Jul 15, 2019
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Lake Norman Cabinets

Whenever you need to make a major purchase if you are budget-conscious — by choice or by necessity, the best (I would say, only) place to start is by accumulating as much information as you can about the available possibilities. When buying cabinets, an extremely important consideration is to be sure that the measurements you are working with of the involved area(s) are accurate. You certainly do not want to learn too late that your cabinet choices and/or the resulting layout of them might have better met your needs.

In straight-run base-cabinets, one consideration that should be a priority is, if at all possible, to include “roll-outs” (variably called roll-out shelves, trays, etc.) factory-installed inside them; this is because “roll-outs” provide much better accessibility to items stored there (but, if your budget will only allow one roll-out per cabinet, be sure to place it on the cabinet’s bottom level). But, in case you happen to not be replacing perfectly fine base cabinets which do not have “roll-outs”, all is not lost; that advantage can be added later via “inserts”. And, if you are then unable to find “inserts” from a manufacturer, they can be self-built and installed.

If you are remodeling your kitchen (or building anew), you may need to choose a corner cabinet although not all kitchens need them.For example, a “galley” kitchen is called that because the walls (holding cabinets and appliances) that make up the kitchen face each other and, therefore, preclude the need for corner cabinets. Another possible arrangement in this vein would be an “L-shaped” kitchen with a straight-run of cabinets along one wall and another straight-run of cabinets on a wall that is perpendicular to it but separated from it by a doorway or floor-to-ceiling window. Cabinets installed in a straight run do not pose the variety of choices that corner cabinets do; therefore, if your new kitchen, bathroom, or office needs a corner cabinet, having a list of the types of corner cabinets currently available should help you make an educated choice in their shape and size.

Beginning with base corner cabinets, we have: (1) the symmetrical easy reach — this cabinet is the same length on each side of the corner and contains either shelves along its rear walls or a carousel with shelves “pie-cut” to accommodate the doors (a center hinge allows opening either the first door or both); (2) the asymmetircal easy reach — this cabinet is a little shorter on one leg (if it includes a carousel, that diameter will be the length of the cabinet’s shorter leg); (3) the revolving — this cabinet is like cabinet #1 but its doors revolve with the carousel shelves; (4) the diagonal-front — this cabinet allows a full-circle carousel; and (5) the blind — this cabinet looks like a straight-run cabinet but it extends into the corner along the side of an adjoining cabinet, structure, or appliance thus making its “buried” shelves accessible only from the front door (to allow better use of the “blind” corner cabinet, some manufacturers have cleverly created a cabinet with a first section which, on opening the door, pulls out and pivots to the side to expose roll-out trays which can then move forward to present their contents). Finally, there is a sink base corner cabinet that can be either an “L-shaped” cabinet to hold a butterfly sink or a diagonal-front cabinet with a regular straight-line sink — a caveat whenever a corner sink cabinet is used: be sure that adequate standing area (for loading and unloading the dishwasher) is created by placing a 12-inch wide regular cabinet between the dishwasher and the corner cabinet’s side.

Wall corner cabinets include: (1) the diagonal-front — this cabinet has a modified pentagon shape (this is the one most frequently chosen for this position); (2) the easy reach — this cabinet appears to be two adjoining wall cabinets (it has a center hinge to allow opening the first door or both and allows direct access to the contents on the shelves); and the blind — half of this cabinet is buried in the corner itself and can be accessed only by the front door of the cabinet — this cabinet is the unfortunate choice in instances where structure or an appliance allows no other option.

In conclusion then, when choosing cabinets in general and wall or base corner cabinets in particular, your best choices will depend on the size and shape of available space, your budget and the items that you plan to store there. Additionally, you really should make every effort to: (a) be as fully informed as possible about your cabinet options and (b) carefully review all of your decisions before ordering any cabinets — whether or not you have bottomless pockets.


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Jul 13, 2019
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Quartz #1 choice for countertops

According to surveys taken by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), quartz countertops have surpassed granite as the most popular countertop material. Predictions also point toward quartz continuing to grow in popularity over the next several years.

This is good news for homeowners who want a low maintenance and consistent countertop material. Unfortunately, it also means that as demand begins to outpace supply, more dealers may feel compelled to consider importing their countertops from China, where lower cost products have emerged.

While the countertops may look similar on the surface, there can be many problems with Chinese quartz countertops, concerning for both dealers and homeowners.

Resin Pooling

resin pooling

Quartz countertops by name might imply that they’re made of 100% natural stone, but the beauty in this product actually lies in the fact that it’s an engineered stone. Quartz countertops are actually made up of about 93% quartz, mixed together with resin and dyes. This renders the countertop non-porous, durable, and consistent in color in a way that natural stone cannot be.

One problem that has been emerging from overseas quartz countertops – and Chinese quartz countertops in particular – is resin pooling. This is an inconsistency in the countertop that leads to large pools of colored resin marring the surface of the counter.

Inconsistent Material Quantities

chinese quartz

While every quartz manufacturer in the North America follows strict ratios for the amount of quartz and resin they use, many Chinese products are less consistent. Some may use higher percentages of resin with less quartz stone.

