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May 22nd, 2017

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Artisan Group Is The First Stone Group Ever To Achieve 100% Marble Institute of America Accreditation For All Members

October 25th, 2014

The Artisan Group of stone fabricators has become the first group to have every member Marble Institute of America (MIA) Accredited. The group members have completed rigorous testing on quality, safety and service to provide homeowners across North America with the best countertop purchasing experience.

“MIA staff and the Board of Directors thank Artisan Group for their unwavering support of the Accreditation Program,” Garen Distelhorst, Communications Director, Marble Institute of America.
“Their lofty goal of reaching 100% Accredited has been instrumental in the growth of the program. For that, we will always be grateful. This accomplishment sets them apart from any other group of fabricators in the world. They are the only group that has been vetted by a third party credentialing body to be superior in all areas of the stone business.”

With 35 members and growing, Artisan Group covers most major markets in the United States and Canada and can handle a variety of fabrication needs from a local to national scale. Members average more than 20 years of fabrication experience in the countertop industry.

“Artisan Group was formed to raise the stone business to a higher standard,” says Artisan Group Executive Director Chad Seiders. “Above and beyond providing our own exclusive countertop brands, and the industry’s first lifetime granite warranty, our by-laws require all members to obtain MIA Accreditation. The process has been hard work, but this achievement reflects the Artisan Group’s commitment to quality.”

To become an Accredited Natural Stone Fabricator by the MIA, a company must have successfully completed three phases of application. Phase one was the completion of a lengthy application that required the applicant company to provide various documents and references which ensure that the company is in compliance with the 10 standards of accreditation as laid out by the MIA Accreditation Commission.

Phase two required the company’s qualifying agent (the designated company representative responsible for filing and maintaining accreditation records for the applicant company) to pass a 200 question multiple-choice test. The exam tested the applicant’s knowledge and application of material usage, installation, fabrication, restoration, care and maintenance, administration, legal/contracts, and job-site and shop safety.

The third phase was a comprehensive site visit, which included a facility review, document review, and one or more installation site visits.

Congratulations Artisan Group!

We’ve Expanded Our Stock Quartz Surface Options to Include Silestone

December 5th, 2012

Bangor Laminates is thrilled to announce the addition of nine colors of Silestone to the materials we have on-hand and ready to craft countertops from.

Through superior strength, incredible beauty and an unparalleled distribution network, Silestone is rapidly becoming the choice for discerning consumers. There are many advantages to using Silestone: since it is a surface that is manufactured from natural quartz, it is a surface highly resistant to stains and scratches, and has a low level of fluid absorption. Silestone comes in over 60 quartz colors for countertops, two textures and several different formats, which make it extremely versatile, and can even be used in large pieces without requiring any joins. Silestone is perfect for use in a great many applications in the kitchen and bathroom.

Stock Quartz from Silestone

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Counters for a Cause

October 7th, 2012

The sales are done and the donation checks are in. This year’s total donation to Homes For Our Troops is….$28,080.88! This brings Artisan Group’s four year donation total to HFOT to $118,926.31!. Thanks to all of you that participated in the national yard sale and also to those of you who donated without having the sale. It is amazing what we have achieved with “Counters For a Cause” and the lives of disabled veterans that we’ve helped. But really it is the least we can do when you consider that these vets put their lives on the line for our freedom and came home permanently disabled. I know our efforts will help many of them enjoy the Holidays with their families.

Pre-template Checklist

March 21st, 2009

Here is our pre-template checklist as a PDF document for you to download and print.

template_checklist

IceStone Surfaces

February 28th, 2009

icestone_lead_2IceStone durable surfaces are made from 100% recycled glass and cement to create a high performance concrete material. IceStone surfaces are the ideal choice if you are searching for eco-friendly, green countertops. IceStone surfaces can also be used for backsplashes, bathroom vanities, table tops, bar tops, interior walls, and commercial flooring applications. Beautiful shower and bathtub surrounds and kitchen sinks can be made with IceStone as well. IceStone surfaces can be mounted vertically or horizontally.

The mixing of non-toxic pigments and various glass colors and sizes results in our versatile IceStone color palette. Currently, we have 29 available colors, but the palette is infinite. Custom color options are available for commercial projects only.

All IceStone slabs are manufactured in Brooklyn, NY, USA.

IceStone durable surfaces do not contain any petrochemicals and therefore will not fade from direct sun exposure. IceStone products are a healthy and safe choice for your surface needs, as they are chemically benign and 99.5% inorganic. Third party testing results are available upon request.

The fabrication, installation, and maintenance of IceStone surfaces follow similar standards used with natural stone.

Due to its high recycled content and Cradle to Cradle Gold Certification, IceStone materials can contribute to LEED points.

Learn More at the IceStone Web Site

Another Look at Seams

February 23rd, 2009

When ordering new countertops, many people ask, “Will I need seams?”

Usually, the answer is yes.  The next questions are where and how many? This will be determined by several factors — the layout of the jobsite, the layout of the cabinets, the size of the raw material used to make the tops and the safety of everyone who handles the tops.

Keep in mind that excellent seams are the mark of the skilled professionals who templated, fabricated and installed your countertops.  You may actually find yourself pointing them out because they look so good.

That being said, we like to minimize the visibility of seams too.  Here are some strategies you can employ during the design stages to lessen and hide the visibility of seams.

Solid Surfaces

Seams will be nearly invisible with most colors of solid surface.  Inconspicuous seams are one of the most appealing aspects of this material. Be advised that there are some colors and patterns that feature long or irregular veining patterns.  If you decide to use one of these colors, make sure you understand that these seams will be more visible than with more traditional  “speckled” solid surface colors.

