Frequently Asked Questions: Granite, Marble, and Natural Stone
Can my granite countertop be damaged?
Typical household activities will not damage granite. Extreme weight loads or high-impact blows from very hard or sharp impacts like hammers can crack stone surfaces, but otherwise granite and stone counters can be expected to last many, many years without damage.
Does granite stain?
Precision Stoneworks seals all granite and stone surfaces, and properly polished and sealed granite is generally quite resistant to stains. If spills are blotted up immediately lasting stains are unlikely. Lighter colors and honed finishes can be prone to show stains more conspicuously, but even this is somewhat uncommon. Claims that granite and stone are stain-prone are most frequently made by those selling competing products.
Can granite countertops chip?
Only in instances of severe and direct impact with a heavy, hard and/or sharp objects such as a hammer. Surface chips can often be repaired or filled. If a chip occurs save the chipped pieces for repair.
Can granite stain or burn?
Granite is safe for hot pots and pans and won’t scorch, melt or burn under everyday household conditions. Certain finish textures may temporarily discolor under heat or moisture exposure, but once the heat source removed the stone will typically return to its original color with time.
Are granite countertops radioactive? Are they safe?
Granite, stone, and marble countertops are perfectly safe for residential and commercial applications. Irresponsible media reports in recent years like this one have frequently centered around poor science and fear tactics to garner attention and draw viewership, and typically featured “experts” attempting to promote competing products or unnecessary and expensive home testing products and services to frightened homeowners.
Just like almost all natural materials, granite and natural stone countertops may contain minor trace sources of radiation, but do not present more radiation than any other natural materials and introduce miniscule amounts of radiation relative to naturally occurring background levels. In fact, radiation and radon concentrations from stone materials used in countertop applications are on average:
- 300 times lower than (or 0.3% of) levels of radon in outdoor air,
- 1,000 times below (or 0.001% of) the average concentration of radon found in
the air of U.S. homes, and
- 3,000 times less than (or 0.00004% of) the action level for indoor air
recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For more information see this report about Natural Stone Countertops and Radon or visit the Marble Institute of America resource page.
Can I cut foods directly on my granite countertops?
While granite and stone are naturally hard surfaces that resist scratches and are easily cleaned for food safety, cutting directly on stone surfaces will rapidly dull any knife. A suitable cutting board that is easily cleaned will help guarantee food safety without danger of causing unnecessary wear to knives or countertops.
How thick should a countertop be?
Granite and stone kitchen countertops are typically 3cm (about 1¼”) thick. Low-cost granite counters from some fabricators are often 2cm (about ¾”) thick but for the greatest beauty, durability, and satisfaction Precision Stoneworks strongly recommends that surfaces for the home should also be done 3cm (1 ¼”) thick.
Precision Stoneworks can also make 6cm tops by permanently laminating two 3cm slabs together. Laminated tops can create a beautiful and visually impressive effect in a careful design, especially since it allows for a combination of edge treatments to be used for a complex effect.
Why is the thickness of granite slabs described in centimeters (cm) instead of inches?
Granite and stone countertops first became popular in Italy where the metric system is used. Much of the tooling, technology and machinery needed for working stone countertops is even still imported from Italy and Europe, and the metric measurements were adopted along with them.
Is marble like Calacatta a good choice for counter tops?
Marble is a beautiful and increasingly fashionable choice for countertops. However, its popularity probably owes more to its beauty than its practicality in this role. Homeowners should be aware that marble is softer and more porous than granite and many other natural stones. Marble can be more vulnerable to damage and stains and may require more maintenance. In homes where the kitchen is a heavily and frequently used space granite may be a better choice.
Honed finish marble is less likely to show scratches, but can be more vulnerable to stains and blemishes.
How should I care for my stone counter tops?
For day to day care, regular dishwashing soap diluted with water makes a very satisfactory cleaning agent. Simply wipe down your kitchen surfaces with a damp cloth and soap and water. If you prefer, there are commercially available specialty cleaning products but these are not often necessary for day-to-day care. Granite and stone counters are both beautiful and classic additions to any home and will last a lifetime with minimal care.
How should I care for granite counters?
- Blot up spills immediately before they can penetrate the surface.
- Clean stone surfaces with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap (available in hardware stores or from a stone dealer), or mild dishwashing liquid and warm water.
- Use a clean, soft cloth to clean the granite. Rinse after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft, clean cloth.
- Reseal the countertop every year or two years. Check with us for recommendations. Use only non-toxic sealers in food preparation areas.
- Contact Precision Stoneworks for any problems that appear too difficult to treat.
How should I care for marble counters?
- For routine cleaning wipe down marble surfaces with a damp rag and buff dry with a chamois or microfiber cloth.
- For tougher stains, use a neutral, non-abrasive cleaner (such as acetone, hydrogen peroxide or clear ammonia).
- Apply the cleaner with a cloth and buff dry.
- After cleaning, polish marble surfaces using a marble polish containing tin oxide.
- To easily maintain the continued beauty of your marble surfaces, place coasters under glasses and put plastic under cosmetics. Use rugs to cover high-traffic areas of marble floors.
- Scratches of greater depth that to do not respond to the above treatments should be referred to a professional. Please contact us for help if needed.
- Marble tops should be re-sealed at least once a year to help resist stains.