Where is Natural Stone Found?

ANSWER: Natural stone is found in countries all over the world... from Angola to Zimbabwe. Depending on the type of stone, it is found within the earth, mountains, low lying areas such as plains, or former sea beds where the collection of sediment has occurred.

Where is Granite Mined?

Granite is quarried from the earth with specialized equipment and machinery. It is found all over the world. A few parts of the world where granite is quarried: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, India, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

How Long Will My Natural Stone Last?

Take care of your Natural Stone and it will last for generations. Some Natural Stones are already over 2500 million years old when quarried from the earth.

What is Quarrying?

A quarrier extracts natural stone from a quarry. A quarry is the location where a deposit of stone is extracted from the earth. Quarrying is the stone extraction process.

Is Natural Stone and Engineered Stone ( Quartz ) the same thing?

No. All Natural Stone is a product of nature. It is formed over millions of years within or on our earth's surface through changes in heat and pressure. It is quarried from the earth in blocks of stone.

Engineered stone is man made. It is manufactured in factories and is made of crushed natural stone and then bound together by acrylic or polyester resins.

Is Quartzite the Same as Quartz?

No. Quartz is engineered (man-made) stone, which usually contains 90-97% of natural stone. The rest is colorants, glues and other binding chemicals. Quartzite is 100% natural stone, mined as any other natural stone.

Why Does the Color and Texture of Natural Stone Vary?

Natural stone is a product of nature and subject to variations. Characteristics such as veining and mineral deposits will affect each piece. Stone will not only vary from quarry to quarry but from stone to stone. All Natural stone is unique... no two stones are alike.

What Special Care Does Natural Stone Require?

Apply a sealer if needed and clean your stone regularly. Don't use acidic or abrasive cleaners. Visit our Care & Maintenance page.

How Often Do I Need to Seal my Contertop?

This depends on the sealer you choose. Some sealers need to be applied every 6 months to 1 year. Others last for 4-5 years, or even every 10 Years!

What Are Samples?

Granite samples are small tiles used to compare colors and patterns.(similar to a color chart except the stone tiles are larger) Small pieces of granite which are left over from your job can also be referred to as samples. You could take a sample piece with you shopping to help match curtains, knobs, rugs, or whatever else you can think of to your granite countertop.

What is a Backsplash?

Backsplash is the area behind and above your countertop. It prevents water and oil from splashing onto your walls (sheetrock).

I Heard Natural Stone Harbors Bacteria. Is It True?

Today's consumer is offered a wide range of surfacing materials for use in countertop applications. Once in service, these countertop surfaces will be exposed to a variety of contaminative substances. The key safety issue to the consumer is the degree of cleanability of the surface material, that is, how easily any contaminants can be removed using normal and reasonable cleaning practices.

The following study by Dr. O. Peter Snyder of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management www.hi-tm.com used E. coli bacteria as its contaminating agent. The findings of the report show significant cleanability advantages of natural granite countertops over almost all other commonly found countertop surface materials.Don't believe everything you hear. Read the results of this study on countertop sanitation, E. coli and various countertop surfaces. Decide for yourself.

My Stone Contractor Recommends a Different Type of Stone for My Project?

Usually your contractor will only recommend a different stone if the one you choose is unsuitable for your project... too delicate or hard to work with.

  • Get a second opinion. It's important that you get what you like. If you absolutely love a particular stone and could care less about the maintenance or possible headaches, go with that stone. Just know you'll have to sign off on it.
  • Choose a different stone. Your fabricator should be able to suggest a similar stone which is better suited for your project.

How Much Does a Granite Countertop Cost?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. And, the answer varies. Stone is usually quoted by the square foot and the cost depends on a number of things:

  • Your geographical location.
  • Actual stone you choose to use.
  • Special edges, full backsplashes, and arches or radius' add to the cost.
  • Using an under mount sink rather than a drop in sink entails more polishing; therefore, this also adds to the cost.

Is Natural Stone a Good Choice for Home Use?

Yes. Natural stone is material you may use in all areas of your home. Knowing the different types of stone, their finishes and applications will help you to make an informed decision on which stone is the best for your project you may.

What Finishes is Stone Available in?

There are many finishes and options available. Here are the most widely used:Natural stone is very adaptable and can be processed in a variety of finishes to achieve a particular effect. There are many finishes and options available. Here are the most widely used ones:

Polished

A high gloss surface. Less water absorbent than honed and textured finishes.

Honed

Honing removes the gloss from the surface, creating a soft matte look. Surface remains smooth to the touch.

Brushed

Variety of methods are used chemical (acid wash) or mechanical to achieve a textured surface.There are different levels of brushing - from the subtle satin or vellutato finish to deeper brushing, creating a different effect of texture.

Flamed

Blow torched for a rough textured surface, more appropriate for exterior applications. Surface is usually brushed after flaming, when used for interior application.

Tumbled

Slightly tumbled to achieve rounded edges and surface that is not as smooth as honed.

Does Stone Stain?

Yes. All natural stone can stain and etch (a dull spot in a polished or honed surface), including GRANITES. Sealers DO NOT prevent staining as they are a moisture barrier only, yet they will help to give you a small amount of time towipe up spills. It is nearly impossible to prevent staining or etching, but seriousstains can be almost completely removed and any etching can be resurfaced if either is truly bothersome to you.

Why are Certain Stones More Appropriate for Kitchen and Bath Flooring?

