By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury—Universal Countertop leaves no stone unturned. The Shrewsbury company turns granite, quartz, marble and other natural stone slabs into a variety of surfaces for homes.
Flamarion De Souza, known as Fafa, started Universal Countertop about 11 years ago, and has worked in the stone countertop installation business for 25 years. The company moved to its current location on Route 9 last year.
Universal works with all types of stone, with granite and quartz the most popular for kitchen countertops and bathrooms. Marble is more suitable for bathrooms where it is less likely to get stained. But they can also supply soapstone, travertine and limestone. “If it’s stone, we can get whatever a customer wants,” he said.
The company works both with homeowners doing a remodeling job and with contractors.
“Customers are welcome to contact us directly,” said Sula Gomes, manager. “They can come in and look over our stock and pick out the very slab they like.”
Many customers, he noted, are beginning to prefer quartz to granite for kitchen countertops, with light colors more popular than dark ones.
“Much of our quartz is from the United States. While quartz is more expensive than granite, it is more durable. It doesn’t stain or scratch and comes with a lifetime guarantee,” Gomes said.
Some quartz and most of the granite used in countertops today is imported, much of it from Brazil and India. De Souza and Gomes are from the mountainous part of Brazil where the stone is mined, and their families work in the business there.
Stone has become a popular choice for countertops even though it is more expensive than alternatives, Gomes noted, because it holds up to constant use, looks nicer, and doesn’t require a lot of care.
Quartz countertops, said De Souza, only need to be wiped clean with a cloth; they come with a very strong seal. Granite requires a little more care. It should be sealed once a year, and homeowners should avoid cleaning it with ammonia products which can remove the sealer. Soapstone needs rubbing with mineral oil every six months.
Customers considering installing stone countertops can give Universal Countertops a call for an estimate.
“We will go to the house and make a template of the countertops, then tell you what the different materials will cost. When we agree on a project, customers can select from a sample or can come in and pick out the actual slab we will use. Once we’ve made the template, we can have the countertops installed within five business days,” Gomes said. The countertops are cut and finished right in the Shrewsbury shop.
In addition to countertops, the company can provide stone fireplace surrounds, borders around a spa, custom tables, vanity tops, window sills and any other stone surface a customer wants. They can provide stone stair treads, treated with a finish that keeps them from being slick, De Souza noted.
Universal also offers a restoration service to repair stone surfaces that may get chipped or damaged.
The company serves customers throughout New England.
Universal Countertop is located at 516 Boston Turnpike (Rt.9) in Shrewsbury. More information, including choices of edge finishes, is available on the website, www.universalcountertop.com or by calling 888-691-5550.