Before You Buy· Can you use marble in a kitchen ? The short answer is yes, you can use marble in a kitchen. However, because marble is susceptible to staining, scratching and etching, the use of marble in a kitchen requires careful consideration.· Is polished marble too slippery to be used on a bathroom floor ? Any polished surface is slippery when wet. As with any other hard surface used in a bathroom, caution should be used when exiting the shower and tub areas, as well as any other area that is wet.· I'm building a house, when should I select my stone ? Because natural stone has variations, it is not a good idea to select a stone too early. Colorations can vary, and the veining from one shipment to another can be quite different. Once the cabinets are 3-4 weeks away from being installed it is a good idea to finalize your selection based on current inventory. · Will my countertops have seams ? Not necessarily. A typical slab size is somewhere between 7 and 10 feet. Therefore, your countertops may not require a seam. Many people do not have a problem with seams, but if you are concerned about them you should discuss this with your fabricator prior to fabrication. How and where it is seamed should also be discussed with the fabricator. Often the seams are so tight they are difficult to notice, however communication with the fabricator is essential in order to avoid confusion or disappointment regarding seams.· Which type of sink is best for granite ? Under mount or drop-in ? This is a matter of personal preference. If installed properly, both types of sinks are sanitary and safe. The ability to wipe off the counters directly in to the sink and the aesthetic appeal make under mounted sinks the most popular. Typically an under mount sink installation would be an additional expense ( though minimal ) due to the finishing process of the edges around the sink.· Is granite more expensive than man made materials ? It depends on the granite. Availability, color, and country of origin are major factors that affect the price of granite. If the supply of a particular stone is short and the demand is high, the price will reflect that. Given that stone is a natural product imported from all over the world, the price spectrum is wide. However, many granite colors are offered at the same price or sometimes less than man made products.· Will granite weigh too much for my cabinetry ? Do I need additional cabinet supports ? 3cm (1 1/4" ) granite weighs approx. 19 lbs per square foot. Typical cabinet construction is more than adequate for most installations. However, large, self-standing or furniture style islands may require additional corner bracing. It is advisable to let your cabinet installer know that you are using granite to ensure proper support. Will my sample match my actual slab ? Because of the movement and veining in natural stone it is difficult to accurately represent stone with a small sample. Also, stone varies from shipment to shipment, so if you have a sample from a previous shipment, it may not match the current supply. It is advisable to view the actual slabs at the Granite Importer nearest you or at the shop prior to fabrication.· Is it okay to mix different colors of stone ? Absolutely. It is not uncommon to mix colors or types of stone within a room. When mixing stones, it is a good idea to consider which material would be the most practical for the space. For example, when mixing granite with marble, the granite would be best suited for the area around the range because it is the most durable. The marble could be used on the island or as a dining table.· Should I approve my slabs before they are fabricated ? It is always a good idea to approve the slabs prior to fabrication. This will help to prevent and surprises or disappointments once the material is installed. Slabs could be viewed at at the fabrication shop prior to being cut. · Can granite be used outside ? Yes. There are a handful of granites that can change color when exposed to UV rays, but it is very durable and can be used outside. Granite is often used for outdoor kitchens, as pavers for driveways and walkways, as stair treads, and as exterior cladding on commercial buildings.· What stone can I use around my pool ? Recommended stones for pools are light in color to protect bare feet from hot temperatures and textured to prevent slipping on the wet surface. The denser the stone and the darker the color, the hotter the surface will become in the sun. Coraline stone is a perfect surface for pools due to its light color and natural texture. Travertines that are unfilled and saw cut or textured would also be recommended.· How far can granite extend beyond the cabinetry without additional support ? According to the Marble Institute of America, corbels or structured support should be used when an overhang exceeds 10" for 3cm material or 6" for 2cm material.· What is involved in pricing a countertop ? There are many factors involved in pricing countertops: material cost, quanity of slabs, design and edge profile are primary considerations. Once you have chosen a particular stone, the fabricator will need either an accurate drawing or a field visit in order to clarify all the details. The fabricator will then provide you with a finished installed price.· How can we have as few seams as possible ? On average, granite slabs are approx 110" x 66". Though in some colors, 120" slabs are not unusual. While planning your kitchen, keep these sizes in mind. Extremely large islands may require a seam or the color selection in unusually large slabs will be very limited.· When you seal a stone floor, is the grout sealed ? Yes, sealers or impregnators designed for natural stone add the same protective qualities to the grout as they would the surface of the stone. When applying a color enhancing sealer, the grout color will also be affected.· Is marble more expensive than granite ? Origin, availability, and yield of a given quarry are all factors that determine the price of natural stones. With both marble and granite there is a broad spectrum of pricing· How much does stone weigh ? 3cm granite weighs approximately 18 lbs a square foot. An average kitchen of 80sf will weigh approximately 1450 lbs. Typical cabinet construction is sufficient to handle the distributed weight of your granite, however large free-standing islands may require extra corner bracing.· What are remnants ? Remnants are the smaller remaining pieces of stone from a previous job. They can be used in any stone application, size allowing.· Can I install my own countertops ? The cutting, polishing and installation of natural stone not only require specific tools and machinery, it also requires extensive product knowledge. Fabricating and or installing natural stone countertops really are not "do it yourself" projects.·
Will bacteria grow on granite ? Bacteria, like any other living organism, needs something to eat in order to live. Bacteria cannot eat granite. Unclean, unkempt countertops can harbor bacteria regardless of what countertop is used. Granite has performed extremely well in testing; performing second only to stainless steel in it's ability to resist bacterial growth.· Is granite a natural product or is it man made ? Granite is a natural product. Granite is quarried in its natural form directly from the earth and is cut and processed by machine. Because of its extreme hardness and mineral content, granite can be polished to a mirror-like finish using proper machinery. · What does "honed" granite mean ? Honed granite is granite that has not been polished to a shine. It is a smooth, matter finish. Honed granite is lighter in color that its polished counterpart, however the color can be deepened with a color-enhancing sealer.· What is tumbled marble ? Tumbled marble is quite literally, marble that has been loaded into a tumbler and knocked against each other in order to achieve rough, worn edges and surface. Some materials that are referred to as "tumbled marble" are actually tumbled limestone or travertine, the process is the same and aesthetically they are difficult to tell apart.· Why do some stones have a mesh backing ? Mesh backing improves the stability of the stone for shipping and fabrication. Many exotic materials would otherwise not remain intact during processing. Once these materials are installed however, they do meet the strength requirements for countertop use. · Are engineered quartz surfaces natural ?Marketers contend that quartz surfaces contain 93% quartz. However, this number is calculated by weight, not by volume. Therefore the true ratio of quartz is approx. 67 - 73%. It is also important to note "quartz" refers not only to natural quartz but glass and mirror particles as well. Are there granite formations or quarries in the United States ?Yes, granite can be found across the US including Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, the Dakotas, California and New York just to name a few.· Are textured granites more porous ?No. Textured granites are created when the slabs are flamed and then brushed, machining the abrasive surface to a low sheen with an evenly textured finish. Though the granite has been enhanced through this process, the stone retains its superior durability over alternative countertop surfaces.· How long will my natural stone last ?Take care of your natural stone and it will last for generations. Some natural stones are as old as the eart How often do you have to seal granite ?Traditionally, homeowners have been told to seal their granite annually. However, with the advancements that have been made in sealing products, some sealers only need to be reapplied every 3 - 5 years. Check the information on the back of the sealer and follow the recommendations.· Does a professional have to come in and seal natural stone ?No, sealing natural stone is something a homeowner can easily do. The product is a liquid that is applied to a clean, dry countertop with a soft cloth. After the sealer is generously applied to the surface, the excess is removed with a dry cloth, and the countertops should be allowed to dry. Check the back of the sealer to determine when the countertops will be ready for normal use. Drying times can vary between 24-72 hours.· Will the sealer wipe off when cleaned, or scratch off with wear ?No. The sealer is not a coating on top of the stone, it is an impregnator, which is absorbed by the stone and fills the pores in order to repel food and liquid. Over time, cleaners do reduce the effectiveness of the sealer, requiring re-sealing of the stone. Re-sealing could be necessary every 1-5 years, depending on the material and sealer used. In order to increase the life of your sealer, use cleaners that are intended for natural stone.· Will the polish on my countertops wear off over time ?That depends on whether you have granite or marble. Granite, with normal wear and tear, no. That doesn't mean that if you attack your granite with a belt sander it won't dull the finish. The only things that could scratch granite are typically not found in the kitchen. Marble, on the other hand, is a calcite which will react with acidic liquids, etching the polish. Proper sealing and maintenance is more crucial with marble countertops.· What should I use to clean my granite ?It is best to use a cleaning product made specifically for natural stone. Consult your local stone professional for specific product recommendations.· Isn't polished stone already sealed ?Though the polish on any given natural stone definitely closes the structure of the stone, making it less porous, it is still advisable to seal all natural stone upon installation.· How do you know when granite needs to be re-sealed ?Many people in the industry recommend an annual re-sealing of your stone. However, many types of granite are harder than others and may never need to be re-sealed. If you notice water absorption into the countertop or darker areas around the sink that is an indicator it is time to re-seal.· Is a color enhancer also a sealer ?Most color enhancing sealers do retain the same properties of other sealers with the added benefit of enhancing the color.· What is color enhancer ?A color enhancer is used to enrich existing color in the stone. The color that a stone becomes when wet is a good indication of the color it will be once enhanced. Enhancer may need to be re-applied periodically and should be tested in a small area or on a sample piece of the stone prior to application.