FAQ & The 10 Myths About Granite
Why is your name "Marble Tec" if you work primarily with granite?
The name reflects our age and time in business. Back 14 years ago when we chose the name, most stone work was with marble where it was used in kitchens and bathrooms because of its warmth and character. Since that time, granite has become the primary choice for kitchens because of its durability and shine. Companies with "Granite" in the name typically are less mature in their experience. The standards of workmanship for all natural stone are established by the "Marble Institute of America", another institution with a substantial history.
What should I know about color variation & veining?
When granite is purchased from the same lot or bundle, variations in color and veining should be expected and considered. In this situation, each slab or tile when viewed overall will look like it belongs with the remainder of the lot. In most cases, bundles of slabs are cut consecutively from the same block. When granite is purchased at different times or from different lots and bundles, extreme variation in color and veining can occur. Materials from different sections of the quarry or from different depths of the quarry can vary greatly. In certain cases, quarries have run out of certain shades or the veining has changed so drastically that current lots no longer match previous lots. For these reasons, it is important to purchase sufficient quantities at the same time or verify that additional material of the same lot is indeed available for a later purchase. Being a natural stone, variations from shipment to shipment or lot to lot cannot be controlled or predicted.
Will adding granite countertops increase the value of my home?
Yes. Experts say that whatever improvements you do in your kitchen you will get back at the time you sell your home. Plus in real estate, granite is a “Hot Button” with prospective buyers. It is becoming common for customers to ask us install granite in their homes to make it more saleable.
If my granite does stain how can I get it out?
Even if you don‘t do a thing yourself to try to get the stain out, many times it will eventually dissipate thru the stone, especially if it is oil based, but there are stain removers out there that would be able to get it out.
Do I have to pay extra for angles and radius?
No! We don’t charge extra like many hand work shop, since our equipment doesn't care if it cuts and polishes along a straight line or a radius edge or corner.
Are there other finishes for Granite besides the high polished surface?
There are several finishes that you can have with Granite. The highly polished surface is the most popular but there is a process called "honing" that gives the stone a smooth feel but a more matte finish and reveals fewer fingerprints. Another surface that is well liked is a "leathered" or "antiqued" surface. The stone is brushed in a manner that slightly raises the grain with a matte finish.
Is the shine and surface appearance of all granite alike?
Not all granites are alike. Different minerals polish out differently. Some minerals will not shine as much as the quartz and feldspar found in granite. When shopping for granite, take a close look at the shine and surface texture. Some granite has minute fissures in between the various granules which is normal.
What is the difference between an under mount sink and a drop-in sink?
A drop-in sink sits on top of the cutout while an undermount is completely under the granite slab. An under mount sink sits beneath the polished rim of the cutout. The undermount is more popular because it eliminates caulk lines above the counter and makes cleanup much easier by wiping directly into the sink. Also, there are no visible caulk lines. Most customers find the small additional charge to be reasonable since the undermount look clearly defines stone apart from laminate or installations that take numerous "shortcuts".
What is a "high-movement" stone?
The variety of available granite has increased dramatically over the past 5 years with the introduction of new technology and opening of new mines and factories. Different Granites have different patterns or veining. Some stones rarely change in their tight quartz-like, speckled, appearance, while others have veins that swirl and change irregularly. Since samples cannot give a good overall picture of a high-movement stone, it is wise to see the selected slab prior to fabrication. For some, the unique pattern is intriguing, art-like and adds to the beauty of the stone. For others the effect can seem somewhat chaotic and non-uniform. It can create a dramatic, art-like look on counters, but it may be difficult to match seams if the counter is longer than the slab of granite.
Will there be seams in my kitchen counter tops?
Granite is a stone and because of this, seams cannot be "melted" together. There will of course have to be seams in a typical granite project but if a quality fabricator and installer is used, these seams will be minimized. The location and quantity of seams depends on the project design and slab sizes. Seams are normally filled with a color matched polyester adhesive to blend as close as possible. If seams are cut and filled properly, they will not stand out and be an eye sore. Quality fabricators like Marble Tec will ensure the number of seams and the appearances are minimized, even when additional material may be required.
How do I maintain my granite?
Soap and water! Windex or other basic household cleaners can work. Marble Tec seals all of the slabs after installing and this protects your stone from staining.
What's the best way to clean marble and other softer 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 stone countertops or floors. Never use any product which is acidic; this includes substances like ammonia or many common liquid cleaners such as Windex. You should always use sealers and cleaning products designed specifically for natural stone.
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.
Is it necessary to seal stone?
All stone, even granite, is porous to some degree, and will absorb moisture over time. Some stones are more porous than others, so it is important to use a penetrating sealer to prevent stains from oil, wine, or other liquids from soaking into the surface. Oil spills can be problematic so, if you spill oil on your counters, clean it up as you go and do not allow it to sit on the stone for any length of time.
How careful do I have to be with granite?
Granite is scratch resistant and heat resistant. You can take your pots right off the stove and place them on the granite and take things right out of the oven and place them on the granite. Do not cut on the granite because you run the risk of dulling your knives! Other stones such as marble and limestone do not perform as predictably and we discourage their use in several places, especially the kitchen.
Can I set hot pans on my granite?
The darker the material the more dense and therefore the more heat it will hold. The biggest issue with putting a hot pan on granite is that if you touched the spot it could be as hot as the pan itself and therefore cause you an injury.
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. Thus, making granite an ideal choice for countertops.
Can granite crack?
Not with ordinary use. Normal use will not overstress this durable material. Normal use does not include standing on the counter tops.
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.
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.
Will my kitchen have seams?
Due to the limitation of slab size, seams on a granite countertop are necessary and sometimes unavoidable. A good place to incorporate seams is near sinks or cook tops. This will help to cover most of the seam-leaving a minimum amount in view. You may also want to consider putting seams where cabinets change direction or using forty-five or ninety-degree angles. This application often works well because the human eye has to adjust to the change in direction making the seam less noticeable. The visibility of seams will depend on the granularity, color and pattern. But relax. Our sales associates will help to explain the seam process in further detail to you. Also for clarification, take a look at the kitchen displays we have throughout the showroom. Most contain seams and most of these are close to unnoticeable.
Do granite countertops overhang the cabinets?
Most counters overhang by 1 1/2", which is standard. This may be changed for whatever reason due to cabinet configuration, cabinet installation, and/or personal tastes.
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.
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 can be used in a Kitchen, and is used extensively in Europe, but is recommended for people with very clean habits.
What is etching?
Etching happens when acid in some form comes in contact with a polished marble or limestone surface. This causes a chemical reaction, which removes the polish, or roughens the surface of honed marble or limestone. Green marbles, such as the "jades" from China are resistant to etching, and granite is impervious to any common household acids.
Does green marble require special treatment?
Some green stones, such as the "jades" from Taiwan, are not truly marble, but a different material called serpentine. Serpentinites, or serpentines, as they are sometimes called, do not etch or react to acids the way limestone and marble do, and are somewhat harder. Green tiles of this family must always be installed with an epoxy adhesive to prevent the curling that can take place if a water-based setting material is used.
I've noticed some granites have pits on the surface - will I have these on my kitchen counters?
Granite, which is crystalline in structure, always has tiny pits - spaces between the various mineral crystals. 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 man-made.
My granite kitchen counter top doesn’t look exactly like my sample. Why?
Granite is an organic substance and just as no two people are exactly alike, no two samples of granite will be either. The composition of minerals and the deposit it was quarried from all play a part in the appearance of granite.
10 Myths About Granite
1. Granite is Expensive.
Granite has wide ranges of affordability depending on the type, therefore today there are many colors and types that are priced lower than some synthetics, such as SileStone and other brands of engineered stone. Considering its durability and natural beauty, granite is perhaps today’s best value among countertop choices and this is reflected in re-sale values of homes with granite. No one advertises a home as having "Corian" or "solid surface". Realtors advertise as “slab granite and marble” to differentiate and indicate real value.
