintain it safely and properly.

First of All, What is Quartzite?

Quartzite (not to be confused with quartz – check out our article on quartz vs. quartzite), comes from the fusion of sandstone with quartz crystals at incredibly high levels of heat and pressure. The resulting stone has the durability and hardness of granite, combined with the exotic beauty of marble.

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 that you shouldn’t use it as a cutting board – not to protect the quartzite itself, but to protect your knives from dulling.

Before You Clean It…

Because quartzites are formed naturally, some are more porous than others (stay in the loop to learn more about quartzites and absorption). When it comes to maintaining natural stone surfaces, the porosity of a stone plays a significant part in its level of stain-resistance, as well as the amount of maintenance required to care for it. 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 them quite easy and straightforward.

Seal It!

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 and a simple cleaning approach. Be sure to follow the instructions for your specific sealer. In general:

  • Clean and thoroughly dry the surface
  • Ensure the area is well ventilated
  • Wait for the cure time before using the surface again

That’s it! Now you’re ready to keep your sealed quartzite clean.

How to Clean Quartzite

Once quartzite is properly sealed, there isn’t much else involved in cleaning it! You can use a cloth, microfiber cloth or the soft side of a sponge. Use clean water and a mild, neutral cleaner that is suited for stone surfaces. The following habits will go a long way in caring for quartzite:

  • Clean spills right away, especially acidic spills (lemon juice, vinegar, wine, etc.) and food coloring agents (turmeric, food dyes, etc.)
  • Use cutting boards, trivets and cooling racks
  • Keep the surface area dry (around sinks, under dishes, etc.)

Do NOT use heavy-duty scouring pads, abrasive cleaners, or bleach on quartzite or any other natural stone.

Stubborn Stain Pro-tip: Make a Poultice

Quartzite is stain-resistant if you wipe substances up promptly. However, all natural stones can stain if something is left to “soak in” for too long. If you’re struggling with a stain that just won’t come out, you can try making a poultice by combining baking soda and water to form a paste. Spread this paste over the stain and cover it with plastic wrap for up to two days, then wipe the area clean. Repeat the process if necessary!

A Note on True Quartzite

Due to similarities in appearance and some properties, it’s possible for stone to 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.

Quartzite is a truly gorgeous surface material. While most quartzites are white or light in color due to their quartz mineral content, additional minerals in the stone can produce vividly colored varieties.

If you have questions about quartzite or if you are 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. As a 2nd generation family-owned business, we are passionate about sourcing high-quality surfaces for homes and businesses. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today – our team of experts is happy to help!

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

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!

Marble and Quartzite: Similar Looks, but Different Properties

marble quartzite similar

Marble and quartzite fill a big, beautiful niche in the world of natural stone. They both offer serene, natural hues of white, cream, and grey. Both have a pleasing sense of movement and pattern, ranging from mild-mannered to vivid. But despite their similar aesthetics, the stones have entirely different properties. Understanding marble vs. quartzite is the first step to deciding how to use them.

Marble is soft; quartzite is hard.

Hardness is a stone’s resistance to being scratched. Every mineral has a specific hardness, and taken together, the hardness of the minerals in a stone dictate its overall hardness. It’s easy to get a sense for a stone’s hardness by trying to scratch it with a common material like a copper penny or steel knife blade.

Marble is made of calcite, which has a hardness of 3 on Mohs hardness scale. In everyday terms, that means you can’t scratch it with your fingernail, but you probably can scratch it with a copper penny.

Care to guess which mineral quartzite is made of? Quartz, naturally! (Not to be confused with manufactured quartz surfaces, which contain ground-up quartz minerals plus resins and colorants.) Quartz is among the harder minerals, with a Mohs hardness of 7, and quartzite is harder than glass, a steel knife blade, or a steel nail.

It’s possible – though not common – for a stone made of hard minerals to scratch easily. This can happen when the grains of the stone pull apart from each other. For example, sandstone is made of quartz, but if the sand grains are not stuck together very solidly, the stone can crumble even though it’s made of a hard mineral. In future articles I’ll delve deeper into some of the details of quartzite and sandstone and what to look for in these stones.

Pass the salad dressing… carefully.

Acidic liquids trigger a chemical reaction on marble, causing tiny amounts of calcite to be dissolved. This is called etching, and it usually looks like a dull area on a polished slab. Etching has no structural effect on the stone – it’s purely an aesthetic change. Etches can be buffed out of marble, but the best way to deal with etches is to accept them as a fact of life, and even embrace them as part of the living surface of a natural material.

Quartz is a naturally inert mineral and it does not react with everyday acids like vinegar or lemon juice. So quartzite won’t be bothered by a less-than-tidy cook, a boisterous dinner party, or an errant splash from the pickle jar. Note that strong acids like oven cleaner or toilet bowl cleaner should be kept away from any type of natural stone or manufactured quartz.

Both stones can stain – or not!

Here’s where things get a little confusing, so bear with me. A stone’s ability to withstand stains is determined by its porosity. If there are tiny spaces in between the mineral grains, then blue Gatorade will be able to get inside the stone and stay there. But the fewer the pore spaces, the less staining will happen.

Some marbles are porous, and some aren’t. The same is true for quartzite. This is because both are metamorphic rocks that went through a few million years of heat and pressure down deep in the Earth’s crust. But exactly how much heat, and how much pressure did the stone endure? Well it depends, of course, because geology is fickle. Some marbles and quartzites were only lightly metamorphosed, meaning not all the pore spaces were squeezed shut. But others were squished so thoroughly that the stone became low porosity and hence, stain resistant.

How can you tell if a given stone is likely to stain? The answer is easy: Try to stain it and see what happens. I recommend food coloring, chili oil, or brightly colored fruits. An important caveat – experiment on a scrap piece of stone and not on your actual countertop, nor on a slab in a showroom. Ideally you can get a small piece of stone to try out some tests.

Sealing a stone is one way to reduce its porosity, and for this reason many types of stones are sealed. The more porous a stone, the more carefully and frequently it will need re-sealing.

Marble Vs. Quartzite: Which one should you choose?

This is an impossible question for me to answer. The decision of marble vs. quartzite depends on your personality and how you plan to use the stone. In a busy kitchen or other high-traffic area, quartzite is likely to stand up better over time. But for a buffet top, vanity, or fireplace mantel, marble’s classic good looks will shine through year after year.

If you’re one of those enviable people that tend to roll with life’s punches and shrug off imperfections, then marble can be a worthwhile choice. But if the mere thought of a scratch or an etch makes your blood pressure rise, then you’re probably a better candidate for quartzite.

So take stock of your needs, reflect on your own character, and align those factors with a stone that’s inherently compatible with how it will be used. When it comes to marble vs. quartzite, the “best” stone is always the one that’s thoughtfully matched to its intended purpose.

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

Similar to the wings of a butterfly, Labradorite Madagascar is renowned for its unique iridescence. In the light, its glassy blue accents gleam and transform into a rainbow of colors, while the background of soothing green remains an eternal constant. Effortlessly illuminate your kitchen by choosing this splendid granite for the countertop.

Schist Vs. Granite: Brilliance, Durability, and More Reasons to Consider Them Both

schist vs granite

Choosing a material for your design is a big decision, and you’ll definitely want to consider all of the available options before making the call. Most people are familiar with materials like granite, quartz, and marble – but what about lesser-known options like schist? Today, Cosmos Surfaces will take a deep dive into the topic of schist vs. granite. We’ll explain the important differences between these two amazing natural stones, and discuss some things to consider when trying to decide between them for a kitchen, bathroom, or another renovation project.

What is Schist?

Schist is a metamorphic rock made mostly of mica mineral, formed under the heat and compression of tectonic forces. It has mica grains large enough to see with the naked eye, which means it glitters and sparkles. Mica is made up of thin, sheet-like layers of atoms that reflect light like a mirror. Schist also often contains quartz, which gives it much more strength than if it only contained mica. Depending on the type of schist, it can also contain other minerals, such as garnet and hornblende. These eye-catching combinations of minerals mean that schist is available in a variety of stunning colors and patterns.

What is Granite?

Granite is an igneous rock, which means it forms in a magma chamber over millions of years (or more). It starts out as molten rock and cools underground. The rate of cooling affects the size of the crystals it contains, as well as how uniform in size these crystals are. That’s why granite also comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including luxurious black granite.

Schist Vs. Granite: What’s the Difference?