Quartz Surfaces

Next to solid surface, quartz surfaces typically hide seams better than other countertop materials. Because the slabs are man-made, they have a precise thickness and consistent patterning. Note that standard slab sizes vary by manufacturer.  If one company’s slabs are too small to make your tops in one piece, you may be able to find a similar color in a larger slab from a different quartz manufacturer.

Natural Stone

It’s important to understand that slab sizes vary greatly with each color and shipment of natural stone.  Common stones such as Uba Tuba or Absolute Black typically come in very large slabs.  Rare and exotic stones however, may not be available in these larger slabs.

Paperstone - The Earth’s Surface

February 18th, 2009

paperstone_leadPaperStone® is committed to innovative green products that contribute to a wholistic lifestyle that is smart, elegant, and responsible.

PaperStone Certified is the only architectural solid surface certified by the Smartwood program of the Rainforest Alliance to FSC standards for using 100% post-consumer recycled paper. In addition, PaperStone plays a role in enabling a project to acquire Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) points towards certification.

PaperStone Certified is a beautiful and heavy-duty solid surface known for its performance, its warm touch, its contemporary appearance and its environmental sustainability. It is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper and a proprietary, petroleum-free resin. It is certified by the Smartwood program of the Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewartship Council standards. Specifying PaperStone can contribute to multiple LEED points. PaperStone is durable and is recommended for residential kitchen and bath and commercial uses.

PaperStone isn’t just an attractive new material that is produced in a socially responsible manner, it is also strong and tough. It has steel-like strength in span. It has stone-like beauty and it can be worked like fine hardwoods. PaperStone is innovative and cost competitive.

PaperStone® — The Earth’s Surface

10 Steps to a Great Countertop Installation

February 16th, 2009

New countertops are one of the most exciting and dramatic improvements you can make to your home.  All of us at Bangor Laminates are committed to making this process go as smoothly as possible.  This list will help guide you through the most important aspects of purchasing countertops.

1. Choose a Designer

Maine is home to many talented and experienced design professionals. You can find them at regional chains, big-box retailers, family-owned lumberyards and boutique design shops. Take the time to visit a few of them and choose the one you feel most comfortable with. A good rapport and clear communication will be crucial as this person needs to be able to understand your ideas and act as your representative to keep the project on track.

2. Research and Ask Questions

New materials and colors are introduced to the market every year. Each one of them has specific features, benefits and limitations. Talk with your designer about what qualities are most important to you in a countertop and decide which material is best suited to your needs. Additionally, our web site links to many resources and our staff are also available to answer your questions.

3. Try to Stay Ahead of the Holidays

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two busiest times of year for countertop installations. If you’d like to show off your brand new kitchen to friends and family, try to follow a construction schedule that will allow you to have your countertops installed by late October or early November. Of course, if that isn’t possible, we will do everything we can to meet your schedule.

4. Choose the Right Sink and Faucet

Unfortunately, sinks and faucets are often chosen as afterthoughts at the end of the design process. Sinks and faucets that are missing or incompatible with each other and their base cabinet are the cause of most avoidable delays. Bangor Laminates offers many sinks and faucets to make choosing easier for you. We also encourage you to read this article on choosing the right sink and faucet.

5. Complete Our Pre-Template Checklist

When your designer places an order with us, we will send them a pre-template checklist. By following this checklist, you, your designer and builder will know exactly what we need in order to fabricate the counters to your specifications and install them on time.
This checklist also helps you think about all the little details you may have overlooked.

6. Be Present for Templating

Before your countertops are fabricated, we will schedule a visit to your home to make a template or pattern that we will build your tops by. It is important that you, your designer and builder are on site when we do this. Templating is really the final stage of the design process when all of the details need to be finalized. By attending the templating, you help ensure the finished product is built the way you want it with a minimum of delays and miscommunication.

7. Have All of Your Appliances On Site for Templating

Along with sinks and faucets, missing appliances are the cause of many delays and fabrication issues. By having stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators on site for templating, you help us make a better template and therefore countertops that have the best fit possible.

8. Follow-up on Post Template Issues

Once we’ve templated your tops, we’d like to get started on fabricating them right away. Often times, we discover issues at templating that need to be addressed before fabrication can begin. Make sure you understand what steps need to be taken to get your site ready for installation.

9. Be Present for Installation

By the time we arrive to install your countertops, all of the details regarding your job should be known. Just in case they aren’t, we recommend you or someone you trust to make decisions be available at the time of installation. This is also a great time to talk with our installers about the care and maintenance of your new tops.

10. Enjoy the Process!

Everyone involved with your countertops understands that home construction and renovation can be a stressful experience. Try to keep in mind that in the end, you will have created something that will be a source of joy and pride for many years to come.

Countertop Care & Maintenance

February 14th, 2009

Natural Stone Care

The natural stone your have purchased for your home or office is an investment that will give you many years of beautiful services. Stone is a natural product and simple care and maintenance will keep it looking beautiful. Here are some recommendations for routine care and cleaning.

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Solid Surface Care

Soapy water, ammonia based cleaners (not window cleaners as they can leave a waxy build up that may dull the surface) or commercially available solid surface cleaners will remove most dirt and residue from all types of finishes. Stubborn residue will require a little stronger cleaner.

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Quartz Surfaces Care

Avoid using cleansers that contain bleach. Always follow the cleaner manufacturer’s use instructions and exercise proper care when handling and storing any cleaning products.

Experience has shown that a film builds up on the surface if water is left to dry on the countertop. This film will dull the look of the countertop making the finish appear blotchy and uneven. To prevent build up of the film, it is very important to wipe the countertop completely dry after spills and cleaning.

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Laminate Care

To clean laminate countertops use a clean cloth and a mild dish soap and water. Dry the countertop after washing to prevent water from pooling in the seams.

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Other Materials

Here is a comprehensive list of other countertop materials and how to care for them.

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