In choosing a stone it is important to consider how the stone will change over time. Many of the more porous stones will stain easily and unfortunately, even the best impregnators may not be good enough. If this aged look is what your client wants, then any limestone will do.

Why Are Certain Stones Motre Practical for Use in the Kitchen Tops?

The answer lies in the difference between the basic stone groups. The difference is derived from the chemical composition of various stone groups - "carbonates" and "silicates". Carbonates are acid sensitive and a silicates are not. A silicate, like granite, for example, does not react to acid. If we take a lemon (citric acid), something found regularly in our kitchens, and squeeze the juice onto the stone, nothing happens. If we take the same lemon and squeeze the juice onto a carbonate, such as marble, the stone starts to dissolve immediately. Acids will do more damage to a polished stone then a honed or matte finish. Both etch equally, but it's just more noticeable on polished stones.Although, if properly sealed and maintained marble is qui Try this test yourself. That is not to say that marble cannot be used for countertop application - you just have to know the facts and be prepared for more maintenance, such as frequent sealing. Finally, one of the great things about stone is that one can usually restore the stone to its original beauty.

What is the Difference Between Marble & Granite Countertops?

The look and physical qualities. The maintenance and care of the stones will also vary. Marble is softer and more porous and it will etch and stain easier. Marble is more delicate natural stone when compared to granite. Many people prefer marble, for its veiny exotic look and lack of grains.If you prefer the marblesque look and would like to avoid the care and maiontenance issues involved with marble - we recommend Quartzite. Quartzite has the aesthetic look  of Marble, but the qualities of Granite as far as hardness, staining and etching. In fact, Quartzite is harder than Granite.

What Stones Do You Recommend for Kitchen Countertops.

Each client has different preference and tolerance to stone maintenance. Some clients prefer Granite, others Marble, Limestone, Soapstone or Quartzite. From the previous topic, we know marble and limestone will etch. Darker stones etch more noticeably. Some will also be more apt to stain, although they can be impregnated (sealed) to improve performance - the denser stones the less it stains. What one needs to consider when selecting a natural stone for kitchen tops is Marble & Limestone are not for everybody - they have alkaline composition and will interact with common household acids and etch.Many green marbles make good kitchen counters - mainly because they are not true marbles. These wonderful greens are natural stone, but not calcium or magnesium carbonate, as in marble, but rather magnesium silicate (serpentine).Pure serpentine is not acid sensitive, therefore there is no etching. Just be careful - not all greens are pure serpentine. so be sure to ask us first.

Why Does My Granite Stain?

Remember, many are porous, especially the popular swirl varieties. These swirl types are often not even true granites (more artistic license). Geologists use the term gneiss. Gneiss is usually made of the same material components as granite, only the stone cools more quickly in the earth's crust. Their swirls still show the movement of the stones active molten history. The important part is that these stones, with smaller crystals, are more porous than granites with large crystals. Impregnators are needed to reduce staining.

Can I Get Stains Out of My Stone?

We rarely meet a stain that cannot be removed. While this may be an exaggeration, we have a pretty good track record. Removing a stain is a three-part process, the first stage involves identifying the stain, the second stage involves loosening or dissolving the stain, the third stage involves lifting the stain from the stone.

We don't suggest you get too sophisticated if you are doing this yourself. But before calling for help, try a simple colorless dish washing detergent

Do You Recommend Polished Floors in Commercial Spaces?

There are two considerations when specifying polished stone on commercial floors - slip resistance and wearing off the polish. Regarding slip resistance, polished floors generally do not pass industry standards testing for slip resistance, unless treated with certain floor finishes made for that purpose. Regarding wear, all polished stones will lose their polish unless there is a constant maintenance program including the use of chemical finishes that will protect the finish. This can be expensive over time, and require stripping and reapplication from time to time. In our opinion, if the owner wants a polished finish floor, it is important that you discuss the maintenance requirements before specifying.

How Do I Make Sure That the Stone I Specify Will Be Available When Needed?

If you know when the stone is required, you should communicate this to the stone supplier. A trustworthy supplier will give you reliable information regarding the stone's availability. If this is a fast track job, and the material is in stock, we will put the material on hold for a month until a final commitment is made. Communication between the specifier and the general contractor or owner is often important in order to meet job delivery requirements. If material needs to come from overseas, we generally assume that it will take around a month to get to our warehouse. If it takes the factory one to two months to produce the stone to specifications, then a lead-time of two to three months would be common. This is a typical availability situation, but will not be the case in all situations.

How Does an Impregnator Reduce Staining?

The solid part of silicone impregnators are microscopic balls of silicone that attach themselves to the crevices inside the stone. These balls of silicone are negatively charged, which means they repel each other so that they cannot combine in one big ball of silicone. Once they are attached to the stone, these balls become a permanent part of the stone, and give out a magnetic charge, which creates an invisible "umbrella" between the balls. These microscopic umbrellas act as shields when a much larger drop of liquid lands on them. They hold the liquid up, and prevent it from penetrating the stone.

The liquid part of the impregnator, is usually either mineral or water based, and acts as the carrier that brings the silicone to the stone and has it penetrate deep into the stone. The most effective impregnators use mineral spirits and have the smallest particles of silicone.

When Designing Your Project, Can You Mix Stone With Other Materials?

Absolutely! The possibilities are endless. You can incorporate natural stone with ceramic, porcelain, glass, and terracotta. Anything you can think of, even mixing different types of natural stones together.