So schist is metamorphic and granite is igneous. But what does that mean in terms of how these materials can be used in a design? Some types of schist are even categorized as granite, which makes it even harder to tell the difference. Let’s compare some of the most important physical properties of these natural stones that may impact their use in design applications:

  • Hardness and Durability: Granite is extremely hard and dense. You’ll see it used in places where durability is most important, including bridges, building facades, monuments, and more. Granite is extremely heat- and scratch-resistant, since it was is formed under higher temperatures and more pressure than schist.

Schist runs slightly more risk of being scratched or etched. Its durability depends on how much mica it contains. New York City’s skyscrapers are built into schist bedrock, which goes to show how strong it can be. But the higher the mica content, the more schist is prone to splitting along planes of weakness. That means designers and homeowners should be wary of using schist in places where it will hang over an edge without support, such as an overhanging countertop. Ask for a sample from your natural stone slab supplier so you can test the hardness of the schist you are considering. Examine the edges and look for signs of splitting along the mineral layers. A less durable schist is better for lower-traffic areas like fully supported countertops, walls, backsplashes, fireplace surrounds and wall accents.

  • Porosity: Compared to a material like manufactured quartz, both schist and granite are porous. This means they both need to be sealed to prevent stains and absorption. Most fabricators will apply a sealant before installation and explain any additional sealing that needs to happen over the life of the stone (about once every 10 years depending on the type of sealer being used). Wiping up spills and substances promptly will help prevent staining in both schist and granite.
  • Maintenance: As with any natural stone, schist and granite require regular maintenance to keep looking their best. Wiping up spills, using trivets under hot objects, and using gentle cleaning products or cleaners developed specifically for natural stone is all that is required for daily maintenance of these natural stones. Because of its durability, granite is less likely to need repairs or resurfacing. With proper care, schist won’t need these either.
  • “Look” and Style: Both schist and granite are available in a wide array of colors and patterns. Schist has a trademark sparkly appearance because it contains mica and other minerals. Depending on the size of the mineral grains, it can appear to have a fine shimmer or a full-on glitter. This distinguishes schist from granite, which generally looks warmer and less sparkly. Schist is perfect for a brilliant, lustrous design that catches the light – and the eye.

Two Amazing Natural Stones

Schist and granite are both stunning natural stones that are perfect for countertops, walls, floors, backsplashes, and much more. Talk to your supplier to figure out how your needs line up with their properties. Do you need an ultra-durable material for your entryway, or a backsplash that glitters with stunning mineral patterns? The experts at Cosmos Surfaces are ready to help you decide on a schist or granite from our diverse collection to complete your design.

Color of the Month: Ultramarine Green

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-5338, Ultramarine Green! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Ultramarine Green, a deep cooling blue-green, exudes self-assurance and poise.”

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 kitchens, bathrooms, aquatic settings or next to rich and lush plant-life. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

How Do You Maintain Granite Countertops? (Hint: Prevention is Key)

maintain granite countertops

Durable, beautiful, and easy to clean, granite is one of the most popular household surfaces out there. But how do you maintain granite countertops and keep them looking beautiful in the long term? This post from Cosmos Surfaces provides easy steps you can follow to keep your granite looking clean and new.

How Do You Maintain Granite Countertops?

All surface materials require some amount of regular maintenance. While granite is one of the easiest natural stone surfaces to care for, it can become dull or stained over time around sinks and high traffic work areas. Prevention is key! Making a habit out of the following measures will go a long way in protecting 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)

Sealing Granite Surfaces

All granites will benefit from being sealed properly, which the installer/fabricator can take care of for you. All light colored granites must be sealed properly to prevent water and other liquids from being absorbed. With the right daily maintenance, a good sealer can last for up to ten years! Penetrating sealers form a chemical bond with the stone’s surface and provide additional protection against water, oil, grease, stains and the general wear and tear of daily use. Applying a sealer often entails simply spraying the product on and wiping off excess. It’s always wise to check manufacturer recommendations on how to properly apply a sealer. In the coming weeks, we’ll be talking about sealing natural stone in more detail.

Oxidation from sunlight and air can break down sealers over time. However, an even bigger culprit is the use of improper cleaners, which brings us to…

A Note on Cleaning Products

It’s important to check cleaning labels to ensure a product is safe for use on stone before applying. A daily stone surface cleaner should not leave behind residue. As such, it is not advisable to use dish detergent on countertops, as they often contain fatty acids which can leave a greasy film and dull the surface or leave unsightly streaks.

If you’d like to know more about the science behind granite, check out this post on how granite is formed, or reach out to Cosmos with your questions! We offer a wide selection of natural stone surfaces and our team is dedicated to serving ALL of our customers with knowledge, passion and respect.

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Named after two historic and high-class French cities, Monte Carlo Bordeaux is a sophisticated granite sourced from Brazil. Its regal white base is complemented by beige veins and dots of soft burgundy that lend a soothing appearance to the stone. For kitchen and bathroom projects alike, Monte Carlo Bordeaux is a lovely and long-lasting option that performs well on countertops, vanity tops and more.

Quartz Vs. Quartzite: It’s Not a Competition!

quartz vs quartzite

Engineered quartz and naturally occuring quartzite are two top contenders for renovation projects in the kitchen and bathroom. Because their names sound so similar, it’s easy to get these premium surfacing materials confused – and people often do. While the two materials do have certain qualities in common, ultimately, they have different properties and their own unique benefits. When considering quartz vs. quartzite, it’s important to note these differences. As a leading supplier of both materials, Cosmos Surfaces is here to explain how to tell them apart and decide which is best for your application.

Quartz Vs. Quartzite: The Differences Explained

When it comes to quartz vz. quartzite, it’s not a competition – both surfaces have great benefits in design applications. Here are some of the ways they differ:

  • Composition & AppearanceAs mentioned above, quartz is engineered (man-made), whereas quartzite is the result of natural geologic processes occurring over millions of years. While both quartz and quartzite are composed majorly of natural quartz mineral, differing mineral compositions and formation processes produce one-of-a-kind patterns and coloring in natural quartzite, making each piece totally unique. Quartz on the other hand is an engineered product, that is available in a wide range of styles carefully designed to meet customer needs and current trends and can be easily replicated. With the current advances in technology, engineered quartz can imitate the appearance of natural stone very impressively.
  • Density & LongevityBoth quartzite and quartz are considered to be hardwearing materials, well suited to kitchen and bathroom applications. However, quartzite could be considered a bit more durable, due to the extremely high density given to it by nature. Furthermore, the resin used in the manufacturing of quartz is less resistant to heat.
  • Suitability for Outdoor Applications – Natural quartzite can stand up to the elements, making it a favorable option for outdoor kitchens, flooring and more. Quartz performs best indoors, as it is more sensitive to heat and sunlight. So, creating a look that flows from indoor to outdoor is easily achieved with natural quartzite.
  • Sealing Requirements – Because the mineral composition of quartzite varies, some quartzites are more porous than others. If a porous quartzite is chosen, it must be sealed properly to keep out moisture and bacteria. Quartz is manufactured to be non-porous and thus does not need to be sealed. This makes it preferable for some homeowners who prefer to worry less about maintenance.

All of the above should be taken into account when deciding on quartz vs. quartzite. Ultimately, the ideal option will depend on your project and your preferences.

Stuck Between Quartz & Quartzite? Consult Our Experts for Assistance

Now that you’re aware of the key characteristics that set quartz apart from quartzite, you may be curious to find out which one is most appropriate for your desired application. Cosmos Surfaces is here to offer you our expertise as you seek out the perfect surfacing material.

Browse our online gallery to explore our huge selection, which includes this whimsical quartzite called Scarlet Crystal:

Once you’re ready to discuss the options that catch your eye, reach out for personalized guidance from an industry professional at Cosmos Surfaces. We look forward to assisting you!

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Agate Vermell - Red Semi-Precious 3

Agate Vermell is a semi-precious type of red agate stone. Unique, hand-picked stones are processed manually to 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, backsplashes, accent walls,  and more. Backlighting this stone creates a stunning visual that is guaranteed to make heads turn.

What are the Best Uses and Benefits of Soapstone?

benefits of soapstone

If you’re curious about the benefits of soapstone while doing research for your kitchen or bathroom renovation project, look no further! In this blog, Cosmos Surfaces takes a look at the properties of this gorgeous natural stone surface.

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. Commercial soapstone slabs intended for practical use contain less talc, with the remaining composition 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. You’ll want to work with a reputable dealer and spend some time investigating the specific stones you are considering.