2. Granite is absorbent.
Granite is actually less absorbent than some solid surface (plastic) products. We routinely build sinks and shower bases out of granite and marble. Granite is regularly used as an exterior cladding for buildings because of its beauty and the ability to withstand high wind and rain.
3. Granite Will Stain.
This is perhaps one of the more enduring myths surrounding granite. Granite is exceptionally stain resistant, more so than many synthetic materials, including laminates and solid surface plastics such as Corian. Some lighter colors are susceptible to light staining if not sealed well. For years architects have used granite as an external cladding surface in commercial buildings because of its ability to withstand nature’s elements and retain its original beauty.
4. Granite Must Be Re-Sealed Regularly.
Another common misconception about granite countertops is that they must be re-sealed on a regular basis to prevent them from staining. There are a few porous granites, but the great majority are very resistant to staining, some are almost impossible to stain. The likelihood of staining granite through normal kitchen use is so low that it hardly deserves a second thought. The best method to check if granite needs sealing is to leave several drops of water for an hour or two. If, after wiping dry, the granite shows slight darkening from moisture, then let the granite dry naturally so the water stain disappears and then re-seal. Marble Tec will clean and seal all stone when we install it.
5. Granite Will Loose Its Shine.
This is a true statement for marble, but not for granite. Granite is an extremely dense substance. Diamond is one of the few materials harder than granite, which is why diamond pads are needed to polish it. Normal household activities simply do not introduce sufficient abrasion to the surface of granite to dull it. Your granite countertop will maintain it’s brand new shine for decades to come.
6. Granite Is Difficult to Maintain.
Maintenance for granite is virtually non-existent. Routine cleaning with mild soap and water, as you would do with any countertop surface, is all that’s needed.
7. Granite can be cracked by heat.
Granite can withstand very high levels of heat, allowing you put dishes straight from your oven on the countertop without a problem. The heat from pots and pans won't cause any damage to a granite countertop. Synthetic solid surfaces such as Corian will scorch at temperatures approaching 400°F, a common oven and stove heat. Granite, on the other hand, has no constituent materials capable of burning at under several thousand degrees. It will not scorch even when exposed to direct flame.
8. Granite Contains Harmful Radon Gases.
Granite is rock. No one has ever come forward with scientific evidence to suggest granite or any other rocks are harmful to your health. This rather preposterous myth emerged just about the time Dupont introduced Corian about 33 years ago. In actuality, radon gas emissions are more harmful from surfaces such as concrete, cement and gypsum which surround us on a daily basis. The Marble Institute of America reports that "radon is a naturally occurring gas generated by the decay of trace amounts of uranium found in the earth’s crust throughout the world. It is an unstable gas that quickly breaks down and dissipates in the air." No one today takes credit for starting the rumor, and certainly no one supports it. (By the way, granite contains crystals that some people believe have healing properties). Most experts would agree that granite isn't going to cure you or kill you, it's just a great looking rock that makes a fantastic, durable countertop.
9. Granite Harbors Bacteria.
A frequently repeated myth is that granite harbors harmful bacteria or; that somehow germs retreat into nooks and crannies in granite, lying in wait to make us sick. The myth is perpetuated by companies that infuse their synthetic or engineered material with anti-bacterial substances. The merits of this approach are without substance but it makes for good advertising and product definition. Corian is also porous but no one believes it harbors bacteria. Records at The Center for Disease Control confirm that there is no evidence of granite harboring bacteria or of anyone getting sick from bacteria in granite. Additionally, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, as well as the Hospitality Industry, give granite a clean bill of health. Granite is no more or less sanitary than any other high quality surface.
10. Granite Cannot Be Repaired.
Granite can be repaired, it just doesn't break very easily or very often, so there are few people advertising to repair it. If granite chips or cracks (which can happen if it is struck with a heavy object), it can be refinished or repaired with colored epoxies (most granite already contains some epoxy).