countertop how to take care of
countertop how to take care of

As a boutique sized interior designer firm located in Bergen County, NJ, we select and oversee the installation of countertops for projects about four times a year. Here are tips on how to maintain Quartz countertops.

For day to day use, clean up fresh spills with any brand dish soap and a soft microfiber or cotton cloth. Use a glass or surface cleaner, along with a nonabrasive sponge, to remove stains.

ROUTINE CLEANING

Though quartz will resist permanent staining when exposed to liquids like wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice, and soda, or fruits and vegetables, it’s important to wipe up spills immediately—before they have a chance to dry.

For dried spills or heavy stains, your best bet is a glass or surface cleaner, a nonabrasive sponge (sponges designed for nonstick pans), and a little elbow grease. Keep a plastic putty knife handy to gently scrape off gum, food, nail polish, paint, or other messes that harden as they dry. Should you find yourself confronting a particularly sticky situation, your stain-busting might require a couple of extra tools.

Removing cooking grease

For left over messes, use a degreasing product, such as Easy-Off. Kitchen degreasers loosen and remove the grease from the quartz countertop surface.

Removing permanent markers

Should you find an ink or permanent marker stain, moisten a cloth with Goo Gone or a comparable product, and rub it into the stain. Rinse thoroughly with warm water to remove any cleanser residue.

DEEP CLEANING

Daily wiping and attention to spills and messes will satisfy your countertop’s basic daily maintenance requirements. But experts also recommend an overall deeper general cleaning at regular intervals. For best results, spray a generous amount of a nonabrasive surface cleaner over your countertop and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe away with a non-scratch sponge.

WHAT NOT TO DO

  1. Abrasives and Acid or Alkaline Cleaners. For starters, never use abrasive cleansers and avoid scouring pads (like Brillo pads), which can dull the surface. Soapy water will usually do the trick. If you need a gentle cleanser with a little more oomph to remove surface stains, make sure it is specifically designed for use on quartz. Beware, too, of harsh cleaning solutions at both ends of the pH spectrum. Culprits include products from nail polish remover and turpentine to drain cleaner and dishwasher rinsing agents. Whether highly acidic or highly alkaline, those chemicals can disintegrate the bonds between quartz and resin. Quartz will tolerate casual exposure to milder alkaline solutions, such as diluted bleach, but high-pH substances, such as oven cleaners and concentrated bleach, will damage the surface. If any of the substances mentioned above come into contact with your quartz countertop, rinse the exposed surface immediately and thoroughly with water.
  2. Extreme Heat. Trivets and hot pads are your quartz countertop’s best friends. Though the material is heat- and scorch-resistant, the resin used in manufacturing quartz countertops is a plastic and therefore prone to melting in heat above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. A sudden change in temperature or prolonged exposure to heat from a pan left on the countertop may even cause the quartz to crack. To be safe, always use a trivet or hot pad.
  3. Slicing or Dicing Without a Cutting Board Quartz is a hard surface, but not hard enough to withstand the effects of sharp objects like knives. Make sure to do it on a cutting board to avoid ugly scratches on your quartz countertops.
  4. The Elements Quartz is not the right choice for an open outdoor kitchen in direct sunlight. If you install it outdoors, you do so at your own risk, as all manufacturer warranties cover indoor use only. Day after day in direct sunlight will fade colors and lead to warping or splitting.

No Sealing required!

Unlike natural quartzite, which must be sealed on a regular basis (twice a year according to some experts) Quartz does not require any sealing. Because engineered quartz is factory-produced by combining quart with resins, and binding agents, it is nonporous, therefore making the material impervious to mold, mildew, and stain- and odor-causing bacteria.

( a portion of these instructions were borrowed from Bob Villa.com)

Metal or porcelain lighting should be cleaned with a soft, dry cloth or duster.   Never spray fixtures with a cleaning solution or polish.   If it is necessary to use a cleaning agent, please apply only a mild detergent to a soft, damp cloth for gentle cleansing.  DO NOT use scouring agents, abrasive sponges, hydrochloric acid, vinegar, ammonia, petroleum distillate or metal silicates. Shades should be dusted on a regular basis with a soft cloth.

For Stubborn Spots and Stains: Vacuum to remove loose soil. Use a mild solution of soap and water. Apply the solution to a clean wet sponge and wash, then rinse well. Let air dry naturally. Always try the cleaning method in a hidden area first to be sure of the results. Clean the entire area where the spill occurred.

For Butter, Oil or Grease: Wipe excess oil off the leather with a clean, dry cloth, and then leave it alone as the spot should dissipate into the leather in a short period of time. Do not apply water to clean these spots. Do not use: Hair dryers, any Saddle soaps, oils, abrasives, cleaners, furniture polish, varnish or ammonia water. The leather has already been permanently preserved in the tanning process and needs no maintenance other than the simple cleaning recommended.

We recommend the Moore and Giles leather cleaning care kit: https://www.mooreandgiles.com/care/

We recognize that your time is valuable. In order to work as efficiently as possible we have what we call “trade day”. This is the day where we are taking on-site measurements, filming and photographing every angle and reviewing any open final criteria. We’re also photographing and measuring any of our client’s furniture that will be incorporated into the design.

While on-site, we have arranged to meet with all the trades involved in your project – including the electricians, plumbers, window treatment installer, painters, paper hangers and of course the contractor. Any initial questions we or they have can be addressed at this time.

Not only does this part of the process save time, it also helps in opening up the lines of communication between all of our tradespeople.

We know what works best for certain clients may not work well for others, therefore we offer two options as to how we charge.