The Benefits of Soapstone

Soapstone offers three major benefits: heat resistance/retention, acid resistance and absorption resistance/non-porosity. These properties enable soapstone to be used as sinks, countertops, floors, hearths, stoves and more. Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Heat Resistance and Retention: Magnesite, a main component of soapstone, has the ability to retain heat, making soapstone 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 – a very desirable property in cold climates!
  2. Acid Resistance: Soapstone is a favored surface choice in laboratories, as its talc component is chemically inactive. This means soapstone tends to be unaffected by acids. This property, along with its heat resistance, translates well into the kitchen, where it is commonly used for countertops, islands and kitchen sinks. Because soapstone is soft, it is not ideal as a cutting surface – but it can take a spill of acidic lemon juice or wine without being damaged.
  3. Absorption Resistance/Non-Porosity: 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 – both great properties to have on your side in the kitchen!

A Word on Maintenance

Soapstone is a great choice for those who want the option of self-maintenance/repair. Since soapstone lacks the hardness of surfacing materials like granite, for example, it might take on scratches, chips or gouges from everyday wear and tear or accidents. However, these can be fixed! Small scratches can be removed with a coat of mineral oil, while larger marks can be removed with sandpaper. Even gouges can be filled with a mixture of stone chips and epoxy, making soapstone a user-friendly option when it comes to DIY repairs.

Soapstone looks best when it is oiled with a thin layer of mineral oil. This ensures consistent coloring and keeps your soapstone looking fresh and vibrant. It is important to note that soapstone cannot be polished to a glossy finish, but rather retains a soft, warm glow.

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

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Fusion Melange forms a complex conglomerate of colors. Reminiscent of the California Gold Rush, Fusion Melange is comprised of golds, reds, blacks, and silvers in intricate waves of texture. When installed both inside and out, Fusion Melange looks stunning among dark woods. The Fusion Melange quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

What Exactly Is Granite, and What Is It Used For?

granite wholesale suppliers

Owing to its beauty and resilience, granite has long been a favored choice for kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops and countless other projects throughout the home. You’ve most likely seen granite used for a variety of applications, indoors and out. In any case, it’s only natural to wonder how this natural stone is formed and how it ends up in the slab format commonly sold by granite wholesale suppliers. Cosmos Surfaces is here to tell you all about granite and its many uses.

What Is Granite, and What Is It Used For?

As magma cools deep within the Earth’s crust, granite is formed. Because the cooling process happens slowly underground, granite tends to have a coarse texture with prominent, easy-to-see minerals. The naturally occurring stone is primarily made up of quartz and feldspar, among other minerals. You’ve probably noticed that granite can vary greatly in appearance. There’s a simple explanation for this – differing mineral compositions create the different colors and patterns for which this stone is known and loved.

While the formation of granite happens far underground, over time the rock is uncovered and comes close enough to the surface to be quarried. Once the granite is extracted from the ground, special machinery is used to cut the stone into large slabs. These slabs can then be purchased from granite wholesale suppliers and used for a variety of applications, including:

  • Kitchen countertops
  • Bar tops
  • Flooring
  • Backsplashes
  • Fireplaces
  • Bathroom vanity tops
  • Tub surrounds
  • Outdoor walkways and patios
  • Outdoor countertops & bars
  • And many more!

Caring for Granite Surfaces: A Quick & Easy Guide

Whether you choose granite for your floors, countertop or some other application, upkeep is simple and straightforward. Here are a few must-know tips:

  • Be sure to use a cleaner that is approved for stone surfaces. Doing so is essential to maintain a streak-free, polished look and extend the life of the sealer on the granite.
  • Even though granite is moisture resistant, it’s important to clean up spills in a timely manner to avoid discoloration. It’s a good idea to keep soap and other liquids in a bowl so that water does not collect on the surface.
  • Granite is durable and can withstand heavy use. Still, you should always use hot pads and cutting boards to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging your granite countertops.

Cosmos Surfaces: The Expert Granite Wholesale Suppliers

Proud to be among the leading granite wholesale suppliers in the U.S., Cosmos Surfaces offers a huge selection of granite in many different eye-catching colors and patterns. Emerald Pearl is just one of the many memorable granites we offer in slab form.

Click over to our website now to browse our extensive selection of competitively priced granite. If you have any questions, our knowledgeable staff is here to assist – simply fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to help you find the best option for your project!

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

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

Ceramic Tile: Pros and Cons for Kitchen and Bathroom Use

ceramic tile pros and cons

For kitchen and bathroom applications of all sorts, ceramic tile is an easily maintained option that never goes out of style. But as with any surfacing material, it has both benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we outline the most important ceramic tile pros and cons to be aware of when considering this material for your renovation project.

Ceramic Tile: Pros and Cons for Kitchen and Bathroom Use

Your search for the perfect surfacing material will likely lead you to contemplate a variety of options, from marble to quartz to ceramic tile. Here are a few advantages of ceramic tile in particular:

  • Resists Moisture & Cracking – Thanks to its density, ceramic isn’t likely to crack or chip very easily. Plus, its glazed surface provides a reliable barrier against moisture and stains. All in all, its durability makes it a wonderful choice for projects throughout the home, from behind the kitchen sink to lining your shower walls. Be sure to check the absorption rate of the tiles or ask for suitability in your application if you are not sure.
  • Doesn’t Hold Germs or Bacteria – For any project in the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want to choose a material which is highly hygienic. Ceramic tile definitely ticks this box, as its hard surface cannot be easily penetrated by bacteria. Simply mop or wipe down ceramic tile with an all-purpose cleaner to disinfect and get rid of any germs on its surface. Making sure that the grout around the tiles is properly sealed will also aid in keeping the germs from penetrating the surface.
  • Comes in a Massive Range of Styles – Looking for a modern backsplash to accent your bright kitchen or a unique floor to upgrade your bathroom? You’ll have no problem finding a variety of ceramic tile colors, shapes and styles that are perfectly suited to your project!

To make an informed decision, it’s important to note both ceramic tile pros and cons. So, here are a few things which some consider to be less than ideal about this surfacing material:

  • Needs to Be Sealed – Depending on the type of tile you choose, to create the nonporous surface which makes an unglazed ceramic tile impervious to liquid and germs, it must be sealed. While many ceramic tile products come with the protective sealant or a glaze already applied, keep in mind that some require sealing after installation.
  • Grout Sealing & Maintenance: While you may pick a tile that is impervious, selecting the right kind of grout is also very important. If you are to go with unsealed grout, it will need to be sealed after application to protect it from staining and coloring. Choosing pre-sealed grout is a good way to overcome this issue.
  • Tends to Feel Hard & Cold – While the hardness of ceramic is an asset for several reasons, its density can also make it feel hard and cold – especially in the winter months. For this reason, some homeowners prefer a softer material such as quartz.

Cosmos Surfaces Provides Tile Products for a Range of Applications

Now that you are well versed in ceramic tile pros and cons, perhaps you’d like to learn about the selection of high-quality tile products and other stylish materials from Cosmos Surfaces. No matter what your wish list includes, our experts are here to help you find a surfacing material that has it all. Contact us today for professional assistance!

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

The longer you look, the more the quartzite named Mirage seems to change. Primarily a rich brownish red, Mirage is composed of subtle flecks and waves of various complementary colors, from white to silver to black to gold. Mirage is a bold choice for fireplaces and fountains, where the elements add to its mystique. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

A Guide to Shopping for Natural Stone Slabs

stone slab suppliers near me

If you’ve turned to your browser and typed in a phrase like “stone slab suppliers near me” lately, the odds are you’re considering an important purchase. With so many options on the market, the search can feel daunting. Here’s a quick guide from Cosmos Surfaces to shopping for natural stone slabs!

Step 1: Assess your Needs

The properties you need in a natural stone surface will vary based on its application. A kitchen countertop should be scratch and stain resistant, while a commercial countertop might need to withstand fingerprints and oils. Stone used for outdoor applications like patios needs to withstand extreme temperature shifts, while you might favor texture for grip on a bathroom floor. It’s a good idea to write out a list of the properties you need so you can get advice from your stone slab supplier.

Step 2: Visit a Stone Showroom and Obtain Samples

Once you understand your needs and have narrowed down your search, visit a stone showroom to see the options you have and satisfy your requirements. If you are not sure, ask for assistance. Once you know your choices, it can be helpful to get sample sizes of the stones you are considering. Suppliers can often provide samples so you can experience the texture, color, and  coordinate other finishes like backsplash, trim, paint, cabinet colors and appliances.

