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Maintenance Mistakes & How to Prevent Them

July 27, 2015
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Seven Maintenance Mistakes & How to Prevent Them

Mistake No. 1:
Cleaning only with water can be very detrimental to your marble floor. Water contains chlorine, salt and some other minerals that will diminish the shine if used on a regular basis. In addition, water doesn't have the ability to cut through dirt and mainly dust will be removed.

Solution: Use special neutral cleaner that when mixed properly with water will keep the floor looking beautiful all the time.

Mistake No. 2:
Not replacing the cleaning solution frequently enough can create stone problems. First, it will leave streaks all over the floor and second, the grout joints (especially if they are light color) will get dirty very rapidly.

Solution: When you damp mop the floor be sure to divide the area into a few sections. Whenever you notice that the cleaning solution becomes cloudy and dirty, immediately replace it with a fresh new solution.

Mistake No. 3:
Cleaning mop head is not kept clean. By using a mop or cloths that are soiled and dirty, you are actually tracking the dirt back into the floor and grout joints. Dirty mops can create streaks and an unattractive look.

Solution: Be sure to designate a special mop or cloth for your marble floor. Keep the cloth or mop head clean all the time. Wash them thoroughly after you have finished the cleaning with neutral soap and warm water.

Mistake No. 4:
Floor is not vacuumed or dusted enough. Remember that sand and grit is the number one enemy of your marble floor. They become like sandpaper and start to abrade the shine. If you don't vacuum the floor enough, it will wear off faster than it should.

Solution: Make yourself a habit to thoroughly vacuum or dust mop the floor before cleaning. You'll be amazed how good the floor is going to look.

Mistake No. 5:
Not using a door mat can affect the amount of sand and grit that are brought into your house. And as you already know, sand and grit will diminish the shine and will create a lot of scratches.

Solution: Purchase a door mat and install it by your main entrance and any other exit or entry to the house. You can buy it in any home center, janitorial supply or carpet retail store.

Mistake No. 6:
Using the wrong cleaning chemical can ruin your marble floor very easily. Marble is a soft material and made from calcium carbonate that is very sensitive to any acid or high alkaline chemicals. Do not use any tile cleaners, vinegar, ammonia, alcohol (Windex), Ajax, etc. on your marble floor

Solution: Use only liquid stone soap or neutral cleaners that have pH7.00 and were made specifically for cleaning stone. In this way you prolong the stone life.

Mistake No. 7:
Not having a planned program for maintenance can affect the look of the marble floor. By skipping cleaning days and polishing dates inevitably will cause the shine to diminish.

Solution: Designate the days that you want to clean the marble floor and stick to it. Have your floor cleaned and polished once a year by Royal Care Services! Doing that will keep the level of the shine steady and it won't deteriorate rapidly (which will require restoration).

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Care & Maintenance – Granite User

July 27, 2015
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Care & Maintenance – Granite User

Granite floors are wonderful floors that are natural and look great. They can be tough and delicate all at the same time. They are a hard surface and that is a plus but a granite floor can scratch easy and it can also soak in stains. Granite floors need to be taken care of to keep them looking great and to keep them from getting scratched.

You need to keep sand and dirt off of a granite floor to prevent the granite from getting scratched. You should probable take your shoes off before you walk across the granite floor. Large mats or area rugs would be a good idea to have on granite floors in places where there might be a chance that dirt could be dragged in on the granite floor.

Use a dust mop frequently on a granite floor to keep the floor clean and free of dirt and sand particles. Make sure the mop you use is a soft mop. You can also vacuum a granite floor but only with a attachment to prevent scratching the granite floor.

When you need to wash a granite floor use a mild detergent and hot water. As you wash the granite floor make sure you get all the dirt so that it does not soak into the granite floor. Any remaining dirt that is left on a granite floor will soak into the granite.

When something spills on a granite floor wipe it up as soon as you can so it does not soak into the granite. Granite is porous and it will soak in stains especially oil. If oil does spill on the granite floor try to soak the oil up immediately with a soft absorbent cloth. If you can't get all the oil up by soaking it you can try to put some dishwashing liquid on the granite and then rinse it off with clear hot water until the soap is rinsed off of the granite.

A granite floor is a very nice floor when it is taken proper care of. A granite floor can last for years when it is kept clean. Always keep dirt and sand off of a granite floor and the granite floor will last a long time. When a spill does happen, on a granite floor, clean the spill up right away to minimize the damage to the granite floor. Never let your granite floor freeze since a freeze could crack the granite.