Depending on the project, we will either charge a flat design fee or an hourly fee. There are many factors involved in making this decision – here’s a brief summary of each.

The flat design fee: The way we arrive at the flat fee depends on three criteria:

1. The scope of the project – What is the size of the project and what services are needed? We create a check list and compare your project against similar recent projects.

2. The intended budget for design services as well as product and project management. For example, is the client requesting custom drawings? Or do they need to see all furnishings in person? If so, we’ll need to account for additional time in our fee. Again, based on past projects, we are able to estimate a budget so that there are no surprises from the start!

3. The expected duration of the project. Do we have six months to complete the project from start to finish or Is there a deadline looming that we have to meet? This is important as we need to know if we will need to increase our support staff.


Hourly fee: If we feel that an hourly will work best for the project, we will present an estimate for the number of hours we believe the overall project will take. We’re able to arrive at this number by looking at similar past projects that we’ve tracked (as we do with all of our projects) (just as aside…from the start of every full project, each week our clients are given an update outlining what we’ve accomplished as well as what we anticipate we will work on the following week) Should we find that we are exceeding our estimate, the project is reviewed and evaluated with the client and a plan is implemented.

So there you have it. A basic explanation to very involved question! Have additional questions? Please call us…we’d love to talk design!

We are grateful to The Most Chic for choosing to add Fiori Interior Design to their list of “chic” Interior Design firms! How chic!

“When we live in a beautifully designed home our environments give back to us tenfold.”

Fast Facts

From Wyckoff, NJ

Seen in…Bergen County Interior Designers – Home Design Ideas and Picturesthird time’s a charm : An Insider’s Guide to Updating Your Home for Spring & Summer – DesignNJ

On Instragram @terrifiori

What Makes Fiori Interior Design Unique?

Fiori Interior Design is an award winning boutique interior design firm that creates beautiful wellness environments. Our mission is to transform our clients’ homes into uplifting places – where everyone, regardless of their age – functions at their highest level..

Our Favorites From The Portfolio

Traditional decor with muted palette in this great room
I love the frame and artwork in this bedroom - so unique and colorful
all photos by Laura Moss Photography

Photos by Laura Moss Photography

The Most Chic

Harvey Cedars, New Jersey Beach House

The view from the Dining Room into the Living Room

I have a habit of redesigning homes in my head.  So when my good friend, who happens to be a realtor, showed me this amazing home on Long Beach Island in Harvey Cedars, these images appeared in my head.

Starting with the dining area, I envisioned a classic round Saarinen tulip table surrounded by vintage wicker chairs.  

The living room is surrounded by a beautiful open staircase.  The modern meets vintage theme continues.  Grounding the area with a colorful wool rug, I (shamelessly?) envisioned one of our semi custom sofas, two wicker chairs and end table and a streamlined Serena and Lily coffee table.  The lighting is from Design Within Reach.

And of course…no view is complete without a hanging daybed.  
You might just find me there this weekend.  

Once the agreement is reviewed and signed, we collect a retainer – this fee is a percentage – based on the overall scope of work. (as outlined in the agreement)
Included in the agreement are future meeting dates based on both our client’s and our availability. This allows us all to plan our calendars while setting expectations of when tasks are to be accomplished.
Most often we’re on schedule, but… because there are so many moving parts and people involved in every project, sometimes it can be difficult to predict exactly how long a project will take.

The next step is our “Trade Day”! Stay tuned!

I’m always asked how we work so, of course, I thought this could be the perfect opportunity for a blog post.

It’s always starts with a phone call.   After a 10 – 20 conversation and we like what each other has to say, we’ll schedule an in-home 1.5 hour to 2 hour consultation.

This is a paid consult is where you’ll be left with a lot of creative and exciting ideas.   

Before our meeting, we ask (so when I say “we” I mean Leslie, my Project Manager, aka “work-wife”) that you fill out our online questionnaire.  In order to get the most out of our time, you’ll share your Pinterest inspiration boards or magazine clippings.

If you’re looking for help with your current home, we’ll start with a tour of your entire home and a run through of what you love and what you hate about it.  What are your challenges?  If it’s a new build, we’ll review the blueprints.

We’ll discuss if you’d like to work in stages (most do) or do you want the entire house designed at once (we can more than handle that too).   We’ll discuss the overall scope of work for your project and review a timeline or any deadlines you might have.

We’ll determine if the work will be turnkey (we design and implement) or if you are looking only for creative input (we hand our spec sheets over to you to handle all purchasing and project management)

We’ll then talk about which would benefit you more:  hourly or a flat fee? (need more details on that?  Stayed tuned for our next post!)

We won’t leave before reviewing your intended budget.  We’ll help you figure out what this might be by showing you similar size design projects that we’ve worked on in the past.  

I hope this helps to understand the first step of our Design Process.  

Have more questions?  I’d love to answer them. Please reach me at terri@fioriinteriordesign.com or call 201-848-9797.

In this month’s newsletter, we’re discussing the third installment of our six design principles: Spatial Planning.

A client recently asked us to re-design their large sized family room. Seating in the current layout consisted of only a sectional and a recliner.  
In our questionnaire we uncovered the fact that the wife usually found herself reading or relaxing in the adjoining room…while her husband and three kids would congregate in the family room in front of the TV. Although their family room is fairly large, there really wasn’t a place for her. We decided to change that by creating a “territory”  that would become her own personal space where she could still connect with her family.  

Research proves that “all humans are territorial as well as social and having a territory at home is important for our mental well-being”(Smith, 1994).

Here are two examples of nooks that we’ve created in the past: