Blog Posts from Northstar Granite Tops

Safety of Fireplace Surrounds: Tips and Best Practices

| | Tips

A fireplace can be the heart of your home, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. However, ensuring the safety of your fireplace surround is of paramount importance. As experts in natural stone fireplace surrounds throughout the Twin Cities area, Northstar Granite has compiled a list of safety tips and best practices to help you enjoy the cozy ambience of your fireplace without compromising your family’s safety.

Dover White Marble Fireplace Surrounds

Choosing the Right Materials

One of the fundamental elements of a safe fireplace surround is the choice of materials. Choose fire-resistant materials, such as natural stones like granite, quartz or marble, which can withstand the high temperatures generated by a roaring fire. These materials not only enhance the aesthetics of your fireplace but also provide an added layer of safety.

Clearance Distances

Clearance distances are crucial in maintaining fireplace safety. These are the minimum safe distances that must be maintained between your fireplace and any combustible materials. The specific clearance distances may vary depending on the type of fireplace you have and local building codes. It’s vital to consult your fireplace manual or a professional to ensure you adhere to these guidelines. Fireplace surrounds can help elevate the look of your fireplace while ensuring that flammable materials are not used to decorate the exterior.

Child and Pet Safety

For families with children and pets, additional safety measures are necessary. Install safety gates to keep curious little ones and pets away from the fireplace. Educate household members about the potential dangers of the fireplace and teach them safe practices around it. Children and pets should be taught not to get too close to the fireplace. A fireplace surround can help establish boundaries for how close is too close.

Local Regulations and Permits

Before installing or modifying your fireplace surround, check your local building codes and acquire any required permits. Compliance with these regulations ensures that your fireplace is safe and legal, providing peace of mind.

A fireplace can pull a room together, and natural stone fireplace surrounds can enhance the aesthetics of it while encouraging safe practices. Prioritizing safety with the help of fireplace surrounds not only protects your loved ones but also preserves the longevity of your fireplace and the integrity of your home. So, let the fire crackle and the warmth envelop you, knowing that you’ve taken every precaution for a safe and delightful experience.

For more information about natural stone fireplaces surrounds throughout Twin Cities, call Northstar Granite Tops at 320-963-8677 or request a free quote!

7 Creative Uses for Granite (that aren’t kitchen counters)

| | Granite

Are you looking for creative ways to incorporate granite into your home design? If granite fits into your aesthetic, but you already have kitchen counters that you love – there are still plenty of ways to fit granite into your home. When you are ready to choose granite for your Maple Grove home, stop by Northstar Granite Tops!

In the meantime, here are just 7 ideas for how to creatively use granite in your home. Let us know what ideas you have in mind and we can help you find the perfect granite slab for your next project!

slab of granite in grey hues

1. Statement Wall Art

Craft a unique piece of wall art with smaller granite tiles or pieces! The natural variations in color and texture will create an eye-catching focal point in any room. Plus, you can still choose colors and patterns that fit your aesthetic and complement any room it is in.

2. Custom Furniture

Design one-of-a-kind furniture pieces like side tables, coffee tables, or even benches by incorporating polished granite surfaces. The juxtaposition of wood or metal with the elegant stone can add a touch of luxury to your living spaces.

3. Garden Pathways

Create a stunning garden pathway using granite pavers. Their durability and weather resistance make them a practical and visually appealing option for enhancing your outdoor space.

4. Fireplace Surrounds

Give your fireplace a sophisticated upgrade by using granite as the surround material. Its heat resistance and natural beauty will add a touch of elegance to your living room or outdoor entertainment area.

5. Bathroom Vanities

Extend the luxury of granite into your bathroom by using it for vanity countertops and sinks. The stone’s resistance to water and moisture ensures longevity and a spa-like atmosphere.

6. Outdoor Kitchens

Build an outdoor kitchen with a granite countertop to create a durable and stylish cooking space. Granite’s durability and heat resistance make it perfect for withstanding outdoor conditions.

7. Personalized Coasters

Create personalized coasters by cutting smaller pieces of granite and adding felt or rubber pads to the bottom. These unique coasters will protect surfaces while adding a touch of natural elegance to your home decor.

What creative choices do you have in mind for your granite? At Northstar Granite Tops we work with quartz, granite, marble, and a wide range of other natural stones as well. For granite and more throughout Maple Grove, call Northstar Granite Tops at 320-963-8677 or request a free quote!

2023 Kitchen Trends: Quartz Countertops are Here to Stay!

| | Kitchen Countertops, Quartz

While trends are ever-changing and your aesthetic will often change over time, there are a few things that aren’t going out of style any time soon! Natural stone, specifically granite, spent decades at the top of the trend chart for kitchen countertops; however, one con with granite has made room for another material at the top. Granite is porous, meaning that it absorbs spills and is more likely to stain and grow bacteria. On the other hand, quartz, a high-end alternative to granite, offers all of the benefits of granite without the health concerns due to its porosity.

So, it’s no surprise that quartz countertops in Twin Cities are here to stay when considering the kitchen trends of 2023! Here at Northstar Granite Tops, we offer a wide range of natural stone and engineered stone like quartz.

When compared to its natural stone counterpart, quartz is more low-maintenance due to its higher porosity. While granite can be sealed to protect it from stains and bacteria growth, it must be resealed regularly to ensure that it is kept in the best condition possible. For many, this isn’t much of a deterrent due to the understated elegance of granite, but if you are looking for a lower maintenance kitchen countertop – consider quartz!

veined quartz countertops in Twin Cities

Quartz countertops boast a level of hygiene that is unmatched in most available natural stones. Since it is non-porous, it is not only hygienic, but also stain-resistant – which is an important consideration in the kitchen where spills are guaranteed to happen.