Daily granite countertop care is as easy as cleaning with a gentle cleanser like Oil Soap or mild dishwashing liquid. If needed you can use a synthetic scrubbing pad to clean your granite counter. With the proper maintenance, granite countertops stay new-looking for a long time. Here are easy steps to follow:

  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • Use mild soap and water
  • Rinse
  • Use soft cloth to dry

Removing Stains:
Unfortunately, a lived-in kitchen will eventually experience a stain or two even on your granite counter. How to remove the stain will depend on what caused the stain. Use the suggestions found on the following chart:

Resealing Granite Countertops:
Before you reseal your granite countertops, check with the manufacturer or installer to be sure it is necessary. Most granite counters do need to be re-sealed on an annual basis, but not all of them require this.

However, for those that do require sealing to retain the color and clarity of the granite counter top, it is necessary to reseal the counter every six months to two years. Check with your installer to find what they recommend. How much you use your kitchen will play a part in how often it needs to be re-sealed. When you do re-seal, be sure to choose a non-toxic sealer, since counters are used for food preparation.

Two Types of Sealers

Two types of sealers can be found on the market. A penetrating sealer penetrates into the stone. The second, a topical sealer, does not penetrate but instead coats the top of the counter's surface.

Penetrating sealers: Protecting the structure of natural stone, a penetrating sealer absorbs into the granite for three or four minutes. When almost dry, add a little more sealer to the counter and rub with a soft, dry rag. Apply to a section at a time. Wait two hours and apply a second coat. When shopping for your sealer, look for one that says it is an oil repellent impregnator, which will help stop oil from seeping into the stone.

Topical sealers: These sealers form a film designed to protect the countertop's surface. Usually made from some form of natural wax, acrylic, and other plastic compounds. Topical sealers come in two types: strippable and permanent. Strippable sealers are made to be stripped or removed from the stone countertop with little work. Most often, often permanent sealers are not recommended for granite. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations when deciding what type of sealer is right for your counters.

Water Spill Test:

Once you've sealed your counter, test it to be sure that it is adequately sealed. As a test, spill a little water on your countertop and leave it set. After 30 minutes, wipe it up. If the water leaves your counter darkened, the granite is not sufficiently sealed.

Warnings and Cautions for Countertop Maintenance:

Because granite is so durable, it's easy to think you can use anything on it. However, this is not true if you really want to keep your counters in good condition. Avoid products with ingredients that include lemon, vinegar or other acids. In fact, it's a good idea to use coasters to protect your counter under glasses containing acidic drinks like alcohol or citrus juices.

And as a final note on granite countertop maintenance, remember that even though you can use harsher chemicals to clean your counter, doing so may dull or even etch the counter's finish. Stick with milder solutions and retain that natural beauty you fell in love with in the first place. Once you've applied a topical sealer, your maintenance really shifts to maintenance of the sealer.

Care and Cleaning Instructions for Natural Stone products.

Marble, granite and other natural stone products are an investment which will last for years if maintained properly.  Simple care and conservation will prevent any unnecessary damage and keep it looking presentable for a long time.

Precautions

Usage of food trays or coasters is highly recommended as glasses full of beverages such as alcohol or juices containing acid may damage the top surface.  An exposure of the stone to such liquids will cause the surface to become dull, especially in case of marble.

Placement of hot items directly on the surface should be avoided.  Usage of trivets, mats or any other stands under hot bowls, pots and other items is highly recommended.

Cleaning Procedures & Recommendations

Floor Surfaces
Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasive nature. Doormats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and pebbles that will scratch the stone floor.  Make certain that the underneath of the doormat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about ten steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the underneath of their shoes.  Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn.  The harsh attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

Other Surfaces
A small quantity of neutral cleaner or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent dissolved in warm water should be used when cleaning stone surfaces.  Clean and soft mop or rug should be utilized for best results.  Excessive amount of cleaning solution will leave streaks or a coat of film after cleaning.  Stay away from any form of cleaning solutions containing lemon, vinegar or any other acid blend.  Once washed, rinse the surface thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.  Rinsing water should be changed repeatedly.  Usage of any creams or other abrasive products is going to render the surface dull and scratched up, thus it is not recommended.