This can contribute to resin pooling, and it can also make a more flexible countertop that can bend during transport. The ratio inconsistencies mean that the quality of the countertop is inconsistent, as well. You won’t know the quality of the material you’re buying as you may not be able to detect the problem visually.

Dye Lot Inconsistency

One of the reasons that homeowners like quartz is the consistency it offers in color and pattern. While natural stones like granite can vary tremendously from slab to slab, quartz is usually much more reliable.

There is always some degree of dye lot variation to be expected in any man-made product. However, this variation is controllable to some degree, and while one slab may vary slightly from another, you won’t find a lot of color changes within one slab.

Chinese quartz countertops are more likely to have dye lot variation, because the amount of resin – and therefore the amount of pigment – can vary. In investigations conducted by the US Government as to whether Chinese quartz was harming the domestic market, some slabs were found to have some inconsistencies in the product.

Combined with resin pooling, meaning a countertop can suddenly change color and pattern in some areas, this offers less confidence for homeowners.

Potential VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a problem with many manufactured products. Some chemicals used in the formulation may give off gas over the first five years of the product’s lifespan.

Therefore, many US states have laws that regulate what chemicals can be used in products that will be used in kitchens and near food. For example, formaldehyde is currently being phased out of cabinetry.

The way that the US defines VOCs and the way that China defines them are two vastly different things. While the US specifies the use of certain chemicals for indoor and outdoor use, China does not. This means that it may be possible that the countertops you receive from China could give off VOCs that would not be present in those made in the US.

Inconsistent Thickness

An additional problem that some dealers are experiencing in Chinese quartz countertops is an inconsistency in thickness. While a slab may be sold as 3cm, it may be slightly thicker or thinner, beyong a reasonable few millimeters tolerance.

In addition, there can be dramatic price inconsistencies between thicknesses, which can mean shortages in some thicknesses of specific colors. For a homeowner that wants one color in two thicknesses in a kitchen, this can be problematic.


As Chinese quartz continues to take up a larger share of the quartz market in the US, tariffs are being considered on their import. Both the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission are looking into duties on future imports of Chinese quartz countertops and are likely to announce duty amounts in September 2018.

This could cause a significant spike in prices, resulting in a drop in Chinese quartz supply. This sudden drop in the market could cause a temporary shortage of product, which means that any dealers and prospective buyers will need to watch the market closely and ensure that they have a consistent supply to meet their customer’s demand.

Chinese Quartz vs North American Quartz Countertops

North American quartz countertops are durable, consistent, and reliable. Unlike Chinese materials, you can trust the quality, color, and material you purchase when you source North American made quartz.

While some Chinese quartz products have seemingly lower prices, this is offset by the lower quality of the product; the countertop may not last as long, perform as well, or give you the desired results. Purchase North American made quartz countertops over Chinese and avoid these issues in the future.

Jul 11, 2019
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About Quartz Countertops

When it comes to updating one’s kitchen, there are more choices available today than ever before. You might opt for a butcher block finish, the old school look of Formica, or the very gorgeous choices like marble, granite, quartz, soapstone and others. Consequently, going to select your new countertops can be an all day excursion involving hundreds of questions and perhaps multiple locations.

But, for most consumers, this is a great thing as we like to be able to customize the appearance of our home. But, after some research, it is often easy to narrow down what countertops we would like to have. And while there are many options, one of the rapidly increasing favorites is that of quartz countertops. But what is it about this surface that makes it so appealing? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the use of quartz countertops.

Quartz Countertop FAQs:

1. Where can quartz be used? This beautiful stone can be used in virtually any room in the home, as well as in outdoor kitchens and patios. Common spaces where quartz is incorporated are kitchen and bathroom counters, fireplaces, shower surrounds, windowsills and even coffee tables. If you are considering quartz for your business, then it is perfect for service counters, conference tables and reception areas. It should be noted that if using it outside, that it is not unusual for quartz to discolor over time.

2. What colors are available? Quartz comes in a wide range of colors but most common ones are neutrals like creams, browns and blacks to apple-reds and grassy-greens.

3. Is quartz indestructible? Sadly, there is not a counter surface that is totally indestructible. However, quartz can withstand a great deal of force and if properly cared for can last for many decades.

4. Does quartz need to be sealed? No. Unlike granite, once quartz is installed, there is practically no maintenance required other than the basic wiping down if there is a spill or crumbs.

5. Is quartz affected by heat? Yes, it can become discolored if hot items are placed on it. To combat this, just be sure to always use a trivet or hot pad when setting hot pans, or cooking items on your quartz countertops.

6. Is quartz scratch and stain proof? No. You will need to use a cutting board when preparing food items on it. However, quartz is a stronger surface than marble or granite. As for staining, while it is not impervious to staining, it is resistant to stains so you don’t have to be concerned about staining due to oils, juices, coffee and other common food items.

Quartz countertops are a great choice for a number of surfaces in your home. Talk to a local installer, visit some showrooms and before you know it, you will discover the perfect piece and design for your space. So, get started on creating that perfect look today!

Many websites provide additional information on the topic of quartz countertops. One such site worth visiting is http://www.imperialcounters.com/quartz-countertops-minneapolis/

Janet Slagell independently authors articles for WebDrafter, Inc. for search engine marketing. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author, and not of any other person, company or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness, or use of the content herein.

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