What is granite?
Granite is a very hard stone and 100 percent natural. It’s mined from quarries all around the world, cut down to a manageable size, and then polished to a fine finish.
Granite comes in many different colors and patterns due to the way it’s formed. Whether you’re looking for a subtle complement to your kitchen or a standout slab with unique mineral inclusions, there is an almost limitless selection to choose from and no two granite countertops are the same.
What is 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 start out as sediment at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years it becomes stone.
What should I consider when purchasing granite or marble?
Granite and marble are creations of nature that have a unique natural beauty that has been used in architecture thoughout the ages. Since granite and marble are made by nature, each piece is unique and matchless. Customers who may not be familiar with these materials may expect the granite or marble they order to be identical to pictures or samples they have seen. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the material, the granite or marble quarried at one time may differ slightly in color and veining from the sample. Moreover, even a single granite or marble slab will possess a certain amount of color variation from one end to the other. These slight irregularities are what will make your project unique and different from any other.
How do I take care of my granite countertops?
Warm water, mild dishwashing liquid, and soft clean cloth are generally all that’s needed to maintain your granite countertop surface. The best care you can give your natural stone is preventive care. We also recommend the Granite Gold® line of products for stone care.
Do all granite countertops need to be sealed?
No, only those that are porous. Although it is the hardest stone known to man, its porosity varies from quarry to quarry and from slab to slab. But this characteristic is easily checked by pouring a little water on it in an inconspicuous location. If it sits there for 30 minutes, the countertop does not need to be sealed. If it absorbs rapidly, the countertop should be sealed. We can always help you determine if your countertop you purchase from us should be sealed or not.
What is a sealer and how do I know when it it is time to apply one to my countertops?
A sealer is like a coat of armor for your countertop. Natural stone can be dense or porous, and is absorbent to some degree. Stones that have more swirls or veins tend to be more porous and absorbent. Sealer will decrease the opportunity for something to stain or harm your surface. A protected stone will be easier to clean, resist staining, and provide a safer and healthier environment. By sealing your stone, you will more easily retain the natural beauty of the surface.
To test your countertop’s sealant, apply a drop of water at least ½-inch in diameter to the stone and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Cover with a glass to reduce evaporation. If the stone does not darken then it is probably sealed against water-based stains. To ensure the beauty and longevity of your stone, we recommend sealing your stone yearly.
Are seams necessary on granite countertops?
Granite is a natural material and typically mined in blocks no more than 10 feet long, so you may have a seam. The visibility of seams depends on the granularity, color and pattern of the granite. A small uniform grain will not be as apparent as a larger varied grain. A seam in a dark color will be less apparent than a seam in a light color. A dramatic pattern with swaths of color will show more seams than a uniform pattern.
How are seams made?
Seams are made where two pieces of stone are put together. The seams are joined with an epoxy that is mixed with the color that matches the stone. Then the joined area is smoothened, leaving only a very thin line visible.
Why does some granite have small pits in it?
Pitting is a common characteristic of many types of granite. This occurs because granite is comprised of many different minerals, all with varying degrees of hardness. The difference in hardness results in the top layers of the softest minerals flaking out during the slab polishing process.
What are those tiny hairline crack on the surface of granite?
Granite has natural fissures which can look like tiny cracks but are not structural defects. These are naturally occurring result of the immense heat and pressure that formed the granite. These characters are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function or durability of the matreial. Remember, granite is from the earth so it’s perfectly imperfect and you cannot expect it to look manmade.
What is quartz?
Quartz is manufactured using 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins.
One of the main reasons quartz has exploded in popularity is due to appearance. Quartz has the look of stone while also allowing homeowners to customize the design. While granite offers many options in terms of appearance, you may have to search for the right piece that matches your color scheme. With quartz, the selection process is much easier.
How is quartz different from marble and granite?
Quartz countertops which are sold under brand names such as Viatera™, Silestone™ and Cambria™ are man-made stone surfaces. Quartz products offer consistency in patterns and colors that natural stone cannot. Quartz surfaces do not offer the uniqueness and varied random patterns of natural granite and marble.
Is quartz less expensive than granite or marble?
No, not necessarily. Depending on the level of granite or marble and the particular company or pattern of quartz; granite can be a significantly more cost effective material. However, if you are considering a level 3-4 granite/marble, or an exotic stone; quartz is most likely going to be the more affordable way to go.
Some factors that change the cost of granite are the extraction of the stone, and the shipping of the material which consumes a lot of time, money and energy. Factors that change the price of quartz are company, pattern or color of material, demand, labor rates, thickness and edge treatment, among others.
Can quartz chip?
Under normal use it is very unlikely that your quartz countertop will ever chip. Edges are usually more susceptible to chipping than the middle of the surface, and if hit with enough force, chipping can occur. These occurrences are generally not covered by any manufacturing warranty, but would usually be repairable, depending on the size and scope of the chip or damage.
Do I need to take any precautions using my quartz countertops?
You will want to exercise caution when cooking near your new quartz countertops. While granite countertops can withstand heat with no effects, quartz can be affected by extreme heat. The best practice is to use cutting boards, hot pads, and trivets between the hot kitchen tools and quartz countertops. This will save your quartz from warping or being otherwise damaged from extreme heat.
What maintenance do my quartz countertops require?
Unlike granite countertops that usually require being sealed about once a year, quartz is an extremely low maintenance material. The surfaces of your quartz countertops will never need to be sealed and the strength of the quartz composition means that you will most likely never have to deal with repairs either.