Sealing
Countertops, as well as any other natural stone surface, should have a penetrating sealer applied, in order to avoid any liquid spotting.  Granite, marble, limestone or any other natural product, will have to be maintained dry, even after sealer has been put on.  Strong liquids such as wine, coffee and especially grease and oil, will penetrate through a sealer and into the stone, if left for an extended period of time.  It is rather difficult to extract those substances.  Food preparation areas should be sealed with a non-toxic sealer.  Check with your supplier or sealer manufacturer if in any doubt.

It is not advised to apply layers of sealer on top of each other.  Thus, a regular visual inspection of the stone is recommended.  Since every natural stone have different specific gravity and other physical characteristics, this may occur in different time frames.  Usage plays an important role as well.  Please consult Eminence at least once a year for professional advise.

Stain Removing Procedures
Not all types of granite and marble may be subjected to the same procedures of stain removal, effectively further damaging may occur.  There are various products on the market which may be utilized in an attempt to remove stains from within the stone.  Please consult with your granite provider for further instructions.

 

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Care & Maintenance – Marble User

July 27, 2015
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Care & Maintenance – Marble User

Marble surfaces show wears sooner than granite, but can be restored with honing and polishing more easily. Marble surface etched by acids, including soft drinks and juice. Absorbs oils and other liquids and is easily stained.

A polished finish on the stone has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the material. This type of finish is used on walls, furniture tops and other items, as well as floor tiles.

A honed finish is a satin smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. Generally, a honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds and other locations where heavy traffic will wear off the polished finish. A honed finish may also be used on furniture tops and other surfaces.

A flamed finish is a rough textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles.

Polished Marble looks beautiful, but is an intriguing paradox. On one hand, marble is hard, durable and lasts for years. On the other hand, the polished surface can be marred by chemicals, stains and abrasion. Keeping marble in its magnificent, original state, takes ongoing tender loving care.

What can ruin marble surface?
Scratches
Sand and grit carried from outside by shoes can easily scratch and abrade the marble surface like a sandpaper. Unprotected furniture legs may leave scratches too. Dragging heavy objects or sharp items on the floor can cause very deep scratches or gouges that may be permanent.

Stains
Marble is porous and can easily be discolored by spills from food, sitting pots, metal furniture legs, oil, ink, water damage, etc.

Acid
Spills from drinking liquids or food containing acid will etch (dull mark) marble surfaces. For example: lemon juice, orange juice, carbonated beverages, cranberry juice, apple juice, wine, tomato, etc. The dull mark may have a coin size or spread over several tiles. Another source for etch marks are cleaning products containing acid. For example: Tile cleaners, vinegar, Ajax, Soft Scrub, etc.

Alkaline
In addition to chemicals containing acid, chemicals that contain high alkaline or bleach can damage marble floors to lose its shine and elegance.

Moisture
Local water may contain chlorine, salts, magnesium, potassium and other minerals. When water is used continuously to clean the marble floor it may ruin certain types of marble by causing pitting, spalling and yellowing. This is why it is important to protect the floor with a premium sealer.

Improper Maintenance Procedures
Continuous use of water as the sole cleaning agent (without chemicals), or using dirty mops, or not changing the cleaning solution frequently enough, can cause the marble to look dingy, streaky and unattractive.

Improper Maintenance Program
Not having a steady use of dust mop and damp mop may cause a decrease of the shine. In addition, a yearly maintenance may be required to renew the shine especially when the floor is exposed to a medium or heavy traffic.

Marble Maintenance Tips
Protect the floor with a premium penetrating sealer to reduce etch marks and prevent stains and moisture from filtering into the marble. To apply the sealer properly, call a professional stone care company. Traffic areas should be resealed on a yearly basis.

Install walk off matt by the main door to prevent sand and grit from spreading on the floor causing scratches and dullness. A good quality mat will capture dirt before someone walks on the floor. When it is placed outside your door it will signal people that they need to wipe their feet before entering the house.

Protect all furniture legs that come in contact with the marble with special felt pads or plastic (can be purchased in home centers). Proper protection will reduce the damage from scratches.

Place all plants on a special base to prevent deep stains and scratches.

Use only neutral cleaners or stone soap liquid specifically formulated for natural stone that will not harm the surface.

Dust mop or vacuum the floor at least 1-2 times per week to eliminate sand and grit to reduce possibilities of scratches. Do not use oil-treated dust mops on marble surfaces. Do not get the dust mop wet; if the floor is wet, be sure to dry it before dust mopping. Run the dust mop in one direction, do not move it back and forth. Always store the dust mop keeping its head off the ground. Wash it in cold water with laundry detergent and machine dry.

