What do I need to consider
when buying marble or granite?
Because it is a natural stone, marble-and more recently granite-has been blessed with a remarkable natural beauty that has captivated humans throughout the ages. Inherent in such natural products is a certain lack of predictability that sophisticated architects and designers celebrate. Consumers who are less acquainted with the material expect the marble ordered to be identical to the 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 an 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.
Should I use marble or granite for my kitchen countertops?
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
Is it necessary to seal stone?
Since mineral surfaces are quite porous they absorb liquids, which may result in discoloring and staining. Although there are many commercial grade products available on the market which may bring the stone to its to its original luster, taking simple precautions and regular maintenance can save a lot of trouble and cost. All marble an granite tops are sealed immediately after they are installed. The impregnating substance penetrates the stone clogging most of its pores making its quite impervious to alcohol, juices, soft drinks, cosmetics, cleaners, coffee, food and even oil. With course of time, depending on how heavily the tops are used, the sealer gets washed out. The clear indication of this happening would be the fact that the liquids are easily absorbed into the stone leaving temporary (if promptly wiped off) stains.
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.
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 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.
How do I deal with sink and stove cutouts?
With our water jet 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 that countertop so as not to show any rim) are fully cut out, then the inside of the hole is polished. The countertop is then flipped over and fitted with special grommets for your plumber to fasten the sink. Self rimming cutouts are cut 6" into each corner leaving some of the straight section to be cut in the field to facilitate safe shipping.
What should I know about maintenance and usage?