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1:38 AM Sat, Oct. 20th

Ask the Contractor: Leathered granite is the future of kitchen countertops

(Courier stock photo)

(Courier stock photo)

Last week I made a delivery to a local countertop/cabinet businesses and in walking through the showroom, I ran my hand across a full-size kitchen island countertop displayed in a vignette and immediately said to the owner, “Oh, my gosh, what type of material is this?” I was told it was granite. I said, “Granite?” with disbelief and skepticism.

The countertop material was leathered granite. I am here to tell you it was like running my hand over 700-thread count luxury sheets. Unparalleled softness. I was still in suspicion of this countertop material being granite.

Needless to say, I found out that leathered granite is becoming increasingly popular and what a sophisticated look this material gives to counter top material. Leathered granite countertops are a relatively new style of finish as compared to the more popular polished or honed finishes and, I must say, look stunningly beautiful. The process of leathering granite slabs makes the stone more stain resistant because the stone pores are closed.

This countertop had such an amazing texture and offered a different style without the shine of the traditional granite. The leathered finish has a matte and looks very stylish and pleasing. Homeowners are selecting leathered granite for many various reasons. This leathered finish was still hard for me to grasp that it was indeed granite. The beautiful texture totally amazed me.

Leathered finish is becoming increasingly popular as it gives a more sophisticated look to the granite. All I can say is it’s a stunningly beautiful material. Leathered granite countertops have all the features of standard granite countertops.

I “oohed” and touched this leathered granite material still unconvinced and suspicious that this material indeed granite because the leathered material had such a pleasant and unique texture. One thing that I am sure of is that with all of my poking and touching and pressing my fingertips into and on the material, my fingerprints were invisible on the leathered countertop material, unlike standard polished granite. And one more great pro for leathered granite – the textured surface is slip resistant, which makes leathered granite perfect for wet areas.

SEPTIC

Leaving leathered granite, let’s take a quick septic tank call that came in this week from Barbara, a homeowner in Williamson Valley. They discovered their septic tank had old tin coverings acting as lids over the tank and were quite deep into the ground.

She wanted to know of this was acceptable. I called a “lifeline,” Brenda Taulbee of J.T.’s Septic. According to Brenda, Yavapai County does have a requirement for septic systems that have been installed since 2001, that the lids should not be deeper than 6 inches of cover. They will turn down an Approval to Operate until the contractor installs risers if the tank is deep.

Brenda was not aware of an ordinance or ruling defining proper fitting lids that need to installed on older systems; this system was installed prior to 2001. However, for homeowner liability – to prevent people from tripping or falling into the septic hole – every septic tank should have proper fitting lids. This is not only a safety feature, but would also prevent wild critters from rooting around in the tank area and would also make maintenance access easy and keep dirt from falling into the tank.

SKYLIGHTS OR TUBULAR LIGHTS?

We had a question come in on whether to add a skylight or a tubular light. What do you recommend? Lou and Patty, Prescott.

A daylight system that brings natural light to a room is the tubular light, also known as solar or sun lights. This is a tubular system that delivers light to interior rooms of a home. This system is engineered to efficiently capture the sun’s rays and delivers them to the home through a pipe. Installation can usually be done in three hours or less without any structural changes to your home – “Easy breezy,” as I say.

Tubular lights are cost-effective and energy efficient and are a wonderful solution to lighting problems in rooms without natural light such as closets, bathrooms, corridors and offices. This lighting eliminates the need for electricity to light these areas and/or rooms.

From sunup to sundown these devices capture daylight and then transfer it through a highly reflective tube that then disperses the sunlight throughout the space. The tube is unlike skylights and/or windows because a permit is not required for installation, there is no reframing needed in the truss system, and there are no attic obstruction issues since the system has various angle adapters that make extensions. It can be maneuvered around rafters and attic joists without problems. There are no drywall repairs or painting so you could say there is very little and nominal mess.

Tubular lights can be installed on most any type of roof and are leak-proof. They have a seamless one-piece design and their circular roof top dome does not allow for any rain infiltration. There is no glare with them and the infrared rays are screened so there is no fading of fabric and furniture.

Studies have shown that people are more productive when exposed to natural light, have a better sense of well-being and are more positive – so hurray to the tubular lights. More natural light, leak proof, quick easy installation, no structural changes, reduced energy cost. We should all have more beautiful daylight in our homes.

A 10-inch tube is approximately the equivalent of three 100-watt bulbs, enough to illuminate up to 200 square feet of floor area; 14-inch tubes can brighten as much as 300 square feet.

Because installation of a solar tube does not require any framing alterations, there are few limitations to where you can locate one. Check the attic space above to see if there is room for a straight run. If you find an obstruction, elbows or flexible tubing can be used to direct the lighting to the area.

If you want the effect of a “window” in your ceiling then the conventional straight forward skylight is the way to go. If you elect to go with the skylight, be cautious and do not install and overly large element because they not only let light in but heat as well. With the skylight option you will have to decide on whether or not to install energy-efficient glass, motorized vent or adding a shade screen option. Conventional skylights are more difficult to install because installation requires cutting through the roof/ceiling, working around the truss system and then adding interior framing and drywall finishing.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time every Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 on KQNA 1130 AM, 99.9 FM, 95.5 FM or visit kqna.com. Listen to Sandy to Mike talk about the construction industry; meet your local community partners and so much more. What a great way to start your weekend.