Butcher Block: Cleaning and Care Tips

Posted on 02/15/2012 at 3:39pm

Six Steps to Maintaining a Safe and Sanitary Butcher Block Surface:

  1. Remove large food scraps by wiping the cutting surface clean with a wet cloth or sponge.
  2. Clean the cutting surface with a disinfecting solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 quart of water. DO NOT use powder or abrasive cleansers.
    Tip: mix and store bleach solution in a spray bottle for future use.
  3. Wipe or sponge off bleach solution with clean warm water. Repeat rinse. For butcher block cutting boards: DO NOT submerse in water or run through a dishwasher.
  4. When dry, seal the block with Emmet’s Elixir anti-microbial beeswax and mineral oil wood conditioner or USP-grade mineral oil. Apply liberally to all surfaces.
  5. Wipe excess and buff with a soft cloth in the direction of the grain. 6 Reseal butcher block cutting surfaces at least once a week, depending
    on amount of use.

For butcher block cutting boards: Store in a rack or on edge to keep dry and inhibit bacteria growth. To avoid cross-contamination, use one board for meats and another for vegetables. Or consider a reversible board, using one side for prepping meats and the other for vegetables.

Source: Bally Block Co. Website

Filed Under: Bally

How Green is Your Countertop?

Posted on 02/15/2012 at 3:31pm

Michigan Maple Block uses lumber which is harvested form sustainable forests within a 200 mile radius of the manufacturing facility. It uses a process called finger-joining. This allows us to use short pieces of wood which otherwise would be discarded. In effect recycling the raw material into a useable item to be manufactured into our product line. This finger joint material represents approximately 30 % of our lumber usage. It should also be noted that cartons we pack our products in are made from 30.2 % recycled and 28% post consumer recycled product. Michigan Maple Block also purchases used pallets to continue the recycling process.

The coatings meet the GreenSure criteria: 2.3 lbs/gal VOC or less. 100 % solids. For- maldehyde Free, Lead Free, Chromate Free, HAPS Free. Additionally, we reclaim the finish in the roll coat- ing process, which falls in line with the GreenSure approval parameters.

Learn more at Bally Block Co. website:

Filed Under: Bally

Taking Care of Your GEOS Countertop

Posted on 02/15/2012 at 3:26pm

GEOS Sustainable Surfaces are easy to maintain and keep clean. For daily care and maintenance we recommend wiping the surface with a damp cloth or a mild cleaner such as 409®, Fantastik® or comparable cleaning product. The use of bleach or other harsh chemical cleaners is not recommended.

GEOS Sustainable Surfaces are non-porous so there is no need to seal or wax your tops. They recommend however that spills be wiped up as soon as possible. In the event of a stubborn stain, the manufacturers suggest soaking the stain with a mild cleaner combined with a nonabrasive Scotch Brite® pad.

Learn more at GEOS website:

Filed Under: GEOS

Sink Selector by Karran

Posted on 02/15/2012 at 3:22pm

A great place to look for a quality sink is to start with Karran’s Sink Selector. If you are looking for seamless integration in a laminate or solid surface countertop, choose from their Acrylic Seamless or Edge Seamless series. With their resin matrix rims, these sinks can be bonded seamlessly into your new countertop. If you are looking for the most durable sink available in the world today, consider their Quartz sinks. If it is a traditional stainless steel sink that you are after, then choose from the wide array of options in their Profile, Select and Elite Series.

Use the Sink Selector below to browse though Karran models below and select the sink that is right for you.

Filed Under: Karran

Countertop Guide: The Benefits & Limitations Of Every Surface

Posted on 05/05/2011 at 8:45pm

Unlike cars or electronics, most people don’t spend much time contemplating what “the next big thing” in countertops might be.  Because of this, thre is limited knowledge on the products and services available to you when renovating your home.  Until now…

LAMINATE: Many homeowners looking for new countertops want anything other than laminate, but it is the most cost-effective product on the market and you might be pleasantly surprised by the selection.  Laminate is a high-density material that is adhered to engineered wood and heat-treated to achieve multiple edge treatments.

The Benefits

  • Laminate has the widest variety of colors available and many degrees of texture and durability.
  • Laminate is low maintanence.
  • It will sustain slight scratches.
  • It’s affordable.
  • Laminate doesn’t require upkeep like sealing.
  • It’s completely non-porous.
  • It can be easily replaced.
  • It lasts many, many years.
  • There are a variety of edges available.

The Limitations

  • Laminate is suseptible to discoloration when extremely hot items are placed on the surface.
  • You don’t want to use laminate as a cutting surface… that will result in visible damage.  Use a cutting board.

SOLID SURFACE: Solid surface countertops are made of acrylic and polyester blends.  The proportions differ based upon the brand and the level of the product.  When choosing a solid surface, it’s best to pick the color, finish, and texture you want first.  Then, choose your brand.

The Benefits

  • All solid surfaces have color that goes all the way through the slab so if your countertop gets scratched or stained, you can remove the damage with a little Comet and a Scotch Brite pad.
  • Solid surface countertops are SEAMLESS!  One solid, smooth surface.
  • Solid surface is the only countertop that allows for “integrated” sinks and backsplashes of the same material.

The Limitations

  • Depending on your choice of sink, you may see a seam, but you won’t feel it.

GRANITE: Granite countertops have become increasingly popular over recent years but that popularity may decline with the variety of new and interesting quartz surfaces now available.  When selecting granite, a good partner is going to recommend that you pick your own slab because there may be a discrepancy from a sample in the store and the full pattern of the slab.

The Benefits

  • No two slabs of granite are alike, each has its own personality making your kitchen unique.
  • There are a variety of edges available.
  • Backsplashes can be set-on or you can opt for tile.
  • It’s very strong and can withstand heat and scratching.
  • There are lots of colors to choose from and they range in price based on quality, durability, and availability.

The Limitations

  • Granite requires annual maintenance through a sealing process, usually done once a year.
  • Granite is porous and can retain bacteria.
  • Granite requires an under mount or drop-in sink.
  • There have been concerns that granite countertops can pose health risks because they are capable of emitting radiation through the presence of differing levels of radon and uranium.
  • Be sure that you are getting a high-quality grade.  Not all granite slabs are the same and slabs mined in regions such as South America and China can be riskly selections.

QUARTZ: Twice as strong as granite, quartz is one of the hardest and most abundant minerals on earth.  Quartz surfaces are man-made stone.  Quartz has the appearance of natural stone but it’s actually stronger and requires less maintenance than granite or marble.

The Benefits

  • Quartz is completely non-porous so it never needs to be sealed.
  • Quartz surfaces are heat-resistant and capable of withstanding cutting (though a cutting board is always recommended).
  • There are no visible seams with Quartz.
  • Sinks can be under-mounted or self-rimming drop ins with lots of choices for style and color.
  • Quartz offers lots of edge treatments.

The Limitations

  • Backsplashes can be supplied but are only available in a set-on so most homeowners choose tile.


Filed Under: Article, Special

Featured Dealer: Kitchen Designs in Barrington, NJ

Posted on 10/01/2010 at 3:50pm

Karen at Kitchen Designs is a master at turning your kitchen dreams into a reality. Be sure to contact Karen at Kitchen Designs at 856-547-1515 or via email at  You can also see the work for yourself at their showroom:  210 White Horse Pike in Barrington, NJ.

Filed Under: Featured, Info

Wilsonart HD High-Definition Laminate Videos

Posted on 09/24/2010 at 6:48pm

Filed Under: Featured, Wilsonart HD

Video: Meganite Countertop Installation

Posted on 09/15/2010 at 2:49pm

This summer Need Countertops awarded one person FREE new countertops! Van Kapeghian had his choice of countertop surface and he chose Meganite Solid Surface. Solid Surface Designs and Masterpiece Kitchens worked with Van and installed his new countertop in just four hours.

Filed Under: Meganite

Which Home Improvements Make Cent$?

Posted on 09/04/2010 at 12:25am

You don’t have to go overboard when making home improvements.  Small upgrades can go a long way in increasing your home value.

  • Complete Kitchen Renovation vs. Countertop Replacement and Cabinet Refacing

Why renovate the entire kitchen, when you can upgrade your countertops, sand your cabinets and replace the fixtures.  You’ll be surprised at the look of your kitchen.

  • Installing a New Pool vs. Adding a Deck

There’s no need to add on a complete patio when the addition of a deck can increase your chances of selling your home… and you might make a few extra bucks too.  Decks are a great way to add value to your home.  Additionally, a nice deck is something that you’ll come to enjoy all summer long.

  • An Extra Bathroom

This is an upgrade that is sure to increase the value of your home.  In fact, it could be the reason a buyer chooses your property over another.  It can also be the reason a buyer walks.  Most buyers today demand at least two full bathrooms.  You can add on an extra bathroom (full or half) with minimal costs, nice upgrades to countertops and flooring, and still make that back upon the sale of your home.

  • Green Upgrades

Green upgrades are relatively new, but common questions involve the cost of electric and water bills.  Potential buyers want a solid estimate of what their monthly expenses will be and that definitely includes utilities.  So, if you can show the energy efficiency of green upgrades, you’ll step up your property’s resale value.

  • Landscaping

Nothing makes a strong first impression like a well-manicured garden.  You may even enjoy gardening, so this upgrade could be the least expensive and most beneficial.  Add perennials or annuals, plant a tree, have fun with it!

This topic is popular, you can check out the Wall Street Journal‘s SmartMoney article on Which Home Improvements Pay Off by clicking here. 

Filed Under: Article, Info

Selecting Your Countertop Style

Posted on 08/23/2010 at 5:22pm

Decorating style is what makes a house a home. It is personal expression. Figuring out your style sounds more difficult than it really is. The simple answer is that your style is the one that suits your life and works for you and your family. You do not have to adhere to a specific look or even the fashion of the moment. Style is really combining color, pattern, shapes and texture with the architecture of the house in a way that is pleasing to you.

Start by looking at your own home. If you were to pretend to visit your home for the first time, how would you describe the decorating style? Think traditional, casual, contemporary, formal, eclectic, country, rustic, southwestern or old world? Pick one that best focuses on your taste. You have some clues in your existing furniture about what defines your style.

Then begin by gathering ideas. You’ll find them in decorating magazines. Clip out the pictures that please you. It could be a color or pattern or texture that grabs your attention. Maybe you like the new countertop in one of the homes of neighbors or friends. Take a photo of that installation. Visit model homes as well for other ideas. These visual clues will help you narrow your choices and will prepare for making a style decision.

Ask yourself about your own personal entertaining style, as this will help you determine what you select. Do you entertain a lot? Does everyone gather in the kitchen? Do you use your kitchen as a buffet? Or are you likely to entertain in the dining room away from the kitchen? Do you and your children cook together? Are their friends often in your kitchen? The answers to these questions will reflect your decorating selections and preferences.

You may want your new kitchen to be casual, not formal. Think of surfaces that are matte in finish, as they will blend with the other colors in the room. Try Wilsonart® HD®, that uses both matte and gloss finish to mimic the variations in nature’s own finishes.

If you want your kitchen to have that old world charm, then a great choice is the elegant marble looks of the Fusion series in deep green, blue and black as well as neutral tones. This is the perfect complement to this style.

Maybe your home is very traditional, but you want a more updated look in the kitchen. Don’t go too high-tech, because the results will be out of balance with the rest of the rooms in your home. Instead, pick a color found on the wall or on fabric used on a nearby dining chair. You can easily find a matching choice in the Wilsonart® Standards. If you want to be a little more adventurous, the Roca series expertly replicates time-worn stone and is a natural fit.

If you like a clean, minimal look, then use the countertop to add a touch of metallic or texture. Take a quick look at Wilsonart® Decorative Metals or Metalaminates, which are great for backsplashes. For countertops with a pearl or metal feel, check out these patterns – Pearl Dust LS, Satin Stainless, Windswept Pewter, Windswept Bronze or Pewter Brush. If you prefer stone looks, glance at stone patterns with the Quarry Premium Finish, which has the beauty of stone without the price.

With hundreds of options for your countertops and kitchen surfaces, it’s best to narrow the scope by deciding on your color scheme and picking the texture that suits you best. Choose what you feel that makes you most comfortable. Order samples from Wilsonart to help you decide. Tape the samples up on the walls or on your existing counter. Examine them both in daylight as well as at nighttime. Lighting can change the way you look at your color choices. And you are on your way to defining your personal decorating style.

Filed Under: Article, Info, Special