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Before You Buy

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

Because they are natural stone, both granite and marble have been blessed with a remarkable natural beauty that has captivated humans throughout the ages. Although sample stones are intended to be representative of the color and texture, the material quarried at one time may differ slightly in color variation from one end to the other, and slabs ordered may not be identical to the sample or picture you've previously seen. 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-design spaces.

Do my existing countertops need to be removed for templating?

To ensure an accurate fit and quality installation, we do require the existing countertops to be removed prior to templating. You may do this yourself or contract us for the removal. We will schedule both templating and installation ahead of time, so you know exactly when to expect us, and you won't be without a functional kitchen for an extended period of time.

What kinds of finishes are available in natural stone?

Marbles and granites are typically shipped from quarries with a polished, or shiny, face.  Limestones are usually available in a "honed" finish, which is smooth to the touch, but not shiny.

What kinds of edge details are available?

 We can do any kind of edge detail that you can imagine... from the simplest straight polished edge to an elaborately detailed edge.  Our most popular edges are straight, half-bullnose, full-bullnose, beveled and ogee.

Can I do one area of my project now, and complete the remainder of it in the same color at a later time?

Yes, but not without potential complications. As natural stones are quarried, changes in shade and pattern occur. Therefore, finding an exact match at a later time might not be possible

Do I need to reinforce my cabinets or floor when installing natural stone countertops?

Although granite is heavy, typically between 15-20 pounds per square foot, any level base cabinet will support the top. Granite needs to be consistently supported rather than having reinforced supports. Cabinets need standard cross supports and brackets for any overhang greater than 12". The weight of the countertops is distributed equally over the kitchen, so your existing floor supports will suffice.

Generally, how does the cost compare to other surfaces?

Initially, marble and granite cost about the same as solid surfaces, but the price must be weighed against performance.  Marble and granite are far more valuable than synthetics in much the same way that diamonds are more valuable than rhinestones.  The depth and character of natural stone cannot be matched by any man-made surface.  Natural stone does not depreciate with time and adds value to your home.

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.

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 G&L Marble showroom nearest you or at the shop prior to fabrication

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.

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.

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.

What is the thickness of my countertop?

All granite countertops that we install are approximately an inch and a quarter or 3cm thick. Because it is a natural stone, slabs can vary in thickness by an eighth of an inch. This thick material is used for structural reasons and does not need to be installed over plywood; the countertops can be installed directly on your base cabinets. Some marble and other types of stone are only available in 3/4" or 2cm thickness. This material should be limited to bathrooms or other lower usage areas.

 
 

About Natural Stone

Can granite crack or chip?

Yes, granite can crack or chip. However this is usually caused by severe settling, excessive impact or abuse. Most minor cracks or chipping in natural stone can be repaired by a specialist in the stone renovation business or by a qualified fabricator.

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 earth.

Can I cut on my granite countertops?

Only if you want to ruin your good knives. Granite is harder than your knife blades and, as a result, will dull them very quickly. Although you won't damage your countertops, we recommend using cutting boards for chopping.

Can I set a hot pot or pan on my countertop?

Because granite is formed by extreme heat and pressure combined beneath the earth's crust, it cannot be affected by heat from a cook top, pot or pan. Granite is heat resistant up to almost 2,000 degrees.

Does granite stain?

All stone, except soapstone, is porous to some extent, but granite has very little porosity. With yearly sealing, you should never have an issue with your granite staining. The sealer fully protects the stone from absorbing a stain. In general, most colors will never show moisture, but a few colors may show some moisture if exposed for a period of time and not kept sealed. For best results, keep all stone sealed on an annual basis.

If my granite is honed, will it be more likely to stain?

The honing process slightly changes the porosity of the stone. However, use of the proper sealer will prevent any additional staining that may occur due to the honed finish.

Does granite hold bacteria?

Granite that has been and is kept properly sealed does not harbor bacteria. The FDA would not allow it to be installed as countertops if it did.

Does granite have pits or fissures?

Granite, which is crystalline in its structure, always has tiny pits or spaces between the various mineral crystals. Most aren't as noticeable on a larger piece because the overall appearance is polished and mirror-like. Some colors are more prone to pits than others. We always recommend viewing your slabs prior to fabrication. 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 originally formed the granite. These characteristics are part of the natural beauty of stone and will not impair the function, durability, or integrity of the material. A product of nature cannot be expected to look manmade. Pits and fissures can be minimized and strengthened respectively with an epoxy fill.

What is the difference between sanded and unsanded grout?

Sanded grout is recommended for a joint width greater that 1/8". Use unsanded grout for joints 1/8" or less in width.

What is the difference between granite and marble?

The main difference between the two is that granite is a highly dense material composed deep inside the earth's core, while marble is formed from sediments under the seabed. Both solidify into stone after millions of years but the mineral composition of the two stones makes marble and granite much different in hardness and react differently to various chemicals and household cleaners

Is marble suitable to use for a countertop?

No, marble is not a good choice for a kitchen countertop. Although it can be sealed, it is not as dense as granite and therefore it is more porous and susceptible to being stained in a highly used area like a kitchen. Acidic food or cleaners can easily permanently etch and damage the stone. It is also much softer, therefore will chip and crack under frequent use and tends to dull over time.

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.

 

 

 

Stone Care

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.

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?

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.

Most color enhancing sealers do retain the same properties of other sealers with the added benefit of enhancing the color.

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 6 months to 1 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.

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.

Can marble countertops be refinished once they become scratched?

Yes. Marble can be refinished through a process of grinding and repolishing. The process will vary depending on the damage or wear. This is not a do it yourself project and requires a professional refinisher.