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Granite and Marble Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?
  2. What's the difference between marble and granite?
  3. Should I use marble or granite for my kitchen countertop?
  4. Is it necessary to seal stone?
  5. Do I have to buy the whole sheet/slab?
  6. What is the best way to clean marble and other stones?
  7. How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?
  8. Can I cut on my granite countertop?
  9. Can my granite top be damaged?
  10. My little sample of granite has pits on the surface - will I have these on my kitchen counters?
  11. How do I clean my granite tops?
  12. Will my granite look like the sample in this website?
  13. Does granite stain?
  14. Can I set hot pot on my granite countertop?
  15. Can granite chip?
  16. Do granite seams show?
  17. How are seams made?
  18. Does granite stain or burn?
  19. Can granite crack?
  20. Can granite cantilever?
  21. Is marble really appropriate to use in high-traffic areas?

1. What do I need to consider when buying marble or granite?

Being natural stones, marble and granite have been blessed with remarkable characteristics that have captivated humans throughout the ages. Inherent in such natural products is a certain lack of predictability that architects and designers celebrate. Consumers who are less acquainted with the material expect the stone ordered to be identical to a picture or sample they were shown. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the quarry's product, the material quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample. Moreover, even a single marble or granite slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other. Interior designers and architects have come to view this tendency of natural stone as an advantage. Slight irregularities can be pleasing, introducing an element of the natural into human-designed spaces, whether residential or commercial.

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2. What's the difference between marble and granite?

Although both are stones and 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. It is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals. The marble family - limestone, travertine, marble, onyx - start out as sediment - animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt - at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus.

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3. Should I use marble or granite for my kitchen countertop?

Although typical application of marble is for the bathroom vanity tops, Jacuzzi tops and fireplaces, it is possible to use it in the kitchen. However, due to the fact that it is easy to scratch and is affected by acidic substances, such as vinegars, ketchups etc, we don't usually recommend it. Moreover the high-gloss of the marble countertop can be partially lost as many chemicals etch its surface. Granite in turn is considered the second hardest stone, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans under normal use. It is also not affected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans.

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4. Is it necessary to seal stone?

No, it is not necessary to seal stone, however we do it to all countertops because the sealer provides great benefit at little cost.  In 99% of the cases if a you clean up after meals you will never have a stain. Mineral surfaces like granite are generally not porous, but some stones can absorb minor amounts of liquids, which rarely result in minor discoloring and staining. Although there are many good sealers on the market, taking simple precautions and performing regular cleaning can save trouble and cost. All marble and granite tops are sealed twice in our shop before they are installed. The impregnating substance penetrates the stone deep below the surface, making it quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oil. Over the course of time, and every day use, the sealer wears out (10 to 15 years  inside the home).

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5. Do I have to buy the whole sheet/slab?

Slabs are always sold intact. Buying random slabs is similar to buying fabric. Like a seamstress or tailor, your fabricator buys the raw material and sells you a completed installation. In the price is included the cost of transporting the material, making field measurements and templates, cutting, polishing, bringing the pieces to your job site and fitting them into place. How much material he needs is determined by the layout and the amount of waste. The fabricator will lay out your job in a way that will minimize the amount of waste material while maximizing the natural beauty of veining and pattern.

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6. What is the best way to clean marble and other stones?

The old rule of thumb is never to use anything you wouldn't use on your hands. Never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone. Even "soft scrub" type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your marble vanity tops or floors. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed for natural stone. Clean your stone with lukewarm water and dry with a cotton rag.

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7. How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?

With CNC technology we have the ability to cut any sink or surface unit cutout with computer aided design files. Undermount sinks (sinks that are mounted under the countertop so as not to show any rim) are fully cut out, then the inside rim of the cutout is polished. The countertop is also fitted on the bottom surface of the top with special cutouts that accept a steel anchor that will allow us to mechanically attach your sink to the top. Self-rimming cutouts are only scored 6" into each corner leaving some of the material to be cut in the field to facilitate safe shipping.

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8. Can I cut on my granite countertop?

Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite is harder than your knife blades and will dull them very quickly, if you use the countertop as a cutting surface. Always cut and chop on a wooden or plastic cutting board.

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9. Can my granite top be damaged?

Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to hard blows with 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. If you have a stain in your top contact your stone supplier, they can help you remove the stain by supplying you with a poultice that you can apply to the top to remove the stain.

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10. My little sample of granite has pits on the surface - will I have these on my kitchen counters?

Yes, granite being crystalline in structure always has tiny pits - spaces between the various mineral crystals. Some granites pit more than others when being polished, we suggest that you take a closer look at the slab you choose for your job. Chances are, if you look at it across the light you will notice the natural pitting of that stone. Remember, this is natural and it should not be considered an imperfection of the stone. 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 which 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.

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11. How do I clean my granite tops?

POLISHED GRANITE is a very durable stone, much harder than marble. Granite has been used in the past in the commercial industry.  Some of the obvious applications have been panels on the outside of buildings, walls, and floors of "high-traffic" areas.  Granite will withstand almost any element it comes up against including heat and cold.  Granite itself is approximately 95-98% stain resistant although, we use a silicone impregnator sealer on all our natural stone products. This will insure lasting life and beauty. Polished Granite should receive the same cleaning care as polished marble, use lukewarm water and dry with a cotton rag. When needed, spray glass cleaner (i.e. windex) and paper towel dry.

Do not let window cleaner sit on granite surface, clean right away.

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12. Will my granite look like the sample in this website?

The samples you see on our website computer have been scanned and saved as digital images. The color tones may not be absolutely correct due to variations in computer systems, monitors and compression algorithms. Although we worked very hard to ensure that they would be the best looking samples available in the net up to today (or so we think). These variations are expected and are the source of its natural beauty.

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13. Does granite stain?

In general, no. All stone, however, is porous to some extent, but Granite has very little porosity. Most colors will never show any moisture. A few colors may show some moisture if exposed for a period of time. For example, a puddle of water left on the counter for 30 minutes for some colors (specially lighter), may show a dark spot when the water is wiped away. This spot will then dry up and no evidence will show.

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14. Can I set hot pot on my granite countertop?

Granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earths crust. It cannot be affected by heat from a cook top or frying pan. A lit flame placed under the granite will have no melting effect and will not leave any burned or scarred marks.

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15. Can granite chip?

In only cases of sever abuse with a hammer or impact tool. A chip can be filled with a granite dust and epoxy mixture.

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16. Do granite seams show?

Because granite is a natural material and is mined from the quarry in blocks usually no more than 9' to10' in length, you will end up with seams. Also, because granite is sold in rectangular pieces, you may want to use seams to reduce your costs, such as in an 'L' shaped corner. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color and pattern. A small, uniform grain will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain. A dark color will be less apparent than a light color. A dramatic pattern with swaths of color definitely will show more seams than a uniform pattern. Most customers have found that the beauty of natural granite outweighs the concern of seams.

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17. How are seams made?

Seams are created by joining two pieces of granite together with a knife grade epoxy that is color matched to the background tone of the granite countertops. Suction cups and seamers are then used to tightly join the pieces together. Any excess bonding material is then cleaned off the surface with razors to leave a smooth and sleek bead of epoxy between both pieces. Occasionally, in areas where expansion and contraction are predominant, the use of silicone replaces the epoxy.

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18. Does granite stain or burn?

No. You can't burn it with ordinary use. Granite does not stain. The only caveat is that a few colors may absorb some moisture with prolonged contact. Usually, no evidence remains when the liquid is removed and the granite dries, but could be a problem with dark pigmented liquids.

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19. 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.

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20. Can granite cantilever?

You can cantilever granite up to 12" with sufficient support on the fixed end and with a large enough piece. Never cantilever unsupported granite where it might receive excessive stress like someone sitting on a counter or stepping on a counter to change a light bulb. You must have support underneath for these situations.

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21. Is marble really appropriate to use in high-traffic areas?

Yes. Marble since ancient times has been used in all areas of homes from furnishings to floors. Marble has proven as durable as materials traditionally considered to be sturdier with the added benefit of creating a warm welcoming atmosphere.

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