Step 3: Test the Stone

To really assess whether a natural stone will meet your needs, you can do some tests on your samples. You can test for the following properties:

  • Hardness – a stone’s resistance to scratching. Use a sharp corner of the stone to scratch a glass tile, or scratch the stone with a knife blade. If the stone leaves a scratch on the glass or is able to withstand a blade, it can likely withstand common wear and tear.
  • Durability – a stone’s resistance to splitting or cracking. Many types of stone, like slate or schist, are layered. You can investigate a broken edge to see if you can pry apart those layers. It’s also a good idea to check for fissures (naturally occurring splits in the rock) or cracks (man-made splits caused during fabrication, transportation or installation). You’ll want to watch out for fissures or cracks you can feel on the surface, any that run all the way through or any appearing near edges or overhangs.
  • Acid Resistance – Everyday household acids can cause etching (a dull mark) on stone. Test for acid resistance by letting lemon juice or vinegar sit for several minutes before wiping it off and checking for etching at a low angle. Granite, quartzite and soapstone are excellent options if acid resistance is a priority.
  • Staining/Porosity – If your sample is sealed, check to see if water beads up and is wiped away easily, whether it leaves a damp mark or whether it soaks into the stone. Porosity is a good indication of how easily a surface will stain. Lower absorption means higher stain resistance.

Looking for “Stone Slab Suppliers Near Me”? Turn to Cosmos Surfaces

If you have questions about natural stone, please call or contact us today – Cosmos Surfaces is happy to help! We are experts on the properties of different types of natural stone, so we can provide the best advice on the perfect material for your project.

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Swirling pink and umber is how this rust-hued onyx, Red Dragon, gets its name. Originating in Iran, Red Dragon resembles an aerial shot of a desert, a soft caramel with rivulets of bold amber. With its polished finish and unique texture, Red Dragon is stunning in bathrooms as a vanity, wall tiling, or flooring.

How to Remove Stains from Quartz Countertops

how to remove stains from quartz

Quartz is a very stain-resistant material, but it is not stain-proof. While daily maintenance is easy with warm water and mild soap, it’s important to know how to remove stains from quartz without damaging your countertops, backsplashes, and other surfaces. In today’s blog, Cosmos Surfaces takes a look at what substances can stain your quartz and how to safely remove them.

How to Remove Stains from Quartz Without Damaging It

Mild cleaners may be insufficient for some tenacious stains. Yet harsher cleaning agents, as well as sponges and scrubbing pads, have the potential to damage quartz surfaces. Manufactured quartz consists of quartz particles surrounded by polyester resin filler. While the quartz particles are hard and resistant to scrubbing action, the filler around it can be damaged more easily. Manufactured quartz will handle stains and cleaning attempts differently based on its color, finish, pattern and composition. Darker colors and busier patterns tend to make stains appear less visible. A honed quartz surface will also show stains more readily than a polished quartz surface. These are some things to consider when choosing quartz for kitchens and bathrooms.

What NOT to Use on Quartz:

  • Highly acidic or alkaline cleaners
  • Nail polish removers
  • Oven cleaning solutions
  • Turpentine
  • Drain cleaners
  • Bleach
  • Any product containing bleach, methylene chloride, or other harsh chemicals

Common Stain Offenders and How to Clean Them:

  • Hot sauce
  • Brightly colored spices like turmeric, curry powder and paprika
  • Permanent marker
  • Food coloring
  • Colored makeup

Permanent marker and food coloring can produce the most persistent stains on quartz. For removing permanent marker, Bar Keeper’s friend and a sponge work well to remove stains without damaging the finish. Food coloring stains can be tougher. Small amounts of Bar Keeper’s friend or rubbing alcohol and the scrubby side of a non-scratch kitchen sponge can lighten food dye stains.

Best Sponges and Cleaners

For other substances, like food stains, the most successful cleaning method is a non-scratch kitchen sponge along with a non-abrasive cleaner (like warm water and mild soap). You can also use a Magic Eraser (works well on honed surfaces) or surface cleaning wipes (with no bleach). Heavy-duty scouring pads and more abrasive cleaners can damage the resin filling, or scratch and haze the surface. Keep in mind that different brands and types of quartz surfaces will react differently to cleaning products and chemicals. It’s always a good idea to check with your manufacturer to see which method works best for your particular product.

If you have more questions about how to remove stains from quartz, or about our quartz products, please contact us today! Cosmos Surfaces brings years of industry experience to the table, and we are always happy to help.

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Striking red and black, Cardinal Red brings to mind the feathered plumage of its namesake bird. In swirling waves of texture, this Brazilian quartzite has 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 look wonderful in kitchens and as feature walls. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, while its beauty is unmatched.

Is Quartz Good for Bathrooms?

Is quartz good for bathrooms

Also known as engineered stone, quartz has earned the spotlight as a favorable choice for remodeling and renovation projects of all kinds. Many home renovators admire the qualities that this surfacing material has to offer for kitchen countertops, including its resilience, longevity and striking appearance. Still, some wonder: Is quartz good for bathrooms? Keep reading to find out why quartz is indeed a wonderful choice for vanity tops, shower walls and other elements of any modern bathroom.

Is Quartz Good for Bathrooms? Cosmos Surfaces Explains

Curious about whether quartz is good for bathrooms? Check out this list of characteristics which make quartz well suited to a variety of bathroom projects:

  • Non-porous – Because quartz is non-porous, it’s easy to clean and won’t hold germs or moisture. It’s easy to wipe clean and disinfect. This also makes it more resistant to stains than some types of natural stone.
  • Hardwearing, but less hard in appearance – From spills to drops, quartz can withstand it all with minimal chance of chipping or cracking. At the same time, its appearance is not quite as hard as that of natural stones like granite and marble, making it softer to the eye.
  • Unique & mesmerizing – Since quartz is an engineered product, it is available in a huge range of distinct colors and styles that can be replicated time and over. For those desiring a standout countertop or bathroom surfacing material, quartz promises an exquisite, inimitable aesthetic.

These are just a few reasons why the answer to “is quartz good for bathrooms?” is a resounding yes! Just be aware: quartz is less heat resistant than some other countertop materials like natural stone, so it’s best to avoid putting hot items directly on its surface. This usually isn’t as much of a concern for bathrooms as it is for kitchens.

Discover Captivating Quartz Options from Cosmos Surfaces

Now that you are familiar with the many advantages of quartz, it’s time to explore different styles that might fit your project. With understated elegance and a calming, quieting effect, Pebble Grey is a breathtaking selection from the Cosmos Surfaces collection.

To view more stunning quartz options and find one that perfectly complements your design scheme and application, click over to our online gallery. The Cosmos Surfaces experts are here to provide personalized shopping assistance if you desire professional guidance. Simply complete our contact form to get in touch or chat with us on the website!

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

The quartzite 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, while its beauty is unmatched.

How to Care for Marble

how to care for marble

Marble is durable and easy to clean if maintained regularly, but you’ll definitely want to know how to care for marble properly to keep it looking its best for a lifetime. Like any other surface, marble needs proper maintenance to prolong its beauty. In this post, Cosmos Surfaces will take a look at the best ways to keep your marble countertops, vanities, floors, and other surfaces clean on a daily basis, without damaging this luxurious material.

How to Care for Marble: Daily Cleaning

Marble is absorbent, so it can be 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. The best way to avoid damage is with some simple care techniques. Here are some easy steps you can take on a daily basis that will make it easy to keep your marble clean and safe in the long run:

  • Wipe up spills and dirt right away with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. Do not use hot water to clean up milk and blood, as it can make the stain worse.
  • Avoid using chemical cleaners, acids like vinegar and lemon juice, grout cleaners, and tub or tile cleaners. 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. Make sure to rinse all cleaners off completely with fresh water.
  • For exterior steps and pathways, sweep and rinse marble often with water.
  • Use coasters and trivets when placing wet or hot items on marble or another countertop material.

Periodic Cleaning for Marble Floors

No need to wash your marble floors every day, as long as you keep on top of spills and dirt. Mopping and rinsing your floors about twice a month will keep them clean and prevent graying and weathering. Putting mats and rugs at entrances can help prevent damage and debris from shoes.

  • Use clean, soft mops and brooms on marble floors, and avoid using old vacuum cleaners (they may scratch your marble). Newer vacuum cleaners are safe to use.
  • Change mop water frequently, and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Remove excess water immediately (hard water can be damaging) and allow marble to dry before use.

Ask the Experts!

At Cosmos Surfaces, we’re passionate about the best ways to care for marble and other natural stone surfaces! If you have questions about our marble products and how to take care of them, please reach out to us today.

Color of the Month: Cinnamon Stick

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-1345, Cinnamon Stick! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Earthy and warm, Cinnamon Stick is sweet yet spicy.”

Oxford Blue - Multi Quartzite 3

Oxford Blue is nature’s version of the amalgamation of the Northern Lights, your favorite pair of faded blue jeans and a sunset on the ocean. Layers of blue, white, green, orange, and pink meet in this Brazilian quartzite, creating an atmosphere of liveliness and nostalgia. Oxford Blue looks great in white or monotone kitchens, bathrooms, bars or aquatic environments, such as a poolside bar counters or a waterfall. The Oxford Blue Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, while its beauty remains unmatched.

What Are the Benefits of Marble?

benefits of marble

Spring is the perfect time to start fresh and breathe new life into your kitchen or bathroom. If you have a remodeling project in the works, you may be searching for the ideal material to use. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen countertop, bar top, bathroom vanity or shower, marble offers a number of noteworthy advantages. Keep reading to be inspired by the many benefits of marble!

4 Benefits of Marble for Kitchen & Bathroom Projects

  • Authentic Beauty – While man-made porcelain and quartz can imitate the look of marble, nothing can quite compare to the beauty of the real thing. If you desire a bold, one-of-a-kind stone with distinctive veining, marble is a winning choice.
  • Durability – When professionally installed and properly maintained, marble will hold up very well over time. Resistant to heat and cracking, it can be relied on to perform impressively in the kitchen or bathroom and around a fireplace.
  • Affordability – Marbles is a premium material that varies greatly in pricing, depending on your selection. The cost can range based on the kind of marble, the labor involved, and details like edge profiles and polishing. That means we can always help you find an option that works for your design and your budget.
  • Customizability – Because marble is softer than granite, it is much easier to shape its edges. You can choose from a variety of unique edge profiles to personalize your marble countertops and add intriguing texture.

As you can see, there are many benefits of marble which make it a great option for a wide range of settings. But of course, every surfacing material has its pros and cons. If you’re still contemplating which material will work best for your project, take a look at our post on how marble compares to porcelain.

Find Exquisite Marble Options at Cosmos Surfaces

Now that you are familiar with the myriad benefits of marble, you may be ready to start exploring marble options in different hues. Cosmos Surfaces has a huge selection of distinctive, memorable marbles, including Rain Forest Green. The complex texture and varied greens, golds, and browns make Rain Forest Green a beautiful choice in rooms with greenery or in gardens.

Rain Forest Green - Green Marble 1

To browse our entire collection of marbles and other gorgeous materials, head over to the products section of our website. Our experts are here to assist if you have questions – simply fill out our contact form or use the chat box to be connected!

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

Elegante - Multi Quartzite 3

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. This stone can be book matched to create a jaw dropping kitchen island with a waterfall edge or a unique accent wall. Elegante is a great choice flooring and walls in open well-lit spaces. The Elegante Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Learn About Black Granite

black granite supplier

If you’re on the hunt for a black granite supplier and would like to know more about this versatile surface material, this post is for you! First, we’ll explore the uses and qualities of black granite, then we’ll take a look at some of the gorgeous options available at Cosmos Surfaces.

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 use of granite dates back thousands of years. Throughout Europe, structures built with granite centuries ago remain standing to this day. Today, granite is still commonly found in bridges, buildings, paving, monuments and other external structures. Granite is highly durable and incredibly heat-, crack- and scratch-resistant. This makes it an excellent choice for indoor applications, including:

  • Kitchen Countertops
  • Floor Tiles
  • Backsplash
  • Bathroom Tiles
  • Mantelpieces
  • Staircases

Polished granite has a glossy finish and adds both elegance and functionality to any space. Granite surfaces are easy to clean and maintain with warm water and soft cloth. The stone is a dense material, one of the hardest natural stones, with a coarse-grained structure. In fact, the term granite is derived from the Latin “granum,” which means “grain.”

Types of Black Granite

When choosing black granite for your kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor space, it is important to know that black granite exhibits tonal variations depending on where it is sourced. For example, black granite from India is considered “true black.” On the other hand, black granite sourced from Africa naturally has white or gray spots, and is dyed with food-grade dye to appear blacker. This does not affect the quality of the stone in any way, but it can affect its price. Your black granite supplier will be able to provide expert advice on the best black granite for your application.

Cosmos Surfaces is Your Black Granite Supplier

Cosmos offers a variety of granite options, each with a unique look and texture. Here’s a glance at two stunningly contrasted black granite options from our portfolio:

Harvested in India, Absolute Black features a natural pebbled texture and uniform dark coloring.

Black Marinace features smooth and shiny pebbles of varying sizes and shades — ivory, gray, muslin and gold all make an appearance.

We are proud to offer these premium granites and much more. Contact us today for more information on our range of granite products!

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

Blue Fossil, or Brazilian Fossil, is a very unique type of quartzite due to its pentagonal pattern. Like a turtle’s shell or dinosaur’s spine, the crystals of Fossil Blue form layers of pentagons across the surface. Upon closer inspection, one can see veins of red and brown border the natural shapes. Quartzite is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Best Way to Clean Stainless Steel Sinks: A Comprehensive Guide

best way to clean stainless steel sink

Stainless steel has become one of the most popular materials for kitchen sinks, appliances and more! This is no wonder, considering stainless steel is built to withstand heavy use in a residential or commercial kitchen. Still, just like any type of sink, stainless steel requires some maintenance to preserve its pristine appearance. If you’re looking for the best way to clean stainless steel sinks, Cosmos Surfaces is here to provide a handy tutorial!

Best Way to Clean Stainless Steel Sink: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Everyday Cleaning – Cleaning your stainless steel sink often is the best way to keep it in superb condition. For routine cleaning, gently scrub your sink using a damp microfiber cloth or gentle sponge and a small amount of dish soap. Thoroughly rinse the sink with hot water, and wipe dry with a clean towel for a streak-free shine.
  • Grime & Stain Removal – Over time, grime and debris may build up on the sides and bottom of your stainless steel sink. With regular everyday cleaning, this shouldn’t be a problem very often. The best way to clean stainless steel sinks with stuck-on grime and stubborn stains? Create a gentle yet effective cleaning solution by sprinkling a bit of baking soda all over your damp sink. Then, scrub away using a damp sponge or cloth, focusing on any spots that are grimy or discolored. You may also want to add a few squeezes of lemon juice to get your sink extra fresh and shiny. Once again, be sure to rinse and dry completely to avoid water marks.
  • Scratch Buffing – Although stainless steel sinks are very resilient, scratches can happen. Luckily, it’s simple to buff them out using mineral oil. Add a few drops to a clean cloth and rub along the sink’s grain (the direction the lines are going). Once you’re satisfied with the appearance, wipe dry with a clean cloth to remove any excess oil and reveal a revitalized sink.

As you can see, it’s simple to care for a stainless steel sink using just a few basic household supplies.

Explore Stainless Steel Sinks for Your Project at Cosmos Surfaces

Now that you know the best way to clean stainless steel sinks, perhaps you’re thinking of replacing your current sink with one of these beautiful, highly durable sinks. The Deco model from Cosmos Surfaces is a stylish and heavy-duty option for modern kitchens.

Deco - Stainless Steel Sink

Cosmos Surfaces is proud to supply homeowners and industry professionals with several different types of stainless steel sinks, including zero- and small-radius sinks. If you are ready to find the ideal sink for your project, browse our inventory or reach out to us for expert assistance.

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

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 beautiful in kitchens and bathrooms. The long bands of layers can be installed as floors and countertops.

What are the Advantages of Quartzite for Bathrooms and Kitchens?

Scarlet Crystal - Pink Quartzite 3

There are many reasons why quartzite is a trending choice for both kitchen and bathroom remodels right now. Among the many advantages of quartzite is its ease of maintenance, longevity, and effortless beauty. Quartzites are available in a vast range of colors and patterns, whether you want something that looks like marble or a shade that will fit perfectly in your original design. At Cosmos Surfaces, we are experts on what makes quartzite a top choice for designers and homeowners, and we supply the highest quality quartzite for any application.

What are the Advantages of Quartzite?

If you’re wondering why quartzite is known as premium choice for those wanting to install natural stone in a kitchen or bathroom, here are a few reasons:

  • Durability – Quartzite is extremely dense, meaning it’s resistant to stains, moisture, heat, scratches and chips. It is much harder than marble and performs well in high-traffic, high-use areas like the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Maintenance & Longevity – Another pro of quartzite is that it’s very simple to clean and maintain. Unlike marble, it doesn’t require frequent sealing. Plus, this hardwearing countertop material is less likely to fade or hold onto stains as time goes on.
  • Cost – Cost – Quartzite is an affordable luxury with a wide range of pricing depending on your selection. Our experts have something for every budget and can help you choose a stunning quartzite that meets your needs in both cost and style.

