Choosing a Kitchen Backsplash - featured image

When helping our clients plan their custom home in Northern Michigan, the kitchen is one of the most scrutinized rooms. After all, it is one of the most important rooms in the entire home and sees more use than any other. Details in the kitchen really do matter – aesthetically and functionally.

Kitchen backsplashes are meant to protect your walls from damage and enhance the beauty of your kitchen. The ideal backsplash will be easy to clean, and resistant to heat, water, and scratches.

Consider the following materials for your perfect kitchen design.

Ceramic or Glass Tile

This is an affordable and very versatile choice with and endless number of styles and patterns. The grout must be sealed for better durability and, so it won’t absorb water. It’s also easy to replace any sections that might get damaged.

Stainless Steel

Durable, affordable, heat resistant, and easy to clean, Stainless Steel has a lot to offer. It can be dented or scratched although it takes quite a bit to do so.


Natural or painted, brick is durable and heat resistant. It needs to be sealed and does require more frequent cleaning. Brick can add a charm or warmth in the right setting.


Popular for countertops, Granite is an easy choice to extend the same look throughout the kitchen. A natural beauty that’s easy to clean and tough. It’s porous so it will need to be sealed to prevent staining.


Like granite, marble has a wonderful natural beauty but also requires periodic re-sealing and falls on the pricier side.


Another popular countertop material, Quartz is most commonly used as a composite material. Natural quartz stone is mixed with resin to fashion a tough material that stands up to heat, stains, water and is more scratch resistant than most stone. Because it is a composite, it can be fashioned with shapes and curves that would otherwise be difficult or expensive in granite or marble.


Probably the most affordable material, it is sometimes overlooked. While it is not heat resistant, it does clean easily and is durable. It comes in a myriad of colors and patterns; some of today’s modern laminates can almost pass for real stone.

Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your existing house, Mason Construction is dedicated to quality construction with meticulous attention to detail. Contact us today to discuss your home building or remodeling needs.

Selecting a Countertop Material - featured image

Whether you are building your new dream home or remodeling your existing home, choosing the right material for your countertops is no easy task. The variety of materials and the selection of finishes and colors is vast. Your choice will likely be influenced by your personal style, your home décor, and perhaps the scenery around your home. Here in Northern Michigan we are blessed with a rich palette of natural beauty. No matter what inspires your choice, here are a few tips to help you decide.

One of the most common question that we’re frequently asked is, “Which is better: granite or quartz countertops?”

Both are great materials with each having advantages.


  • 100% natural.
  • Available in a multitude of colors.
  • One of a kind. Natural variations in color and veining means that each counter top will be unique.


  • Low maintenance. Just wipe down with warm water and mild soap.
  • Non-porous and non-absorbent. It won’t draw in moisture from food that can harbor bacteria.
  • It’s made from quartz stone and resin. The resin adds durability and greatly reduces the risk of fracture or chipping.
  • Wide variety of colors and finishes. Since Quartz is a manufactured surface, an almost infinite number of looks are available. And yes, you can get Quartz that looks just like granite.

Care and Maintenance

Regardless of material, reasonable caution should be used. Always use a cutting board! Don’t cut directly on any countertop. This is especially true with ceramic knives or any other high-end cutlery that can scratch almost any surface.

Use a trivet or potholders. Don’t place hot pans directly on the countertops. This can scorch or burn the surface.

Wipe spills as soon as possible. Granite may become discolored or stained if a spill is left too long. While quartz may more stain resistant, don’t delay cleaning any longer than necessary.


Neither material is necessarily costlier than the other. Price varies by brand, surface finishes and styles, and edge style. An exotic piece of stone will cost more than a common variety.

Other Materials

There are many other options for countertops that you can consider. Just a few other options include Soapstone, Tile, Marble, Butcherblock. Stainless Steel, Concrete, Recycled Glass, and Laminate. Each of these have unique properties and appearance. It all comes down to your personal style and budget, and imagination!