Plus, quartz countertops are extremely strong and durable, which is another plus in the kitchen where things may be bumped against or dropped onto your counters.

While quartz isn’t a natural stone, it is available in many colors, patterns and finishing techniques that can match any aesthetic. It mimics the look of natural stone, so you can enjoy strong, stain-resistant countertops while matching your desired aesthetic.

However, if you are considering an outdoor kitchen, quartz may not be the best fit for you as it is very susceptible to UV light. Granite is by far the best material for outdoor installations.

No matter what location or aesthetic you are hoping to find a suitable countertop for, we are happy to help you! At Northstar Granite Tops we work with quartz, granite, marble, and a wide range of other natural stones as well. For quartz countertops or more throughout the Twin Cities area, call Northstar Granite Tops at 320-963-8677 or request a free quote!

4 Tips on How to Pick Granite Slabs

| | Granite, Tips

When completing a renovation that requires countertops, there are many decisions that must be made. From initially deciding what material countertop you want, to picking out the exact granite slab near Plymouth, Northstar Granite Tops is here to help you find the countertop of your dreams!

While many may think the hard part is over once they have decided on granite, there are still decisions to be made. Here are 4 tips from the experts to help make the decision-making process smoother!

1. Decide on Aesthetic

Before you call your local fabricator to schedule a time to look at available granite slabs, it’s important to take time to think about the desired aesthetic of the room you are renovating. Whether you are picking out granite for your kitchen, bathroom or even a bar – consider these questions before going on a hunt to find your perfect slab:

– Do you want a light or dark color?

– When you picture your fully renovated room, what color and pattern come to mind?

– Do you prefer straight lines and corners? Curved edges and rounded corners?

– Are you looking for a top-mount, under-mount or drop-in sink?

– Are there any granite patterns/colors you can rule out?

Taking the time to think about these questions and more can help narrow down options once you visit your fabricator. By knowing more about what you want, they can help point you in the right direction and you can save time by limiting your choices to what you really want early on.

2. Consider Size of Kitchen or Bathroom

The next thing to consider before even leaving your home is the size of the room that the granite countertops will be in. In smaller rooms or in rooms with less natural light, lighter colored slabs will create a more spacious look. However, for larger spaces and brighter rooms, darker colors may make other pieces of the renovation pop.

In small spaces, complicated and busy patterns can make the room feel cramped. Whereas, in larger spaces, complicated, busy patterns can create a homier vibe. Having a good idea of the size of the room and the natural light can help influence answers to the questions above and can help ensure that the granite slabs you consider will look good for years to come.

3. Take Samples Along

One common mistake that many people make is not bringing along samples to compare to granite slabs. If you have already picked out cabinets, floors, wall colors and backsplashes, bring along samples of everything you can! This will help ensure that any granite slabs you consider match and will look right in the space once installed.

If possible, bring along physical samples rather than pictures to see how the colors and textures compare in various lighting – that way you can be sure that you make the right choice!

4. Be Ready to Take Pictures and Notes

Finally, bring along a phone that you can take pictures and notes on, or be sure to have a camera and notepad! Chances are, you will need more than one trip to the fabricator to decide on the perfect granite slab, so taking notes and pictures can help give you extra time to think about your options – all without having to trust your memory to capture each little detail of every slab you are considering.

If you are ready to pick out granite slabs for your next project in Plymouth or the surrounding Twin Cities area, call Northstar Granite Tops at 320-963-8677 or request a free quote!

Quartz Countertops Timeline

| | Quartz

Are you looking ahead to renovation projects for the year? If you are renovating a kitchen, bathroom or other room that will incorporate counters, it’s important to have an idea of what to expect. For quartz countertops in Edina, Northstar Granite Tops is here to help. We have laid out what the general process looks like from start to finish, so you know exactly what to expect when picking and ordering your new counters!

Step 1: Compare Colors and Prices

The first step once you have decided on using quartz for your countertops is comparing colors, patterns and prices! Shopping around is an important step to make sure that you will be happy with your choice for years to come.

Quartz is available in a variety of colors and patterns, and depending on the fabricator you choose, prices can range fairly significantly. Some fabricators only supply big-box stores, while other suppliers work with their independent showrooms. This step is also a good time to consider whether you want to support small and local businesses or big-box stores!

Step 2: Select Brand and Color

After you have settled on a color and pattern, you can reach out to the fabricator that you are interested in working with. They can send someone out to your property to take accurate measurements to ensure that your new countertops fit like a glove!

If you are replacing the fixtures there currently, it is important to have their dimensions to provide to your fabricator of choice.

Step 3: Get Price Quotes

Once fabricators have gotten accurate dimensions, the next step is to get a quote. While you should have a general idea of price from step one, it is important to make sure that you have an accurate quote for the job in writing. Anything before this step is a best estimate of price, whereas this step will provide you with an accurate price for the whole job.

Step 4: Place Your Order

If the price quote fits into your budget and you are ready to move forward, then the next step is to place your order!

Step 5: Wait

After your order has been placed, it’s time to wait for your counters to be fabricated. This normally doesn’t take too much longer than a week or two depending on the complexity of the job, however, your fabricator should be able to give you an accurate estimate when you request your quote.

Step 6: Schedule Installation

Once your countertops have been fabricated, it’s time to schedule installation! Your fabricator will install your counters (assuming the cabinets underneath are installed and ready), so that you can enjoy a seamless installation!

quartz countertops Edina

Step 7: Enjoy Your New Quartz Countertops

Finally, the last step is to sit back and enjoy your new quartz countertops! If you are looking for quartz or natural stone countertops in Edina or the surrounding Twin Cities area, call Northstar Granite Tops at 320-963-8677 or request a free quote!