Enjoy All the Advantages of Quartzite: Enter a World of Options

Now that you are familiar with some of the top benefits offered by quartzites, you might be eager to see some samples from our collection. Venaria Reale is a gorgeous option from our premium quartzite collection. Venaria Reale creates a calming, mellow atmosphere and is perfect in bathrooms as a vanity, bathtub surround, wall cladding, or floor covering. Quartzites are resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Venaria Reale - Close Up

To see more awe-inspiring quartzite options available from Cosmos Surfaces, head over to our online gallery. Our vast selection includes something for every application and design scheme.

Explore Choices that Suit Your Project with an Expert from Cosmos Surfaces

Cosmos Surfaces offers personalized service to help our customers find the most ideal product for their purposes. Whether you are interested in quartzite, marble, or another high-quality option, you can count on us to provide expert recommendations for your project. Contact us today to find out why we have earned a reputation for offering exceptional customer service and supplying the finest surfacing products around.

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

Raphael  - Multi Quartzite 3

Named after 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. Raphael like other quartzites is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Why Choose Cosmos Surfaces as Your Quartzite Supplier?

quartzite suppliers

Quartzite has become a wildly popular choice for kitchen countertops and shower walls, among many other design applications. When you consider the numerous benefits of quartzite – including durability, simple maintenance and eye-catching beauty – it’s easy to see why so many home and business owners are using this wonderful natural stone. If you’re looking  to use a quartzite for a project, it’s important to choose a trustworthy supplier such as Cosmos Surfaces. Read on to learn about what makes us one of the best quartzite suppliers in the industry.

Top Wholesale Quartzite Suppliers: Why We’re the #1 Choice

Thinking of using quartzite for your next renovation project, or have a customer who has requested quartzite for their kitchen or bathroom? Here’s why you should source your materials from us:

  • 30+ Years of Experience – As a second generation family-operated company, Cosmos Surfaces offers over three decades of industry knowledge and expertise. You can depend on our team to guide you to a surfacing material that is perfectly suited to your project and your design, whatever it may be.
  • Commitment to Customer Service – As a customer-focused business, we’re not happy unless you are. We go above and beyond to make sure our customers are highly satisfied, whether you’re a vendor, an industry professional or a homeowner. Our mission is to become the preferred and most accessible supplier in the industry for all types of surfaces and complimentary products.
  • Vast Inventory – Because we know that everyone has different tastes and preferences, and every project calls for a unique look, we offer over a hundred different quartzites varying in patterns and colors to choose from. Our quartzite collection also features gorgeous grays, golds, whites and tans. Citrino is just one of many stunning quartzite options we offer.

Citrino  - White Quartzite

Find Competitively Priced Large Format Quartzite at Cosmos Surfaces

Dedicated to bringing our customers the finest surfacing materials coupled with the most outstanding service, Cosmos Surfaces has become a sought after and well respected supplier in the stone industry. Our knowledgeable team members are here to help you find the right material for your project, whether it’s quartzite or another premium material. If you’re ready to experience the Cosmos difference, reach out to us today.

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

Like the heart of a hurricane or the eye of a tornado, Phoenix Blue is a stormy cloud of blues, reds, greys, and whites. The swirling patterns draw the eyes in a captivating display of texture and layering. Phoenix Blue is a daring and rewarding choice for flooring, countertops, fountains, and fireplaces. Phoenix Blue like other quartzites is resistant to scratching, staining, and fading, and the beauty is unmatched.

Where to Find Porcelain Slabs That Look Like Marble

porcelain slabs that look like marble

While porcelain and marble are both popular surface materials, porcelain slabs that look like marble might have you wondering which option is best suited to your needs. You may prefer the appearance of marble, but want to take advantage of some of the other wonderful qualities of porcelain. Luckily, large format porcelain tiles are available in diverse colors and styles, so it’s easy to find porcelain that looks like marble in our selection at Cosmos Surfaces. Let’s take a look at how porcelain and marble compare, so you can consider all of the factors when making your choice.

Durability

While both materials are extremely durable, they are rated on different scales of hardness. Marble is rated on the Mohs hardness scale and comes in between 3 and 5 – this means marble is highly durable, whichever type you choose. Porcelain tiles are rated on a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) scale. Porcelain tiles with a hardness rating of 4 to 5 are suited for heavier foot traffic in homes and businesses, while a rating of 3 is suitable for residential and light foot traffic. We can help you find a porcelain that will be perfect for your needs.

Cost

Some types of marble are less expensive than others, while porcelain is a less expensive option in general. The cost of installation factors in as well. Porcelain can sometimes be more expensive to install, as it may require a special grout. Average costs for materials and installation come in at around $8 to $15 per square foot for porcelain tile, while marble can range from $9 to $24.

Maintenance

Porcelain is a dense, hard material and is often glazed. This makes it easy to clean, water resistant, stain resistant, and safe for use with most popular cleaning products. You can refer to our easy guide on how to clean porcelain tile. Marble is more porous, which means you may have to be a little more careful about preventing stains and contact with acidic substances. Marble requires appropriate cleaning products and needs to be sealed to protect against accidents.

Installation

Marble is heavy and requires underlying support. You may want to lay marble tiles out prior to installation to arrange an aesthetically pleasing pattern (the same applies to porcelain tiles made to mimic the look of marble.) Porcelain tiles, though not as heavy as marble, may also need underlying support. The method of installation will depend on the application, so it’s best to get expert advice when choosing a material.

How Cosmos Surfaces Can Help

If you desire the look of marble but would like a less expensive option that is easier to clean and maintain, porcelain slabs that look like marble are a great solution! Cosmos Surfaces is proud to showcase our new porcelain tile collection – OPULITH. We offer a premium variety of patterns and colors that can bring the look and feel of luxury into your space. Cosmos Surfaces brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. Fill out our or give us a call today to get started!

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

Sapphire Blue  - Brown Granite 3

Unearth the exquisite blue and brown patterns hidden in Sapphire Blue, which is a highly polished brown granite that gleams like a trove of precious gems. Sapphire Blue exudes luxury and rarity, and its exotic blend of blue, brown, black, and grey is a shining example of the earth’s most incredible natural creations.

What Makes Cosmos Surfaces the Best Supplier of Large Porcelain Slabs?

large porcelain slabs

Large porcelain slabs have taken the design industry by storm – and for good reason! This material is beautiful and hardy with the ability to elevate any space. In this article, we’ll take a look at the uses and benefits of large format porcelain tiles and how Cosmos Surfaces can provide the best surface materials for your space.

The Many Uses of Large Format Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain slabs can be used indoors for countertops, backsplash, sinks, showers, walls, floors, tubs, furniture and around fireplaces. Its outdoor applications include pools, cladding, patios and more. With the right preparations, large format porcelain can be installed over existing flooring and countertops, which makes this option ideal for home-renovation projects.

The Benefits of Porcelain Slabs

  • Heat Resistant: Porcelain is highly heat resistant, which makes it a great choice for kitchen countertops or for installation around fireplaces.
  • Scratch Resistant: Everyday wear and tear is hardly a concern with this durable material.
  • Stain Resistant: Porcelain is dense and less porous than other materials, which makes it easy to clean and highly stain resistant.
  • Low Maintenance: Porcelain does not require intensive ongoing maintenance to keep it looking gorgeous and new. For example, see our detailed guide on how to clean porcelain kitchen sink and tile.
  • Seamless Look: Large format tiles or slabs come with the additional benefit of having fewer joints or seams upon installation, which allows for a sleek, luxurious look.

What Makes Cosmos Surfaces the Best Supplier of Large Porcelain Slabs?

We are proud to showcase our new porcelain tile collection – OPULITH. You can also take a look at our process for making porcelain slabs . We offer a variety of patterns and colors that can take your home or business to new levels of functionality, beauty and luxury.

Cosmos brings over three decades of knowledge and industry experience to the table. As a 2nd generation family-owned company, our team is passionate about our mission of connecting North American businesses and consumers to exceptional materials in a way that is respectful to local communities and the environment.

Whether you are a homeowner, industry professional, vendor or supplier, you can trust Cosmos Surfaces to meet your needs. Get in touch by filling out our contact form today – our team of experts is happy to advise and assist!

Color of the Month: Mosaic Blue

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 18-4528, Mosaic Blue! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “The teal Mosaic Blue displays an air of mystique, grace and depth of feeling.”

Agate Azure - Blue Semi-Precious 3

Agate Azure is a form of the naturally occurring  crystal; a bold, beautiful semi-precious stone that can be installed for countertops, wall applications, backsplashes, and more. The deep ocean blues and unique handpicked stones make this blue agate an exquisite work of art.

How to Clean Porcelain Kitchen Sinks: Tips from the Experts at Cosmos

how to clean porcelain kitchen sink

When it comes to kitchen sinks and tiles, porcelain is one of the best options. It’s highly durable and resistant to scratching, chipping, heat, and water pressure. Cosmos Surfaces has recently launched a new large format porcelain tile collection – OPULITH. Creating your dream kitchen has never been so easy with so many beautiful porcelain options. Best of all, it’s very easy to clean! Here are some tips on how to clean porcelain kitchen sink and tile.

How to Clean Porcelain Kitchen Sink and Tile

Cleaning porcelain in your kitchen can be a bit different than cleaning porcelain in the rest of your home. Your kitchen is probably very high-traffic, and the materials that come into contact with your porcelain kitchen sink are different than in your bathroom. Here are some tips on how to clean porcelain kitchen sink and tile.

  • Wipe down messes immediately. Your kitchen likely experiences a lot of spills, crumbs, and liquid messes. Although porcelain is durable and stain-resistant, letting crumbs and liquid sit on your porcelain for too long can make it a little tougher to clean. Play it safe by always wiping up a mess as soon as it happens.
  • Don’t keep dishware in your sink for too long. Dishes and metal silverware can leave stains and residue, and this is true in any kind of kitchen sink. Keep your porcelain looking its finest by cleaning and putting your dishes back where they belong.
  • If you do accumulate orange rust stains, naval jelly is an effective product. Avoid mixing any acids and rinse quickly and thoroughly after use.
  • For everyday cleaning, use gentle dish soap and a soft towel or sponge. A magic eraser is a great tool, but any other non-abrasive sponge will work.
  • Bleach can work for tougher stains, but is safest on white porcelain. Make sure to rinse with plenty of water after using bleach. For a grey porcelain, like Ocean Grey, diluted white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide will usually be sufficient. Remember to clean the surface thoroughly with water afterwards.

Tip: Using a grid in the sink helps avoid scratches from cutlery and dishes to a large extent.

Install Premium Porcelain in Your Kitchen Today

Due to its durability, high resistance to stains, and low-maintenance cleaning, Cosmos Surfaces recommends porcelain for kitchen sinks and tile. Our new porcelain collection from OPULITH offers diverse options that look fantastic in kitchens, like Apilar White. For more information on how to clean a porcelain kitchen sink and tile, contact our experts! Check out our blog for more great info and fill out our online form to speak with our team.

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

Bring a touch of warmth to any kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity top with Tornado Yellow. A flurry of mustards, chocolate browns and quartz white veins, this granite countertop is the perfect balance of cheer and chic.

Discover Premium Quartz for Kitchens and Bathrooms

quartz countertops suppliers

Quartz is one of the most gorgeous and durable materials to use for countertops of any kind. If you’re looking for quartz countertops suppliers, Cosmos Surfaces is one of the leading distributors in the industry. We have a wide variety of options when it comes to countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Cosmos believes that your creative vision and aesthetic can be achieved with the right materials and expertise. Our three decades in the industry combined with our creative spirit are the perfect blend to help you find the quartz countertop that’s right for you.

Premium Quartz Countertops for Kitchens, Bathrooms, and More

Our large format quartz crosses a wide spectrum of color and origin, so we can help you find the perfect choice for your quartz countertop. Our options will dazzle and delight, as well as meet your design goals. Quartz is a non-porous manufactured stone with a wider range of colors and patterns than natural stone. Here are just a few options from our quartz collection:

  • Craven White is a beautiful option for those looking for a contemporary white quartz. It evokes a cool and refreshing atmosphere, reminiscent of an Arctic retreat. Craven White is perfect for modern kitchens.

  • For those looking for a darker grey quartz, Ferro Grey is a stunning option. A sophisticated quartz, Ferro Grey evokes durability and strength. If you want your countertop to act as the focal point of your kitchen, Ferro Grey is the way to go.

  • Starry Night is a dark, deep obsidian quartz speckled with iridescent flecks, just like a starlit sky. This quartz is sure to make a statement in any space, bringing an element of elegance and sophistication. Starry Night is perfect for any room in which you’d like to evoke a sparkling nightscape.

  • One of our more unusual quartz options is Kona Dragon. A fierce blend of brown, grey, and gold, Kona Dragon is a commanding option that matches with any aesthetic and adds variety to any kitchen, bathroom, or exterior area.

Your Dream Home is Waiting – Contact Us Today

As an experienced team of quartz countertops suppliers, Cosmos Surfaces offers a variety of quartz options to make your dream home a reality. Whether you’re looking for kitchen, bathroom, or exterior quartz countertop options, Cosmos has a diverse and extensive catalogue. For more information on quartz or quartz countertop options, check out our blog or fill out our online form.

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

Vyara Gold brings to mind the shifting sands of a vast desert at sunrise. This dusky gold and taupe granite with veins of red and brown is a warm and attractive granite, perfect for a welcoming kitchen or bathroom.

How to Clean Porcelain Tile

how to clean porcelain tile

If you’re looking to redo your living room, bathroom or kitchen, you’ll need to consider what type of material to use for your countertop,  showers, and other surfaces. Porcelain tile is becoming increasingly popular as a high-quality material for showers and countertops, and for good reason. Here is a handy guide from Cosmos Surfaces on everything you need to know about porcelain tile, including what sets it apart from other materials, why it’s so low maintenance, and how to clean porcelain tile so that it stays beautiful throughout the years.

Advantages of Using Porcelain Tile in Bathrooms and Kitchens

You can’t go wrong with porcelain tile for floors, showers, countertops, and exterior surfaces. Here are a few reasons why porcelain tile steals the show:

  • Porcelain tile is a beautiful low-maintenance alternative to granite or marble. Advanced manufacturing technology allows for porcelain tile to mimic the appearance of natural marble, like our Sicily White porcelain. The color options for porcelain are growing all the time.

sicily white

  • Porcelain fits with a variety of aesthetics, from modern to classical to minimalistic.
  • Porcelain tile is heat, scratch, and chip-resistant.
  • The nonporous nature of porcelain means the material doesn’t require sealing, which can cut costs and makes it easy to care for over time.
  • Porcelain is highly resistant to wear and tear in the long term. That’s why it is great for bathrooms and kitchens, which are used often by every member of the family.
  • Porcelain tiles are also very dense, making them resistant to stains and a perfect material to withstand constant contact with water, food, beauty and makeup materials, toothpaste, heat, and more.
  • The large size of these porcelain slabs also reduces the number of grout lines we see, thus making the surface more aesthetically appealing.
  • Lastly, porcelain is extremely low maintenance and easy to clean. Porcelain tiles resist stains, keeping the daily upkeep to a minimum. It is highly durable and not easily damaged. It’s also easy to find resources for how to clean porcelain tile, including our step-by-step guide below and more tips in the FAQs and Resources Sections.

How to Clean Porcelain Tile Like the Pros

One of the greatest benefits of installing porcelain tile in a bathroom or kitchen is that it’s so easy to keep clean. The more often you clean it, the longer it will last and the nicer it will look. Only a couple of minutes per day are required to keep your porcelain shining. Here’s our guide for how to clean porcelain tile:

  • Daily Cleaning: Daily upkeep for porcelain isn’t complicated or time-consuming. To keep your porcelain in tip-top shape and make it easier when you deep clean it once in a while, simply rinse your porcelain off after using it or wipe it down with a gentle sponge. It’s best not to let soap residue, toothpaste, food spills, or anything else sit for too long.

Giving your sink a quick rinse after brushing your teeth or using a mild daily shower spray will eliminate frequent deep cleaning and keep your porcelain always looking its best. Avoid keeping items on porcelain that will rust or leave residue, like metal rings and jewelry.

  • Weekly Cleaning: Just once a week, wipe down your porcelain more thoroughly with a sponge or washcloth. Using a simple cleaning spray will sufficiently clean any bacteria, germs, and buildup that amassed over the course of a week. This will help maximize the beauty and life of your porcelain, especially if you skip daily upkeep sometimes.
  • Monthly Cleaning: Once a month or so, it’s best to do a more thorough deep clean. This is where you get into every nook and cranny. With regular upkeep, the deep clean should be very quick and easy. A magic eraser and diluted white vinegar are great tools to use when deep cleaning porcelain. If you do encounter a stain on white porcelain, you can use diluted bleach with CIF cream or Mr. Muscle. Just make sure you rinse your porcelain with lots of water afterwards.

Install Beautiful Porcelain Tile Today

Cosmos Surfaces highly recommends porcelain tile in bathrooms and kitchens. That’s why we launched our new large format porcelain collection, OPULITH. Including styles that are great for countertops and bathroom walls, such as the striking Roman Grey, OPULITH from Cosmos Surfaces gives you plenty of options when it comes to designing your dream space.

roman grey

At Cosmos, our goal is to provide our customers with superior quality products at competitive prices and unparalleled service. Quality and Service are given the highest regard in every decision we make. Our founding principles combined with our highly trained and capable team members have helped us become one of the leading distributors in the industry. Contact us today to speak with a member of our team.