Damp mop the floor regularly 1-2 times per week to remove dirt and soil. Mix solutions as per manufacturers directions. Always use clean cold or warm water. Do not use hot water since it will cause the floor to streak. It is important to rinse and wring the mop as often as possible. If you don't rinse the mop enough you will only be pushing dirt.

Blot spills with paper towel. Don't wipe because it will spread the spill. Flush the area around the floor and then when the floor dries, it will streak or appear dingy. If your marble tends to streak every time that you mop the floor, then dry the marble with a clean terry cloth towel or buff with a residential buffing machine.

DO's and DON'Ts for Marble Surface
DO clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to your stone.

DO use trivets or mats under hot dishes and cookware.

DO use place mats under china, ceramics, silver and other objects that can scratch the stone's surface.

DO use coasters under glasses, especially if they contain alcohol or citrus juices.

DO use a tray for toiletry products in the bathroom to protect the surface from the damaging chemicals contained in many toiletry products.

DO dust mop marble floor tile regularly.

DO use door mats inside and out along with runners and area rugs on marble floors.

DON'T wait to clean up spills on stone.

DON'T use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub cleaners.

DON'T use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.

DON'T use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.

DON'T use alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone.

DON'T use scouring powders and abrasives because they will scratch the surface.

DON'T Place toiletry products directly on the countertop surface.

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Marble vs Granite – A Common Question

July 27, 2015
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Marble vs Granite – A Common Question

Installation of natural stone in home can add a distinguished look and character to the premises. Marble and granite are two great options for a beautiful and long lasting stone surface, but there are similarities and differences somebody should know about before making selection process! How do marble surface and granite surface measure up when it comes to stain resistance, durability, care requirements, variety and price?

Stain Resistance, Durability & Care
Real marble tiles have a beautiful, unique look like no other surface, with all their whirling patterns and shade variations. But the same patterns that make marble beautiful can be a real headache to match from tile to tile.

Marble floors are more porous than granite floors, thus making them more susceptible to staining. Marble is also much more likely to be damaged by scratches and objects that accidentally fall on the floor. On the other hand, granite floors are far less porous and defend well against stains, scratches and wear.

Because marble floors can stain so easily, you must clean them as quickly as possible after a spill. Marble, like most stone tiles, has high maintenance requirements. It must be sealed and cleaned regularly; for cleaning, use only a mild detergent solution or a product specially designed for marble.

While granite floors are not as susceptible to staining as marble floors, you should still be careful not to use acidic liquids or cleaning supplies on them.  As an igneous rock, granite is formed under very high heat and has a crystalline structure instead of a layered structure like sedimentary rock. Tile made from it is quite dense, with a strength similar to porcelain.

Variety and Price
Granite is a very unique stone, often cut for specific purposes and differing from stone to stone. Due to this variety and uniqueness, there are two major factors that add to the cost of granite: the rarity of color and the stone's pattern. The heavier weight relative to marble also makes the cost of shipping granite more expensive, and this is also added into the final price. Marble is often manufactured in bulk, reducing the costs of cutting and shipping the stone.

A note on marble color
It is important to know that green and black marbles are not recommended for wet areas of the home, such as a shower. Green marbles will absorb water and then curl and warp. Black marbles, when wet, can exhibit "spalling" at veins, which means small pieces of the stone may break away. Black Marble is a very soft limestone often mistaken as a marble. Not recommended for interior flooring. Never use a crystallizer on black marble - The stone will blister or spall! If honing or polishing, use extreme care not to leave swirls and do not run until the powder has dried. Check frequently - polishes very quickly!

 

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Frequently Asked Question

July 27, 2015
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Frequently Asked Question

Where does natural stone come from?
Natural stone comes from quarries. A quarry is an open excavation or pit in a mountain from which stone is obtained by digging and cutting. This produces large blocks of stone, which are then sliced into sheets called slabs. Slabs are then polished on one side, which brings out the colour in the stone. Slabs coming from one block will be quite similar in colour and veinage. Slabs are a standard 20 or 30mm thick, however thicker slabs can be ordered.

Is marble more expensive than granite?
There is a wide range of prices for marbles, limestone and granites with a lot of overlap. Cost of stone is determined not by type of stone or the look. Cost is mostly determined but by availability of material from quarries, accessibility and shipping costs. As a guide, mid-ranged priced granite and marble are similar in price.

Where does natural stone come from?
Natural stone comes from quarries. A quarry is an open excavation or pit in a mountain from which stone is obtained by digging and cutting. This produces large blocks of stone, which are then sliced into sheets called slabs. Slabs are then polished on one side, which brings out the colour in the stone. Slabs coming from one block will be quite similar in colour and veinage. Slabs are a standard 20 or 30mm thick, however thicker slabs can be ordered.

Is marble more expensive than granite?
There is a wide range of prices for marbles, limestone and granites with a lot of overlap. Cost of stone is determined not by type of stone or the look. Cost is mostly determined but by availability of material from quarries, accessibility and shipping costs. As a guide, mid-ranged priced granite and marble are similar in price.

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.

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.

How is engineered stone made?
Many different companies around the world make their own blend of stone. Each uses a combination of quartz, binding agents and colours. Please see Engineered Stone for more information.

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".

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.

How much is a granite benchtop per square meter?
We sell natural stones by slabs. Some of our products are available in tiles. Please send your enquiry.

Can I use marble on my kitchen counters, or should I use granite?
Yes, you can use marble, so long as it is sealed. The concern here is that because marbles (and limestone and travertine) contain calcium carbonate, the polished surface is more vulnerable to household acids including vinegar, mustard, citrus and a host of other food-related products. Additionally, marble and limestone can be scratched more easily than harder stones such as granite. However marble is still a very strong surface when compared to other materials. This said, marble is still an excellent hygienic surface for kitchens. The choice is a balance between aesthetics and practicality. If you seal and take care of your marble kitchen, then there is less of a chance of damage. The other choice is a engineered stone, giving choice of marble looking stone, with a very durable surface.

Can I use limestone in my kitchen?
Like marble, polished limestone is subject to surface changes or damage from kitchen acids including citrus juices, vinegars, mustards, and so forth. Unsealed, some of the more porous limestones can be subject to stains.

Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
Because granite is a very hard stone that is formed at very high temperatures deep in the earth, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans. It is unaffected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans, or spilled liquid.

Can granite be damaged?
Like any solid surface, high impact blows can harm granite. Because of its crystalline structure, it can chip if subjected to sharp hard objects. Unsealed, granite can absorb stains such as oil, which can ultimately cause dark spots or discoloration. Heat from pots and pans or burning liquids will not affect granite under normal circumstances.

Are Granite stains permanent?
Most stains can be removed. Even oil stains can usually be removed using a poultice or paste that will draw out the oil from the stone.

Is limestone soft and chalky?
No, not at all. There are some limestones that are very hard and dense, nearly as hard and resistant as granite, and extremely non-porous. Keep in mind, though, that these very hard limestones are still calcium-based and, if polished, are subject to damage from household acids.

Is it necessary to seal your stone?
Natural stone has been formed over millions of years but improper care can ruin nature's beauty. Although we usually think of stones as a hard material, it is a porous material that can absorb spills and stains if untreated. Sealing your stone with a quality impregnating sealer, will minimize the chance most spills from damaging your investment. However note that sealers are not a permanent means to preventing potential stains.

Does the sealer change the surface or look of the stone?
A sealer such is a penetrating impregnator, meaning the sealer is absorbed by the stone and sits below the surface of the stone. It therefore does not effect the surface, unlike lacquer treatment.

How do I clean and take care of my stone?
Keeping your stone free of dust and sand will minimize any scratches and wear-patterns that can develop from everyday use of some natural stone, such as marble and limestone. Sweep or dust all natural stone surfaces regularly to remove loose soil and dust. Clean your natural stone on a regular basis with warm water and a clean, non-abrasive cloth, sponge or mop. In addition, using a pH neutral cleaner specially formulated for natural stone will help remove soils that normal dusting or damp mopping leave behind. A quality cleaner can be used at full strength or diluted depending on what level of cleaning is required. Do not use general purpose cleaners or you may damage your stone. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar, or other acids as these may etch the stone surface and damage the polish. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.

In general, is the use of stone considered a good value for the money?
All surface finishes, whether they be timber, stainless steel or stone will range in costs. Regardless of its finish or shine, marble creates an immediate impression of elegance. Today, the presence of marble or other stone anywhere in a residential or commercial property is a plus on the real estate agents checklist. A marble foyer or bathroom makes a tangible contribution to the value of one's property.

 

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