Granite FAQs

  • What is granite?
  • The term "granite" is used to cover a group of related stones, all of which have their origin deep in the earth's molten mantle. As this extremely hot liquid material rises and cools, it forms a crystalline, granular structure, hence the term granite. Granite and other granite-like stones are formed of hard minerals such as quarts, feldspar and mica, which are fused together into a very hard stone ideal for kitchen counters because its polish is resistant to household acids such as citrus and vinegar and is hard enough to resist scratching from knives and pots and pans.
  • What is the difference between marble and granite?
  • Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble's relatives - limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. Granite is formed deep in the earth's mantle at extremely high temperatures, and is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. The marble family - limestone, travertine, marble, and onyx - starts out as sediment - animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt - at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies into stone. Because its main component is calcium, acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages can affect it.
  • Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
  • Granite adds elegance and style to kitchens, baths and other areas of the home with a richness that cannot be duplicated in synthetic materials. Granite is highly resistant to scratching, cracking and staining. Impervious to heat: daily kitchen activities pose no problem and it can take a hot pot without the use of a trivet. Because granite is very hard stone that's formed at very high temperatures deep in the earth, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans.
  • Can you do an estimate if I e-mail or FAX a sketch?
  • Certainly. Please make all the measurements as accurate as possible and allow for an 1.5 inch overhang on all the cabinets. Mark special areas (curves etc), indicate your preferred edge(s), colors, and details of your sink (undermount or drop-in). Also indicate whether we will need to remove your old countertop and backsplash. While estimates done this way can be quite close to the final numbers we cannot finalize the costs until we visit your project measure ourselves and discuss all the aspects of your job.
  • Are granite countertops sanitary?
  • There was a report circulating that granite countertops were unsafe, harbor bacteria and can produce disease. This is absolutely false. NIOSH and the CDC have no reports of granite or any other stone used as a countertop as being unsanitary. These rumors are circulated by the Solid Surface Industry in an attempt to compete with the Stone Industry.
  • Can granite get stained and do I need to seal it?
  • Granite is a highly dense material and relatively porous so it can get stained if a spill is not cleaned quickly. Sealing the surface with a water-based sealant is therefore recommended to protect the granite from water patches and stains. Sealing can be done once a year or once every two years depending on the usage of the surface. We carry sealers and cleaners in our showroom.
  • How should I care for my marble or granite?
  • Daily and weekly maintenance is the most important factor to keep your natural stone looking its best. A good rule of thumb is never use anything that you wouldn't use on your hands. Simply follow the instructions below:

    • Blot spills immediately.

    • Clean with a pH-balanced cleaner and clean cloth. The term "pH" refers to the potential of Hydrogen, and is used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A pH balanced cleaner will be a neutral solution, meaning that it will measure a 7 on the pH scale of 0-14.
      You may also use a stone cleaner (available at most hardware stores) or a small amount of ordinary dish soap (white or clear) and water to wipe down your surface. Diluted window cleaner (50% water, 50% cleaner) also works well. Do not use old kitchen sponges, they may contain oil from your dishes and leave a film on your surface.

    • Squeegee shower walls daily.

    • Wipe down shower walls weekly with pH-balance cleaning solution.

  • What is the difference between "honed" and "polished" granite?
  • "Honed" and "Polished" refer to the finish of the granite. The finish of honed granite will range from flat to a low sheen gloss, which gives the stone a softer look. Polished granite refers to the glossy, highly reflective appearance, giving it a smooth, sleek look.
  • Can granite be damaged?
  • Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture.
  • Granite samples sometimes look pitted and cracked, will I have these on my kitchen counters?
  • Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits and spaces between the various mineral crystals. You don't see them on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Granite sometimes has natural fissures as well, which may look like cracks, but are not structural defects and are a naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure that formed the granite eons ago. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look manmade.
  • Can granite crack?
  • Not with ordinary use. Granite is most susceptible to cracks during shipping and installation. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. Normal use does not include standing on the countertops.
  • Can you scratch granite?
  • Granite is one of the hardest stones in the world. It is highly resistant to scratching in ordinary use. A knife blade will not scratch granite. It can only be scratched by another piece of granite or with specially sharpened tools designed to work with granite like tungsten and diamond blades.
  • Does Granite stain?
  • In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but Granite has very little porosity. A few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact compared to others. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter, for some colors, may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. Usually, no evidence remains once the liquid is removed and the granite dries. A stone sealer is highly recommended for all granite after installation.
  • Does granite burn?
  • No. You can't burn granite with ordinary use. It is perfectly OK to set hot pots or pans directly from the stove or oven onto granite.
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  • How do you clean Granite?
  • Warm soapy water will do the trick. Or use cleaners specifically formulated to help clean and protect stone surfaces.
  • Will my granite look like the sample?
  • The samples you see on the computer may not be absolutely correct due to variations in computer systems, monitors and software compression. Marble and granite are natural stones created by the forces of nature. They are composed of various minerals and are susceptible to wide variations in color, texture, spotting, veining and cracking. These variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty.
  • Why is some granite more expensive than others and are the higher priced granites stronger?
  • No! It is simply supply and demand and rarity of color. More attractive stones are in higher demand and if they come from a distant land in small quantities the price will be higher. Some of the toughest stones are also quite cheap and some of the most expensive can be very fragile. Also note that all natural stone contains small "pits" to varying degrees. These are simply small voids between grain boundaries and some of the most expensive stones can be full of them.
  • How much does granite weigh?
  • Granite tiles and slabs come in different thickness The weight per square foot for each thickness is as follows:

    • 3/4"(20mm) thick slab: 12.8 lbs. sq. ft.

    • 1/4"(30mm) thick slab: 18 lbs. sq. ft.

  • Will my granite countertop have visible seams?
  • Most granite installations will require at least one or more joints called seams. During layout and design, we will try to minimize the number of seams required. Additionally, our care in manufacture ensures that edges fit together very tightly to help lessen the appearance of visible seams.

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Marble FAQs

  • What is marble?
  • True geological marble is limestone that has been subjected to great pressure and heat, which has changed its structure to a crystalline, sugary texture. It is generally white or whitish, sometimes translucent, with some veining or color provided by other minerals present at its formation. White Carrara, Thassos, Colorado Yule and Bianco Rosa are true marbles. Commercially, the term "marble" applies to any compact limestone that will take a polish, which includes most of the colored marbles, except some of the greens.
  • Can I use marble on my kitchen counters?
  • We do not recommend the use of marble as kitchen counters because marbles (and limestone and travertine) are calcium carbonate, and their polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids including vinegar, mustard, catsup, citrus and a host of other food-related products. These acidic substances cause a chemical reaction, which will remove the polish. Additionally, marble and limestone can be scratched more easily than harder stones such as granite. Marble is, however, sometimes used in the kitchen as a pastry slab; its perfectly smooth, cool surface is ideal for rolling out dough and pie crusts.
  • Although Granite is one of the hardest substances on earth, it is heat resistant to a hot frying pan, and you can cut on it.
    It is still "Natural Stone" so hitting with a hammer or a meat clever is not recommended.

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