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

ora caravelas

Ora Caravelas is a complex yellow and blue granite with a stunningly textured pattern. This exotic Brazilian granite is polished to a high shine and makes an eye-catching choice for any indoor or outdoor application.

How to Clean a Composite Sink: Tips from Cosmos Surfaces

Made from granite stone dust mixed with acrylic resins, granite composite sinks are highly durable, stylish and affordable. But just like any type of sink, composite granite requires regular TLC to keep it clean and gorgeous. In this week’s blog, Cosmos Surfaces offers a few helpful pointers for how to clean a composite sink.

How to Clean a Composite Sink Like a Pro

  • Everyday Cleaning – To sanitize and prevent stains, we recommend gently scrubbing your composite sink with a soft nylon brush and soapy water on a daily basis. Once you’ve done so, be sure to rinse the sink thoroughly with regular water and then towel dry to avoid spots on the finish.
  • Deep Cleaning If you start to notice stains or a cloudy finish, it’s time to mix up a gentle solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, or create a paste using baking soda and a few drops of water. Apply the homemade cleaning agent of your choice to your composite sink, focusing on any areas that are stained or dull looking. Then, simply rinse and wipe dry for a revitalized sink!
  • Lifting Stubborn Stains If stains linger after using the above method, try using a stronger solution of equal parts bleach and water. Once again, rinse and dry the sink thoroughly after cleaning. This should take care of even the toughest stains.

While composite sinks are quite resistant to stains and scratches, it’s important to note that they can be damaged by harsh chemicals and abrasive scrubbing devices. Stick to these guidelines for how to clean a composite sink, and you will easily preserve the beauty of your sink while extending its lifespan.

Find the Sink of Your Dreams at Cosmos Surfaces

Composite sinks are an attractive and easy-to-maintain option for any kitchen or bathroom. The Vortex 50/50 Double Bowl Composite Sink might be the one for you if you’re a fan of spacious, stain-resistant sinks with a sleek black finish. Vortex sinks are quite possibly the toughest sinks on the market, with 3/8th” thick walls and increased center support.

Vortex 50:50 Double Bowl Sink - Composite Sink

Or, you might prefer one of the several types of stainless steel sinks we offer. For example, the stunning Windsor L is a classic,  brushed stainless steel sink that will work in any style of kitchen.

Windsor L Sink - Stainless Steel Sink

No matter what type of sink you’re shopping for, you can find a wide variety of high-quality, beautiful products at Cosmos Surfaces.

To browse our full selection of sinks and locate the ideal product for your project, click over to the product section of our website. We are committed to delivering the very best customer service and expert advice, whether you’re buying for a residential or commercial project. Please feel free to reach out to us if you’d like personalized assistance from a member of our team!

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

With a trademark pattern 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.

Why a Porcelain Slab Shower Is the Best Option for Your Renovation

porcelain slab shower

Across the U.S. and Europe, large format porcelain tile has become a beloved option for an extensive list of design applications. Owing to its impressive durability, easy maintainability and many other favorable features, porcelain is now a top contender for design projects like kitchen countertops, bathroom vanity tops, shower and tub surrounds, fireplaces, floors and more. Of particular popularity among discerning homeowners is the porcelain slab shower – a stunning, decidedly modern choice that’s as hardwearing as it is beautiful. The brand new Large Format Porcelain Tile Collection – Opulith from Cosmos Surfaces includes something for every taste, project and budget.

What Makes Porcelain So Wonderful for Shower Walls & Floors?

The selection of materials for shower walls and floors can be overwhelming. If you’re currently considering several different options for your bathroom renovation, here’s why porcelain should be a standout on your list:

  • Very dense and resistant to water absorption
  • Resistant to scratches, stains and chips
  • Retains heat well
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Available in a wide range of patterns and colors
  • Very easy to install in slab form
  • Due to the size of the slabs, the number of grout lines are greatly reduced

Another great thing about using large format porcelain tile to give your shower a facelift? This durable material can be installed over existing stone, meaning you may be able to skip the work of removing your old shower walls!

Cleaning Your Porcelain Slab Shower

As mentioned above, porcelain is incredibly easy to take care of, which is a must-have quality for your shower. It’s safe to use any type of gentle multipurpose cleaner in a porcelain shower. Just be sure to wipe your porcelain shower dry after cleaning to avoid unwanted water marks.

Find Breathtaking Porcelain Tile at Cosmos Surfaces

Looking for the perfect porcelain for your shower renovation? We recommend Sicily White, a refined and elegant style that’s suitable for shower walls and floors. Featuring smoke gray veining and specks on a backdrop of milky white, this slab will lend modern beauty to any bathroom.

Sicily White - White Porcelain - Bernini Classic Bookmatch

Explore our entire selection of porcelain slabs for showers and much more! Whether you are a homeowner, an industry professional, a vendor or a supplier, we are here to answer any questions you may have about our high-quality, competitively priced porcelain tiling. Reach out today to find out why we’re known for outstanding customer service and unbeatable product quality.

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

Aurum is the Latin word for gold, so it’s no surprise Aurum Ivory captures heavenly radiance with its gentle, curling golden veining. The angelic delicacy of this white quartz is unmatched, and its polished finish makes it a pristine choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and beyond. Enjoy a serene retreat into the clouds with the help of this elevating white quartz.

What are the Different Types of Stainless Steel Sinks?

types of stainless steel sinks

Stainless steel sinks have become the standard for modern kitchens everywhere, in both residential and commercial settings. Consider the long list of benefits offered by these sleek sinks, and it’s easy to see why they’re a modern-day kitchen staple! Not to mention there are various different types of stainless steel sinks available from Cosmos Surfaces, making it simple to create a customized look. From the shape to the finish, there are so many choices when it comes to the features of your stainless steel sink.

5 Perks of Opting for a Stainless Steel Sink

Before we discuss features, we’d first like to share a few reasons why so many homeowners choose stainless steel sinks for kitchen and bathroom applications:

  1. Stain- and heat-resistant
  2. Simple to clean and disinfect
  3. Affordable
  4. Highly durable
  5. Won’t crack or chip

Types of Stainless Steel Sinks: Shape & Finish Options

Once you’ve decided that a stainless steel sink is the right option for your project, it’s time to consider the various types of stainless steel sinks available. Which shape and finish will work best for your purposes and your space? Here are a few things you should know:

  • Shape – Stainless steel sinks can be found in virtually every shape imaginable, from square to D-shaped to rectangular. When shopping for a sink, be sure to note the corner shape as well:
    • Zero-radius sinks have perfectly square corners for an ultra-modern look. These include the Mercury R0 and the Phoenix R0 sinks from Cosmos.

    • Small-radius sinks have more rounded corners for a sleek and smooth surface, such as the Mercury R10 and the Phoenix R10 from Cosmos. The radius in the corners makes it easier to remove any grime and keep the corners clean.

Phoenix R10 Single Bowl Sink - Stainless Steel Sink

  • Finish – When it comes to sink finish, the best choice will mainly depend on what kind of appearance you prefer. Lustrous without being overly glossy, a satin finish is the most popular option for stainless steel sinks. If you enjoy extra shine, you might select a mirror finish instead. There are also brushed, matte and textured finishes available for some sinks.

Caring for Stainless Steel Sinks

It’s very easy to care for and maintain stainless steel sinks. Stainless steel only needs to be wiped down regularly with dish soap and water. Smudges and streaks can be easily buffed out with a microfiber towel. Just avoid using steel wool or abrasive scrubbers, which may scratch the sink. For more tips about cleaning stainless steel, here’s a helpful article from Good Housekeeping.

Hopefully, this information will come in handy as you choose between the various types of stainless steel sinks.

We’re Here to Help You Select the Right Stainless Steel Sink for Your Project

As one of the leading suppliers of stainless steel sinks in the U.S., Cosmos Surfaces has a team of friendly experts ready to help you find the best sink style for your needs and desired aesthetic. Head over to our website to browse our large selection of stainless steel sinks, or get in touch to be connected with one of our representatives. We aim to provide our customers with superior quality products and unparalleled service.

Color of the Month: Sunlight

This month’s featured trending color is Pantone 13-0822, Sunlight! The Pantone Color Trend Report says, “Soft Sunlight invites happiness, pleasant cheer and a smiling presence.”

Sicily Gold - White Porcelain - Bernini Gold Bookmatch

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.

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