2 The Great Debate: Granite vs. Quartz

>> Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jumping from pink laminate to a perfectly neutral solid surface counter was exactly what my reno loving heart’s dreams were made of. After my countertop install was officially a wrap, I was left oohing and ahhing (and drooling) over my fancy pants new quartz countertops, and it seemed like a good deal of my friends/blog readers were left with one big question: What’s the difference between granite and quartz? Great question! And after many face to face convos on the subject (not to mention a pile of emails and Facebook messages—which I loved!) let’s take a little time to discuss the difference…but before we go any further, a quick revisit to the before and afters…

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Nice. I could stare at them all day.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the granite vs. quartz debate, shall we? Keep in mind this is only my opinion based on my own reno research and personal experience.

Color choices: This was the kicker for me. While I love the look of granite, it was a bit more “patterned” than I was wanting for my kitchen…if this even makes the slightest amount of sense. Let me rephrase: I wanted a more solid color than granite choices offer. Granite offers lovely speckles, swirls and streaks, but I wanted a neutral countertop with a few flecks of fabulous. You can also find quarts with more pattern, but it’s tough to find a solid color granite.

Durability: Both granite and quartz kick serious countertop tush in the durability department.  Both are hard surfaces and resistant to heat & scratches…but don’t get crazy. I’d still use cutting boards and trivets for hot pans to keep my counters in tip top shape. The biggest difference is that granite should be sealed every so often to fill the natural pores and prevent stains and bacteria growth, while quartz is non-porous and doesn’t require sealing.

Cost: Some online research says that, on average, quartz runs 10-20% more expensive than granite, but in my cases this was not what I found. Of course it all boils down to what color, edge, thickness you want, but my countertops (a basic level quartz, by the way) ended up costing around the same as it would had I installed granite instead.

Resale:  I’d have to bury my little Realtor head in the sand if I say this little number didn’t come into play when making the decision between granite or quartz in my own kitchen. It’s no secret that buyers love a solid surface counter and granite has been the trusty choice for years. Every time I show a house, buyers always comment on the counters that are currently in the home and if they would want to change them. Some home pros say that as granite is becoming the go-to, homeowners are opting for quartz to give a more custom look to their kitchen and baths. I say, regardless of whether you have granite or quartz, a buyer will appreciate a higher end countertop.



3 Out With the Old

>> Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New roof?



Gutters installed?…


…oh yeah, baby…


But all major water diverting improvements aside, by far the biggest news to hit this neck of the woods?…


my DVR’s grandpa is no longer napping against my chimney…




3 On a Reno Roll

>> Monday, February 27, 2012

I’m seriously kind of shocked at how quickly this kitchen reno is moving along. Granted I am able to work most mornings from home, so I do have the ability to let contractors in and out between phone calls and emails—not to mention, after work is a wrap for the day, I would much rather putter around with a paintbrush in my hand than plop down on the sofa…mainly because when I plop, I sleep—but all that aside, this bad boy is rolling right along at a killer DIY pace.

Up next, one fantastically fabulous backsplash!


I’m a sucker for subway tile of all shapes and sizes, so this choice was a no brainer. With just a few more odds and ends to check off the old to-do list before I start slapping these little ceramic beauties into place (a little electrical here, a little removal of disgusting pink backsplash remnants there) and this DIY backsplash project will be a wrap.




6 Roofing It

>> Friday, February 24, 2012

Around these parts, when it rains it pours—renovationally speaking, that is. Not only am I knee deep in the constant project of a kitchen remodel, but a new roof, new gutters and chimney repair were tacked on to the to-do list for this week. Basically turning my home into a revolving door for contractors. Cabinetmaker out. Countertop installers and plumber in. Roofers up. Old gutters down…Whew! A complete and utter mad house, but my roof and gutters were in desperate need of a little love. Let’s take a look at the befores…without judging for the pitiful condition of my yard, please ma’am.


Those gutters don’t look that bad you say? Let’s take a closer look.

Rusty, leaky gutters and hardly any functional downspouts to speak of just aren’t getting the job done when a thunderstorm rolls in to town. Not to mention they bring my curb appeal down several notches and with the poor gardening skills that I tote around, the front of my house can’t afford to loose any points in the looks department.


But the absolute best part of this stage of reno will hands down be the removal of the ridiculously large old school antenna that’s lassoed to the side of my chimney. It’s disgusting and the first thing you notice when you pull up to my house.

Giant Antenna

Giant. Enormous. And heading to the dumpster thanks to the 14 lovely gentlemen stomping around on top of my house.



5 Sink or Swim

>> Thursday, February 23, 2012

When my new quartz counters and shiny new stainless sink were popped into place yesterday morning, I was jumping for joy at what had appeared on top of the cabinets I’d been slaving away painting for the past week…


Underneath the sink? Not so much excitement. I’m no plumbing whiz over here, but last I checked pipes and drains are supposed to be attached to the sink to work properly.

Kitchen sink plumbing_1

No worries though, I can just go without a functioning kitchen sink until a plumber comes to move my hot water heater next week, right?…Negative. That’s a big fat wrong.

Because my old house plumbing did not include shut-off valves for the pipes underneath the kitchen sink, if I were to turn on the main water line to my house as-is, water would have exploded into my kitchen and created an unwanted swimming pool. So no water = no useable kitchen sink or dishwasher, no showers, no midnight trips to the kitchen for water, no sips for thirsty puppy lips, and most importantly, no potty…if you catch my drift. This construction site needed water ASAP!

Fortunately for me, I had just the plumber friend to call for a favor. After working all day, Plumber Josh worked well into the evening getting my sink issues under control…and since he was already here, why not go ahead and install the garbage disposal I’ve had hanging around since Christmas…

Plumber JoshKithen sink plumbing_3Kitchen sink plumbing_2

A couple of hours later my waterless house was no longer uninhabitable and my kitchen was back on track. Just the way I like it.




3 The Good, The Bad & The Thirsty

>> Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The counters are here! The counters are here!…but before we dive into the after shots, let’s flashback to what my kitchen looked like with the largest pink laminate eyesore on the block.




Alright. I think we’ve seen enough of that. Cue happiness in the form of Silestone quartz counters in Toffee…


Ooooooooh yeah. This kitchen is looking right, but every ounce of progress comes with a lessoned learned or two. Countertop/sink install takeaway? Make sure your old as dirt kitchen sink has shutoff valves or you can’t detach the old sink and bring in the new without shutting off all of the water to your house…and leaving it off until fixed. Plumber needed ASAP. My little June Bug is getting parched over here!…but who really needs water when you’ve got sparkling quartz counters to drool all over?



1 Topping Things Off

>> Tuesday, February 21, 2012

One big fat goodbye is about to take place in the construction site. Once and for all, the pink laminate countertops are on their way out. From pink and dated to outrageously chipped and paint covered, these counters have been though the wringer over the past month and it’s finally time to bring in the new.

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At 9:00 tomorrow morning this kitchen has a serious date with a beautiful slab of quartz. Bring on the beauty.



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