Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not All Granite is Created Equal

In today’s market, when granite companies are a dime a dozen and prices are all over the spectrum, you may wonder if there is really a difference.  Is granite granite, and if you’ve been to one granite company, have you been to them all?  Trust us when we say– you get what you pay for.  A poor granite job can result in a whole host of problems; including unsightly seams, uneven edges, unstable sinks that could potentially fall out, and lesser quality, un-reinforced stone that could fracture around seams or sinks.
At Pizazz Floors & Interior Design, we work with the leading granite fabricators in Metro Atlanta and the industry, and offer the most up-to-date equipment and technology to ensure the highest quality job.  Here are some of the technologies you can find assurance in when you partner with Pizazz:
SlabSmith- this software takes high resolution pictures of your selected slab and shows what it will look like on your countertop layout.  This allows for patterns in your granite to be matched for smooth seams and the most visually pleasing layout.  View a brief SlabSmith video for more information.
Digital Templating & Cutting of the Stone- a template of your countertops is programmed into a CNC (computer numerical controlled) machine, and the stone is then cut using a water saw controlled by the computer.  This ensures a precise cut, as opposed to cutting by hand with a grinder (a common practice among granite companies), which can lead to imperfections and uneven edges.
Superior Seam System- To minimize the size of your seam, a technology known as Gorilla Grip is employed, which uses air pressure to pull the seam together.  Once the seam is as small as possible, we use a special under mount stitching method with high-quality glue and Corian blocks to ensure the seam will stay in place.  An industry-approved specialized paint mixture is then applied to match the color of the seam as closely as possible to your countertops.
In addition to these technologies, when you select Pizazz for your new granite countertops, you can also expect:
- Premium, 3cm stone (no seconds, 2cm stone, or remnants pieced together from different lots)
- Steel-rod reinforced cutouts
- PermaShield stain protectant and sealant
- Certified, licensed, English-speaking installers that have been background checked and drug tested

You may also have been hearing a lot lately about granite resurfacing.  This procedure places a manufactured overlay on top of your existing countertops.  As this is an engineered product, you do not have the character or movement of natural granite, it is less durable, and it does not add the same value to your home as solid granite.
With countless colors and styles of stone available, there is sure to be a granite countertop for you and your budget.  And with Pizazz, you only pay for the square footage of your job, not the whole slab.  Your Pizazz “Granite Concierge” (as we like to call it), can help you select the perfect granite for your kitchen renovation, educate you on the entire process, and answer any questions you may have along the way.  For more information on granite countertops, please call us at 678-687-6893.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What’s the Difference between Laminate and Engineered Wood?

Laminate, engineered, unfinished, prefinished…oh my!  With all of the options in hardwood available today, selecting the right wood for your home can be a little overwhelming.  The classics, unfinished and prefinished solid wood, are no longer the only type of flooring that falls under the hardwood umbrella.  Two new players, engineered and laminate floors, have entered the hardwood arena in recent years, giving more homeowners the ability to afford and enjoy the style and sophistication of hardwood floors.  If you’re considering one of these flooring options, but aren’t quite clear on the difference, here’s some information that might help.
Let’s start by giving a brief overview of traditional solid hardwood.  With this flooring, each plank is made from a single piece of wood and is generally ¾” thick.  Solid hardwood floors tend to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.  In summer, increased humidity causes the planks to expand and buckle.  While in the winter, when humidity decreases, the planks contract, leavings gaps.  For this reason, solid hardwood is not recommended in basements or on top of concrete floors.  While solid hardwood is the most expensive option, it also adds the most value to your home.  Homes with hardwood sell faster and at higher price points.  Not to mention, it looks beautiful in any room and can be refinished to change the look. Solid hardwood also offers the widest selection, with many different wood species available (ex. bamboo, Brazilian cherry, maple, etc.) and endless color options.
Laminate flooring is produced by attaching a photograph to a high density fiberboard through the use of heat and pressure.  The photograph is covered with a layer of polyurethane to protect the floor from scratches, fading, and wear.  Higher quality laminates use a form of urethane infused with aluminum oxide, which further increases its resistance to scratches.  Laminates are often textured through an embossing process for a more realistic look and feel.  Higher end laminates can also use high definition imaging for more authenticity.  Laminate floors offer several advantages to homeowners.  First, they are extremely versatile and can be installed on virtually any solid surface.  Because of laminate’s construction, the concern of buckling and gapping is nonexistent.  They are also significantly less expensive than solid hardwood.  Laminate floors never have to be refinished (and in fact cannot be refinished).   They are incredibly durable and have a greater scratch resistance than most hardwood and engineered floors.
Engineered flooring refers to multi-layer, cross grain constructed hardwood.  Despite its somewhat misleading name, engineered hardwood is 100% real wood.  It is made by taking multiple layers of hardwood (between 3 and 5 layers, depending on quality) and fusing them together at 90˚ angles to create a strong, durable hardwood.  The top layer of engineered floors is made from the species of wood that defines its look (ex. oak or cherry).  The inside layers are made from hard, but less expensive, species of hardwood.  The advantages of engineered wood are that it is often less expensive and more stable than traditional hardwood.  Because of the multiple layers, it is also less likely to expand and contract with changes in temperature, decreasing the likelihood of it warping or buckling.  This also allows it to be installed on concrete and below grade subfloors.  Engineered wood can be refinished up to 3 times, depending on the quality.
No matter what your flooring needs, a Pizazz design consultant can help you choose the type of hardwood that is perfect for you and your lifestyle.  For more information on laminate, engineered wood, or any other hardwood inquiry, call Pizazz Floors at 678-687-8693.